My cousin asked me to post about finding my worth rather than losing myself to an unhealthy situation.
Before I start, I have to put this in black & white. M & I are friends. Good friends. We get along & we coparent well. I realize how blessed I am to have this kind of relationship with the father of my children. Whenever anyone asks about why our marriage didn’t last, I just let them know that we were really bad at being married to each other.
It took a lot for me to find myself. I was in an ugly mental place before I deciding to split from M. I was depressed [I have a mostly official diagnosis now & I take medication to help my brain chemistry behave]. I have suffered with anxiety for a long time. It dates back to before M & I got together, but I didn’t realize that my rage cleaning & freaking out when things weren’t going the way I planned were symptoms of anxiety. I was accused of being controlling & mean, but for the longest time I never understood that my anxiousness was just the way my brain is wired, not who I am as a person.
I promise I am not mean. Don’t ask my kids, though. They’ll disagree with you & tell you I am the meanest mom to walk the planet. I tell them I had to sign a piece of paper that said I would be the meanest before I was allowed to take them home from the hospital.
I am an introverted empath who suffers from anxiety. I over think things & worry about over thinking things & feel the things the people around me are feeling & sometimes I’d just like to be alone to figure this stuff out because it’s too overwhelming, thanks.
Up to us calling it quits, I knew something was inherently wrong with me. I took on too many tasks & genuinely didn’t know how to say to “no” to people, to the point that when I did say no, I was called a bitch by someone with whom I was very close. It was tough for me to fit all of the things I said I’d do in one day & I was always, always exhausted. It didn’t help that I’d already had two brain surgeries & that contributed to my mental fatigue.
I had, at one point: four jobs, two kids, a husband, friendships I was supposed to maintain, a house to take care of, & a literal mountain of laundry at any given time.
I. Was. Exhausted. All of the time.
That didn’t stop people from piling stuff on to my plate. There is a quote often attributed to Lucille Ball that says, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” Lucy, I genuinely love you, but that isn’t always true. Asking a busy person to add one more thing to their To Do List might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
After I moved, I started working on who I was as a person. I have been working on the art of saying, “No,” when I need to & gained a backbone I thought was gone forever. I purposely take time to sit down & read books or do something that I enjoy doing. Even if that task is making something for someone else via knitting or cross stitching, it’s a thing that allows my brain to turn off if it chooses to & allows me to enjoy my time.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I feel bad when I take time for myself. But I have learned to prioritize my mental health & time with the people who love me over, say, the neatness of my house. So what if it’s cluttered? My children are making memories & the LEGOs on the floor will keep for another day. The toilet can be cleaned tomorrow, but my son may not want to crawl into bed & read with me tomorrow. Who cares if I spend half of my day off in bed if I’m allowing myself to heal from a headache I previously would have forced myself to work through?
This stuff came to me through a lot of reading & even more self reflection. I wrote. I have notecards somewhere with messages that remind me I am strong, I am wise, & I am courageous. I used to pull them out when my head got to an especially dark place, but I’ve memorized them so I don’t often need to look at them any more.
I started therapy.
I desperately need to continue with therapy. I am absolutely not ashamed to admit I need therapy, either.
I am a work in progress & at 36, I am no longer ashamed to say that.