There is never a day that passes where at one point or another I am waiting for the reminder to breathe. I imagine what my life was like without anxiety, only to realize I can’t. The constant erratic beat of my heart, accelerated breathing, the tapping of my feet and the anticipation of it coming to a halt. They say everything in life must be built on a strong foundation, that leaves uncertainty for those of us lacking in the foundation department. We are surrounded by parts of us that are seemingly unwilling to fit, by memories that have left scars, by the inability to forget. We encompass guilt, fear, hurt, embarrassment and anger. How does one build a foundation with those pieces?
For as long as I can remember I was a “social butterfly”, hated by some and loved by some. I wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by people. I struggled with addictions to drugs, alcohol, people, chaos, drama. I wanted to fit in and I wanted people to like me. I wanted to like myself. As I got older, there was never a time where I was truly happy with who I was or who I had become. I made impulsive choices with no regard for others, my actions had not even a second thought to the repercussions. My demons had consumed me at a very young age, there is a darkness and it will occupy your mind if you let it. Friends were always hard for me, I was always a drifter. In my head and in reality I was too messed up for most people to handle. Don’t get me wrong, I see no fault in those who left me, i deserved that. I expected them to be there but refused help. How can you put that on a person?? I am thankful for them and those who are still there. I went from one bad relationship to the next. I craved male attention, with the preconceived notion that this was building my self worth. I had to self medicate just to tolerate myself. I allowed behaviors that should never be tolerated, I allowed actions that should never be a thought. When you have deemed yourself worthless, you allow people to treat you as such.
Back to the question at hand, how does one build a foundation with those pieces? As silly as this sounds I will relate it to a beaver dam. Every choice has a consequence and a benefit, I am trying to teach this to my children. The seemingly best choices always come with a price. You want to play a bit longer before bed, then you don’t get a story. To me this makes sense. My choice to get my shit together was a long time coming. I was 30, it wasn’t one thing, it was everything. I stopped drinking, I started going to therapy but this time I went with everything I had. I admitted for the first time just how out of control I was. I peeled that fake layer of skin and was completely exposed. I had to learn how to live, I had to learn how to feel, forgive, understand, and let go. I had to accept my downfalls, my flaws, the hurt I had caused. I had to relive trauma, accept the pain from it. I had to make the conscious choice to change and commit to it. Each hurdle was a broken piece placed strategically. After a while, after many tears, after many breakdowns what once looked like a battlefield started to look like the beginning to a strong foundation. It doesn’t happen over night, and to be completely honest I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing at times. I get restless and feel hopeless. I breakdown and cry but now it feels somewhat cleansing, not always but sometimes when everything falls apart it feels like I can handle it. Forget about focusing on the foundation as a whole, instead focus on each piece individually. Little by little it gets better if you want it too, it becomes a little easier to breathe. I can’t tell you that I am happy all the time. I most definitely cannot tell you I have it all figured out. I can however tell you that I am making progress and it is much easier to breathe….