Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fighting The Demons Within

I don't know if it's the "winter with no end, it goes on and on my friend" or the new pills I'm on, or the combination of both, coupled with life in general, but I've been having a struggle lately to get out of a profound funk.

I've discussed briefly before that I grew up in not so ideal conditions. In fact, for many years it was a horrifically abusive situation, one that I'm amazed I survived, frankly. When you grow up that way, you develop parts of your personality that help you to cope with the unthinkable, and that's different for everybody.

For me, I became a very good actress. My worst nightmare was that someone would single me out and figure out what was happening at home. I compensated by doing my best to excel, while not drawing too much attention to it. Basically, if you act like everything is top notch, who is going to question it? I did well at school, I joined things, I had lots of friends and social activities, I dressed like everyone else. Every now and then, the veneer would crack and I'd lose it just a little, lowering the wall. I'd then quickly patch it up with jokes or excuses.

I'm not really sure why abuse is embarrassing when it's not your fault, but I felt, and still feel, incredibly humiliated that I lived that life. It feels, somehow, like a flaw on my part, when intellectually I know that's not so.

Fast forward to today.

I still get criticism from family (sadly) or those that think they know me well but really have no idea, that I "think I'm perfect" or that I "act like everything is perfect and wonderful."  I guess old habits die hard. The adage of never judging what you don't know comes to mind. Believe me, I know that what appears on the surface is not necessarily what lies beneath. The fear of showing the world your pain is more motivating than anything else I've encountered. At some point, it all comes crashing down though, doesn't it?

That's what makes writing this hugely difficult and terrifying for me.

A few years back, life splintered in a thousand shattering pieces all over my heart and soul. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I spent many days lying in bed, staring at the ceiling or sobbing. I refused all food and water. Every day, I would close the door on my family as they left for school and work, and I would contemplate how I'd be able to get through the day without the crushing pain and the desire to just make the pain STOP. I lost 15lbs in a week. I battled myself-alternating between not wanting to deal with it all any more, and KNOWING I needed, once again, to fight for myself, for my children, for my LIFE. I'm a fighter by nature, I've always HAD to fight, but sometimes? When you've fought so long, there's just no fight left. When everyone came home, I'd once again try to be the perfect...everything.

Little by little, I tried once again to try to glue puzzle pieces back together to make a pretty good facsimile of who I was, who I am. Luckily for me, I had people who love me, who REALLY love me and care about my  soul and not just my outside "image" that pulled and pushed and encouraged and just loved on me hard. I had some pretty intense check in's with individuals trained and equipped to deal with someone hovering on the brink. I am thankful every day for those individuals and thank God for them, and for giving me the internal fortitude to realize that I CAN pick myself up.

Life has chugged along since those dark days,  and it's had it's up and down moments. I've spent the last year working diligently and refocusing on finding my authentic self. That sounds very touchy feely and New Age, but with all of the acting I've been doing for a lifetime now, I kind of forgot who the hell that girl is and what she ever wanted.

The last few months have been a struggle again. I've had some dark days and a desire to shut the world out, pull the covers over my head and just, for one brief moment, NOT think, NOT stress, NOT try to figure it all out. Dang it, I'm just tired of not having answers, I guess. I'm putting this out there not for your sympathy or concern-that's actually the last thing I would want ever-but because part of this process is learning to take the acting down a notch and to just "be."  It means feeling what I'm feeling, accepting it, and then pushing forward.  Basically, darkness can't live where you expose it to the light.

I'm not perfect, my life is not perfect, I'm sorry if I "act it" and people don't understand that or judge that. I'm doing my best to create a life that finally looks like "me" and where I'm honest about the hills of triumph and the valleys of despair.

The sun coming out will help, some solutions to some stresses will help, running (no matter distance, speed or time) helps, laughter with my friends helps, and my daughters are my life line. I don't have answers, and it's been a challenging time, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 At some point, I figure, I'll get where  I need to be going.

I am also just pointing out that, before you judge someone for withdrawing, for not commenting on your FB post, for being "boring" for not wanting to go out, for being quiet, or for "appearing perfect"-do a double check if they matter to you at all. Sometimes, it's not being aloof, it's preservation of self.


  1. this resonates so deeply with me. I totally know and understand exactly what you're saying. thank you. thank you for writing so beautifully and for giving me words to accurately describe me. oh sure - you were talking about you. but I totally, unequivocally get it. hugs, my friend.

    1. I know you do! We share a crazy connection in our lives, and our experiences. I'm glad what I wrote can help not just me, but someone else feeling the same. We can all be each other's lifelines when we need a hand. XO

  2. I'm so glad you wrote this, see blogging really is therapy. Someone is listening, many are. You speak to them of their struggles too. I hope your ok, and if your not that is ok too...I hope you reach out a little more for support. Sometimes we need a little lift. Big hugs and love being sent to you.

    1. Thank you so much for reaching out Katie. I think the biggest thing that gets me through is the love and care from my friends and family. I am always aware that no matter how dark the day-there ARE people out there rooting for me. I come from a family where sharing is weakness, so putting myself out there is always monumentally difficult for me. It's empowering to know that when I do, someone is there to catch my fall. It makes it a little less scary the next time. :)

  3. I've tried to comment more than once here, I hope this finally makes it through :)

    I'm sorry to hear you what you went through. I'm glad you are trying to talk about it. So many people deny that they struggle and don't admit to hard times. I know every time I read that someone is struggling, my heart goes out to them and then I have that "Im glad I'm not the only one" feeling. Power in numbers.

    I know what you mean about making judgements, I used to get called snobby because I was SHY.

    Like Katie said, I hope you reach out for support when you need it. You are freaking positive and supportive of those around you, and when/if you struggle, we are all here to do the same for you.

    1. ACK Christy, this made me cry!!!

      I'm not sure why it feels like such a weakness or stigma in admitting to some rough days, but I have lived and can see how easy it is to pull the covers over our heads and not want to let in the light of friendship or caring when we feel so alone.

      The beauty in this is that, like you said, you realize, once you open up with trepidation, that SO MANY are feeling the same way. I've received so many texts and messages of people saying they've felt the exact same recently. Power is definitely in numbers-and how much easier it would be to just say "huh, this stinks but we're all feeling it so let's just get each other through!" It DOES lift some of that burden, for sure!

      Judgements are very difficult, aren't they? You can't change someone's perception but it's frustrating when you know it's an unequivocally incorrect one! Sigh. I guess the saying "what others think of you is none of your business" applies here. Their loss.

      I have had such a positive response to this post, reaching out seems a little easier already. It's a huge change for me, but one I'm attempting to (slowly, carefully) embrace.

      Thanks so much for your comment and for being here to help me out of this dark tunnel vision. It truly and honestly means the world to me.

  4. Not gonna lie, this was really hard to read. I only know you as the happy, bubbly funny gal I remember from high school and again lucky enough to encounter again later in life. I think even though we know someone is probably hurting, we are sometimes grateful that they are putting on a tough exterior. When people show their more vulnerable sides, it makes us confront our own darker sides as well. Kudos to you for opening up and it sounds like you have an AMAZiNG network of friends, which is a testament to you. LIfe is a mirror they say :)