Dear Me, Thank You.
Dear me, thank you.
I remember when you were starting school in third grade; transitioning from being home-schooled to public school, the same year that you bawled your eyes out because the doctor said needed eyeglasses. I mean, once you realized you were allowed to pick out your own frames, your tears cleared right up and those round, dark pink frames quickly became yours! Being excited about the new element added to your style, Dad didn’t have a hard time convincing you to get a super short haircut…but don’t worry, you never, ever did that again! However, I do admire the confidence that you had going into that school- knowing you didn’t have any familiar faces in class, but still having no problem being your authentic, weird self. I’m proud to say we do have that confidence today, but that unfortunately we did lose it a bit in-between.
Getting through middle school wasn’t bad. You did well in school and you got along with your classmates, but what you lived for was hanging out with your best friends back at the apartments that you grew up in your whole life. Having friends in the apartment complex made it easy to say that home was such a fun place to be, even though deep down you knew that inside that two-bedroom apartment, any happiness was gone after 6pm. You were lucky in a way, it’s not like your parents were leaving you with random sitters while they went out to the bars like your neighbor friends dealt with, instead your parents would just drink at home, and you had to be witness. Your parents seemed to care more than the other parents because they were always helicoptering around and trying to keep you safe, but that started to bother you more and more as you grew older.
When it was time for high school you started to feel suffocated. When you observed the younger neighbor friends having more freedom than you, it felt unfair! They could take their bikes to the store down the street before you could, and they’d all talk about their Facebook accounts while your parents were telling you that you couldn’t have one for another few years. The anger inside only grew as you finally got more freedom, because that only came with constant texts and calls asking for pictures to prove where you were. You weren’t out doing drugs or partying, you had good grades, but you were treated as if you were not trust-worthy or responsible. It didn’t help that your parents’ anxiety of the world worsened, as well as their anger towards each other. At home, you unfortunately had to hear all of it, and it had more of an effect on you than you knew.
As you overheard the loud, explicit sluts being spat back and forth, your body was coregulating with their anger and angst. As you overheard horrific truths of family pasts, your brain processed these things in an unhealthy, self-limiting way. As you started to join in on arguments trying to mediate or defend, you fed into your already developed control issues. There is a reason that psychologists tell parents not to involve their children in adult issues. This was in no way your fault, but when you finally were able to escape, you quickly learned that it was your responsibility. Although it feels easy to blame your parents for your anxiety and depression, it feels so much better once you realized that they were doing the best they could with what they knew, and it feels even better when you realized that you were the one in control of your life.
You escaped your parents’ home at age 19 and moved into an apartment with your high school sweetheart. Even though you had never had a boyfriend throughout high school, when you saw him come into your class junior year and you got that feeling that you had to talk to him…you were right to go with your gut. This man has been such a blessing throughout your life, even though at times you didn’t treat him that way. There were times where your anxiety got the best of you, your anger issues were not managed well, and you felt completely out of control. There were times where you found yourself in panic attacks, crying so hard to the point of headaches, but you made it through, and he was there the whole time. He was so patient with you, and although there were rough times during the relationship, he never left your side. Even though you thought you were such a burden and terrible person to be around, he never saw you like that-he saw you for you.
You had a hard time accepting this love for many reasons, but the main one being that you did not love yourself. Your brain absorbed Dad’s constant comments like “You dumba**” or “Stupid b**ch,” even though those were never true. You took on blame and guilt for things that didn’t even involve you, and it aided in the self-loathing patterns. I won’t sit here and say that at age 27 you’re completely healed of all traumas and you float through life with no problems; you still have triggers and definitely some control issues, but you are healing every day. After years of trying different medications and therapists, you’re feeling regulated without prescription drugs, you have a therapist you love, and you are finally feeling like that confident, curly-headed eight-year-old girl with glasses strolling into her first year of public school. Looking at you, I see that you always confidently knew yourself, and you trusted your gut. You tried to stay out of the way of chaos and remain in your own peaceful world, and that is something we still practice today. As I continue to heal my nervous system and work on self-love, I have realized that I truly can trust my gut feelings; and for that, I thank you.
Aww Jena, this is really powerful. I give you so much credit for having ability to say, “I am going to take control of my life and my healing.” That’s an incredibly strong thing to do. You didn’t have it easy, but you are creating a different environment for yourself.
I am glad you found such a terrific and caring partner. You’re really lucky. As you continue to heap, be patient with yourself, but also be proud of yourself. Choosing to face your past in order to have a better future is courageous and brave and admirable.
Thank you for sharing your story on The Unsealed. I can’t wait to read more from you and see where your journey takes you. Thank you for being a part of this community.
Wow Jena, that’s really powerful. I can’t imagine what you have gone through to get to this place in your recovery. I am so proud of you for doing this for yourself. It’s been a long journey, but now you are getting to the end of that road and I know it is going to be beautiful.
Thank you, Kayjah, for your kind words! It definitely has been a long journey, and I know life will continue to throw things at me, but as long as I stay focused on myself and my healing, I will be able to handle anything thrown my way. I appreciate you taking the time to read and reply!