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  • jenawrites shared a letter in the Group logo of Chasing Your DreamsChasing Your Dreams group 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    We’ll Be a Dream

    As most young children, I had many different dreams for my future. For a while I was completely set on being a princess. I mean, who doesn’t want that true love that’s portrayed in all of the Disney movies? Over time I ditched the glitz and glamour dream for one a bit more adventurous: I wanted to be a spy! As expected, I didn’t end up pursuing that dream, but I definitely was an observant child. As I grew older, I toyed with the idea of pursuing a career as a teacher. I thought about what subject I’d teach, and for a while I said English and creative writing were my favorite, but that was until I found myself loving my psychology class. The idea of understanding how the brain worked and how people operate was so interesting to me, and over time it has become so much more for me.

    Truth be told, I never saw myself pursuing a career in psychology, and honestly, I still don’t! I could have gone to a university and dove into the field, but I knew that meant more school and taking on thousands of dollars in debt. Instead of doing what everyone else was doing, I did what I felt was right for me, and that was working full time and moving out of my parents’ place. At 19, even though most of my friends were either staying with their parents or living in a dorm, I still felt that I was getting out of there too late. Since the age of seven, I had been living with functioning alcoholics who didn’t seem to enjoy each other’s company. I witnessed angry arguments, suffered emotional and verbal abuse, and knew too much about adult issues as a child. I knew that being in that space with my parents was not healthy for me, and I had to get out as soon as possible. As I sit here at 27, after going through years of being on different anxiety medications and seeing different therapists, I feel so blessed to live in a time where mental health is being discussed, and I want to be part of that discussion.

    In my parents’ generation, and really all of the older generations, mental health was not something that was well known or talked about. People didn’t discuss how childhood trauma affects you later on in life, or how there is usually a psychological reason for addiction, so they all did their best with the information they knew. Nowadays, there is more access to different types, of therapy, as well as helpful resources that are free online. When you know more about yourself and how your brain developed, it makes it easier to understand yourself. For me, growing up in a chaotic environment had an effect on my nervous system, and this was something I discovered once I was living out on my own with my boyfriend. I was so ready to escape from the constant screaming and arguing and just be with the person who made me the happiest. Going from chaos, to a quiet, loving environment was everything I needed, but it didn’t feel that way at first.

    Once we were settled into our new apartment, I had a sense of relief and I felt like I was finally in control of my life. Unfortunately, early on it was apparent that I was obsessed with control and I still felt this irritability and anger deep down inside me. I’d find myself having many “off” days and days where I would have complete breakdowns, and it honestly only made me angrier because I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I felt like my brain was on fire and I was constantly racing some imaginary clock that I could never catch up to, and I was always so hard on myself. It wasn’t until I saw a therapist who actually listened to me that I actually felt like I understood myself. She explained how being in an unpredictable environment as a child can lead to the need to control, and helped me find healthy ways to cope with my anxiety. I finally started feeling like there was hope for me and I would be able to live happily without medications, and I am lucky to say that I am doing that today.

    Seven years ago, I embarked on a healing journey that I am still on today. I tried different anxiety medications over long periods of time, and even took breaks when I probably shouldn’t have. I saw therapists that I didn’t find helpful, and still hung around toxic people. I still had my breakdowns, but breakthroughs as well, and I over time I learned to acknowledge those. Over the years, I had questioned many things about myself and my life, but there was one thing I knew, and that was that I wanted to raise a family in the future. When I was thinking about my future, I knew that I wanted to be a calm mother who didn’t project her own anxieties onto her kids. I knew that I wanted their father to be someone who I enjoyed seeing every day, and we’d have a love that our children would admire and strive for. I knew that if I wanted these things in my life, that I had to be dedicated to my healing and mental health.

    I’d like to say that I was going to therapy for me, but it initially was for my boyfriend. I knew I had a great person by my side, and he truly deserved me at my best self. He didn’t have to deal with my angry outbursts or my coldness, and I didn’t want to keep giving that to him. He saw who I was beneath all of the anxiety and fear from the beginning, and to this day, he still helps me in every way he can. At my lowest, he helped me set up my appointments and would accompany me to them, and today he appreciates and acknowledges my growth. I look forward to the future to when we have a family of our own, knowing we will be able to take the knowledge we have and raise our children in a healthy, loving environment. Of course, life still has challenges, and there is always going to be growing to do; now that I have developed better coping skills, I am able to look to the future with visions of hope and positivity, rather than fear and anxiety. Learning from my therapist taught me so much about myself, and I truly believe everyone can benefit from therapy. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to therapy, which is why it is important to spread awareness by spreading our stories and sharing resources.

    My dream may seem like a simple dream: have a husband and some children- but it is so much deeper than that. Of course, that is my dream for myself and my future family, but overall, my dream is for everyone to be their best selves. Some people may feel like they don’t deserve it, or maybe it feels like healing will be impossible, but this is the best time to do it. People may feel there is still a stigma around going to therapy, but there is nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself. Mental health is finally being talked about more regularly in media and on larger platforms, and the more awareness we spread, the more of us can heal. I truly believe that if everyone learned how to love themselves and stop judging themselves so harshly, the world would be a better place. I honestly also still believe that we all deserve that love that princesses get in the Disney movies! This is why I joined this community, and this is why I continue to raise my voice about mental health and spreading love- I believe that we can all be a dream.

    Jena
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    • Wow! Jena this is so real. This is so powerful and this is so well written. I am sorry that you grew up in such a toxic environment but I give you a ton of credit for figuring out what you needed to do to heal, to create healthier relationships in your life than the ones you witnessed growing up, and to create home that is filled with love and support. This piece not only shares your story, but it shows your strength and reveals your heart. Thank you for sharing your story, and inspiring us all. <3 Lauren

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      • Thank you so much for your feedback! I am glad that I was effectively able to get my message across while being my authentic self, and I could show the love we have! I am so blessed do have started on this healing journey and only hope that this gets out to anyone who is struggling with mental health! Thanks again and I am so happy to be here!

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    • Jena,

      This letter resonates deeply inside of me. I grew up in somewhat similar circumstances.

      I felt this deep in my heart as my journey is very much like yours. My first counselor overly relied on medications and in the end I developed an addiction to Ativan. Battling that addiction was one of the toughest things I’ve ever encountered. When one stops taking Ativan, the anxiety returns tenfold. For someone who was admittedly abusing it for how it made me feel so numb as that was the way I wanted to feel at that point in my life. It’s tough to feel like a dark cloud is following you and you can’t find the sun to push it away.

      I know the struggles it can be to escape from chaotic circumstances and as I approach 40 its a journey I’m still on.

      Your dream is one that I embraced at one point at my life. Right now I’m still trying to work on dealing with the trauma I experienced early in life. I’m doing it so that should a person want to be in my life, that they get the person they deserve. That person is somewhere inside of me and I’m working on freeing him from the prison that he’s trapped in.

      Your letter details an extreme amount of courage. It’s hard to realize the faults in our own stars and even tougher to look into a mirror and say this isn’t who I’m meant to be. I applaud you for making this journey and sharing your experience with all of us. Your story can be the roadmap someone may use to create the best version of themselves for others. The late Robert Kennedy spoke about small ripples of hope, and you are definitely one of those. Those ripples can become the wave of change in regards to mental health that so many desperately need. Through your story we can prove that we are not sentenced to a lifetime of suffering. YOU are proof of hope for so many from sharing your story.

      Thank you for sharing it with us!

      -Roger

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      • Roger, I appreciate this and you so much! I am so happy to hear that you’re working through past traumas and working to be your best self! Life definitely has it’s challenges, but having good support and resources is so nice. I am glad I joined a community full of accepting people and I am touched by your words. I look forward to reading your posts and continuing this healing journey with other unsealed members! Thank you for your kind words and feedback! Sending so much love to you on your journey!

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    • Hi Jena,
      Your letter is very powerful. I understand how painful it must have been to live with 2 alcoholic parents. No child should have to be exposed to that toxicity. The upside of your journey is that you have gotten the help you needed and you have a vision for a healthy and stable life for yourself. Congratulations on doing the work and coming out on the other side. I hope you continue to share your successes with us here at The Unsealed.

      All the best for a happy life,
      Shelley

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      • Thank you for your kind words, Shelley! I love my parents and luckily today I do have a good relationship with both of them, and it definitely has to do with boundaries that I have set for myself. I do feel like everything happens for a reason, and we can all try to see the good in bad situations; like you said, I was able to get the help I needed! I appreciate you taking the time to read my letter and I plan to share more here in The Unsealed community!

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    • Amazing letter! I’m glad that mental health is being talked about on social media, especially since it’s also the app that leads many into mental health problems. They are being judged and judging themselves because of it. We need to let people know It’s time to stop judging yourself and start loving yourself. It’s okay to go to therapy, it’s okay to feel something, it’s okay to need help.

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      • I agree 100%, Kayjuh! Now that more research is coming
        out on the effects of social media, it makes me want to learn and spread more information about it! I found myself a lot happier once I limited my social media accounts (I deleted twitter a couple years ago, and I dont go on Facebook anymore). It’s so important for us to pay attention to what our brains are consuming each day and realizing what’s healthy and what isn’t!

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    • Hi Jena,

      I got lost in your words because they were so incredible. Like yourself, I fell in love with Psychology. Reading my sister’s school books made me get into it. It was fascinating learning why humans make the decisions that we make. I also learned that I never wanted a career in Psychology either after a few years of studying it. It’s a great subject to learn though! Mental health wasn’t talked about with my parents either. It’s sad how childhood trauma affects us even as adults. I’m so glad mental health is talked about more. You’re right about not everyone having access to therapy. I’m glad you’ve taken that major step to heal. I’m rooting for you to get that happy ever after like in the Disney movies.

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      • Hello Gerald,

        Thank you for being so kind! Yeah, I knew that I didn’t want to be anyone’s therapist, because I knew I needed one of my own. In the past I’d often say to myself “how am I going to help others when I can’t even help myself.” I am blessed to say that I have abandoned that mindset, as I realized that I actually can help myself. I appreciate you taking the time to read my letter, and I am also rooting for your happiness!

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        • You’re welcome, Jena! I hear you. I had those same thoughts when I was studying to be a life coach. I can’t guide others when I still need to guide myself. I’m glad I learned that I didn’t want to be a life coach. I love your passion for mental health! You’re welcome btw. I’m glad I saw your letter, and thank you for the well-wishes!

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