lately I’ve been reflecting on the past several years, as they have been chaotic and stressful and very different from each other. more accurately, what’s been happening to me is moments flash through my memory, at random points throughout my day, and bring waves of attached emotion that I then need to process and deal with so I can get on with life.
moments like: my best friend’s grave on Christmas eve, 6 months after she had died, on a cold winter night. Or a time when I was searching for something on my ex-husband’s computer, and I found a folder full of porn videos about an… interesting… fetish. Or how I felt when I found out my ex-husband had been lying to me, again. Or packing up my things when I decided to move out over a weekend when he was gone.
and as I write this I wonder how can I still be feeling so much pain and grief over these events, things that happened years ago now? Now that I am happily remarried and feeling like I’ve moved on with life?
in 2011, I fell into a crisis mode. Looking back now I can see that college was also a bad time in my life as far as things like self-esteem and physical and emotional health go, even though I didn’t know it at the time. But in 2011 I knew I was hitting rock-bottom. I was in grad school, I was getting a divorce, I was getting involved in harmful relationships, and my best friend passed away suddenly. All my energy was thrown into getting out of bed, showing up to places where I was supposed to be, and finding excuses to stay out of the house so that I didn’t have to deal with my husband. It’s difficult to describe exactly what it’s like to be in crisis mode – and I’m sure it’s different for everyone, depending on personalities and the types of crises – but I honestly have shame and embarrassment about how I acted and how vulnerable I had to be.
I wasn’t myself. I didn’t do my best work and I made very bad choices, especially in relationships. Sure, I had reasons, but it’s still hard to deal with the fact that I went through all of that and maybe didn’t handle myself the way I would want to.
But during this time, a friend helped me understand that, until you know what “good” or “healthy” feels like, you don’t know that how you feel is unhealthy. If your state of being has always been unhealthy, as my emotional health was for a long time, then you can’t understand what it feels like to relate to yourself in an emotionally healthy way. Just like if you’ve always been unhealthy physically, and you’ve never been in shape, you might not view yourself as “unhealthy” or “out of shape” even though you are. You can’t imagine what “healthy” actually feels like, so you might assume you are.
My point is, especially while I was in college, I thought I was learning how to be emotionally healthy. But I wasn’t. I ended up getting married to the wrong person while I was in an unhealthy state, and I thought I was a well-adjusted young adult.
I’m still working on my journey of health, and now I have a husband who is able to support me in my growth and help me learn how to understand and deal with my emotions. With my Evangelical Christian upbringing, I learned some bad coping mechanisms, maintained low self-worth, and generally distrusted my emotions, as I’ve written about in previous posts. Part of my healing process has involved leaving Christianity which lead to losing faith in God. For me, losing faith was an important part of my journey to better accepting my humanity and learning how to be a healthy person.