I really wanted to experience life in real-time with you when I was going through the shit I went through this past winter. In fact, I even started quite a few posts. But the fact is, my brain just isn’t wired that way. We all know that I am a very open person, but I have to process and deal with life privately before I can open up about it. (And before I deal with the stuff, I have to spend a good amount of time avoiding it because I suck at feeling uncomfortable emotions. My therapist back home just loves me for it.) And there were so many unknowns in my life at the time. I was functioning on a surface level. But I had so much going on behind the scenes. And I got through it like I always do. I knew even on my hardest days that I would, because I’m a gahhdamn warrior. But it didn’t mean it sucked any less. I knew what I needed to do to take care of myself, and I was trying. I had a lot of dark days. I am not going to go into details now, but there was one particularly dark day in January where I simply wanted to give up, so I immediately opened up to someone and talked it through because once you expose those demons, they are a lot easier to take down. I did exactly what I needed to do in that moment. I slipped a lot this past winter, but one thing I can say for myself is that I never gave up or lost sight of my goals. I didn’t give up my sobriety when times got tough. I just kept my head down and stayed focused….most of the time. Some days, I slept and didn’t shower, and didn’t eat. Actually, I didn’t eat regularly for about 7 months. I couldn’t. I lost 25 pounds within 4 months, and it wasn’t because of a good diet and exercise. (I’ll talk more on that in a future post.) I didn’t sleep regularly for 7 months. I would either not sleep at all, or do nothing but sleep, but even then I was always jolted awake multiple times in the middle of the night either by nightmares or by nothing at all. The only difference between the word “fear” and words “survival mode” for my situation is that I lived in fear to try and save my life…I lived by the constant confines of fear, whether I tried to diminish it or not. I had no idea the toll survival mode was taking on my mind and body.
Until I moved here. This is my first time admitting this even to myself… When I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize the person staring back at me. I get mixed emotions. Like, the woman looking at me is a survivor. I am so damn proud of her for what she has had to overcome. But what she had to do to survive took it’s toll on her. I see a woman that’s aged 5+ years in less than 1. There is no escaping that. But more importantly, and what I choose to hold onto, is that the woman staring back at me has a strength and a power she didn’t know existed. That far supersedes any aging that can be done to a person. Aging is mute at that point.
I would rather have this woman staring back at me that I don’t recognize, but I am curious and ready and willing to get to know than a familiar youthful look of a woman of equal awesomeness, but clueless nonetheless.
It wasn’t until I moved here that I got my first full night’s sleep since the day my life was almost taken from me last August. I got back a normal appetite here. I feel safe here… I feel safer alone surrounded by complete strangers than I do in a place where if I needed someone, they would be to me within a matter of minutes. I can breath normally. I can live a somewhat normal life. It’s refreshing. It’s relieving. I didn’t remember what I was missing until I had it back.
I know a lot of people won’t understand what I’m saying, and for that I’m glad. But for those of you that understand all too well, I love you, and I cherish you, and I hope survival mode releases you to life and that life holds you tight.
Survival mode took a lot out of me, but it brought me so much gratitude once it finally let me go. I’m finally free.