I am not going to sit here and bore you with all the nitty gritty details of my life. These are things that will come up as the blog continues. What you should probably know this is:
I grew up in an average family. I love my family. My father worked as a fire captain in the city next to us, and my mother worked as a nurse at the local children’s hospital. They met each other at a party, and my mum thought my dad was a jerk. A year later they were dating, and two weeks after they started dating, my dad proposed to my mother. They were married in 1981, and just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary. They are the relationship goals that other people dream about.
Now, it hasn’t always been easy for them. The complete opposite in fact. My mum got sick in 1989 with Hepatitis. She was very sick, but then she got better. But this was just the start of the battles of my mum’s illness. Life hit hard a few years later, and in 1993, my mum lost both her parents within five months of one another. She started to get sicker everyday. Now we weren’t only dealing with physical illness, but mental illness as well. She would go back to work, while continuing night school to get her degree in nursing, and would become so exhausted she would sleep for days. Eventually she was put on sick leave. Years were spent at different doctors, doing different tests, trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
All of this is happening, and my dad was working as a firefighter, working 4 day shifts, 4 off, 4 nights, 4 off, while trying to take care of my mum, my sister and I. He also continued to teach, and began teaching more first aid and CPR courses, to support us. There would be days, where he would work a night shift, get up in the morning, go and teach a first aid and CPR course, and then go back in on nights. My dad always wanted to make sure that we never went without.
Finally in 1998, after years of tests and doctors, and medications that weren’t working, my mum was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and was able to medically retire from her job. But that wasn’t enough. There was still something underlying that was making her sick.
My mum slept a lot. She would get my sister and I up for school, get us out the door and lay on the couch. We’d come home, she would make dinner, and she would sleep. She would get us ready for bed, and then she would go to bed herself. Now, keep in mind this is only the memory I have of my mother from the age perspective from around 10 years old. I don’t actually know what my mum would do during the day, but this was how I viewed it.
In 2010 my mum finally received a more concrete diagnosis of having Rheumatoid Arthritis. An auto-immune disease with no cure, that will eventually destroy her joints and muscle tissue. Pain is an everyday occurrence for her. Pain that I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
I don’t ever want anyone to think that I had a childhood where I didn’t feel love. Far from it. Despite everything I always knew I was loved. I always knew that my parents were doing the best they could with the hands they were dealt. I in no means had a horrible childhood. I had a childhood full of love, and happy memories.
So then why am I telling you all of this? Because it truly had a deep impact on my sister and I, and how we developed as children, and set in place our mindsets. It was a time in my life where I taught myself behaviours that would later have a significant impact on my adult life.
Growing up, my sister was the kid who would act out. Where as I was the one who always tried to please, with the occasional tantrum, complete with stair stomping and door slamming. I wasn’t a drama queen AT ALL. I know you can’t see, but I am rolling my eyes. I was totally a drama queen.
Because I spent my days trying to please, I would ignore,and suppress and disassociate myself from anything that was bothering me. Until it became too much, and it started to affect me physically.
When I was 6: I couldn’t sleep. I began having nightmares every night to the point that I was so scared to sleep. My poor mum, already sick enough, would then have to sit beside me until I fell asleep, which would sometimes take hours.
When I was 9: I started to have extreme stomach aches to the point where I could barely eat anything.
When I was 15: I started to have random joint pains. All over my body. Places that you would never think to hurt. The spaces between my ribs, my fingers would lock randomly. My knees would lock and ache all the time.
When I was 16: I fell into a depression. Black hair, black clothes, and I began hurting myself. I felt so numb that any pain was better then none. I hid the cutting from my parents by wearing long sleeves, wrist cuffs, long pants, whatever it took to hide it all.
Finally my parents found out. I was so sad that I cried harder than I ever had at that point. I went to counselling, came up with ways to properly handle everything, and put it all into practice
When I was 17: I was out of my depression, my mum had entered the phase we call “her awakening”. She finally woke up and was no longer sleeping. Which was great,and I was so happy for her. But this included her running off to spend time with friends she met in California. I was finally starting to feel better, I had my mum back but then I felt abandoned. I felt like she would rather be in California then at home with us. I don’t blame her. I don’t hate her for this. We talked about it, and I explained to her how it was making me feel. Something I had never done. As an adult now, I understand her side of things.
I was still 17, when I started to have more stomach issues. It began with extreme stomach aches. It turned into eating, and feeling sick immediately afterwards. I was losing weight, to the point my parents thought I had an eating disorder.
I was 18 when I experienced my first abusive and controlling relationship. I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I wasn’t good enough. I was being controlled, and any time I tried to end it, I was guilted into not ending it. This would not be the only time I encountered this type of behaviour in my life
I was 19 when I started to have panic attacks. I began to have extreme social anxiety. I couldn’t relax and have fun out of fear of what would happen if I was not in control of the situation
From the point on things continued to get worse. I experienced more controlling relationships. My anxiety grew out of control. I began not being able to sleep at night anymore. I was constantly affected by panic attacks. My anxiety was so high, my body felt like it was constantly buzzing.
At the age of 29, I got married. At the age of 30 I separated from him. At the age of 31 I was officially divorced.
I have constantly suppressed my anxiety, and my trauma, to the point that it was a third party in any relationship I entered. I couldn’t let go and fully trust, because I was again in constant fear of what would happen if I were no longer controlling the situation.
I became a pleaser. I would completely ignore myself in order to keep the other person in the relationship happy. Doing anything I could to try and make them happy. I thought if I became the perfect partner, then they wouldn’t leave. But slowly every time it would fall to pieces as I began to show more of my true self.
I had partners in my life that would constantly try and help me. Would try to push me to get myself better. I always assumed I could handle it on my own. I disassociated myself from the pain, that I didn’t truly understand the impact it had on myself, and those around me.
I will get into more details about it all, but all of the things I have experienced, all of the hurt and hardships I have been through, have really truly made me who I am today.
It has all been hard, and I am sure there are people out there who have been through worse, or are still going through hardships. To others, this brief synopsis of things I went through in my younger years may seem like a breeze. But my trauma, is my trauma. I know there are people out there who have been through worse. I can’t imagine it. All I know is what I have been through, and the struggles I have faced in getting myself into a happier, healthier mindset.
When I separated from my ex husband, I thought that was the lowest point in my life. I soon realized I could feel lower, and be put in a situation where I needed to make changes.
I went from extreme highs and extreme lows, and what I can tell you is this: everything sucked, but then it got better. I got better, and I cannot wait to tell everyone how I did it.
For now, take one day at a time. Let’s start the process of turning life into lemonade, and explore this new adventure together.