Sometimes we can be so lost in our grief, so alone inside, that we forget how to live. I lived like this for countless years. I lost myself to the point where I no longer longed for or wanted other people in my life. I didn’t want to find out what one more person was capable of doing to me or how cruel they could be. I was lost and didn’t know how to find my way out. I didn’t even think it was possible anymore for life to be any different.
There are times I would just cry out to God and simply say, “Please don’t forget me.” I didn’t know what I needed or wanted. I just became numb inside most of the time, filled with an under current of anxiety and fear. I knew something was wrong, but I became too lost to know how to find myself or how to fix it. This left me constantly disappointed in myself every day. I didn’t want to be hurt anymore. I didn’t want to trust anyone anymore. And consequently, the shield of protection I held up kept me isolated.
This is crazy, but I had a husband right here with me who loved me more than I could imagine. And yet, I was so afraid that I could not even let that into my heart. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t. My fear was too great.
I had been betrayed so much, that I believed that if it happened again it would be on my watch. Somehow I was going to be the only one who could protect myself. And if it did happen again, I would not be able to forgive myself. It wasn’t going to happen again, not with what I now knew was possible from the hearts of people who appeared normal and caring and loving… So I was on guard 24/7. And I can’t begin to tell you how exhausting that is. I didn’t know how to be safe. And I just wanted to be safe. It seemed like too much to ask from anyone or from life itself.
A few months ago, my husband had me start this blog as a means of releasing some of that pressure he could see inside of me. And probably out of some sort of desperation on his part. He didn’t know how to help me either.
Just letting the flood gates open from all that has been locked up inside of me through writing has released a lot of the pressure. My poems have allowed me to grieve in a way I could not do before. It has helped me to open up my heart and be willing to struggle to trust. And to feel the pain and risk allowing others to care about me.
What I am about to share, I know that if someone had suggested any of these things to me just a few short months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to take them in. I wouldn’t have been able to apply them to my life. Because I was paralyzed in my fear and anxiety.
I am aware that we all walk our own path, in our own way, on our own time line. This is my path. Maybe some of these things will be helpful to someone. But at the very least, I want to let anyone who is lost know that it is possible to live again.
My husband and I have been playing the drums for a few years now, and that continues to be a repreive and source of escape and healing. Playing requires all of my limbs to be moving at the same time. I am concentrating on reading the sheet music, listening to the music, counting the measures, and concentrating on keeping the rhythm and the beat. There is no time to feel anxiety or to think negative thoughts. So it has proven to be great therapy.
Just shortly after I shared my story on my blog, I wrote a poem about my husband. I would read that poem several times a day for weeks and cry. I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know why or what was happening. But that poem allowed me to “see” my husband’s love for me and all that he has done and is doing for me. It allowed me to open up my heart and let his love into my heart completely for the first time since we met. I can’t tell you how much of a miracle that has been for both of us.
Shortly after this, a special person came along that I risked letting into my life. It was the miracle of letting my husband’s love into my life that allowed me to let this person into my life as well. Letting this happen triggered a lot of old fears and anxiety inside of me because it was always people who cared about me that hurt me. That struggle was always met with kindness and I have gained a new friend. And I have come a long way since.
Just after Christmas we ordered this three person infrared sauna. It arrived around mid January. I have been using it almost every day. It has been very relaxing and has helped a lot with stress and anxiety.
I started my Spanish class last week. I have been to two classes so far. It is going well, better than I thought it would. But it is a lot of work and is consuming a lot of my free time. I am learning a lot at high speed and I need to keep up so that I don’t get behind.
We recently bought these bicycles. We have been going bike riding a few days a week. Mind you, neither of us have been on bikes in years! It has helped to get us outside more and get exercise. I must say, we have done very well in the distance we have been able to ride for just starting out and we both love it. I am still getting used to changing gears!
All of this happened within a short period of time. One day when we were riding our bikes, I found myself realizing that I was living life again. I don’t know completely how it happened, but it did. It has kind of been like a snowball effect.
What I do know is that opening up my heart, risking again, having emotional support in my life, and feeling connected and valued has helped tremendously.
Being loved and allowing love into my life has allowed me to begin to love myself again. I realized that what I was looking for was inside of me all along. Having a shield up to protect myself kept all the darkness in and kept all the light out. And it is amazing how much darkness just a little light can dispel.
I am not saying everything is perfect. As anyone walking the path from abuse experiences, the path to wholeness is not a straight line or a short one. But every success gives us more tools to face the struggles that return from out of nowhere from time to time. There are and probably will be setbacks, but I am not as afraid of them anymore. I know I still have many unfaced and unresolved struggles inside and I plan to face them when I need to. Right now I am savoring and enjoying experiencing life in a new way. It is long over due.
I don’t know where all of this is leading me. But I am living for the first time in more years than I would like to admit. If all of this can happen in a few short months, it will be exciting to see what the next year holds.
I want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog. I don’t think I have fully realized all that I have written. If I go back and try to read my blog, it makes me cry. So I am aware that most of it may not be easy to read. Thank you for bearing with me and for your kindness and support.
And for anyone who feels lost and stuck in life and hopeless, I want you to know it can change. Life can be breathed back into you. You can live again. The best suggestions I can give are: never give up hope and keep your heart open.
If you know someone who is lost in life or has been abused, don’t be afraid to love them. I don’t know where I would be if someone hadn’t walked toward me instead of away from me. While our grief is overwhelming, we really don’t need much. A little love can go a long way!