Monthly Archives: June 2014

Roller Coasters

I’ve never really liked roller coasters. They make me nauseous and I hate that out-of-control feeling, trapped, bracing myself for an inevitable fall. For a brief while as a teenager, I was able to surrender to the experience and just allow my stomach to drop and enjoy the rides, but that ability disappeared after one fun-filled year and I’ve since given up on roller coasters completely.

Lately, I’ve had that awful, out of control, rush and drop feeling again. One day I’m peaceful and stable, the next day I’m crying uncontrollably all day long, and the next day I’m excited about my life and my future and feeling full of energy and possibilities.

I’d love to say that the good days come as a result of employing really effective coping strategies and taking awesome care of myself, but the truth is, I don’t really know how or why they happen. Sometimes I can pinpoint the root cause of an awful day to something specific — like learning something newly hurtful about narc, or feeling sorry for myself that the last of my single girlfriends are getting married, or even just good old fashioned PMS — but sometimes I just have no idea why a day becomes a bad day. All I can do is ride it out.

As I brace myself for what I suspect will be another stomach drop this weekend (visiting a friend’s cottage that narc and I visited together last year), I’m trying to rediscover that feeling of surrender that once allowed me to enjoy roller coasters… letting the ups and downs be what they will be, trusting that I am safe, knowing that – like all rides – this one also will eventually come to an end.

In fact, that seems to be the one good thing that is coming from this persistent seeming randomness of my emotions: it’s reminding me that eventually all things pass. While not so reassuring on the good days, it’s tremendously reassuring when I’m perched at the top of the cliff, heading for another free fall.

this too shall pass

 

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I will never apologize for being me

I will never apologize for being me

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You Survived the Abuse, You’re Going to Survive the Recovery

You Survived the Abuse, You're Going to Survive the Recovery

Stepping Stones

Sometimes I’m able to step back and get a view of the larger perspective of my life. Today is one of those days. (Yay!)

In my life, things have had a way of falling into place. Not in the Hollywood way, where I meet the perfect guy and he says the perfect thing and we ride off into the sunset together (obviously), but in a ‘you’re going to be okay’, ‘everything happens for a reason’ kind of way. Some notable examples…

I got pregnant when I was 18, but I was incredibly lucky to have a great baby, support from both families and a ‘baby daddy’ who wanted to make a go of it. Things ultimately didn’t work out between us, but thanks to us staying together for 4 years and our families’ support, we were both able to get our university degrees.

Soon after, I was lucky to get a job in an industry that allowed me to gradually work my way up in a career that paid enough so that I could provide for me and my son, and eventually even start putting some money into savings. As my son started to get ready for his own post-secondary adventure, I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life and, thanks to the money I’d been making all those years doing a well-paying job I didn’t love, I was able to go back to school too.

One month before finishing my program, I was let go from my job (where I’d been for almost 10 years). Although it felt horrible at the time, I was lucky enough to get a job in my new field within 2 months of being let go, which left the bulk of my severance pay to subsidize my new (sorely underpaid) career.

Tonight I went out for a 10k run, and while I was running I thought about how two years ago I didn’t think I could ever be a runner. It was because of narc that I started running. I figured if an out-of-shape, flabby-bellied alcoholic could run 5k, then I could too. Once I started running, it turned out I was actually pretty good at it. In fact, I’m now training for a half marathon, and frankly running has turned out to be a huge blessing – the only really successful coping mechanism I’ve had through all the depression over the last two years.

Life weirdly has given me what I needed when I needed it. Yeah, I let a bad guy into it for a few years, but who knows what greatness he was the stepping stone to. Maybe I had to go through all this crap to end up in a really great place. (My girlfriend actually thinks I’m going to end up with a runner someday – how cool would that be!)

The truth is, this is the first time in my life I’ve felt like I’m not afraid to feel my feelings, and I’m kind of enjoying being alone, doing my own thing. I’m learning so much about myself, and I like feeling like I’m in charge of my life in a really calm, drama-free way.

If I really look at it, my life is actually pretty good, and it’s become this way by going through difficult times that actually ended up getting me to really good places.

So, Life, it turns out you’ve actually got a pretty good track record. I choose to trust you, and I can’t wait to see where that last lumpy, broken stepping stone ends up taking me.

stepping stones

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Run and Go

The truth is, I’m struggling.

My mind won’t stop replaying everything he put me through over those 4 years – all the lies, the cruel manipulations, all the times I tried harder and harder not wanting to admit I was the only one trying.

Sometimes it slips into imagining how he’s probably acting with his new girlfriend right now and how unfair it is that he gets to move on quickly while I’m here working hard every day to muddle through all the feelings, but I redirect those thoughts quickly because I know what she’s in for, and I wouldn’t trade places with her for a second.

This week I also started doing yoga, which has produced an unexpected side effect – every session ends in me sobbing from my core. Apparently that’s not an unusual response for people who are recovering from traumatic situations, I just didn’t see that one coming. I guess I’ll know I’m starting to get better when I can finally get through yoga without crying. 🙂

I know I am processing. I know this takes time. I believe I’ll be ok. I’m just starting to feel like a broken record, and realized I’ve been increasingly withdrawing and isolating myself from friends to avoid the choice of either pretending to be ok or repeating talking about the same old feelings.

So maybe that’s why the chorus of this song resonates so much with me today:

Don’t wanna call you in the nighttime
Don’t wanna give you all my pieces
Don’t wanna hand you all my trouble
Don’t wanna give you all my demons
You’ll have to watch me struggle
From several rooms away
But tonight I need you to stay

Growth Spurts

For the last few days, I have been deeply sad, bordering on depressed. For many reasons, I have been missing my ex – just the good parts of him, of course – and really missing having a ‘partner in crime’ to share thoughts and experiences with.

I’m frustrated that I’m 4 months post-breakup and still not ok yet. (Yes, I am an impatient person. :)) I’m ashamed that I know he isn’t deserving my love or my thoughts, yet here I am still thinking about him while he’s probably all caught up in the blissful lovebombing stage with the next victim. I have moped and cried and self-pitied for days.

Then this morning, I came online and saw this post by The Running Therapist:

butterfly

It’s true. We all go through difficult periods in our lives, but we rarely share the worst of it – the deepest pains, the most soul-shattering insecurities – even though we all go through them in our own different ways. The closest we get is here, in this online community of ours. (And boy, am I ever eternally grateful that we have this!)

So I’ve decided I’m going to stop thinking of this deeply sad phase as a setback, and start thinking of it as a growth spurt. Growth spurts are painful but temporary — and necessary to get to the next, better version of ourselves. 

Impatient me can hardly wait to become a butterfly, but at least this reminds me that I’m still moving forward even when it feels like I’ve stumbled back.

I am a butterfly, in progress.