If you are a human, and you are alive today, you have a story. Every single human on the planet has one. It’s what connects us all, and yet, it’s what we are all afraid of the most. It's only in sharing our stories that we allow our true selves to be seen and related to though. Our vulnerability allows others to have the courage to be who they need to be, and it's the most loving act we can do for one another on the planet. Below you will read my story and what I have experienced in the 33 years I have been alive so far, and my hope is that it will encourage you to start speaking your truth, start telling your story, and start living life with an acceptance of yourself that you have not had before. This self-acceptance and self-love is what will lead you to the most rewarding, rich, loving relationships of your life. It takes courage to have the type of relationship you want and deserve and this relationship starts with you.
When I was 3 years old, my family’s world changed forever. My Father was a scared man who suffered from severe anxiety and depression, and died by suicide when he was 31 years old. He left behind me, my two-week old baby sister, and my 29 year old Mother. This extremely traumatic event completely changed how I would grow up, what I would believe, how I would act, talk, think and relate to people. The death of my Father obliterated my trust in men, and this was further perpetuated by my Mother who chose not to trust men after his death. I know deep down in my soul that my Mother did the absolute best that she could with two little girls on her own, and her strength is one of the major reasons I'm the woman I am today. However, there was an absence of men in her life since my Dad, so growing up I did not learn how to relate to men properly. I became an adult at the age of 3 and took on the responsibility of keeping my family safe, happy and calm. I was the most responsible child you had ever met and because my family had suffered so much already, I could not bear to bring any more pain or suffering to them.
I suffered from extremely low self-esteem all throughout my teens and I would pick my self apart on a daily basis. I experienced two bouts of extreme depression in my early and mid-twenties followed by periods of severe anxiety. My mental state was so fragile at times that I would feel as though I was falling apart and I just wanted the horrible pain I felt in my heart to end. Because my Father had made the choice to end his life, I knew that was not an option for me though. I had horrible cystic acne; I gained weight, my mental thoughts were negative, self-depreciating and hopeless. I would spiral up and down in my moods often and could not see how my beliefs and thoughts were creating my actions and leading to every crappy experience I was having. I was a victim of my own life instead of a willing, active participant in it. This made me feel absolutely powerless, helpless, hopeless and lost.
On top of living with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, I also suffered from extreme loneliness. There seemed to be a hole so huge in my heart that I could not even fathom how to fill it. I did what seemed to make the most sense to me at the time, and looked to outside sources such as shopping, food, friends, and relationships to fill this large, gaping wound. So it may come as no surprise that my dating life was less than amazing! I had two serious relationships during my twenties and the end of the second one was a huge turning point in my life.
I met my second boyfriend when I was 27. I had been single for four years and was in a bad pattern of casual dating, one-night stands, and bar make-outs. We dated long distance for a year and then I decided to move away from where I was living to be with him. I moved with extreme anxiety, doubt and hopes that this would finally be THE ONE. Within six months of being away from friends and family I had gained 23 pounds, fell into a deep depression and then got dumped. I could not believe what had happened to me. This break up shook me to my entire core, smashed my heart into a million pieces and cracked my soul wide open. There were points when I could not breathe, I could not eat, and I could not go an hour without sobbing. The only thing that got me through the initial trauma was the loving support from my Mom and Sister.
It was at this point in my life that my Soul called to me and began speaking. It told me that if I did not change the way I living, thinking, and acting right now, I would die. There was no doubt that I would not have been able to continue down the path I was on. It wasn’t sustainable and it took something shocking and severe to remove my blinders to my life and accept responsibility for myself. The decision to listen to my Soul is what enabled me to have the courage to fight to get my life back. I decided to move back to where my friends and sister lived to begin my recovery process not knowing it would be the most intense recovery of my life. What I thought at first was going to be a break-up recovery, ended up being my Soul Recovery and the greatest healing experience.
Inspired by my Sister, I was introduced to a world of alternatives for treating depression other than medication. I found alternatives for birth control, and alternatives for anxiety treatment.
I also decided to go and get professional, spiritual help for my Soul. I had done traditional, western therapy before, and found it to be empty and repetitive. I knew deep down in my heart, this was more than just a cognitive issue.
I started seeing a Spiritual Counselor. She was someone to help me begin healing from the beginning. We started with my wounded, scared little girl who had been suffering all these years. I learned there were beliefs, patterns, and wounds that were running deep within my subconscious, creating the pattern of rejection over, and over, and over again in my present day life. I learned how my belief that I was worthless was playing out daily, and I learned how to heal it. I learned how to accept these deep wounds and how to love them. I learned how to speak up for myself, how to ask for what I wanted, and I connected to my heart and my soul at a level I had not known was possible. I learned things about myself I had been terrified to learn. But I grew to accept these things as loveable qualities. I learned how to love myself for better or worse. I cannot tell you the peace I felt when this work began to settle in.
As I dated and continued down my path of loving myself, it became clearer as to what I really wanted from a romantic relationship as well as from all other relationships in my life. I wanted intimacy. I wanted vulnerability. I wanted spirituality and faith. I wanted someone whose values matched mine. Values like family, and friendships and passion and independence. Most importantly, I wanted someone who was emotionally available. I wanted someone who was not afraid to commit to me and be open with it. I wanted someone who inspired me and someone who was also on the path of personal growth. If they were not open to my values, or could not commit, I got very good at communicating that it was not going to work. I believe this action sent a message to the Universe. The message stated clearly that I had finally found my worth and I was ready for the type of relationship I desired. A true soul partnership based on support and love, and that is exactly what I got.
Six years after beginning my healing journey I am in an amazing relationship. At the beginning of this relationship, I knew it was not going to be a typical one by any means. I knew that because of what I had learned about myself, I still had deep, deep fears around men and how to trust them. Not to mention I knew absolutely NOTHING about how to be in a healthy relationship. Being single? Yep, I had that covered. But how to be my self and be in a relationship that triggered me, helped me grow and supported me? That was new, and still is. I had done enough prep work to know that as soon as I met someone who was willing to take this journey with me, it would be one of tremendous growth for the both of us. My current relationship has opened me up even more than I'd experienced before. My heart has had to learn how to trust. I've had to learn how to communicate on a level I never thought possible. I've learned to ask for support while not asking someone to change their actions or placing blame. I've had to identify triggers, express my insecurities, feel my anxiety, and be so vulnerable I was sure my partner was going to leave me. I've taken huge risks with my heart all in the hopes of having a healthy, spiritual, honest, trusting, loving relationship with someone. So far this has been the toughest learning curve and also the most rewarding. I would not trade this life in for a second.