My beginning is probably similar to many coming from a home broken by divorce and being raised by a single parent, and despite knowing this to be relatable, I always struggled with feeling like the odd one out, the broken one, the friend with all the issues, the one that’s so flawed and keeps making all the wrong decisions. And while the feelings of unworthiness and being undeserving of my friendships were lies, some things like poor decisions and harmful coping mechanisms were true. I didn’t know though until recently, why I was at that place and how to get out of it. The end of 2019 really started my story of leaving that place.
At that time I was miserable, unable to control my emotions internally and putting on a mask so good that my closest friends didn’t know the life I had was the furthest from what I wanted or needed. Seemingly I was in a happy, healthy relationship, thriving in motherhood and had a fulfilling job, when in reality I was suffering so much mentally and emotionally that every day was a struggle to get out of bed. I used my perfectionism and high functioning anxiety to create a version of myself I believed everyone would deem worthy. I was struggling to get back to myself and I wasn’t even sure who that was anymore. I was paralyzed by the belief that I wouldn’t be accepted for being myself either so I stayed.
My mental health continued to decline while I got better and better at presenting that version of myself that I was convinced everyone else needed and wanted. Outwardly I was healthy, working out, spending time with my family and friends and inwardly feeling so out of control that I used those “healthy habits” as my only means of control and developed disordered eating and an unhealthy fixation on losing weight.
In March 2020 when the world was forced to come to a stop, so did all my coping mechanisms. I couldn’t go to the gym, go out with friends, go to work, leave the house to just get a break outside of grocery shopping, and the feeling of being stuck and like I didn’t belong in my life became overwhelming. After tearful, but finally honest conversations with a couple close friends, I decided to leave despite all my fears of the consequences. I put myself first and started my journey of relearning and becoming myself.
I moved out, started therapy and started healing some wounds I already knew were there and confronted other wounds that I wasn’t even aware of. My closest friends supported me as I walked and struggled through my self rediscovery, and I met someone who I didn’t have to be anyone but myself with. And therapy has gotten me through all of it. It’s given me so much - from validating my experiences to managing my anxiety and depression to helping me navigate my new, healthy relationship. I’ve found myself in a place of knowing who I am, progressing in my healing of those wounds and while the healing isn’t linear and I still have experiences that I learn and grow through, I’m finally comfortable with my perfectly flawed self.