Change Your Life, Don’t Escape It

Change your life. You can do it. You are in charge, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

A few years ago I woke up and examined my life, and realized I liked very little of it. I was miserable and trying to escape my life through a series of endless distractions, just to make it through each day. I hated myself and thought everyone on the planet hated me too. I did not attempt anything social or fun. I worked (from home), cleaned my house, and cared for my children. I was barely functional, the fatigue, depression, and general lack of life and spirit held me prisoner. I would somehow manage to guide my older children to the school bus each morning, and then collapse onto the couch and hope not to oversleep to take the youngest to preschool each afternoon.

Thinking was a chore. My thoughts were scrambled fragments that often got stuck in obsessive loops and phrases, and my inner critic, those negative thoughts, would fill in the blanks. I had suicidal thoughts nearly constantly, and only my obligation to my husband and children kept me here.

To escape that pain, I used alcohol, binge eating, sleeping (though that often backfired into nightmares), and computer games. I did not enjoy those games, it was more of a NEED to play them. Back then I couldn’t even enjoy books or TV, as my thoughts would override the stories. Only computer games allowed me to think about the task at hand and avoid my dismal reality.

And then I found blogging. At first I silently read the blogs of others, looking for someone like me, trying to not feel so damned alone. After nearly a year of reading, I started anonymously commenting. When a blogger responded to me, it hit me full force – I AM NOT ALONE. I started a few blogs before creating this one, attempting to make light and fluffy, and even humorous ones, but they felt fake. I wanted to be real. I needed to really be heard. Slowly I watched my little blog gathering steam, accumulating followers, and I made some friends. People seemed to care about what I wrote, and seemed to care about me. I can’t even explain properly in words how grateful I am to these strangers reaching out with open arms, offering love, hope and strength. Things I never thought I deserved.

I started a series of small changes a few years. I started getting real with my therapist. I shared my pain with my brother. I tried reconnecting with my husband. Many of the things I tried did not work out too well, some were terrifying and painful, some were merely uncomfortable. But I kept changing, and I kept trying new things. Each day felt like nothing much was happening, I was too close to see it. But now I do. I can remember what it used to be like, but it feels like it must have happened to someone else. Could I have been in so much pain? Could I really have thought myself to be less than human and not deserving of love? Yes, that was me.

Blogging brought out my humanity, connected me to other humans, and I truly believe joined our spirits as well so we could help each other heal. So many days, I’d be in a rough spot, and BAM, another blogger has posted exactly what I needed to hear.

I am not done changing. I don’t think I’ll ever be done changing, because I now think that our role in life is to continually grow, and growth can’t happen without change. I’m trying to loosen my expectations for what I think my life SHOULD be. My life is fine right now, and I can gently guide myself into new directions without hating where I am right now. Self hate is not necessary to induce change. In fact, change coming from self love is the best kind of all.

So be gentle to yourself. Accept where you are, but always keep an open mind of where you may want to explore. Sometimes the smallest change can have the biggest effect.

And most of all – Don’t ever think you are alone. This world is way too big and full of so many souls, I guarantee you can find someone who understands, someone who has been exactly where you are and can throw you a rope or a roadmap to help you take that next step. Don’t give up. There is always a next step, even if it is a step backwards, just take that step.

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10 thoughts on “Change Your Life, Don’t Escape It

  1. I was thrown a rope to hang myself on allright. By someone who assumed I had a problem I, in reality, didn’t have. What is this neverending help all about? Make-believe kind of story?
    Are you addicted to help? Givin/receiving? All the time?

    • Welcome back old friend, it has been a long while. I’m sorry you feel that way or that someone (or I?) was hurtful or unsupportive to you. We should all be careful not to make assumptions. I am grateful for all of the help I have received here.

  2. I’m getting caught up on some of my “friend’s” blogs while we have (another) snow day. I’ve been in a funk for awhile and it was good to be reminded that change does happen even when the distorted thinking and self-critic are at the forefront. I must remember to be gentle with myself. Thanks.

  3. I’m glad that opening up through this blog about your genuine feelings has had such a positive outcome for you 🙂 It’s so true that we are never alone and always have the ability to heal the deepest wounds. When I read about the time when you felt most miserable, I was reminded of a time when I struggled to live because of the negative, hopeless thoughts that constantly ran through my mind every single day. It’s hard to see people who are currently caught in that situation because I totally understand how painful it is. But like you said, change is possible, but we must take responsibility for our happiness and do our best to imagine how bright the future can be.

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