Living in the unknown

The next stage of my journey is an unknown to me. I have spent so many years being afraid of AF. I no longer need that fear, and so far it is difficult to allow to slip away. That fear has been both friend and foe to me for 38 years now. That fear helped me to survive, to plan, to anticipate, to protect. Everything feels foreign now without that haze of fear to guide me.

Like I’ve been hiding in the storm shelter and I have stepped out into the blinding sunlight. I am relieved the storm has passed, but the dazzling sunlight is showing me the extent of the damage. I need to move out of survival and into rebuilding. This stirs up all kinds of new fears – what if there is nothing to rebuild? Can I start over? Is there a foundation here at all, is it worth digging through the rubble or is it better to walk away from it and start fresh?

I feel as if I have options that I have never seen before. And the sheer enormity of those options is taking my breath away and causing extra stress.

Christmas with the in-laws went wonderfully. For the first time in my life, I spoke freely to them about my life with AF. It was so easy now. The fear was gone AND the shame was gone. They were all angry for me, and it was good for all of us to talk about the things we have never talked about. I don’t think I’m explaining this very well. I’m trying to say that it was a relief for all of us, to not have to tiptoe around ‘my issues’ and discuss it like any other problem. It was validating for me and I felt like a part of the family for the first time. I allowed myself to feel like a part of it, because you see, it was always me that kept myself isolated.

They asked why I never spoke of any of this, and I said I couldn’t, that I was so ashamed. My amazing MIL got angry and said that was ridiculous and terrible I had to feel like that and good riddance to that terrible man. She said I should rip up the will and never look back. It is over – she said. I have never felt so accepted and understood.

Christmas in my own house was pure joy. My favorite day of the year, full of magic and surprises. No worries, no stress, just all of us in our own little bubble enjoying each other’s company. We played and laughed together from 7am to 11pm. My new job made Santa extra generous this year, and that felt good.

But under this joy, or along with it, I have this nagging stress. My body is in a permanent state of alarm that I don’t know how to reverse. I want to take time off work, I want the kids to stay at Grandma’s, I feel I need a break. NO – I feel I am breaking.

How can I feel so happy and yet so stressed too? How do I get this stress out of me? I gained another 2 pounds, my eating, sleeping, exercising is not yet balanced. My thoughts race and it takes me hours to refocus and do my job. I am highly emotional, and unable to shake off idiotic comments from coworkers. Nothing is helping me to relax and I don’t know what to do with myself.

So I just keep going, but I’ve been on this dangerous road to burnout before. The last time I had a full time job and this much daily stress I gained weight and nearly made it to 200 pounds on my tiny frame. I’m hoping to stop before getting there again. I look pregnant right now, all this weight in my bulging belly. I’m unable to exercise much, feeling too frantic or too tired. The thought of putting on shoes is too much right now.

I know I need to take care of myself, but I don’t know how, I don’t know what I need right now. Life is moving much faster than I can keep up. Each hour marches on and leaves me more behind. Like each hour I must choose:exercise, sleep, work, house chores, art, TV, shower, etc. The choices are overwhelming and I almost always choose work or TV, since the work is so behind, and TV offers me an escape. A nice walk would probably be better, but so hard to choose it right now.

Hubby is worn out too, I can’t keep leaning on him. Maybe there is no solution, except to carry on and do what I can, when I can, without hating myself for these unhealthy choices along the way. And each day brings spring and sunshine closer (why do I live in this dreary sunless state?), and maybe this is just a wait it out kind of thing and not a do-do-do change-change-change fix-fix-fix kind of thing.

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8 thoughts on “Living in the unknown

  1. Allow yourself time to mourn. It isn’t mourning as the world sees it. It’s the mourning of a survivor and uniquely your own. There is the loss of a life, only not a beloved life, but still a life that held a space in your own. That life is gone, and you need time to explore the space left, to decide how to fill it, to decide how to completely let go. All the books on mourning are useless for the abuse survivor. We mourn in our own way and our own time, sometimes it includes joy and laughter to be free, and other times it drowns in the sorrow of loss. There is no hope of reconciliation, no matter how much we convinced ourselves there was no hope already. Survivors are astonishingly hopeful people. It’s how we keep going no matter how dark and ugly it becomes. It’s been nine months since my BF dumped me. I finally feel like I’m regaining my brain and a healthy sense of who I am. My BF was only in my life for 12 years. We had a pretty good relationship. It still took me 9 months to work through the process. Your AF was a part of your life for 38 years and all of them were horrendous. You have the right to cry and scream and rant and rave and be angry and even laugh at knowing you’re finally free. As much as we want to believe everything will be better once our abuser is gone from this world, it isn’t true. For one simple reason: We are compassionate human beings, unlike our abuser. We see the waste, the loss, for ourselves and for them. We are good and want good for others and mourn that others turn away from goodness. My weight is the highest its ever been. However, today, I’ve eaten better. I went for a walk in the rain. I haven’t done everything I need to do, but I have done some of the things I need to do. You have made so much progress in such a short amount of time. You are awesome. You are smart. You are lovable. You will work through this. Praying for you.

    • I need you to know how comforting this comment was to me. It brought tears the first time I read it days ago and I keep finding more in this to hold onto. You get it and have explained it beautifully. You have been such a source of support and clarity for me over the years. I sincerely hope this new year finds you in good health and harmony. hugs

  2. When I started turning my life around I tried making big changes and failed. Now I choose simple changes like one dessert instead of two. Stretch during the commercials. Allowing myself permission to sit and just be. Processing all the feelings takes time. Hugs sounds like you had a wonderful holiday. That is your life, happiness and healthy relationships and acceptance.

    • Yes the changes need to be small, but each small step gets us in the right direction. A good reminder. Thanks for the support. I hope your new year is going well – we all can have happiness.

  3. Give yourself time, space and permission. Let your feet wander and your heart beat slow. You will be fine, don’t rush, there is no hurry to heal. Remind yourself, every single day if you must, he is gone…good riddance. You are fabulous, you are wonderfully free.

    Jubilant, joyous and happy 2015.

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