The past is gone and the only thing that I can control is myself and who I want to become. I can become anyone I want to be, there are boundaries of course, but generally my life is in my hands. I'm going to push myself to become a better person than the one that is gone. Someone virtuous, generous and intelligent. I'm sorry about past mistakes, but while I will learn from them- I will not let them define me. I define myself and I decide that I am someone who is fully in control of herself and of her own choices.
Something that I have not done much of since my life changed for the better is to be open about personal matters and so before I make this exception, you should know that taking more of an interest in other people and in the world is something that I have been working on and that it's important to me. Regarding my social life I'm making slow progress. I trust in a handful of people only, otherwise I'm more quiet, but maybe that's OK for now.
Taking an interest in other people even while lonely can be a challenge if one has a very low self-esteem or mental health issues that create a feeling of being alienated from other people and the world because of the belief of being a worse person than other people. However after having gotten through these issues/feelings, for example by starting to take more of an interest in the world- taking an interest in other people is perhaps one of the keys to healing completely. Realizing that other people are not so different, with their own feelings, problems and stories. This can be quite helpful in gaining an even greater feeling of stability regarding self-esteem and mental health. It's also distracting from all of the things that one wants to navigate away from. Other people's lives and stories can be quite interesting after all and learning that it's OK to take a genuine interest can establish real bonds over time. For a lot of people all of this comes naturally of course, but if that's not the case, all hope is not lost. Falling out of life can happen to anyone, a crisis, loss, mental illness or low self-esteem are examples of reasons as to why one might fall out and loose touch with other humans. I think the best advice that I am trying to follow is to direct my gaze outwards and towards the future. I found it the most helpful to start mainly by focusing on the outside world and on various topics that might be interesting within the world, rather than to jump into loads of social situations right away. Focusing outwards also means focusing on the future and on the present rather than on the past. The past is what I want to get away from, it's gone and unchangeable so focusing on it is a complete waste of time. Finally, I am trying to focus more on other people and on their stories. I've been helping people I could feel empathy towards, that actually helped me as well, and now I'm trying to focus more on asking other people more questions about their lives while sharing less about myself unless I'm asked directly. This is helpful. During a mental illness, there's a lot of focus on the patient, but after/during the healing from it, this focus needs to change. I am learning that my importance in life now is more about how I might be able to contribute to the world and to other people and that by focusing on this, letting go of other worries is a natural part of that change either way. Because sometimes our worries are without benefits, sometimes they get in the way. In other words, worrying about not being a good enough person or focusing on reasons why one might not be good enough is of less importance than trying to engage in actions that are the kind of actions that could counter these worries. All of this might be challenging for some people, but change is still a change for the better even if it happens gradually. I'm about to share something personal with you and it's of importance to me because I want to be a better person as an active participant in this world and not because I'm still stuck with an inward gaze, lost in ideas of being a helpless case. On the contrary and maybe my reflections could benefit someone else out there as well.
It may appear as though I am indecisive, but when I really decide to go through with something, then I go through with it and stick to it. Even when that means having to try several times before succeeding. Like when I gave up smoking. That took a few tries, but eventually I did it and then I stuck to it. I was a smoker from age 15 until my early twenties. I am 28 now and I can't remember exactly when I gave it up, but it's years ago now and I never miss smoking. Sometimes I would have one cigarette at a party, but eventually I didn't find that enjoyable anymore. Some people who used to be smokers feel tempted when they see people smoking in movies for example, but I never do. I could still have a cigarette at a party for example, but there wouldn't be anything in it for me anymore, it's gross to me and it wouldn't make me feel any urge to start smoking again. Anyway, my point is that I can be very stubborn when I want to be. Mind over matter, though some things are more difficult than others and back when I quit smoking for example, I had to attempt it several times before I finally succeeded. The right mentality needs to be in place, the right motivating thoughts etc and sometimes we don't know which thoughts are the best ones until we've tried a few different ways to confront a matter at hand. Sometimes we don't even know what the right decision is and if there's a level of uncertainty or ambivalence involved when trying to make a big change then that definitely needs to be sorted out. These things can take time. Deciding to be a teetotaller is something that I have been uncertain of. There's a social aspect to drinking alcohol and I was uncertain of whether giving it up completely was really the right decision for me. The result is that I have been abstinent for periods of time only, like a couple of months with periods in between where I have been drinking alcohol with friends or with my boyfriend. I have now reached the decision to become a teetotaller and to stick with that decision this time around. The reason for this is because, as you know, I grew up with abuse and also with other struggles relating to this and to mental health. I have never suffered from addiction, but I still dislike how alcohol can lead to a sense of a loss of control. I take full responsibility for all of the errors that I have made during my life, in general, while intoxicated and while struggling to heal from my past mental health issues- it's still me. However, I have my reasons for giving up alcohol completely and eventhough it's been a difficult decision to make, I believe it to be the right one. I deserve to feel safe among other things.
I have been feeling ambivalent, listening to the advice from loved ones, telling me that in stead of giving it up completely, that I should in stead work on improving my relationship with alcohol. This has actually proved to be quite effective, but it's not good enough for me. If I could go back in time I would have given up alcohol completely from day one. Without it, I would have avoided at least two of the incidents of sexual abuse as I was (due to my mental health issues) unable to recognize danger properly in the past. A very painful lesson to learn, but not as painful as when I have hurt someone I love and it's where I draw the line. I didn't love my family, but now I know what love is and it changes my relationship towards myself even more, my relationship towards the world and towards other people. I don't believe that I have ever been a bad person, I believe that I have been though a lot, but my experiences have had both negative and positive consequences regarding my development as a human being.
I believe that this feeling of a loss of control that I mentioned, that it's mostly in my mind and that I can rise above it in reality, especially now that I have come so far. I believe that it's dangerous to believe that one is not entirely in control. While it may still be difficult for me, I am actually the one who is in control over myself, even during those moments when it feels like the ground is dissapearing from beneath me, if I can only accept that ability to control my emotions as being true, but be that as it may. I said some hurtful things to the one person in this world that I love the most and I have been "OK" with hurting myself in the past, but hurting someone I care about, accidentally or otherwise, this is where I draw the line. We talked about it and I now understand how I need to deal with my issues. Giving up alcohol completely is not as important as believing that I can succeed at controlling my emotions, even while intoxicated, but it's simply the safest option for me to be abstinent and while others might disagree with me on this being the right decision, I have made up my mind. Everybody makes mistakes, we've all said something that we regretted or lost a bit of control while drunk at some point, I'm not the only one to wind up hurting myself either, this is actually all very human as alcohol can be a dangerous drug for anyone, but I experience these things somewhat differently because of my painful past.
It's still me and so I need to convince myself that I am in fact in control of any bad behaviour that I am guilty of throughout life. I detest my bad traits more than anything and it's something that I have been working on for years. I have come so far, but now I have decided that I am going to cross the final bridge and actually succeed at healing completely, by finally leaving my past behind. I couldn't have done it without my love. He has taught me so much.
During my everyday life I still struggle with an eating disorder because it helps me regulate my emotions, but any issues I have when alcohol is not in the picture are all managable. A part of my issue I think is a difficulty in feeling a real connection to my self, as though I struggle to feel the fact that I have an identity, it's like it's vague to me, but on the other hand I am highly reflective. Maybe even intelligent, I don't know and this ability to self-reflect is what has enabled me to heal as much as I have done. I believe that I will make it, to heal completely now. The traits that were connected to my past are traits that I find repulsive and I used to hate myself so much that I wanted to die for many years, but I don't hate myself anymore because I cannot alter the past. The present and the future is all that matters because the only thing that I can really control is myself. Anyone can change who they are if they want it enough, but that means letting go of negative ideas of what defines us as people, so if you dislike something about yourself then let it go! I am a much more virtuous person than I used to be when I was younger, it has been getting better and better and it will only keep get better from here on out.
People who are impulsive for example, I'm not saying that they're bad people. It's simply that I need to feel as though that when I make a mistake, that it's my own mistake and not something I did with a sense of feeling out of control. So I have decided to push myself and to demand this self-control from myself rather than feeling hopeless. I'm going to fight it until I win and the day for that victory is now because I say so, because I am my self and so I decide how well or unwell I am. It can be difficult sometimes to believe in ourselves, but I am demanding this from myself because it's the right thing to do. I also know that I can become anything I want to be, of course there are some boundaries, but generally speaking. My life is in my hands and my past does not define me anymore because I refuse to let it. I have a lot of painful memories that used to make me feel ashamed, it's normal to feel guilty about having been abused sexually for example, but I am not my painful memories, I am not my past self, I am the person who is here right now. When I look in the mirror, I will look at who I am today and not at who I was. I believe in myself and I have vowed never to hurt my beloved ever again, not in that way, not because of something that... Something that I struggle to put into words. I am leaving that in the past. I suppose that I should have done the same for myself in the past, when I was hurting myself in various ways because it was rather serious, but I was feeling quite alone and cut off from the world and so I didn't think that it mattered as much when I hurt myself as I hated myself, so I couldn't save myself eventhough I was suffering and I desperately wanted to find a way out. The only thing I managed was to avoid suicide as I knew that some people would have been hurt if I had committed suicide, though I don't really think that I could ever have gone through with that either way. Now I have learned that taking care of myself is also a responsibility that I need to accept in order to be a well functioning person, in order to be able to be there for the people around me, to be able to contribute as well as I can to society and in order for me to be a part of society at all. I'm still struggling somewhat with living out my full potential as a person because of my eating disorder, like I mentioned, it helps me regulate my emotions, but I am much more responsible now than I used to be and I do make an effort to take better care of myself. My eating disorder takes a lot of energy out of me during periods when it's more present in me eventhough I'm only slightly underweight or otherwise a normal weight, it consumes a lot of my energy and time and when it's not bothering me as much I tend to perform much better regarding my schoolwork and in general as a person. I feel a moral obligation to recover fully from it and I will get there.
I have questions regarding my past mental health issues, but many of them go unanswered because we simply don't know enough about mentality. Philosophy of mind, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is a very uncertain field. Similar things can be said about psychology or neurobiology- that there is much left to learn. I want so very much to take psychology as my 40-group as it's called. I think I would enjoy that. I believe that, this that I have had to say about accepting the autonomous aspects of ourselves, accepting the responsibility for our actions, our freedom of choice and so on- that this is of importance in relation to various mental health issues and not just regarding what I have been through. To some extent, maybe to quite a large extent, I believe that we have power over how ill we are going to be. I'm not saying that someone with anorexia for example could just snap out of it, but I believe that regarding many mental health issues we still have a lot of power if we can find a way to convince ourselves of that very fact. Almost like placebo. I believe it, because the power of belief has helped me a great deal regarding my own healing process. Also, if I truly believe in myself, which I now do, then it doens't even matter anymore if others still have doubts in me, because it can't touch me as long as I believe in myself. Just as when another person might disagree with you on some matter, you could let that sway you or hold on to your opinion. I can think for myself. I am a freethinker regarding other matters and I will think for myself regarding this important and personal matter as well. After all, I am the one person who knows myself better than anyone else. In fact, I have done a very good job of getting to know myself because it was so very important for me to do that in order to uravel my traumatic past and to get over it. I used to have important repeating dreams/nightmares as a part of that process which I am now through with. I believe actually, that I know myself better than many other people, even while I might have difficulty in feeling my sense of self/identity. If I manage eventually to be completely free from my eating disorder as well (which I believe I will be) then I also believe that I will get to experience a hightened sort of presence in the world. As though my way of coping has made my sense of presence in reality less clear. Like my eating disorder, atypical anorexia or whatever it is, like it creates noise that distracts me from the experience of life. Which makes sense as that was probably a coping mechanism of mine when I was 16, after the second sexual abuse, to cancel out my emotions and the world in which I had to see my abuser every day. Today however, that coping mechanism is a hinderance and not a help. It's cancelling out a good life in which I want to experience the world because I'm with someone loving now, a far cry from how things used to be.
After the last episode of sexual abuse I was faced with choices. I could have chosen to let it break me, but I didn't. I chose to rise above it and to fight by refusing to let it influence me negatively. In stead of being destructive, I worked hard. I focused on positive and productive matters. I focused on healing myself. It takes strength to do this and in the face of a tradgedy it can seem downright cruel to be faced with tasks that demand something from us, but it's really a lifeline. We are not helpless victims, but active participants. We have choices, always.
This is just a ring that I got for Christmas, but I hope that he will want to marry me someday and if things carry on the way that they've been doing then that's where we're headed. He just walked into my workspace/wardrobe to tell me that he loves me... It took four years for us to become a couple and it's partly due to the struggles that I have had to work on. He helped me so much and made me into a better person, not without difficulty. He's still a part of that journey, helping me become a little bit better all the time. I love him so much. Today I am able to help others as well. It's not always about me. Other people are valueable, beautiful, important and fragile too. My struggles were difficult, sure, but we are all human and we all go through hard times. Much more so than I realized. Other people go through all sorts of things too, they suffer just like I have done and when I greet the world with a smile everything get's better all around. It's OK to have a bad day, but inflicting that pain on others by sharing too much of it is not right. Personally, I will not allow something like alcohol to cloud my judgement anymore regarding these matters as I know that my past will always be there somewhere inside me and as other people's feelings matter to me. I wish to be the best version of myself that I can be and due to my past, the best version of myself is a teetotaller. Because while I have been able to behave well most times, especially as I got older, I don't even want to risk making a mistake if that means risking that I might do or say something without thinking it through that might hurt someone else.
There's a fine balance somewhere between victimizing oneself, between sharing moderately and between living a fulfilling life. If life is shitty at times I am at liberty to do something about it. Develop a new hobby, join an organization, read a book- it doens't even matter that much so long as we make an effort. I was depressed and suicidal for years, but I broke free from it and I did it by faking a smile until I could force it into a real one. The reason I did this is because I had fallen into a rut where I had victimized myself and rendered myself completely helpless. I needed to focus on life again and feel feelings such as gratefulness eventhough I would have preferred it if I had never been born. Because that's another thing I needed to remember- it's that some other people have it worse. I should help those people before I complain too much about my own problems. I haven't mentioned topics like these relating to my past in a long while because I didn't want such heavy topics to get the attention anymore and I still won't let these topics get unnecessary attention. I only felt that my reflections regarding this, my full healing, is of importance. I still feel sickened by past memories and also by mistakes that I have made, but the past is gone, so I will leave it behind me and look to the future. I am autonomous.
Eating plant-based food is also something that I have been seemingly ambivalent about, but that's also for a reason as I needed to figure out about all of my intolerances. Now I have figured out about it, my stomach is not in pain anymore and so I believe that this time when I turned a vegetarian, that I'm going to be able to stay a vegetarian. So far so good. Either way, I'm doing my best. It's important to me from an ethical perspective. I would never judge anyone who eats meat, or who get's drunk for that matter, but I really want to do what I feel is right for me. Nor is it wrong to be in need of time in order to land at a decision. Sometimes these things take time. This is from going out to eat the other day for a birthday celebration. There was a buffet so I just put some different vegetarian foods on my plate that looked yummy. The drink was an alcohol free passionfruit slush.
I was impressed with the vegetarian options, especially because this was a restaurant that focused mainly on meat. It tasted really nice, especially one mushroom sauce which was bursting with flavour.
Focusing too much on the negatives is simply dangerous and very unhelpful. It's important to be aware of our weaknesses and of negatives, but beyond this I find it much more helpful to focus on the positives. I would very much like to contribute to the world in some good way, but if I can just avoid being a burden on society then that would also be good. I don't have to exceed at anything in order to feel content with my life because I know that I am very lucky. I think I should work harder regarding school though. In the beginning, I put more of an effort into it and I liked that, then I got used to how things were and my dedication strayed. It's hard to keep pushing on sometimes, but it's very rewarding when I do it right. It's a good feeling and feeling good about honest work can become addictive just like negative behaviour can, so it's a much better thing to focus on as it will lead to good consequences. It's important to be able to choose long-term pleasure as well as short-term pleasure in life. Sometimes a bit of instant satisfaction is good, but not if that is always your choice. It's boring to do the right thing sometimes, but we are in charge of our own happiness and in order to be happy, we need to be responsible in my opinion. At least, that's what works for me.
There is a lot of love in our home now and I'm looking forward to easter. It's my favourite holiday. We went grocery shopping today and there's so much yummy food at home now that it makes me feel happy. We're going to make vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian pizza and much more. The last time I made a lasagna like that it turned out just insanely good. I was told that it was the best lasagna ever! So proud. Hope you will all be enjoying your easter holiday as well.