Stay;

*WARNING – this blog contains discussions of Suicide. If this topic triggers you in any way, please reach out and ask for help*

With September 10th being National Suicide Awareness day, I’ve decided to share my story. This one will be the most difficult, as with it I carry my deepest shame. But my hope in sharing, as it has always been, is to raise awareness, to break the stigma and to hopefully inspire others to share their story or to choose to Stay;

For those that aren’t aware, the semi-colon has become a world wide symbol for suicide, depression, mental health and addiction awareness. It is used by authors when they could have chosen to end a sentence, but instead use the semi colon, to continue that sentence.

My story probably starts when I was 10 I guess. That life altering moment that would indescribably change me as a person, right down to my core. (For those that are reading my blog for the first time, I was sexually abused at this age and have written about my recovery in my blog titled Taking my Power Back) It was this event that altered my path. It made me feel ashamed and guilty. It made me see myself as weak and powerless. It completely changed the foundations in which I grew up on.

I learnt back then how to block my emotions. Anything that my subconscious mind thought I couldn’t deal with was blocked and stored away. I didn’t even remember the event until I was about 16 and started having flashbacks. That’s how strong my ability is to block things I can’t cope with. And to this day there’s things I’m still blocking from that time.

Coming into my early 20’s when I started to try and deal with these emotions, I realised I didn’t even have the basics to deal with small emotions, let alone the ones that come up surrounding such a horrific event. I was an emotional wreck. I was depressed. I was out of control. I was drinking constantly to try and numb the pain. My way of blocking these emotions was no longer working and it was all bubbling over and I was powerless to control it.

I hated myself so deeply and so wholly and I felt like I couldn’t escape the pain. When you hit such a low point in your life, you’re surrounded in it. It completely takes over. It doesn’t just come and go. All day. All night it hits you over and over. It’s utterly relentless. It wears you down. I was too afraid to sleep because of the nightmares. Which left me completely neurotic during the day and always angry and on edge. I felt like I was on high alert to my surroundings and loud noises would make me jump and terrify me. If anyone tried to touch me it made my skin crawl and I wanted to throw up. I felt like people were staring at me, like somehow they knew my dirty secrets that I’d buried. And I truly felt that it would never end. It slowly built up over years and only ever got worse over time.

What follows next I’m not going to go into too much detail as I don’t think it’s necessary to get my story across. But it starts with thoughts of just wanting to take the pain away and thoughts of honestly believing that everyone in your life would be better off without you. And for me on more than one occasion, it’s ended with an attempt to take my life. On many more occasions it’s ended with me having these feelings, but choosing to Stay;

It’s hard for me to even describe what that feels like. To be so depressed and so low that you think the world would be better without you. Sitting here now with rational and logical thoughts, it makes no sense what so ever. I know how devastated my family and friends would be. But I can say hand on heart, that when I’m in that dark place, there is no one that could convince me that me leaving, would have anything other than a positive impact on them.

I know that people who haven’t felt this darkness, struggle to understand these thought patterns. I get it. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I admit I would find it difficult too. However I beg of everyone reading this, if you can’t understand it please at least don’t pass judgement on it. Don’t judge someone for something you don’t understand. This is where the stigma and the shame comes from. Because people say it’s selfish and stupid to think like that. I can’t comment on what others feel, but with me I felt at the time that it would be the most selfless thing for me to do. To rid myself from everyone I care about so they don’t have to deal with me anymore. I truly cannot see the horrific impact it would cause when I’m in that darkness.

I feel that these judgements cause fear in people that are struggling. It makes it harder to reach out as people are scared that if they admit they are struggling and having dark thoughts, that they will be judged and criticised. They think they will be looked at as being weak or that they have something wrong with them.

We need to drop this stigma. We need to stop the judgement and criticism. We need to step up and speak out and spread the word that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s ok to struggle sometimes and feel like the world is caving in on you.

I truly hope that me speaking out can show a tiny part of my world that it’s OK to feel so shitty sometimes that you can barely breathe. And that it doesn’t make you a lesser person when you’re finding it hard to cope with life. I hope that by me choosing to stay; and writing these words, that I can help even just one person make that same choice. I hope that I can inspire others to share their stories. I hope that those that have in the past chosen to pass judgement on suicide and mental health, can maybe see it in a different light and show compassion to those in need. I hope that this message shows people that there is strength in choosing to keep fighting those battles inside their minds. I hope that by sharing this it can lessen someone’s shame that they carry from their story.

The one thing that really shines through for me when writing this is the hope I feel. Because it takes a whole lot of strength and a whole lot of guts to fight your way out of feeling utterly hopeless, and to change that to feeling to one of hope.

And my biggest hope, is that everyone finds their way and chooses to STAY;

When grief rears it’s ugly head.

I thought I had it under control. I thought I had passed the worst of it. I thought I had dealt with it enough for it to stay hidden. I thought I had pushed it far enough down that I wouldn’t have to face it again.

I was wrong.

It’s been 13 months since my last miscarriage. I’m not sure if making it through the year anniversary of the date we lost the baby, or the year anniversary only a month before that from the 2nd miscarriage; is the cause of this grief popping up. Or if it’s the fact that I’ve been starting to have thoughts that maybe my journey to have another baby isn’t actually over yet. My therapist thinks that now I’m in a really healthy place in my life and things are going well, my subconscious has gone “OK she’s ready to deal with this now” and has bought it to the surface again. I guess that does make sense as I know I have this innate ability to block things that I’m not ready to deal with yet.

Whatever the reasoning behind it doesn’t actually matter I guess, because it’s hit me full force and I feel like I’m right back at the start again. And I’ve been through it three times now so I know I can do it again. But what I’m struggling with right now, is that I just don’t want to.

I don’t want to feel the loss anymore. I don’t want to experience the ache in my heart when I see a pregnant woman. I don’t want the agony of the flashbacks to my time in hospital. I don’t want the crippling pain of all the what if questions that come to the surface. I don’t want the bad dreams that make me not want to sleep.

I just don’t want to deal with it. The grief is too intense. The pain is still too real. And all I can sit here and do is cry and beg to have my babies back. I sit here and wonder if they were girls or boys. If they would have looked like me or their big sister. I sit here and ache to hold them just once and look into their eyes. To breath them in and feel their tiny hearts beating.

There is literally nothing I or anyone else can do to make it easier or to take the pain away. It’s something I just have to sit through and allow myself to go through each agonising process, step by step.

Because it hits me at random moments (like at work and I end up sitting in the bathroom crying into toilet paper and trying to keep my sobbing to a minimum), my therapist has suggested I allocate “grief time.” To actually designate time to sit and think about it and allow myself to cry. It kind of sounds weird I guess but it makes sense. That way I’m allowing myself to experience the emotions in a controlled environment and I’m getting the emotional release that I need so it doesn’t build up and release itself at inopportune moments. This way I can attempt to have some kind of control over it and when it bubbles up when I can’t actually deal with it, to kindly say to myself “It’s ok that you’re feeling upset, however now is not the time and you will have your time later.” It kind of sound clinical but I like it. I feel that I would rather control it than be an inconsolable mess at inappropriate moments.

She has also suggested I create a memory box so that I can hold the special things from that time and allow myself to remember the beautiful memories of when I was pregnant. I do have things hidden away that I couldn’t face looking at, but the idea of putting them in a special box and honouring their memory instead of hiding them, sounds nice. It even allows me to feel a little bit of peace about it all.

So many people have told me that you never get over it, you just learn to live with it. And I’m starting to see that this is so true. I think I have been fighting it and trying to “get over it” so I didn’t have to ever face it again. But I’m realising now that that isn’t possible. This is something that will live within me for the rest of my life. Nothing will ever make it better. Nothing will ever fill that void or make the feeling of loss go away. It’s a matter of finding my way of coping day by day so that over time it eventually gets that little bit easier and isn’t so crippling when it hits you.

Grief is one nasty and sneaky bitch that hits you when you least expect it. I’m hoping I can find a way to manage it a little better and cope with it in my own way again, rather than having it control me.

And I hope one day I can find a way to stop wishing things turned out differently so I can finally accept what happened and stop hating life for taking my precious babies away.

The end….and the beginning

So I started this blog 4 months ago and this will be my 24th publication. I began writing as a form of therapy to help release some of the shit I was struggling to deal with, and publishing these thoughts turned into a different type of therapy in itself.

I’ve not only discovered so much about myself along this journey, but so much about those in my life and also total strangers that have reached out who have been touched by my words. It’s been such an eye-opening and utterly amazing experience that I will look back on and remember for the rest of my life.

I’m honored and also shocked to say that out of the thousands of comments I have received, not one has been negative in any way. My biggest fear in releasing such personal information and admitting to my deepest struggles, is that I would receive negative feedback from trolls and or people who just didn’t have anything better to do than to try and tear someone down in their moments of need.

Every comment has been filled with encouragement, support and an outpouring of love. I’m still blown away by the kind and heartfelt words people have taken the time to send me. I’m still speechless by the stories that people have shared with me about their struggles and how my words gave them the courage to step up and make changes for themselves and to face their fears.

I can’t begin to describe how much this means to me. I’ve been through the worst 2 years of my life and faced things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’ve allowed myself to be raw, vulnerable, brutally honest and sometimes pretty blunt. I sometimes felt so alone and lost that I thought I’d never make it out the other side.

But I did make it. And to the thousands of people that have come along this journey with me and left words of support, I could never find the words to thank you or to show just how much I’ve been touched by you. I sit here racking my brain for a way to describe it, but nothing works. No words seem good enough. All I can say, is from the bottom of my heart I thank you and I will never forget your kindness.

I’ve written in past blogs that as I go through this journey, I find old ways of getting me through are no longer working for me and I have to rediscover something different. This is one of these moments. And unfortunately, writing these blogs just aren’t giving me therapy they used to. I’m struggling to find the words that used to come freely. I’m finding that due to the enormous changes I’ve made and the new techniques I’ve found to deal with my emotions, I no longer need to write so much down. I have found a way to deal with these things in a much healthier way so that they don’t get on top of me to the point in which I need to write to release all the emotions that come with the struggles.

I’m by no means at the end of my journey or self-discovery. But I have reached a point in which I feel comfortable tackling things before I get so overwhelmed like I used to. I still have little relapses where I fall into negative thinking patterns or get overwhelmed by the smaller things in life that shouldn’t bother me so much; but the difference now is that rather than falling into a rut of being anxious and over emotional for weeks, I can now face the issues that triggered me and lift myself up within hours or a day at the most.

I can take a step back and recognise why I’m reacting a certain way to something that triggered me. I can sit with the discomfort or pain and allow myself to feel it so I can then move forward and heal from it, rather than fighting it and then having it completely take me over.

This shows just how much growth I’ve made over this journey and all I can do is sit here and smile (with tears in my eyes). I look back at the broken form that I was when I started this and I just want to hug her for being so brave in finally facing her demons. For finally stepping up and asking for help. For finally having the courage to take her power back from the abuse she went through 25 years ago. For finally admitting she wasn’t living life on her terms, but was living to please others.

I will never forget my struggles or the journey I’ve been on, but my focus now is solely on looking forward, not backward. The hardest part to begin with was that I had to look so far back to face the trauma’s that had affected me, in order to deal with them and heal from them. Now the hardest part is trusting in myself and knowing that I have done the hard work properly this time, rather than skipping through it and getting hit with it all over again in a few years time. Deep down I know I have and I tell myself this whenever the fear sets in.

So moving forward to the next stage in my life is all about helping others to get through their journey’s. Having so many people reach out to me and share their pain and difficulties and confide in me that my words helped them, was so humbling. It made me feel like I was finally making a difference in the world, one tiny step at a time. I want to do more of this. I’m not sure what that looks like at the moment or how I’m going to make it happen, but I know that I feel a stirring in my gut to make a difference and I’ll do whatever I need to in order to do it.

I know I’ll probably still feel the need to release emotional baggage from time to time so I will occasionally add to this blog. I just won’t be doing it on a regular basis anymore.

I’m also turning my words into a book. My goal is to delve deeper into these blogs and really discover the fundamentals of what caused me to end up the way I was. And to also share on a deeper level, the techniques I used to get through and pull myself out of hitting rockbottom.

Once again I can’t thank you all enough for the support and love you have shown me. I can’t wait to share my book with you!

For those that have reached out to me to share your stories or for guidance, please don’t hesitate to continue doing so. I’m always available to chat and I’m great at listening.

And as this part of my journey comes to an end, the beginning of another is just getting started and I’m so excited to see where it takes me.

So much love to you all xoxo

How the truth can set you free

So I was clearly struggling last week. I had my sad pants on big time and I was in a serious rut. I was feeling so low and wishing things in the past were different and wishing I could go back in time. Feeling so sorry for myself and hating my life.

I had some mixed emotions coming up that were confusing me. I was blaming myself for things that had gone wrong. I had serious self-doubt over a gut feeling I had for the last few years and was thinking maybe I got it all wrong. And I was kicking myself for opening up and being honest and vulnerable.

Today changed it all. Today made me realise that the sick feeling in my stomach about what was really going on, was actually the truth. And the fact I’d been made to feel stupid for questioning these feelings makes it even worse. Today she finally admitted it all.

Deep down in my gut I knew for the last few years what was really going on. But I didn’t trust that feeling enough, nor did I want to believe it. I was getting to the point over the last week where I was actually starting to question my sanity. Thinking that I had imagined it all. That I had somehow been disillusioned this whole time and because of this I had messed up big time.

Then the truth came out. The admission that what I had suspected the whole time, was completely and utterly true. Hearing the revelation blew me away and shocked me to my core. It hurt so much that someone could be so heartless and selfish and fucking cruel!

Reality then started setting in. I was right. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t delusional. My gut feeling was right all along. I felt an enormous weight start to lift from my shoulders. It’s hard to explain but I finally felt free. I felt liberated from the confession and the realization that I could now let go and move on.

I didn’t realise that that was what had been holding me back. I guess the stubborn side of me wanted to know that I was right. The self conscious side of me needed to know that I wasn’t going crazy. And the heartbroken side of me needed to see the complete truth to allow me to let go and move forward.

I guess I hadn’t pushed too hard to hear the truth as I was terrified of actually hearing those words. But in actual fact, it was the one thing I’ve needed and it has changed my outlook on my entire journey.

Never before have I been taught such a valuable lesson – follow your gut! No matter what. The uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. The hesitation. The feeling of needing to run. The tingling in my hands. The tightness in my throat. These are all things I feel when I’m in a situation where something is wrong and my body is throwing physical signs at me to stop and listen. To stand up and take notice.

It’s frustrating because I know I have always taken notice of these signs at work. Being in law enforcement you get these gut feelings when something isn’t right. And when I feel them in that situation, I’m like a dog with a bone. I don’t let up until I figure out what is going on. What the person is hiding or lying about.

But in my personal life I’ve been pretty sub par at listening to these signs. Utterly useless at it actually. I guess because when it’s happening in a personal situation, you don’t want to believe it. You don’t want to know that your trust is being broken. Or that someone you care about doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

So you ignore the signs and hope for the best.

Well not anymore. Seeing myself get to a point where I was actually questioning my sanity over a gut feeling that I had ignored for years, is pretty fucking extreme. But that’s the point I was pushed to after being told for years that I was crazy for having these thoughts. Being assured time and time again that what I was thinking, was wrong.

I can see so clearly now that if I had of had the confidence and strength to voice my opinion more forcibly when the signs first starting appearing; then it would have saved a world of heartbreak and pain. I definitely spoke up about it and raised my concerns. But was either assured I was being silly, or told dismissably that I was crazy and wrong. So I kept my mouth shut and tried in vain to believe the lies. The half truths. The avoidance. The changing of subjects quickly.

I know I am stronger now. And more confident. And I’m taking this as the most in your face lesson I could ever be taught. I’m tuning in to these feelings from now on and won’t ever make that mistake again.

It’s hard to not feel bitter about it. Knowing how different my life would be right now if I had of listened all those years ago. But I’m focusing purely on the fact that now I know what these signs mean and I will always remember the feeling of self-doubt that used to surround them. I’m viewing this as a positive thing to happen. That I finally heard the truth and can now move forward with the confidence in knowing I was right and the strength to continue this journey with more focus and determination.

I’m focussed on the fact that now I’m finally free from the lies. The truth well and truly, has set me free.

The sadness behind her smile

To be blunt and to the point, I’m having a shitty night.

I’ve been thinking about all the changes I’ve made over the last year. The endless effort and courage that has gone into making these changes.

The tears and the heartache it took to recognise and accept where I’ve been lacking in my life. Confronting myself with the things I’ve done wrong and the people I’ve hurt and taking ownership of my mistakes.

Walking into therapy each week and smashing through more walls and looking deep inside at the darkest parts of me. The countless hours spent reevaluating my life and where I stand. Facing my biggest fears and having the courage to take another step forward.

I’ve done all this and so much more. And I’m so proud of what I have achieved. I’m so proud of the person that I see in the mirror now. I’m the person I always knew I could be. The person I always dreamed of being.

But as I sit here tonight, all I can think is “What was the point of doing all of this?”

I’m still alone. I’m moving to Brisbane by myself. I picked up my keys to my new apartment today and the smile it gave me faded so quickly as I walked out and realised I had no one to share this joy with. I had no one to text. No one to call. No partner that was eagerly awaiting to hear from me.

And I can sit here and think rationally and know that all the work I’ve done is so worth it. And I can state that I am proud. And I know I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and be good again and be excited about the move and excited about the progress I’ve made. And I do know what the point of it all was.

But there’s that little voice nagging at me that just keeps repeating “What was the point of all of this when you still end up alone?” And it just won’t shut up tonight.

It’s making me so sad and frustrated and hurt. It’s making me question everything. It’s making me wish so badly to have my old life back. My life wasn’t meant to be like this. I don’t want my life to be like this.

I’m sad that today should have been exciting. But I’ve been wearing a fake smile all day. Pretending everything is ok. Putting on a brave face to hide the tears in my heart. Wearing that mask to hide the sadness that’s in my eyes.

Hiding from the sadness that’s behind my smile….

Letting go.

It’s at this point in my journey where I’ve realised I’m holding myself back from moving forward. And that’s because I’m holding on to people and things that are no longer good for me. But I just can’t seem to let go.

 

Is it fear? Worry? Self-doubt?

 

Probably a combination of all three and so much more.

 

Why is it, even when you know deep down that someone or something is no longer good for you, or doesn’t hold that place in your future anymore, you just can’t seem to take that final step and cut the strings? You hold on for dear life even though it causes you so much heartache and draws out the process of moving on.

I’ve recognised recently that I’m doing this with a few things/people in my life. It’s such a confronting thing to accept. And even harder to be honest with myself with the reasons why I’m still holding on.

The reality hit me because I’m moving next week. And I’m so excited about this change and my “new” life I’m beginning. But it also slapped me in the face, that I’m leaving my old life behind me.

I know that in taking this kind of step in my journey, I can’t take my old baggage with me. I’ve spent the last 6 months unpacking it all. Unloading the grief and the trauma. Spent countless sleepless nights stressing over it. Shed millions of tears and spent hours crying until there were no tears left. I’ve hit the darkest moments of my life where I genuinely thought I couldn’t cope any longer.

But in this time I’ve also worked tirelessly to heal from these losses. I’ve sought help from my therapist and spent hours upon hours with her to learn new ways to cope and new ways to heal myself. I’ve taken the time to take care of myself mentally and physically and found a routine of self love that has made me stronger and happier. I’ve found the strength to face my fears and confront these dark shadows in me that I’ve always allowed to rule my life. I’ve completely surrendered to this process.

The biggest thing I’m realising, and the biggest fear I’m facing right now. Is the fact that I have to let go of my old self. I’m no longer the person I was when I moved into this apartment. And I can’t take any of those bad habits with me. I have to force myself to start fresh. I have to believe in myself and be confident in the fact that I’m strong enough to do this without falling back into self hatred and self doubt. That I now have the ability to put my own needs on par with others rather than self sacrificing and putting them first.

I love the quote “If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” This is the process I’ve been following for my new self. I can’t bring the old me along on this journey anymore. She’s bleeding onto the new me. Trying to work her way back in and hindering my process. And I can’t allow that to happen anymore.

I have to be brave and let go of the old me completely.

There’s also the issue of my ex. It’s been 7 months since she left me and during this time I’ve been filled completely with anger, hurt and hate. I’ve focused completely on trying to continue the relationship with our daughter and fighting to see her. That I’ve never stopped and taken the time to actually allow myself to accept that it’s over. I’ve grieved the loss of our family, but I’ve never grieved the loss of our relationship. I’ve never analysed how I actually feel about her. And it pains me, and I’m embarrassed to say, I still have feelings for her. I’ve been so distracted by the hurt, that I failed to see that love was still there.

We spent 6 years together. We have a beautiful daughter and were trying to have another. I truly thought we’d be together forever. As much as I’d like them to, those feelings don’t disappear quickly. The only thing that will allow me to heal and let go of those feelings, is time.

So moving forward into my new life, I can’t just turn off these feelings, but I can choose to let go of the hope I’ve been holding onto that things could be different. I’ve been holding on because I know how much it will hurt to let go. But this process of holding on is also hurting me much more than I’ve realised.

I have to be brave and let go of her.

There is another major factor that I’ve been holding onto that is hurting me, but I can’t even find the words to talk about it now. But I know in my heart that I have to be brave and let it go as well. I have to let go of the hope I’ve been holding onto that certain things could have turned out a different way.

This stage in my journey of letting go, is the most confronting and also the scariest. In a way it feels like it’s the final stage in the process. Not that I believe my journey will ever be over. I wholeheartedly believe now, that our lives are one big journey that should be cherished and looked at as a journey, not just a way of life.

But this feels like it’s the final step in this cycle of my journey. Like I’m coming out the other side of the most difficult and heartbreaking moments of my life.

It’s scary because I don’t know what’s on the other side. Fear of the unknown is making me want to hold back. But the exciting thing is, that the old me would have put off taking this step. Would have allowed fear and self doubt to take over. But the new me, yes she still has those fears, but she’s embracing them and facing them head on.

I’m excited for the unknown. I’m looking forward to seeing what is around the corner for me. And I can sit here with confidence and know that whatever challenges are thrown at me, I can conquer them all.

All of this makes me realise that letting go doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be rewarding and refreshing and also open up so many amazing opportunities that you would never have had if you’re still looking backwards and holding onto the past.

So from now on my focus will be aimed solely at my daughters favourite movie quote “Let it go.”