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

Timeless healing

They say time heals all wounds. Well you know what, I’m getting a little bit impatient waiting for this to happen. Actually a lot impatient. To be honest I’m sick to death of waiting.

I’ve had a week of virtually no sleep and everything is getting on top of me. I’m even hitting a point where I’m losing motivation for my running which is massive. I’ve spent the last 9 months with an unwavering motivation to run and train and smash this half marathon goal. I’m 5 weeks away from the race and I’m quickly losing all focus and determination. My body isn’t recovering and healing like it should be, because I’m not sleeping.

One of the more important aspects of training is getting enough rest to give your body time to recover and this isn’t happening so my body is in constant agony. I’m sore from head to toe. My eyes feel like they have needles in them. My brain has a fog over it and I’m not thinking clearly. I even put toothpaste on my daughter’s chest instead of Vick’s vapour rub a few days ago.

All because I’m laying here wide awake with thoughts of when will this all be over? When will the pain go away? When will I heal? When will a day pass where I don’t think about the what if’s? When will I stop feeling so lonely? When will the grief go away? When will I be able to look at my daughter and not feel guilty that she will grow up never remembering her parents together? When will I stop feeling like I was never good enough? When will I stop analysing everything tiny little thing I said and did and wondering how I could have done it differently? When? When? WHEN!?!?!?!?

I feel like I’ve stepped up big time during this journey. I’ve seen a therapist. I’ve followed her recommendations. I’ve done the hard work and walked into the pain rather than walking away and pretending I’m fine. I never stop processing my thoughts and feelings and doing the work to heal them. I’ve done the hard yards and faced everything that I’ve bottled up my whole life. I’ve opened up and been completely vulnerable.

Yet still I’m here feeling like shit. I’m still hurting. I’m still grieving. And I’m fucking over it.

I’ve hit a point where I’m just thinking fuck it why don’t I just go back to pushing my emotions down. Pretending that everything is fine. Pretending I’m ok and that losing my little family isn’t a big deal. Pretending I’ve moved on and I’m happy. Bury my head in the sand and not deal with any feelings or emotions that come up?

It would be so much easier. I could “heal” myself in an instant if I just pretend I don’t care and that it doesn’t affect me.

I’m sick of feeling so deeply. I’m sick of caring so much. I’m sick of the roller coaster. I’m sick of the heartbreak. I’m sick of the battle.

I’m totally and utterly done. I’ve given it my all. I’ve thrown myself into this journey with reckless abandon to finally face my demons and heal properly.

But I’m exhausted.

I’ve got nothing left to give.

I’m completely and irrecoverably done.

Time is taking too long.

I think I’ve been waiting for that aha moment where you all of a sudden you feel human again. Where everything finally clicks into place and all the hard work pays off. Maybe there is no such moment after so much heart ache in such a short space of time. Maybe little by little wounds heal and it gets easier. Maybe the pain never goes away.

I don’t know anymore. All I know right now in this moment is that I’ve literally got nothing left to give.

My journey has broken me.

My vulnerability is no longer my weakness.

Brene Brown is my new hero!! Her talks and books on vulnerability are brilliant. She is hilarious, blunt and at times it feels like she is reading my mind. Everything she said resonated with me so deeply.

There is a passage in one of her books where she talks about when she was on stage and asked the crowd, “How many people struggle with vulnerability because they see it as a weakness?” Of course most of the crowd raised their hands.

Then she asks “When you see people on stage how many people thought they were being courageous?” Again the crowd raises their hands.

I don’t know about you but standing in front of a crowd would have to be one of the most vulnerable positions you could put yourself in. I’m pretty sure 99% of society would all say the same. And we all see that as being so courageous, yet still see vulnerability as a weakness.

It blows my mind!!

How is it that we can admire these people for their bravery in leaving themselves completely vulnerable, yet when someone opens up about mental health struggles, or opens up about having feelings for someone or wears their heart on their sleeves and shows emotions; people look at them as if they are weak.

In all of these examples, people leave themselves completely vulnerable. Open to rejection and criticism. Yet one side is admired and the other side is judged so harshly.

I’ve felt both sides during my journey and after hearing that example from Brene, it’s made me realise that all this vulnerability I’m showing is not a weakness at all. I see it now as pure bravery and strength.

On one side I’ve received so many messages of support and admiration, not only by friends and family, but total strangers. I have been told how brave and courageous and strong I am to be able to open up and be so raw and honest with my struggles and trauma.

And I’ve also seen the other side where I’ve showed emotion and cried in front of people, and they’ve seen it as a sign of weakness. Criticised me for not being strong enough to hold on and cry when no one is around.

This makes no sense to me. How is it that I’m brave for writing about crying, yet when people see me cry, I’m viewed as weak??

Another quote from her book “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness, will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

This resonates big time with me. The last 6 months of my journey has completely revolved around exploring my darkness. I’ve dug deep and gone to places I didn’t want to. The deepest darkest places I could find.

And while discovering this darkness, it really has illuminated the power of the light within me. As I’ve healed my darkness and allowed the light to shine through, it’s opened my eyes to a whole new world out there. A whole new me that I didn’t know was inside of me.

See I’ve always put myself into a category that made me feel weak and powerless. I’m one of “those” ones. The reserved, the emotional, the thinkers. One of those ones that always gets called depressed. That always gets called rude. That’s looked down upon because we get nervous in social situations.

As I empowered the light within me, I started realising that all of these traits I have, are not weaknesses. They are my strengths.

It’s a strength to be reserved. It allows me to sit back and analyse situations before jumping in head first. It allows me to watch people and their behaviours so I can determine who I feel comfortable socialising with.

It’s a strength to be in touch with my emotions. Now that I have learnt to handle the stronger emotions I feel, it gives me a sense of strength to ride these feelings and embrace them. Yes I still cry. Yes I still get upset. However I no longer allow them to completely take hold of me. And I love that I feel emotions so strongly. I’d rather love incredibly deeply than not at all.

It’s a strength to be a thinker. Now that I have found ways to stop myself over-thinking situations, I actually really enjoy my deep thoughts that I have. Especially when I’m running. I explore deep within my consciousness and discover things I never knew about myself. I analyse things I’ve heard or read and discover how I feel about them. It’s fun and exciting now rather than tiring and draining when I was over-thinking situations and conversations I’d been in.

I’m not actually depressed and I’m not actually rude. (Ok yes I can be incredibly rude sometimes when people deserve it) however I’m social situations I’m not being rude by not talking much. I get incredibly nervous in crowds and especially around people I haven’t met before. But this doesn’t make me rude. And yes I have previously suffered from depression however in the words of my Psychologist;

“You’re not currently depressed. You’ve suffered many losses in a short amount of time and you’re grieving. But you’re seeking help and making changes. You’re motivated with running and setting new goals each week. When you’re in a stage of depression you don’t take these steps.”

Just because I’m in introvert, doesn’t mean I’m depressed. Just because I don’t feel comfortable in social situations, doesn’t mean I’m depressed.

Looking back on my life I realise I’ve always been so ashamed for being “different.” I’ve spent countless years wishing I could be extroverted because I thought that was normal. Hoping that I can wake up and suddenly feel powerful in crowds, to get a rush from meeting new people and to feel on a high after being in social situations. I’ve always believed these people are stronger than me. Braver than me. Better than me.

But now that I’ve released this light inside of me, I realise that they aren’t stronger or braver or better than me. They are just different to me and that’s ok.

I now love the qualities that I have. In my previous blogs I’ve discussed this and stated I now accept who I am. Which was a huge step. Now I feel like I’m starting to embrace my qualities. Starting to love them and be excited by them.

I’m seeing my own vulnerabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses and it’s a powerful feeling.

Having the ability to be vulnerable is risky, scary and fucking hard. But it really is the only way to achieve anything and to move forward in life. It’s such a courageous thing to do and the feeling of empowerment you receive during the process is like having the brightest light shining from within you.

It’s a beautiful and brave thing to experience and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

Taking my power back

*Warning – sensitive trigger subject*

This will be the hardest blog I release. Opening up about the moment I had my power stolen from me.

But I feel like it’s going to be my most important one too. This week I took my power back and it’s the most amazing, and, well the most powerful feeling in the world.

It’s hard to even type the words as I’ve carried this burden for so long. The shame and the guilt. The feeling of powerlessness. I know I just need to spit it out… at 10 years old I was sexually abused.

I’m not going to go into details obviously. No one needs to read that.

25 years ago someone took my power from me. He took my innocence. He took my confidence. He took my ability to feel comfortable saying no. He took my trust. He took my feeling of safety. He took the feeling that humans are inherently good and kind.

He took everything good from me and replaced it with everything shit. Guilt. Shame. Self blame. Confusion. Mistrust. Fear. Defiance. Anger. Pain. Over bearing emotions that I could never find a way to cope with.

I truely feel that the person I was originally born to become, died that day. From that moment I was never going to be the same. He fundamentally changed my personality, my heart and my soul.

This is so difficult because I don’t want to talk about the fact that he’s had a lasting impact on me for 25 years. I don’t want to open up about the fact that even now when people I love touch me, it sometimes makes my skin crawl. I don’t want to admit that I still have nightmares. I don’t want to tell anyone that up until a few months ago I couldn’t accept compliments because my first thought was always “what do you want from me?” I don’t want to fess up that even hearing his name makes me feel sick. I don’t want to share the details of how I sometimes get a bad gut feeling around certain men that makes my heart race, my hands shake, I start to sweat and feel the walls closing in like I can’t escape.

I don’t want to share any of this. But this is the reality of my life. And the reality for so many others that have been through the same trauma. This is the lasting impact that this has on our lives.

But as of a few days ago when writing this, all of it changed. And I feel like a million pounds of weight have been lifted off my shoulders.

I was talking to my therapist about how I feel so powerless right now because my ex has total control over my life. How it sends me absolutely crazy every time she takes even more power from me. How I get so emotional about it and feel like I can’t find my way out. How I’ve always been triggered when people take my power away from me.

She asked if there was a time when I was a child where I feel I lost my power. Obviously the abuse came straight into my mind. I did try to stumble my way through a few other minor things because I was scared to step up and face my demons.

I stopped myself and there was silence for what felt like an eternity. I knew I had to face it. I knew this was my moment to deal with it. I knew I couldn’t carry it any longer.

I took a deep breath and said the words. The flood gates opened.

She suggested a few options we could try and I felt that the imagery work we’d used before sat best with me. A quick description of what happened was that I visualise up to the point where I started to know something was wrong. I then visualise “Adult Jess” stepping in and taking “little Jess” out of the situation and comforting her until she’s feeling ok and safe. Then “adult Jess” and my therapist walk back in and get everything off my chest that I’ve wanted and needed to say to him my whole life.

The entire experience was so difficult, yet so healing. Especially the point in which my therapist says to him that it’s his fault not mine and that it’s his guilt to carry for hurting me and for choosing to hurt others.

The feeling that’s burdened me the most is the guilt that I feel because I didn’t stop him and because I shut down to try and cope and didn’t tell anyone, he hurt others. And I have blamed myself for that my whole life.

Hearing those words that it’s not my burden to carry anymore, broke down so many walls I’ve had up. It shattered the weight I’ve always carried. It transferred all of the shit he gave me, and returned it back to him.

In that moment I felt that I took back all the good he stole from me. I took back my innocence. I took back my confidence. I took back feeling comfortable to say no. I took back my ability to trust. I took back my feeling of being safe. But most importantly, I took back my power.

I walked out of that office feeling like a new person. I barely recognise myself. I feel entirely different. It’s like I actually see the world differently. I can’t find the words to explain it properly. But it feels good. It feels amazing actually.

And by no means do I feel that I just walk away and forget it happened. Like I’m magically better and won’t ever think about it again. I will always carry the scars from this trauma. I will always remember. I’ll probably always get the random flash backs and the nightmares. But I’m hoping that these things will lessen over time now that I’ve faced it and feel myself healing.

For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like a victim anymore. I feel like a survivor. And that is incredibly important to me. I faced one of the most horrendous things a child can face, and today I stood my ground and took my power back!

I’ve been going back and forth in deciding whether to write a blog on this. I don’t mind sharing these details with the hundreds of people that read this that I don’t know and never will. But it’s especially hard to share such a traumatic event with people I know. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Or to look at me with pity. Or to feel uncomfortable around me because they don’t know what to say. No one can say or do anything to take away the pain so please don’t feel that you need to “fix” anything. I’m sharing this because I know the worst thing about being abused is that you feel like you’re the only one.

So I want to stand up and say, you’re not alone! If we’ve never met, or if we’re best mates, or if we work together or if we fell out years ago and have never spoken since, I don’t care… you’re not alone in this. If you need to reach out then I’m here. You’re not alone.

The other emotion you carry is the guilt and self blame.

So I want to stand up and say, it wasn’t your fault!

The only person to blame in this situation, is the perpetrator. No one else. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my parents fault. It wasn’t society’s fault. It wasn’t his parents fault. He alone made that choice to hurt me. Him. No one else.

I also wanted to share this as I made a promise to myself when I started this blog, that I was always going to be open, raw and honest. And this is the most significant trauma in my life and has impacted me so much. So standing up and facing it, will have an enormous impact on my journey.

And hiding what happened is a way of him still holding power over me. So I’m standing up now and saying no more.

“You, you piece of shit, no longer hold any of my power.” It’s mine!!!