I am a romantic at heart. I think sometimes that gets me into trouble.
I saw this incredible person across the room and we immediately fell in love. It was incredible and wonderful and beautiful. It was fantastic but then life happens.
I met someone else during a very trying period of my life and he seemed really really nice, very caring, just the kind of person you need when you’re going through a difficult time.
We got married, however, it didn’t turn out very well. To the public eye, it looked like the most incredible relationship but behind closed doors, it was the exact opposite. It came to a point where it was, if I don’t get out I will die.
I set about saving some money. I had a friend help me get my stuff and I left. However, the hard part of leaving a long-term relationship or marriage isn’t just leaving. That in itself is hard, it’s what comes after that.
I ended up with a nervous breakdown and through a lot of depression, and anxiety and PTSD because of what happened in the relationship.
My ex did not accept that I was leaving him so he continued to stalk me for a number of years.
Then I ended up with chronic fatigue which is a lot more than just being tired. I then had a flare-up of endometriosis. All of this related to the trauma of the relationship and the leadup of my life form benign in love to ensign up in a marriage that was anything but happy.
It’s being able to stand in the mirror and be proud of what I see.
It was going, I’m not giving up. I could have given up and I knew very well if I’d stayed in the relationship I wouldn’t be here today and I thought, there is no way I have fought this hard to now lay down and do nothing, I’m still kicking and screaming and I’m on the other side of huge challenges.
I’m not going to be defined by an abusive relationship. I’m not going to be defined by an illness. I’m going to be defined by what’s important to me.
Since then I’ve decided to use the pain I’ve gone through and convert it to something constructive.
In all honesty, there are times when you want to give up. I definitely wanted to give up.
I do have animals that I look after and I just thought, that’s not fair to them. I made a promise to them to be here, to look after them, and give them the best life possible and I hadn’t delivered that.
By shifting it away from myself it gave me a better perspective.
Am I going to really leave this place because of what someone’s done to me? And I thought, no that’s not okay. If I’m going to do something that harsh and dramatic it’s going to be on my terms and I’m sure as hell not ready to go anywhere.
It was just taking baby steps, little steps…one day at a time. What is going to help me today?
You need to journal, you need to express, you need to look at the bigger picture, you need to tap into what’s important.
It started very much with just be honest. How do I really feel? Take the judgment away. Take away all this pressure that had built up over the years and go, what do I actually want? What will make me happy? It was just working it from day-to-day.
There are days when it’s hard and you feel like I’ve taken one step forward and ten back but you still keep going because when you look back over six months of twelve months you see you’ve come a really long way it’s sometimes it doesn’t’ feel that way.
It’s just finding another way and another way to just keep going.
I’m naturally very creative and at the time I had zero creativity. My cognitive function was minimal and I couldn’t’ focus. I was barely able to do one thing at a time.
You have days where you relapse and you can’t get off the couch but focus on the bigger picture and not being hard on myself on those days. They were tough.
We give ourselves a time frame that we have to get this done by this date and I think that just sets us up to fail and I’ve learned just remove the time. Don’t worry how old you are, don’t worry if it’s this year or next year as long as you get to it that’s all that matters.
I felt like I had gone full circle.
Coming through all of this and the role that I was playing and being the wife none of it was me, none of it was authentic, none of it was true. I came full circle and just stripped it back.
I’m weird and quirky but that’s okay because it’s who I am.
I would do very weird things for creative purposes and I’d lost that part of me. That reckless abandon of just exploring life on my terms and I just got so stuck in, but socially I have to do this.
I’d lost me. The only way I could come out was with me…to find my voice and be me and know that it’s not about perfect.
I learned that I’m fine right now and that was a really hard thing for me to come to terms with.
Take that pressure away. The guilt and the overwhelm. Strip that away and always be honest with yourself. Doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or if it’s messy.
A lot of the things I did, the basis of them was about being loved. It sounds so simple and yet it’s so not. I wanted to be loved. I just wanted to be loved.
If you don’t like me that’s okay. Not everyone’s supposed to. But as long as I like me. It’s easy to do that professionally but it’s when it becomes personal that’s when it becomes real.
The takeaway for me is not to be defined by what happens to you. Not to be defined by what people do to you. Be defined by who you are. When I think of who I am I based it on my core values.
Make it about you. Not about the relationship or family or the guilt or the pressure. Be honest about what you want and look in the mirror when you do it because you can’t hide that way.
Don’t settle. Never, ever settle.