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View Full Version : I feel like I'm alive for the first time in my life.


iKiwi
01-16-2012, 03:07 PM
This isn't all 'happy'. I just want to get some stuff out, hope that's okay.
I'm not sure what board this belongs on , but I'll leave it here for now.

Next week it will be the one year anniversary of me leaving my marriage. The
last year has been brilliant, dark, bewildering, strange, and ultimately
completely different -- and better -- than my life a year ago.

I feel like I'm just waking up. That is so frightening, confusing. Some of it
is in really good ways -- I feel like I can do whatever I want without
worrying about the consequences. I keep having moments of shock when I
realise I can do whatever I want. I can listen to any song without worrying
how the lyrics will be interpreted. I can wear whatever I want without
caring about what he will think of it.

But I'm waking up in the difficult way too -- I realise the mess I've let my
life become, I look in the mirror and there is no f**king dissonance any more
between me looking at myself and thinking I look dreadful, and this man on
the bed telling me he thinks I look beautiful, and I'm staring at the mirror
and thinking, "what... are you crazy?"

I spent eight years with a man who thought that all fashion was shallow and
beauty was false and that healthy girls are unattractive. He validated my right
to be overweight, to go to work and not brush my hair, to not take care of
myself. He told me I was fine as I was, when I didn't really believe it. When
I don't think anyone else in the world really believed it either.

I dressed like a tramp and didn't take care of myself. I was in "recovery" but
could never find the stability I needed to truly recover. He was not healthy
emotionally or physically and tried to "support" my health but was incapable
of facilitating it.

Now I feel bewildered... it's like I'm looking at the world for real for the
first time ever, and its hard not to feel inadequate. I'm starting to think
that being overweight isn't something I'm comfortable with (but not
in an ED way). I'm starting to feel that I do want to make an effort
on my appearance and I do really care what people think. I realise that
I want all of the things I dismissed as being shallow. That I maybe only
hated material happiness because I felt I couldn't have it.

He tolerated the worst parts of my personality, too, probably because
he didn't want to be alone. Now I'm waking up to how badly I behave at times.
That it isn't okay to anyone else in the world except him.

I'm waking up to the reality I was hiding from. I have only a handful of
close friends. If I DO feel lonely I don't really have many people I can
call. I'm quite ashamed of that... so I just tell myself I'm never lonely.
My ex-H was scarily jealous of even female friends (I'm bisexual, but it's
not like I run off with anyone I meet), and I isolated myself... very
successfully. I've made more friends in the last year than at any time in
the last decade but I still feel a bit alone at times.

I also still feel the swell of 'not deserving' things, of being an 'outsider.'
I have to challenge those thoughts constantly, and not always successfully.

'Waking up' means I don't really know where I am. Some days I feel fine
for my age, and my experience of life. I feel pretty normal. Other days I
feel completely out of step with others my age, and I can be rather
self-righteous about that.

A year after my separation and I don't know if I'm doing well or not. I'm
healthy -- I have a healthy body, healthy teeth, and deep down quite a
healthy outlook. I say that because my physical, mental and dental
health are the three things that suffered so much from my upbringing and ED.
My doctor, dentist and therapist are all saying the same things: I am fine.

I don't do myself any favours in the way I present myself. Swamp thing. Others
put on a laquered mask to hide the rot they feel inside; I think I put on a
rotten mask to hide my strength. I'm always convincing people I'm worse than
I am. Can I say that!!?

That I don't have a single physical ailment or diagnosed mental health
issue really scares me. Since childhood I've been trying to answer,
"What's wrong with me?"

Now I'm being told there is nothing wrong. Wtf. Why do I still feel so
separate half the time. ...but even I know the answer to that, which is
just so bizarre.

I really, really don't know where I am any more. Am I honestly moving
forward or just saying the same things year after year, going round in
circles? Am I healthy or deluded? I don't even know how to tell.

I'm waking up... it is terrifying. I want to tell people how much I care
for them. I want to meet new people and do new things. I want to find
people who are here, close to me, around me. I want to shake
myself out of the confines of self-imposed ugliness and sloppiness that
kept me safe in my marriage. I think I even want some people to be
impressed by me -- tiny bursts of pride and ego which are so
unfamiliar to the bullied child, the isolated adult.

Anyway I don't know what I want from this. I don't know what you're meant to
feel a year after a divorce. I don't know what you're meant to feel in late
recovery, or your late twenties. I don't know how I feel about
my life -- I'm not sure how to make sure it goes okay when I
still have these weird hangovers from my marriage and upbringing:

I still have a pathological hatred of compliments.
I still ruminate on my life constantly.
I am still plagued by bursts of utterly ridiculous anger.
I am still a bit doubtful of my ability to meet other people's expectations
even if I don't doubt for a minute my ability to live the life I want.
I still go a bit wobbly when I don't know how people see me.
I'm still kinda lonely and that makes me sad.
I still feel terribly judged and separate from the world at times.
I still believe that my strangest dreams are capable of becoming true...
...and I'm still afraid of what will happen if they're not.

I feel so weird at times, trying to process all of this. I wish I had some way of knowing if I'm doing okay or not. Or kind of an external validation that I'm doing okay. But I don't know. I have both of those things anyway. I just want more of both, youknow, just in case the first set of validations were wrong...

Meh.

Sorry.

:bandwagon

escape needed
01-16-2012, 03:31 PM
It sounds like you've had an eventful year of realisations. You've said a lot there and I don't have anything useful to add. Sounds like you've made a lot of steps in your journey, its a journey still in progress

Take care of yourself

iKiwi
01-17-2012, 03:42 AM
I feel like I summed it up pretty well last night actually -- I just have no way of evaluating whether I'm doing "well" or not.

So I'm not going to try...

This is exactly where I am, for both good and bad. Kind of obvious really.

mollyo
01-17-2012, 09:39 PM
hi.
just wanted to say i read through.


Am I healthy or deluded? I don't even know how to tell. yeah, it can be hard to know when you're still disoriented with yourself. Or even if you're not anymore, there will always be disagreement from others with different ideas.


you say you have no mental issues, but i thought you were just recently grappling with being told you had cptsd?

i know a bunch of people who would say that, astrologically speaking (bear with me) you're supposed to be pretty confused, tossed-around, questioning your identity, and hemmed in by drama during your late twenties. and regardless of the astrology stuff, i know lots of people who felt that way. but generally it stops being useful trying to find some one standard to measure up against, no?

and you can have things about yourself you'd like to change and still be ok in the general sense.

about being suddenly ok with caring how you look - i get that. less emphasis on principled rebellion possibly fueled by defensiveness, and more on doing what you feel like, and what is practical, and feeling you can pull off and that it doesn't make you evil. seeing grays instead of black & white.

iKiwi
01-21-2012, 07:20 AM
Mollyo -- apologies for appearing to contradict myself at every turn. Yes, my T thinks I have cPTSD but she also thinks there is basically nothing wrong with me, that the way I've ended up feeling is very natural and human as a response to my life. sorry for seeming to contradict myself again.

ducksquack
01-21-2012, 08:06 AM
That I don't have a single physical ailment or diagnosed mental health
issue really scares me. Since childhood I've been trying to answer,
"What's wrong with me?"

You have a mental illness called an ED. We are all
here so we can recover and discover the underlying
issues behind it so we can make major changes in
ourselves.

Is that not the real issue?

god bless.

iKiwi
01-21-2012, 08:12 AM
i know a bunch of people who would say that, astrologically speaking (bear with me) you're supposed to be pretty confused, tossed-around, questioning your identity, and hemmed in by drama during your late twenties. and regardless of the astrology stuff, i know lots of people who felt that way.

Mollyo, I just wrote another post about that exact same thing, but from a different view. So the slightly ranty nature of it isn't aimed at you at all.

I have had huge amounts of friends here tell me that it's normal to go through a quarter life crisis. And it is normal. And I'm doing really really well, I've made fantastic positives.

But just because I'm in my twenties doesn't make it all less bad. Again -- not directed at you -- just because this chaos may be normal doesn't stop it still being chaos. At least four friends have given the impression that my marriage didn't really count because I got married too young. As if, had I got married at thirty five and divorced at forty three, the situation would be different and the identity crisis would matter more.

I like being in my late twenties. I'm probably happier than at any other time in my life. I have fun and freedom, which I'm not sure I've ever had before. I'm mostly pretty okay. I deal with the crisis points as and when they come up -- as I always have.

...but that doesn't mean I'm okay. And not being okay doesn't mean I'm not okay. I'm actually pretty fine but I'm not fine. And not in a hiding my pain way. I just don't want to have to either hide my pain or hide my happiness just because I'm at a certain age or not.

I have no idea what I'm saying. This isn't directed at you, really, just that what you say has been affirmed by others, and whilst I DO agree this is a time of massive identity change, it doesn't lessen the fact that it's a time of massive identity change.

You're right, there is no benchmark.

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say. I might just stop talking.

iKiwi
01-21-2012, 08:13 AM
You have a mental illness called an ED.

Had. I don't think I really have anything remotely resembling an ED any more -- perhaps I should stop coming back here? I still struggle with the background issues though, and I know that's still part of it. The feelings and emotional stuff. But I basically cook well, I can see the benefits in my skin and hair and nails, and feel quite healthy.

mollyo
01-22-2012, 07:33 PM
hi.
if i did piss you off for saying that to you (apparently, yet again, as you've heard it a lot) i'd understand. but thanks for saying you weren't really.

just because this chaos may be normal doesn't stop it still being chaos.
This is absolutely true.

Like when i was depressed and anxious and upset and was told "oh, you're supposed to be depressed and anxious and upset at this age, so there's noting to worry about".:reallymad and just let it go at that.

It is both not uncommon to be having a really difficult identity crisis and it is fucking agonizing and difficult. (and yes your situation is different from other peoples'.)

:challenge .....It's possible that people are trying to share with you some perspective and what you are looking for is support, understanding and sympathy in the moment.