Babysteps: Why I started this blog…

I started this blog because my life has ended up very different to how I expected it would a few years ago. I needed a way to try and process that. I couldn’t afford more therapy so I figured a healthy idea would be to write down my feelings to get them out of my system.

Some days I wake up and think maybe it was all just a bad dream. On Christmas Eve 2015,  my husband of only 4 months decided he wasn’t ready for marriage after all. It didn’t seem possible when only the day before that, he’d been telling me he loved me and given me a bracelet engraved with our wedding date and ‘always and forever.’  Now here I was and this was it, after 5 years of investing my love and energy in the belief that my future was with this man that I adored, it all just disappeared before my very eyes.  Everything I had known, believed and hoped for was suddenly no longer true. It completely broke me.

I don’t know who I became but it was not someone I had ever been before. I had too much hurt, anger and shock raging in my veins to even contemplate what to do. I absolutely could have killed him and then something in me just clicked and I realised he wasn’t worth spending my life in prison for. Somehow I’m alive to tell the tale which probably sounds awfully melodramatic if you haven’t been left before, but if you have, you’ll know the feeling of abandonment I’m talking about. A part of me definitely died that day. A part of me that I think I might never get back.

The last 18 months has been some sort of attempt at trying to piece back together and rebuild a life.  There have been countless hurdles but many small victories. Some days are easier than others. I remind myself every day that I am loved by my family and friends and blessed in many ways and this in itself is a long way from the worthless void of a person I became 18 months ago. She did not know her worth. She was broken and empty.  I know I am strong, so much stronger than I thought but every once in a while I get tired of being strong. The weariness escapes through, and that’s okay. I’ve realised that we need to hurt in order to grow, but to make the pain worthwhile we must learn  the lessons life is giving us.

First things first, please don’t think this is an intentional pity party! I think if you’ve never experienced heartbreak you are probably not going to relate to anything I am saying so please just be compassionate as sharing my most painful life experience is scary and raw. I do not intend to play victim and I do not wish to be defined by a heartbreaking experience. I know we all go through shit in some form.  But I think it’s so important to share real experiences and to be open about hard times. I started this blog just as a way to get some of my thoughts out of my head. They were so exhausting.  A counsellor recommended writing down feelings as a great way of healing from traumatic experience.

For some reason, anytime I tried to put pen to paper it was just impossible to know where to start. I don’t think any of it made sense to me and if I tried to make it make sense I would just end up doubting myself and feeling even worse….  I think I was afraid to write it down because it made it more real. Things came to a head and I decided enough was enough. I knew that there was no shortcut to the healing process  but above all else I was entirely fed up of feeling so utterly shit. I was willing to do anything to feel like I was making some sort of progress.  Even if they were babysteps.

So on the first day of 2017, I reflected that I wanted 2017 to be nothing like the year before. I was starting to realise things about my grief , and what I was learning through hurting, was worth writing down. Partly so I can avoid ever going through this again but also so that when I next faced adversity I knew that suffering didn’t mean the end of the world, it just meant a learning curve and a journey to find what needs to be learnt from every experience, good and bad. I’m kind of hoping this may help me in the future, to be proud of the adversity I’ve faced and survived, to remember to always expect the unexpected but more importantly to always be thankful every step of the way.

I started writing this privately but I have since experienced first hand the power in sharing real life experiences openly and think it can be empowering both to the writer and to people reading. If sharing my pain and experiences helps even one single person feel that they are not alone, stops them giving up, or lets someone out there know another human being feels the same as them, then that would make it worthwhile.

Have courage, dear heart.

Lauren x

Dark Vs. Light

© laurenbythesea
© laurenbythesea

Aren’t we our own worst enemy at times? I really need to stop giving myself such a hard time and allow myself to grieve. I know this but I seem to slip back into bad habits. Kicking myself for not being/ feeling more. I need to remind myself that it’s because I’m a caring person that this relationship meant a lot to me and that isn’t a bad thing that I am still so upset by what’s happened. It just means I’m hurting because it really mattered to me! I didn’t take any of it lightly, I knew what I was doing and I loved him with all of my heart and everything I had. So now I am starting to accept that a part of me will always feel brokenhearted that this didn’t work out the way I hoped. I just pray that the grief gets easier and that the sadness fades because I really do not like the feeling of overwhelming sadness. It’s so shit!

Being in a relationship with someone that couldn’t ever be honest with me was entirely draining. I developed awful anxiety that went through the roof. Over 5 years later, by the time it was over, I don’t think I had an ounce of energy left to repair myself and so recovery has been like a slow rollercoaster. Can you imagine a SLOW rollercoaster? A ride without the exhilaration because you’re going slow enough to see how high up you are and how far there is to fall. Finally realising and accepting I have anxiety has really helped me to better cope. I am more self aware than I’ve ever been. I have done a lot of work on myself and I’m ready. I want, I need, to feel like I’ve made progress.

This relationship ending has emotionally destroyed me, I can only try to handle it with grace and dignity but at the same time, feel like I could burst into tears and endlessly wondering when things actually changed and what went wrong. I beat myself up for it, even when friends say ‘it was him not you.’ Anxiety makes you feel that you’re unloved and not good enough.

Day to day it is just exhausting. I’ve got fight left in me yet and I’m determined to learn to cope, to better myself. Reading articles and books increases my self awareness; give me a way to understand, to empathise , to try and make sense of what’s going through my mind and for that I am so grateful. People have recommended counselling but I’ve tried it before and it was emotionally quite harrowing. I don’t really want to bring negativity back to the surface, so I’m sort of doing it my own way. Accepting that there are going to dark days, but I think, I hope, that if I accept the darkness then it may be easier for me to start seeing the light.

 

Note to self:

Stop making excuses for somebody that hurt you so much! Maybe he had commitment issues. Maybe he had a shitty past.  Maybe there was something going on with him that really did have nothing to do with you, but regardless it is not an excuse for treating someone you supposedly care about like absolute rubbish.  He hurt you badly. It is not your place to try and help him, heal him or even save him.

Don’t ignore this reality. The fact that he hurt you,.. is hurting you, intentionally or not, is what you need to accept, draw a line under and move past.

As hard as it may be to let go, you have to. Unless of of course you want to stay stuck in the past which will destroy you. Do you want to be destroyed? Don’t waste your time and energy on helping the spiral of self destruction.

This was not a fulfilling relationship. You just convinced yourself really successfully that it was. You were setting yourself up for disappointment each time you forgave him and hoped he could change. You believed him to be far more than he ever really was and he couldn’t be that man, even if he wanted to be. Holding on to your idea of who he was will only block you from moving forwards. He may have made you feel happy, but only to set up expectations that he could never actually meet. Stop wasting your time thinking about him. He’s not for you. There is somebody out there for you that will undoubtedly choose you from the very start and not potentially change his mind at any given moment. That won’t betray you and lie to your face. You deserve somebody who actually gives a damn about you! REMEMBER THIS!

Love from yourself x

Learning to Let Go

Im a lyrics girl. I love music, songs with meaningful lyrics, especially when I can relate to them.I heard this Birdy and Rhodes collaboration on Spotify recently and it just tore me open and sung right to my very heart.

” I don’t know why we need to break so hard                                                          

  I don’t know why we break so hard

But if we’re strong enough to let it in

We’re strong enough to let it go.”

That was exactly what I needed reminding of. I let this love and everything else that came with it into my heart and so I’m just as capable of letting it back out. Breathe in. Breathe Out.

I guess part of it must be resisting letting go of what has meant so much to me and what seems to be so much of who I am. So it’s uncomfortable and difficult to let go, even when I know its what I need to do.

According to the experts, when you learn to love yourself, you actually learn to stop resisting your feelings.You learn how to accept yourself for who you really are, without excuses or mental manipulations. Then things really start to change. You don’t know how desperately I want that.

 

 

With love,

I will never understand how you could say those words. Write those vows. Make those promises. Invest so much of your love in hopes and dreams then rip it all right out of my hands.

There went the rug beneath my feet. There came the walls of my world crashing down. Because I was foolish enough to build my world around you. Well I will never make that mistake again.

So now, strangely I can no longer call you my love, my darling, my husband. I can only call you a traitor. For I have never known betrayal like this. There is no pain like this. You are now only somebody that I used to know, or maybe I never knew you at all.That’s the worst part. Questioning every ounce of who you were. The man I loved.  The man I can’t just stop loving overnight even if I want to. Was he real at all? Or just a creation of my hopeful imagination.

Almost as if from outside my own body, I observe myself deliberating whether to hate you fiercely or love you always. If I let hate win, then it devours all the happiness we had, all the memories and special things between us. Yet if I let love win, then that also destroys me, because here I am , living without you. I don’t know how. One day you’re here, next you’re gone. Everything’s gone. And how do you go about loving a gaping hole left in your life?

So the battle ensues. A love hate relationship with my inner self, with my memories. The emotions battling it out. They think they know what’s best for me. Both equally determined to claim victory. Me not wanting or having ever wanted to be a victim. Wondering what on Earth I could have done to deserve this. Watching all the pieces of my broken self scattered around me and simply not knowing where to start with putting them all back together.

I choose love. But not for you anymore. For myself. For those who love me. They say I cannot stay somewhere I don’t belong and I tried so hard to belong there but it was out of my hands. So when I think of you, I will think of love because that’s all I ever did. Showed you love. I will remember that I did not quit my marriage. I fought with blood, sweat and tears to save my marriage, before eventually deciding to save myself.

 

Just beginning….

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The first step is the hardest….

If I had a pound for everytime I was given the advice that I should write my feelings down…. Well I could bloody retire and pay off my student loan, then live the rest of my days on a cruise ship!

Despite this,  it’s taken me a long, hard slog to get to the point where I thought:  “Hey I know what I need to do, I’ll write my thoughts down.” #lightbulb moment

So this blog has multiple purposes.

Firstly, I just want to get some of my thoughts out of my mind because quite frankly, they are too heavy to carry around. Over the last year or so, my thoughts have had the power to eat away at me. If I can lighten the load, it is surely worth a try.

Secondly I thought ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful to look back on, if/ when I have eventually “recovered”, or let’s just say grown from this difficult period in my life, I could look back and see just how far I’ve come?’  That’s another thing people so often say. To feel proud of how far I’ve come. While I can see that yes, I am definitely not still in my pyjamas throwing a solo pity party  (well not everyday ha) I definitely struggle to recognise that I’ve made any sort of progress. I just feel lost and somehow numb. But in time I’m really hoping that I feel a little less lost and a little less numb. Perhaps even maybe when others go through dark times I will be able to say, “Hey you. I see you. I’ve been there and things will get better. If you’re not convinced, then go read my blog where I charted my epic journey from unknown territory to a victorious land where I learnt my own worth!”…..           or something like that. So here I am. Beginning.

It takes bravery to begin. I’m reading this book by Ann Voskamp at the moment and these words particularly touched me.

“It takes ridiculous stores of courage to keep reaching out, to break out of your comfort zone. First steps always seem like not enough but they are the bravest and they start the journey to where you’re meant to go. It takes great trust to believe in the smallness of beginnings.”

So here I am. Feeling small and not sure where I’m meant to go, but none the less courageously making my own beginning.

Lots of love, Lauren xxx