Confessions from a soul. Part 1: When fear shadows happiness

Confessions from a soul. Part 2: Meeting my demons

 

Breath… Inhale… Exhale… Inhale… Exhale…

There was love, support and hope but it wasn’t enough to fight my demons.

Support and love are very important but the main driver for you to succeed is your inner strength.

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You may have lots of people loving and supporting you, but if you don’t want to change, if you don’t make the effort to take the first steps to climb out of the hole of fear and insecurity, no one will be able to help you.

I had to see my anxiety and insecurity almost destroy my relationship to really take an action towards a change.

“I can support you now, but it’s been too intense” … “You need to get help and get better. I don’t know for how much longer I will be able to hold on to it.” Said my boyfriend after a big fight due to an unfounded jealousy of my part.

I was loosing what was most precious to me. His words hurt me so much. I didn’t want to hear that. “Don’t you love me?” I thought.

Yes, he loved me so much that he didn’t want to lose me.

He loved me so much that he was honest and open about his feelings.

He wanted me back, the real me. He wanted me healed and he knew he couldn’t provide the help I needed.

So, I held on to the rope. I swallowed my ego and I looked for professional help.

With all my heart, I tell you that if someone throws you a rope, be strong and hold on to it. The way out will  be rough and tortuous. You may let go and fall down again. But you will get up.

Breath deeply and look up to the sky. Look up to where you want to be, to who you want to to become. Hold on tight to that rope, no matter if your hands hurt, if you bleed, if you are afraid of what is on the other side. Hold on tight.

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There were times that I felt tired, defeated,  and lost. Only a couple people knew what I was going through. Somehow, I kept doing well at work, and even close friends had no idea about my internal struggle.

What kept me going was love and hope. I wanted to get better so I could achieve my dreams. I wanted to get better so I would become myself again.  I wouldn’t give up easily!

After that conversation with my boyfriend, I started to see a very good therapist to work on my anxiety related issues. She helped me to look inside myself and face things that I’d avoided for many years.

Sometimes, to be able to keep going with our lives, we need to put some problems on hold. With time, you may forget about them, or you may just dismiss that they are there. They are locked in a drawer in a dark place that you don’t like to visit very often.

But, like a ghost, these unsolved problems or issues keep haunting you. You may not even notice but they influence your behavior, your thoughts. After all, they are part of you, part of your story.

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My therapist helped me look inside these drawers. The content was complex, filled with mixed emotions that had not been properly dealt with. We cleared off the dust,  looked at them carefully and with time, I moved on from them. They were not stored in a dark place anymore. I accepted them, I learned from them, and I moved forward.

If I can share one of the things I learned on therapy was that you can not change anyone but yourself. We are not responsible for the mistakes other people make, we are only accountable for our own behavior.

You can choose how you look at things. You can choose to let words hurt you or you can wash them off. As my good friend told me one day “be a duck“.

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What?? Be a duck? Yes, we were talking about hydrophobic surfaces (nerd talk). These surfaces repels water, so when water hits them it bounces off (apologies to my fellow scientists for the basic explanation). A duck’s feather is hydrophobic, so even if the duck dives into the water, it will come out dry.

Be a duck: Imagine you have feathers that repeals offenses, negative emotions, misjudgment… repeal everything that does not add in a positive way to your life.

It was kind of funny: Every time I was upset with someone or I was stressed about something I remembered my friend telling me to be a duck. Sometimes it worked, or at least it would make me laugh.

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It took me two years to get out of my insecurity hole and clean up my unsolved problem drawers. With time the anxiety and panic became less strong and I learned how to control them. I had a couple relapses triggered by different episodes in my life, but I was able to recover quickly on my own.

For a while, I could not talk about it without getting short of breath. Just the thought of it could trigger a panicked response. But today, it is only a memory. A memory that does not affect me, a memory that I am not neither proud or embarrassed of – just a memory.

My message is that bad experiences can actually have good outcomes.

 It was on the scariest day of my life that I heard “I love you” from the man I love.

It was in the middle of panicking, trying to go back home, that I found out what that love really meant.

And finally,  it was the time that I felt the worst, when I learned how strong I really am.

Look up to the sky. You can be stronger than you think…

soon it will all be a memory, just a memory…

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The end.