Dear Diary, I Am #Fearless, Mental Illness
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Dear Diary: Learning To Love My Whole Self

brene brownHave you ever just felt like the only appropriate way to express how you feel is to just bang your head over the keyboard and see the random string of letters, symbols and numbers pop up? Sometimes, despite my ability to speak freely and openly, I am truly at a loss for words.

This is one of those times.

I have literally written and deleted three or four drafts of this post, all of which have probably been more than the perfect way to depict what I was trying to say. However, it still just sounded like this in my mind: a;kshag09t23ptuq03[9toiakjgh;fs.

This post is actually very hard for me to write, and it’s not even going to expose anything about me that is majorly life changing. It’s simply because for the first time ever I am going to be publicly announcing something that until two weeks ago, only my husband knew about, and it’s something I’m not necessarily proud of.

It’s three words, but they carry such a negative impact on my life that even admitting it silently, behind the safety of a blog, is hard, but here it is:

I feel shame. A burning, heavy, barbed wire covered ball of shame that just sits in the pit of my stomach, weighing me down and tearing me up.

That’s the announcement. That I, a human being capable of human emotion, will occasionally battle with the crippling sensation of shame. It might not seem like a huge deal, but honestly, to me, it is.

This shame is centered around a time in my life spans roughly five years, and it’s something that to this day, I refuse to talk about. Not because I was ever harmed, hurt or threatened in a serious way. There’s nothing in those years that are worthy of a SVU episode by any stretch of the imagination, trust me.

In fact, it’s so laughably tame that many would say that there is literally no reason for me to place shame on it, but I do. They are my inner demons, moments in my life that I cannot accept, and I am beginning to work through this in small, baby steps.

Now, for my one request: please don’t make me talk about it.

I’m not ready to do that, I’m not in a place that I feel like I can. When I start to open up about it, it’s like someone removed the part of my brain that allows me to form words. It comes out like jibberish, like a toddler trying to form its first words.

Right now, I am in the very beginning stages of processing it internally on a conscious level. I’m not even sure that I can do that right now, but what I do know is that I cannot talk about it, I do not want to talk about it, and more than likely won’t talk about it if it comes up in conversation.

What you need to know is I am doing just fine, minus the staggering amount of nerves I have about the upcoming counseling appointments revolving around these memories. I warned my husband two weeks ago to bear with me over the course of the next couple of visits, as I will be dredging up moments in my past I’d be plenty happy with just removing from my mind entirely.

Now, I ask the same of you, my family, friends and followers. Just bear with me, just let me process through these feelings, and if I decide I just want to sit in a giant pillow fort and arm knit, let me. I’m just working through whatever it is that we dig up in the sessions.

I don’t need or want pity, just simply an unspoken understanding that this is a battle I have to face, alone (in most areas), and while I may come out with a few new bumps and bruises, I will beat this feeling of shame, and I will be a stronger person for it.

I need to learn to not just love the parts of myself that I am proud of, but the parts of myself that make me cringe. I need to learn to not just love the person I have become, but the person who put me on the path to be that person – no matter how immature that person was.

I am on a journey of learning to love my whole self; the good, the bad, the ugly. It will not be an easy road, and I will likely struggle through the journey, but I cannot stop; I cannot let the shame continue to weigh me down.

The reason I am telling you this isn’t to make you worry or see me differently, but rather to show you that I am ready to move on, to take the next steps to overcome the mental hurdles I’ve set out for myself. I’m done tripping over them. I want to clear them, then look back and think, “Wow, I finally managed to get over all of that.” I want a sense of acceptance and pride when I look to my past, not this terrible feeling I have now.

Lastly, these struggles I’m writing about more regularly are not new. They did not just show up in the last 6 months. These are things I’ve been dealing with for many years, but it isn’t until recently, with the help of a wonderful EMDR counselor, that I’ve discovered the courage to face these demons head on. I’m still the same old me, with the same old quirks – I’m just more honest about who I am, and who I was, and that’s something I cannot wait to share with the world.

I hope to chronicle the journey, maybe open up a little bit about what the memories are that have harnessed my shame, and let other’s who struggle with a hidden sense of shame know they aren’t alone and it’s overcomeable, just like all other negative emotions we face from mental illness and just life in general.

Shame is a perfectly normal human emotion, and if you feel so inclined, you can check out Brene Brown’s TED Talks about shame and vulnerability. They are well worth the watch, and you can find them embedded below.

Alright, well until next time, Internet.

If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on  FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram

Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

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