What my first 29 years of life, marriage, and divorce… have taught me.

10-4-16

When I met the man who I married (recently divorced) I was only a girl. A girl who thought she was grown because she had experienced so many things by the age of 16. Looking back at that girl… I was scared, exhausted, depressed, and fighting to not give up on life. I feel like, I have spent the first 29 years of my life; just fighting. That’s what this post is about… What my marriage, divorce, and first 29 years have taught me.

First, for you to truly understand; I have to share a lot of personal things. Things that you wouldn’t know about me unless, I was extremely close to you as a child or adult. (There are very, very few people in this category.) Even then, my best friends in the entire world had no idea; until many years later of the depth of my depression.

I was sexually abused multiple times as a child. Starting at the age of 4 and the last time I was 17. My parents divorced, when I was 12 or 13. I went from a child, to not yet a woman, but having to be one anyway; at an early age. Between just those two things alone… before I give any serious details, caused me serious trust issues that I still suffer from today.

I started working at the age of 14 while I was still in middle school. (Seventh grade) I’d work most nights, getting off late, and be up early for school the next day. On most of the nights when I got home from work, my younger brother would still be awake. It would be midnight or later. I’d cook for him whatever I could manage up, clean up the kitchen, put him to bed, and try to sleep myself. I never slept well and I still don’t. I have functioned off about 3 or 4 hours of sleep for most nights, ever since I can remember now.

My mother, who I know had good intentions and loved us most of her life; was just selfish. I think she reached a point in her life, where her problems and battles got the best of her. She had a gambling, drinking, and drug addiction that she hid from people for many years. Not to mention, mentally I know she was depressed and bipolar. My mother mainly cared about the opinion of others, what they thought of her, and she never learned to truly love herself. The woman she is now is not the same woman, I knew as a very young girl. Not even close.

If we (my siblings and I) ever came first for either one of our parents, it wasn’t often. Most of the house bills were in mine or my sister’s name. By the time I was in the 8th grade I worked two jobs during the school year and 3 in the summer. If you count babysitting… 4 jobs. My mother would come home at early morning hours… between 3 or 4am drunk. Passed out in her car in the drive way. I can remember thinking; it was amazing that she never drove through the apartment building she would park behind. Her car sometimes would be inches away of the side of the building. I would get her out of her car, help her clean up, get her in bed, and then go to school. Other times, she would lock herself away in her rooms for days at a time. She was always on edge, yelling, and I seldom remember her ever being happy. I used to worry for her and her safety.

My father was far from innocent and also, selfish. He never was, an actual father. He spent very little time with us unless, it was forced. He did a very good job at making us feel unwanted and like obligation. When he and my mother divorced, he divorced his kids too. We seen our father very little when he was married to my mother, a few times a year for the first 2 years after their divorce, and then not again for many years. I haven’t seen him now in about 4 years. This man is a stranger to me. I know nothing about who he really is, nor him me. My memories of him are mostly sad and depressing to recall. I can remember how badly he would beat my brother for acting out. When I say beat… I mean until my brother couldn’t sit down and was black/blue down his legs and back. My brother took beatings for my sister and me too. My father used to tell me that I talked too much and asked to many questions. I don’t remember anything affectionate or happy, when it comes to him. Not one holiday, not one birthday… Nothing.

When I met my ex-husband, he was the first man I felt safe around. I wasn’t afraid to fall asleep around him. That was a huge deal to me. (As an adult, falling asleep around a man is still a huge deal to me.) I moved out of my mother’s home when I was 18. I moved into my ex’s home with his parents. I won’t go into details, but lets just say… that the arrangements weren’t much better there. We lived with his parents about 7 months.

We done everything together and he had a way, of naturally making me relax. I’m very uptight and serious most of the time. He made me feel okay to be my age, but I seldom stayed in the state of mind. He made me feel good about myself. He truly was my best friend. I got married young, thinking it would save me from my childhood. That marriage could give me things I never had. A family, support, love…

A year after we got married, I was pregnant. We found out that my pregnancy was not going well at all.  I was put on bed rest. To make a long story short… I had my son early and he passed away. This is when my life took the deepest plunge into depression. I can’t tell you the amount of time I had wanted to kill myself, the times I tried… I was so alone through all of it. I spent night after night, day after day, grieving alone. Not long afterwards I got sick with cancer, a blood disorder, and a rare syndrome. All in which…. Almost killed me. Death just seemed like the best way out. I went through every chemo treatment, every doctor’s appointment, every… everything alone. During this time in my life… I honestly don’t know what kept me going everyday.

I thought God hated me. I felt like my entire life had been one nonstop punishment. Then something happened, and I swear it happened just like this. I got up one morning and looked into the mirror. I was disgusted with who I had become. I was depressed, miserable, mad all the time, and wanted to die. I seen my biggest fear in the mirror… My mother. I could see me turning into the woman I had despised for so long. I could now understand, why she may have wanted to feel numb and give up. However, I had two children that I loved more than myself. I could never willing do to them, or let the things happen to them, that was done to me. I wanted more for them and myself. That was it…  Seeing my biggest fear in the mirror and I had finally just had enough of everything. In that very moment… I no longer felt sorry for myself. I knew that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to change.

So I did.  I changed the way I thought; every time I felt depression winning and I wanted to give up, I told myself to remember why I wanted change in the first place. I thought about the things I wanted for my children and for myself. The thing about depression though is that, it makes you feel like you are unworthy or undeserving of things. It’s very difficult to change that. I learned to manage depression by learning my emotions and the things that triggered them. What affected me and how. I learned to not fear change and the unknown… Eventually, I knew that the only way I would actually be happy was to accept myself. The only way I was going to accept myself, was to become the woman I knew I could be and not an excuse; of what life was trying to make me.

I pushed every single day. I still push. I learned how to accept that my parents were never going to be good parents, to forgive them, and that I didn’t need them. I had to also, end my marriage to a man I fell out of love with, but still loved. In so many ways… I will always love that man. He will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe for a short time, my marriage did save me. Over the years I changed, he changed, what we wanted, and each needed; it all changed. We drifted apart and the man who was my best friend became a stranger. A stranger who I couldn’t emotionally or physically depend on or connect with any longer. I tried, but I couldn’t fall back in love with him. Too much had happened…

Divorce if anything, taught me to put myself first for once. I learned that being alone and lonely… were not the same. It taught me that change was a good thing, to see opportunities I hadn’t before. It taught me that…. Being angry and being sad aren’t the same thing. It taught me how to let go, of all of the pain I had been carrying for those many years. It taught me how to forgive myself and others.

I was tired of holding on to the pain. Emotionally, physically, and mentally I was exhausted. Just that simple, I didn’t want it anymore… so I let it go. I found an inner peace that I had never had before. Here I am now a few months away from my 30th birthday and a lot of chapters have come to an end. The rest of the story isn’t over and the best is yet, to come. I’ll keep striving for the things I want and I’ll get them. I won’t give up. If my life has taught me anything, it’s that… My life is and will be what I make it.

I am at an age where I’m responsible for me; and my children. I have no one else to blame for the lack of what my future could be, but myself. The things that hurt me yesterday, are done. There is no going back and changing it. So I have accepted it, as what it was. I forgave those who hurt me, for me and my happiness… not theirs.

I now know, that if I could learn how to overcome depression and change my entire life within 3 years time; my only limitations would be myself. My own fear… I refuse to give it that gratification. I finally feel worthy enough; I could have the things I dreamed about. The things I deserve to experience and have.

I hope that by sharing this post today that someone who feels like giving up, doesn’t. That the person who looks in the mirror and hates what they see, learns to love their self. I encourage anyone suffering from depression to reach out, seek help… If you have suicidal thoughts go to a hospital and ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help! The emotional rollercoaster ride and the mental state of mind… are so hard to balance. I found my balance by processing people, my experiences, my emotions, their actions and applying logic to it.

I embrace with open arms the next 30 years. I look forward to what my future holds. The closing of the old and the opportunities found in the new, are what I’m grateful for.

Goodbye twenties!

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