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Home Is Where The Heart Is

It's that time of the year again, it's Mercury Retrograde. A time for reflection and rebirth, for myself at least. Many past theme's have been arising, which have really shown me how much that I have grown and evolved. The way that I handle life now is no where near how it used to be. The manner in which I communicate to myself has changed for the better, major improvements all around. I am now able to shout my love for myself from the mountain tops AND mean it. The *fake it until you make it* phase is dead, long gone, and buried; now new life has grown. I used to be a person that was extremely hard on self, like perfectionist status, and it took me almost a decade to learn combat that. I had to combat my way of thinking, which included going against what the mean voice in my head was telling me. Working on my way of thinking helped to transform my way of doing, and now this is all almost routine. Not to give the impression that I'm not still dealing with these issues, but they are way more manageable and I'm all here for that! Not only have I noticed these changes, but so have those around me. The kind words have been coming from every direction at any given moment. My loved one's are always telling me how proud they are of me and how much I inspire them, and that is just beautiful. The phrase "Be the change that you want to see" comes to mind.

What I'm dealing with currently is light work compared to my past, so it's important that I discuss the journey that it took to me to where I am today. Let's go back in time to when I was about 19/20, when many issues came into play. I got my first *real* job when I was 20; it was customer service, sales, and a very public space around tons of people. A short breakdown of my experience working so publicly: I would feel an impending sense of doom; be anxious 24/7; secretly cry in the restroom or in my car, or at home if I could make it; I remember once my eye sight even went out while serving someone and it was a nightmare. For reference, public settings have never been my preference and the only time that I've been surrounded by people was when I was addicted to ecstasy in high school (I'll save that tale for a blog on escapism and emotional abuse). The start of my 20's is when I first started to discover how severe my anxiety is, and this was also around the time that I started having constant panic attacks, and by constant I mean daily. I was living in my own personal hell, with no way to escape. It felt like my body and mind were rebelling against me and it was completely out of my control. This bled into every aspect of my life and this went on for YEARS. I stopped leaving the house for about a year because I couldn't go beyond my bedroom door without having a panic attack. Going to the kitchen or the front door scared me. Going downstairs for any reason would break me down. I could no longer drive because panic attacks in the car are nothing to play with, and even to this day I can't drive many places. I legitimately felt like I going crazy and I didn't know where to turn, so after a long while I decided to turn inward and tried to find solutions to *my new normal*. How did I do it? Well, I asked myself questions. What could I do to help me? In what ways can I make life easier for my future self? How can I start? So, I took all of my money that I had saved from work and I got a therapist, a CBT (cognitive behavior therapist), to be exact. I remember my first day in the waiting room of his office, I was getting ready to run out, but then his door opened and this is where change began. The first seeds planted started here. I didn't wave a magic wand, or anything of the sort, I put in the work. This meant challenging myself; it was me vs my body + mind, and I knew that I had to come out on top. That meant leaving my house and going out in public. Doing seemingly simple tasks, like going to the grocery store without running out because of panic, or driving around town to get me used to driving again, or even just hanging out with a friend at a park or restaurant. At first I found it very difficult and would try to turn to drinking to ease my pains, but that died off quick. I spent enough of my life being self destructive and that was no longer an option. I essentially had learn to reintegrate myself back into society. The self work went far beyond my therapy experience, it turned into a daily activity because I had to get back to the flow of life. Bills were calling, so I had to get back to work, and in order to get to work I had to drive. To be honest, I failed at this the first few times around, because it was just too uncomfortable. No problem there. It just meant that I wasn't ready, but I would get there one day. Honestly, during this time no one really knew what I was going through. I mean, I could barely explain it to myself, so vocalizing it to other's was damn near impossible, plus I was too occupied with being in a constant state of panic. There was one person that really got to see the ends and outs of this journey, because she didn't want me to feel alone, so she would always come around. She didn't understand what I was going through, but she could see it in my eye's and in my body language, so she never doubted me. Even to this day, she can still tell when something is a miss with me. Thanks to her I've learned that opening up isn't that bad, and that it is ok to do thing's on my own time. It's nothing to feel bad or ashamed about. I can't do it all and that is fine by me.

Over the year's I continued to do thing's that forced me out of my comfort zone. It was for the sake of growth, but honestly, I don't want that for me anymore. That's something that I am working on changing. I no longer want to be uncomfortable, because that's no way to live. I made it through my own personal hell, just to subconsciously create another, and that doesn't sit right with me. The last 2+ year's have given me the opportunity to slow down and finally find a way of doing that work's for me and what I'm capable of. I am my own best friend and that means treating myself right. Treating myself right means doing things that make me feel happy and secure. I am not a superhero. I am just woman that is learning to live within her means. I am now 28, going on 29, and I feel like a completely new person. Do I still struggle? Yes. Can I drive freely? No. Do I still have severe anxiety? Yes. Does that invalidate all that I've put in and accomplished? Absolutely not. Every day I'm striving for better, even if that just means listening to my body when it's tired. Striving for better no longer means draining myself or overworking, it means working with myself, and not against. I spent many years crying sad tears and now it's my time to cry happy tears. It's only up from here.

Thing's that I've learned through this journey:

▪︎Do what makes you happy. No one else can dictate that, but you.

▪︎There is always a way through. You just have to be willing to find it.

▪︎Take your time. Trying to keep up with other's will burn you out time and time again.

▪︎Make peace your priority.

▪︎It is ok to be afraid or uncertain. You won't be forever.

▪︎Feeling misunderstood comes with the territory. If you can't understand it yourself, then it can be hard for other's to, too.

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