Once upon a time I had it all. The perfect life. Or it looked like it, and that’s all that matters right? I look back and I was beautiful. I had the perfect family. The perfect body. The perfect kids. The perfect house. The perfect friends. I was one lucky girl. And like many of us are guilty of, during the time, I was so focused on what I didn’t have. I was bulimic. I was trying to keep my husband from straying. I was trying to keep up with all the Smith’s and the Jones’s next door. I was trying to cut back from taking 30 pain killers that day so I didn’t have to “feel”. I was trying to run that extra mile a little faster. I was attempting to be a better cook. The list could go on and on and on. It was never enough, I was never enough. I look back at my old pictures and I looked great and my life looked amazing, but my eyes are dark, empty, and sad. I am screaming out my insecurities and personal torment, hoping and praying someone would save me. Little did I know my life would soon be taking a huge turn for the worse, falling apart, and I would end up losing all the things I didn’t realize I had, all along.
I should have seen it coming. Looking back, the signs were all there. I should have known. I had many sleepless nights next to my husband of 10 years, questioning whether he was staying faithful after his 1st affair.. That was very painful, but what was even more excruciating was the mind games that he played with me, the criticizing, always being blamed for any and everything that went wrong, the walking on egg-shells, the silent treatment, always being told to do better, etc.. I knew there was something wrong with how he treated me, but I didn’t realize there was an actual name for it. Narcissism or NCP (narcissistic personality disorder). I used to always say he was narcissistic, but I didn’t realize the extent of what that word meant until we started our divorce and I started educating myself and the light bulb came on. I finally felt understood after years and years of not being able to describe what he would do to me, such as the gas lighting and silent treatments and putting me in knots until I thought I was crazy or there was something wrong with me. It was as if these professionals had studied our relationship the entire 10 years and put a name to it.
As I was dealing with a lot of this pain, I was taking whatever I could get my hands on and still be a decent mother. I say decent because, I still kept up the front and functioned, but I kept myself distracted from actually living. It was almost impossible to be present. But I guess that’s how I wanted it. Eventually as most addicts explain, I was introduced to black … No one ever used the word heroin. I often wondered if they would have used that wording, if I would have run? But at the time, I was in such a the perfect place for that drug to come in and completely take over my life. Boy, do I ever wish I could have put a huge barrier between myself and these so called friends and the pain that drove me to that dark place. Just like any addicts story, I didn’t immediately become a junkie like you imagine. I stayed as a “high functioning” addict for a while. During this time, the drugs did their job by putting me in a very numb place where I didn’t want to deal with my husbands bull shit nor did I have to feel the pain that I was in on a daily basis. I would never say that drugs were EVER a good thing, but they gave me the push I needed to leave him. It’s almost like I knew I would NEVER leave him. I would stay and deal with him hurting me for the rest of my life and the only way I could do it was if I was completely in a drugged up or numb place. If I could change anything, I would have done it the right way where I was sober and clear-headed, where I could start the healing process and not take myself down a darker more challenging path. But leave it up to me to learn everything the hard way:)
The divorce was grueling. He knew I was not in my right frame of mind, so it was super easy to blame me for the divorce, but he had to know deep down that he put us in the path of destruction, and I pulled the trigger. Like my dad would always say, ” you can only kick a dog so much until they run away and never come back.” It was kinda the same thing with me. Slowly, my health started dwindling. I thought it was from using. And maybe it was. But I think there was something wrong with me from beforehand, and from using and my stress, it made it get ten times worse. I had WEIRD symptoms. Stuff I could never describe without feeling insane. I would attempt going to doctor after doctor, and they would say that I need to go to a therapist. Itching all over, hair falling out of my head like crazy, feeling like I had a tight headband on my head all the time as if I was losing all my feeling in my head and not getting any circulation in my head, hands, feet, etc.. The way my hair was growing on my head was wrong. Weird right? No one believed me, I thought I was going crazy till one day I woke up and there was a huge bald spot right in the middle of my head at the crown. It was devastating. My eye lashes and eyebrows had fallen out. I didn’t even recognize myself. People thought I was doing it to myself. My skin looked and felt so different. I really wanted to die. During this time, I watched my husband with this beautiful girl he had an affair during our marriage. It was so hard not to use and keep numbing myself. The pain was too raw. I really begged to not wake up in the morning so many nights. No one understood how dark I felt and was. I lost all my friends that I had for so many years. It was such a confusing time because I knew I was doing things I shouldn’t, but my health was unbearable and the emotional pain with my divorce hurt just as bad. My poor parents tried time after time to help pull me out of this hole I was in, and I would try but fall back every time.
I’ll never forget trying to wear wigs. It wasn’t something I could do. I hated faking I had hair. I just wanted to stay in a dark house and never come out. I couldn’t look in the mirror. The only time I spent with my kids was watching movies in my room because I couldn’t go out and do anything with them. People that knew me didn’t recognize me. My feet and legs started swelling. No one could give me answers. I ended up in the hospital at detox and just hoping that if I got clean that my health would get better. I relapsed right out of the hospital. Met some awesome people along the way but couldn’t get better. I watched my kids play outside while I was in a dark room. I watched my family go do fun things while I laid in bed almost dead. My life revolved around my addiction and the shame that consumed me. It was a deadly cycle.
After a few years, I never thought I could or would be a normal person. Looking at old pictures were too hard for me. For so long I thought I was ugly when I was beautiful. I thought I was fat, when really I was healthy and thin. I was a great mom when I thought I was a bad one. I was a great wife when I thought he could do better. Why did it take me going through something so tragic to learn such valuable lessons? I don’t know how I pulled myself out of such a dark place, but somehow I did and today I am a year and 8 months sober. I repeat, I AM ONE YEAR AND 8 WHOLE MONTHS SOBER!!!! It is an honest to God miracle. After finally getting a diagnosis called Diffuse Alopecia (extremely rare) my hair is finally coming in. I still deal with every day problems and my health isn’t perfect but I finally feel “normal” and happy. I still deal with my narcissistic ex and his on and off again “girlfriend”. My life is far from perfect, but I appreciate my life at a whole new level. My whole life is my kids and I don’t take one day for granted like I did before. I am not as thin as I was once, but no longer do I throw up my food or count every calorie. After losing it all, I now have everything and I am so proud to be where I am. There isn’t one person out there that doesn’t have their insecurities and isn’t struggling with being okay with who they are, but why get to the point of losing it all before you can appreciate your flaws and enjoy the ride along the way?
Having my sobriety and health is worth everything I went through. I am proud of who I am today and what I have overcome. For anyone in the dark place, no matter at what stage. DO NOT GIVE UP. If I can to where I am today, there is hope for you. Your life matters. You are important and worth it. Life is hard and the struggle is absolutely real, you aren’t alone. No one is perfect. Nobody lives a perfect life. But I now have the rest of my life to enjoy and live, might as well learn to love myself along the way.