Living in the Past – Changes that can’t be undone

Today is Mother’s Day a day when people celebrate that important woman in their life who raised them or helped mold them into who they are today.

I am a mother to four wonderful children that I am very proud of and today should have been a good day for me but it wasn’t.  I woke up in a down mood and it continued to progress as the day went on.

First, I have a mother that I do not talk to. I made that decision about 3 years ago when I started facing the underlying issues associated with the major depressive disorder.  I made the decision to remove toxic people in my life and change who I was.

It was a good decision for me and my children but dealing with the issues that followed is still ongoing.

Last night, I watched the movie “The Shack”. It’s a story about a man whose faith in God is tested by a personal tragedy that he and his family faced.  The underlying theme was that he had to “forgive” in order to let the healing in and have his faith renewed.  The character of God said to him that he wasn’t expected to let go of the anger, that it would take time, but forgiving the person who caused the pain had to be done first.  That no actions are not without consequences.

This had a profound impact on my thinking. I never forgave the people who hurt me and I just don’t see how I can.  I’ve asked for guidance over this issue for decades and know that I cannot truly begin healing until I let it go.  So I prayed last night for God to help me find a way to forgive them because I don’t think I can on my own or ever will.  The answer I got back was “patience”.  The same answer I’ve been getting for the last 4 months.

Then today I woke up and the down mood was there as soon as I woke up.  I laid there and tried to think positive thoughts.  I thought I was okay when I started going through and pulling pictures of me and my kids from the time they were babies that I had planned on posting to social media.  Among the pictures I found a picture of when I got married to their father.  This started weighing heavily on my mind along with the thoughts of my mother.

Married

In the picture with my ex-husband we looked so young and so happy.  We were beginning a new life together, something that I had always wanted along with everything else I ever dreamt about in my younger days.  Also among the pictures were when I was in my late teens and early twenties as a soldier in the military.

I sat there and looked at the pictures and realized how young I was.  I looked so happy and carefree. I was no longer living in the toxic environment that I grew up in and I was on my own.  I was becoming my own person.  I was capable, smart and living in a world where I excelled.

The people in the pictures where people I dated, worked with, was friends with or most were drinking buddies. I realized that what the pictures did not convey was that I was depressed and anxiety filled then too.  The only difference between then and now is that back then it was masked under excessive drinking, spending, gambling, bingeing, exercise, smoking and promiscuity.  I was self-medicating my sorrow with anything that was available to me.

Then one day, I found out I was going to be a mom.  It stopped me in my tracks and I knew that in that moment I had to change.  I had to stop the excessive behaviors because there was a new life being brought forward that would depend on me for the rest of their life.  It was overwhelming, scary and wonderful all at once.

So I stopped drinking, stopped smoking, started taking better care of myself, started saving money and ended relationships that were not helpful or positive.  I started making plans for my future and my baby’s future.  I wanted to become this mom who could manage without the help of family or the father of my child.  I wanted to be independent and free from influence of others.   Something that I still strive for even today.

Then I came home and ended up right back where I started.  Depression and anxiety started taking its toll on me.  I had to go back into the toxic environment that I was so desperate to leave because I had nowhere else to go.  I was alone, a single mom with a baby and no job prospects.  I had some skills but not enough to allow me to make the money I needed to support myself.

So I begrudgingly came home and took the abuse that followed.  As time went on, I started building on my skills and talents, started making more money and then came a day when I could finally move out on my own.  I then became a parent to another child but by then I knew how to work things out, money was tight and there were things we did without but we managed.

I started feeling confident again in my ability to manage and excel once again.  Then I found the person I wanted to marry.  I thought my life was finally coming together the way I had always wanted it to.  The next 17 years were not what I had always hoped they would be.  I ended up just trading the abuse from my own parents and sisters to one now being doled out by a husband.

It all became too much as time went on and some of the excessive behaviors returned.  I relapsed into negative thinking, lost confidence, lost self-esteem and the thoughts about myself grew darker.  I was becoming lost to the depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

I finally broke free from it and have been struggling ever since to get back on solid footing.  The daily struggle with the depression filled thoughts are slowly becoming manageable but it has its moments.

Today should have been a good day.  I was spending it with my children.  We were going to the park to take our yearly pictures.  The negative thoughts were weighing heavily and unfortunately my frustrations came out.  The day ended abruptly.

I had to walk away from my children because the things I wanted to say would have been hurtful and that is the last thing I want to do, hurt my children.  They have been through so much already this past year and it hurts when I say things that I don’t mean because I can’t stop the thoughts that come up.

So I went and sat down on a bench under some big beautiful trees.  The sunlight was filtering through the leaves.  There was blue skies and green everywhere. I could hear the sound of the birds, the other families in the park, the wind blowing through the trees and the traffic on the street.  I could feel the breeze blowing through my hair.

I sat there with my eyes closed, listening to my own breath.  I was inhaling deeply in and exhaling deeply out. Focusing on the word patience. I was pushing the random thoughts flitting through my mind to the side.  Placing them on hold until I could sit down and try to figure out why they were there.  Trying to figure out why I felt so unhappy.

After we left the park, took my oldest son home and arrived back to our house everyone went off to their own rooms.  I went to my room, laid there and cried.  I posted a few thoughts on social media then fell asleep.  I woke up later with a headache and feeling hungry.  I was scrolling through Facebook when my youngest daughter came in and laid beside me.  I leaned over and kissed her forehead.  We talked about random things and then she wanted to get some food.  We left the other two sleeping and went to grab some Chinese food.  On the way there and back she talked to me about upcoming band stuff, played some music for me and I knew we were okay with each other again.

After we came back, I woke up the other two and took them to grab some food also.  My youngest son came up and gave me a big hug before we left.  On the way we talked about random things, laughed and looked at the pictures that I managed to take while at the park.   We got home and everyone went to do their own things.  We are okay once again with each other.

Today started out not how I expected but in the end it was still a good day.  My children and I still love each other.  We will always be there for one another.

I realized that the unhappiness I was feeling is about change.

I’ve been so desperate to make changes in my life recently that I never stopped and looked at how far I’ve come.  The past has propelled me to this point.  I forgot about the things I went through when I thought my young life was perfect.  It wasn’t but back then I only focused on the good things.  This is how it should be.  Focusing on the positive things then made me feel good about myself and kept me motivated.  I never used to focus on the negatives because I knew that it was a part of life, a part of the learning and growing.  You can’t avoid negatives.  The only thing you can do is move through them, learn from them and remember them later so you don’t make the same mistakes again.

I forgot that along the way.  My thoughts and focus turned toward the negatives not remembering the good things.

The best part of my life has been being a mom.  I love my children with all my heart and soul.  I will do anything for them within my means.  I will protect them and care for them for the rest of my life.  That’s what a mother’s love means.

I had to remember that in order to make meaningful changes in my life that I have to forgive.  I have to let things go because they are like a weight still tied to me and will continue to weigh me down until I cut them loose.  I can never truly be free and independent if I let others or negative thoughts influence me.

The goals I set for myself so long ago are still there.  I’m still striving toward them.  I am now moving into a new career area that has the potential to allow me to become financially stable and move toward other goals that I’ve set along this journey.

Change is good.

Change is scary.

Change is necessary to grow to your full potential.

Change cannot be if you continue to hold onto the past.

So today is a good day to start making changes.

Thank you for stopping by.

Have a great week!

Suzanne

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