Quiet creeper, outed. FINALLY!

I was driving to work this morning. Just a typical day. I had found a CD (yes they still exist) from who knows when, Now 5. It was nostalgic. I was jamming hard to some of these hits. Some I passed quickly. EWE at some of the hits back then. I came across Lucky by Britney Spears. The song refers to a celebrity that from the outside has it all and on the inside, she’s just sad.

“If there’s nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night? Lost in an image, in a dream, but there’s no one there to wake her up. And the world is spinning, and she keeps on winning but tell me what happens when it stops?”

I realized at that moment that I have struggled with depression since I was a child.

It took me this long (and no it doesn’t matter exactly HOW old I am) to realize it. I remember talking with someone within the past year about anxiety vs. depression. I had mentioned that I had not been depressed, only anxious. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which turns into PMDD during my PMS time. I honestly believed until today that I had not been depressed. I’m a halfway intelligent person. I love learning and researching. How could I miss this? How could I be so close minded to the fact that I struggle with depression?

I believe it’s because I am genuinely a happy person. I enjoy the small things. I can feel amazing just by looking outside at nature. I had it in my mind that to feel joy must mean that I couldn’t possibly be depressed. I can find the silver lining in situations.

I was wrong.

I remember constantly thinking as a child that I was never good enough. I felt I came from a home that was too financially unstable. I always felt like my friends weren’t really my friends. I was only a cheerleader because I was small enough to easily throw around (which isn’t exactly wrong). I remember feeling inconvenient to everyone I was around. I remember feeling like I just wanted to go away. I had friends that felt the same as me, maybe even worse. I learned bad habits from them like cutting myself. I remember sneaking into my kitchen, past my family, taking a steak knife out of the drawer, and I would cut. I would cut very lightly. I would go back to my room, only to later return and do it a little bit more and a little harder. I would wear high socks and long sleeves to school the next day. I found myself trying to balance being cool, being confused about life, being sad enough and being funny enough. I traveled through my schools friend list (before social media existed), trying to find MY people. I appeared to get along with everyone and didn’t really have enemies. I found no comfort in friends. I felt like the friendships I had, I was trying so hard to keep them, were more like a job.

I was EXTREMELY small and always had to defend my eating habits. I didn’t have an eating disorder, I just had small genes. I didn’t mature until years after everyone else did. I looked like I was 10, until I was 17. I had braces for 4 years, and contraptions similar to car engines (pistons and such). I was picked on for my size but no one did it hatefully. I didn’t have a real boyfriend until I was 17, while my friends spent countless hours talking about theirs and the places they went and the things they did. I dove into heavy metal because the lyrics explained the pain I felt inside. I would listen to it at the highest volume, screaming the lyrics while my soul was tired and hurt. High school was not fun for me and depression, it seems, caused the majority of the chaos in my own head.

I guess I have, over the years, started putting things together. It started to really hit home when I was going through a box of memories. I found journals after journals that were filled with depressing poems and scratches of anger pouring out through my beautifully colored pens (obsessed with office supplies to this day. I still pushed it to the side, making jokes about it.

Of all things, of all the music genre’s I listen to, my ride to work listening to old school Britney Spears did me in. The song came on and it took me back to school. All of the feelings came rushing back. The loss of innocence. The immense pain felt only on the inside.

I take this as a God moment. He ever so gently guided me into my own self-realization. I was, and can be, depressed. I can enjoy life. I can rejoice life. I can be depressed. All in one.

It may not seem like a lot to you but for those of you in recovery, admitting is the first step to a beautiful life ahead.

I am thankful for this realization.

P.S. In the midst of this life I was miserably leading, is when I began dabbling in drugs and alcohol. When they say substance abuse is only a symptom, a surface issue, to the real problem, they mean it. Reread this if you need to understand the why? to me using and abusing substances. My story isn’t an exact match to every alcoholic/drug abuser, but there will definitely be some similarities.

Celebrate Recovery and mean it!

I started attending Celebrate Recovery for the first time 13 years ago. I was there for someone else, of course. Those of you that know, know how funny that is. But hey, whatever brings you in!!!

I started seeing the big picture and realized I wasn’t there for anyone else but myself. I was an addict. I was addicted to substances and I was addicted to people. I was addicted to chasing the high and pleasing the world. I can’t tell you which was more dangerous.

I began going religiously but of course, we are always recovering, never recovered. It has been a long process of continuous growth. I had so many unhealthy layers to get through, it has taken this long and I’m not stopping now!

I stopped the substance abuse, which I joke is the easy part. I then started peeling back the layers of unhealthy coping and that is where it has been hardest. I have had to stop relying on anything but God to get me through life. I have had to stop making excuses for my behaviors, choices, attitudes, ALL OF IT.

I began my first step study in 2013 and after book 2, as we were heading into book 3, I broke my ankle in a ridiculous, freak (too old to be doing) cheerleading accident. I was couch ridden for 6 weeks and had to end my step study.

I was upset but I also know God has a purpose.

I was in a marriage that neither one of us was prepared to be in. We had dated off and on for almost 10 years, married for 2. We both had sons from previous relationships and a daughter after our marriage. It was extremely unhealthy and when God says equally yoked HE MEANS EQUALLY YOKED.

We divorced in 2014. The actual divorce was uncontested, 50/50 custody, no child support…. but it was anything but that.

There has been a lot of healing, a lot of hurt, a lot of relying on God and releasing my unhealthy thoughts.

I hid from my duties for a while. I was still praying. Still asking God for guidance. I was not, however, living as I should. I stopped going to church weekly. I would go here and there. I dove into my career in law enforcement and college. I had gained some more unhealthy habits but I was determined to not let go of God.

Romans 5:8

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In 2016, I reclaimed my life. I made a promise to get things together. I started attending church regularly. I began finally healing. I came back to CR. I graduated with my bachelors and went to work for DHR (child protection services). It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I had a few failed relationships. I was living in a big girl world and it took some getting used to. I was working in a world of chaos but I was blessed to have Celebrate Recovery and it’s principles guiding me through life and I was able to share this information with clients that asked. I was able to bring some clients to CR with me. It was wonderful.

In 2018 I really put a seriousness to healing my heart. As a woman, I want to love and I want to be loved. As an unhealthy sinner, I didn’t know how to properly attain it. I put a cross ring on my wedding finger and got down to business. I asked God to remove ALL the things. I did not date anyone. I even took myself on a romantic for one getaway to the Georgia Mountains (it’s in my blog but I don’t know how to link it here). I even made mistakes while I was there because I will NEVER be perfect (no men were involved, only a large amount of alcohol one evening). I was the happiest I think I have ever been.

I continued attending church weekly, CR weekly. I worked hard to put God at the forefront of my life.

In 2019, I reunited with this guy I went to high school with. We had never ran in the same circles but as life would have it, we bumped into each other on duty one day, then another. We began a relationship and are now married. It has not been easy, some our fault, some life’s journey. We both love God and He will see us through.

I am proud to say as of next week, I will have FINALLY completed a Step Study. I put in the work. I attended meetings and went to group weekly. I went when I didn’t want to. I went when I was sick. I went DURING COVID!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing can stop what God wills. I am dancing. I’m not dancing because life is perfect. I’m not dancing because what I want God to fix is fixed, actually the total opposite. Life is EXTREMELY tough right now. I’m dancing because I have buckled down and put in the nasty work. I have answered each and every question with as much diligence as I can. I have answered the tough questions. I have kept in close contact with my sponsor and accountability partners. I have remained faithful.

Please, reach out to a local church. I KNOW there is a Celebrate Recovery near you. I’m asking you to go. Go once, and when you realize how uncomfortable you are, do not let the devil whisper in your ear “this isn’t for you”. Because it is. What some don’t realize is recovery isn’t just about drugs or alcohol. Celebrate Recovery is about Hurts, Habits or Hang Ups. That means that anger that haunts you. That feeling of not good enough. That constant reminder in your brain of that thing that happened years ago. What that person did to you. What you did to that person. Those nasty thoughts you have when people are talking. The way you are terrified to be alone.

It’s helping you achieve a better life. Even when life isn’t better.

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

                                            Reinhold Niebuhr

Thank you for letting me share.