This week, my Power in the Story featured blogger is someone that I just “clicked” with instantly. Elizabeth’s friendly and kind personality is infectious and her capacity to care for others is phenomenal. The Uncustomary Housewife is a blog that features her journey with Mental Illness and her role as a housewife. She does this with a unique flair that is fun and entertaining. Her Blog has also been awarded the prestigious Top 100 Housewife Blogs on the Web Award!
Elizabeth hopes that her blog will inspire kindness and happiness while helping readers realize that they are not alone. In my opinion, her blog does that and more! I am positive that you will see that there is Power in the Story that she has to tell!
Power in the Story: Rebuilding
For this post, I was prompted to discuss “something I’ve gone through, or something I’m going through”. Frankly, I have a lot to pick from. I’ve experienced a lot during my short 31 years, although you would never guess it by looking at me. From the outside looking in my life seems flawless; I’m married to a doctor, I’m a homeowner, I have pets, and I travel to a lot of cool places. My life seems perfect, key word: “seems”. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful life, and I’m aware that I’m very fortunate. But my life isn’t as perfect as it seems; I struggle with mental illness… I mean, I really struggle with mental illness. I have Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and I’m often a prisoner to severe depression and social anxiety.
So, I’m not lacking in the “stories of things I’ve overcame” department. But today, instead of picking a solo event, I’m picking a concept: for the longest time, I haven’t felt worthy. Today, I want to talk about the process of rebuilding yourself, after you’ve fallen.'I’m on a journey to remind myself that I’m worthy.' ~ Elizabeth, The Uncustomary Housewife
The backstory: my fall…
Several years ago I had a nervous breakdown. My breakdown caused me to enter a prolonged state of severe depression, and I subsequently gained around 100 pounds; the collective result of red wine and donut binge-eating. I don’t remember much during that period of time, but I know it was very dark and extremely ugly. For nearly a year I was lost in a haze of alcohol and self-hatred, and I wouldn’t have survived it without my husband. My husband was my champion during my fall. He kept me safe, protected, and alive… but it wasn’t easy for him. Can you imagine having to see your wife like that, and for such a long time?
This post: not about the fall, but the rebuild…
However, this post isn’t about my nervous breakdown, or my drunken debauchery of weight gain. This post is about the attempts I’ve made to rebuild my life since then. It’s been several years, but I’m still cleaning up the mess, as if it happened yesterday.
We have to rebuild…
When we fall, we have to rebuild ourselves. The further we fall, the more rebuilding we have to do.
Rebuilding yourself after you’ve fallen isn’t easy. Especially when it’s so easy to backslide. I focused my personal rebuilding efforts on four main topics; (1) The weight I’d gained. (2) Forgiving myself for letting things get so bad. (3) Forgiving myself for what I put my husband through. (4) Proving to myself that I am worthy of happiness.
Step 1: The weight I’d gained…
Surprisingly, this was the easiest one. I haven’t lost all the weight, and I probably never will. But I’ve lost 60 pounds of it, and I’m starting to recognize my body again.
Step 2: Forgiving myself for letting things get so bad…
This one has been more difficult. Often, I look at myself and I think; “how did I let myself get so far gone?” Time has passed since my fall, and I’ve grown a lot, but sometimes I hate the person I am now. I used to be strong; physically and mentally. I attended college on an athletic scholarship, I used to run and workout for fun, and I’ve always been extremely physically fit; but not anymore, now I can’t even bring myself to go on a walk. I’ve used to be a well-rounded person, I used to squeeze the marrow out of every single day, fitting in as many activities as I could; but not anymore, now I’m lucky to make it out of bed.
I can’t forgive myself for letting things get so bad. I look at myself, and I don’t see someone who deserves happiness; I see someone who is lost, and fat, and worthless. I know that isn’t true… but it’s what I see.
Step 3: Forgiving myself for what I put my husband through…
I’m not sure if I will ever fully forgive myself for what I put my husband through. I know he forgives me. Actually, forgiveness from him was never necessary; he loves me, and he didn’t require forgiveness. I was broken, and he was holding me together.
However, I know it wasn’t easy. It couldn’t have been. My husband married an attractive, capable, intelligent, and self-sufficient woman. But, after my fall I was none of those things. The woman he married was not the woman he got. The women he got was a broken, binge-eating, severely depressed, drunk.
I can’t imagine the pain and worry I forced him to endure… and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for it. However, I am very happy to say that our marriage is strong.
Step 4: Proving to myself that I am worthy of happiness…
This one is ironic. I spend a lot of my time blogging about mental health. I Tweet things like “you matter, and you deserve support”, yet I’m not sure if I matter. It’s easy to say “you matter”, however, buying into “I matter” is a completely different entity.
I want to work out. I want to improve myself. I want to make connections with other people… but I have this voice in the back of my head, and it tells me that I’m not worthy. I haven’t forgiven myself for falling so far.
Still going through it…
So, I guess you could say that this is “something I’m going through”. I’m on a journey to remind myself that I’m worthy.
I’ll continue working every day. It won’t be easy. It won’t be linear. But I can promise you that I will never quit trying… and, I guess, that’s the most anyone could ask for, right?
There is no doubt that there is Power in the Story! The one word that best describes Elizabeth is resilient! Please take a few moments and follow her blog and to follow her on Social Media. You will find yourself be lifted up by her everyday!
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