I was on the phone last night with a friend who pointed something out about me that I easily forget. See, she saw me at my absolute worst, during a time I was honestly starting to believe that I was the crazy one. (Nope, wasn’t me. It was just the narcissistic, borderline personality disorder denier without meds making me feel that way. Insert thumbs up here.)
She brought up this time that she stopped by the radio station I was working at for a lunch meeting. I was doing a pretty good job of putting the fake smile on my face and forcing down my salad and oh, would ya look at that, I had to go run to the studio – show time! The studio has always been a sort of “safe space,” where you’re alone, yet talking to potentially hundreds of thousands of people at any given time. It’s honestly a little weird when you think about it, especially since when my friend came to say her goodbyes, she caught me in a complete hysterical crying meltdown. Oops. Mask off.
I had been dealing with texts all day on and off that were incredibly hurtful and demeaning from my now long-gone ex and it was one more poke at my side that made me lose it. My friend was trying so hard to calm me down as I was explaining what was going on and then it happened. I stopped, mid-sentence, told her “hold on,” cleared my throat and went on the air sounding like the happiest, bubbliest, most fun person around.
Her mind was blown.
It was like I flipped a switch and turned into a completely different person, even if only for a moment.
Now, someone who has never been in a mental head space like I had been (or maybe you are in currently) might think that does make me sound like the crazy one. In reality, as one dealing with an abuser, we learn new skill sets to get us through our days. For me, I never once faltered at doing my job and doing it well. Not a single person listening ever knew that the girl making them laugh and smile, felt so worthless and pain-ridden.
I stayed in that relationship years longer than I should have, this story above is actually one of the moments that pushed me to leave. My health was affected, I was questioning my sanity, I was depressed and it turned out it was all due to a toxic person.
The moment I got away, was the moment I started to feel better, healthier, more “me,” lighter and happier. It was a slow and gradual change, but it took a situation like this to make me realize I wasn’t crazy, there wasn’t a chemical imbalance all of a sudden showing it’s ugly head, it was situational anxiety/depression caused by an incredibly toxic abusive person.
If you’re someone that’s going through a similar situation right now, I know how hard it can feel thinking of trying to get out. Every one of these types of situations are different, but they’re all the same in the way that we all feel “stuck.” Whether it’s a feeling we’re manipulated into, a feeling of guilt, a lack of finances or support – you’re never alone. You can get out. You can start your life over. It’s all about taking the first steps in your happiness journey.
If you know someone that you believe may be in a domestically abusive situation but are wearing that mask and wearing it well, let them know you’re there with an ear, a shoulder, a place to stay and that they are so very loved.
The Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/ Phone Number: 1−800−799−7233
If you’re feeling high anxiety and stress, look at your world and see where it’s coming from. Is it from actual things happening to you that are out of your control? OR Is it caused by things you can control? your work environment? a friend or family member that’s bringing the drama? Make 2020 the year that you remove anything toxic from your environment and watch how much better your space feels.