Give the best of you. Not the rest of you.

Many things have happened since my last blog over a year ago. Since life decided to toss me into a roller coaster without a seatbelt, I took time away from writing to focus on myself and my family. I lost who I really was though the downward spirals and twist and turns. In order for me to be the best mom and wife, I needed to find the real me again. There were so many bumping roads that I got whiplash. Between hospital visits, multiple blood draws, finding out people’s true colors, and crying myself to sleep, I found myself completely lost.

I had it set a year ago that I was going to eat better, drink less alcohol and work out daily…and I was. I was on a great path and I was making great progress. Then it changed. Before I could open my eyes from a simple blink, my life was changed. I had no time to adapt. I had to force on a smile and keep trucking along. In the mist of doing so, I became a complete robot. A replica of myself. No feelings, no energy, no urge to change because I had no confidence or strength to do so.

I felt alone and honestly, I felt like my feelings and troubles were just dramatic and worth nothing. So, then I got mad at myself for not only feeling the way I felt, but for struggling the way I was. I felt like I was wasting my life away and wasting everyone’s time. I felt like I was letting everyone down.

I’m not saying these things because I’m playing the “woe is me” card, to get sympathy or to bring anyone down. Those exact situations are the reasons why I have taken so much time off from posting. I needed to find myself again and I tried to do that without any help, which wasn’t working. I needed help, but I was too ashamed to ask for it. I was too embarrassed. I wanted everyone to think I was happy. I wanted to paint this pretty little picture so maybe I would believe it too.

I have been wanting to open up about my situation for a long time and I feel like now is the right time after the life changing and eye-opening events that have happened. I wanted to talk about this because this past year has been a HUGE learning experience for me. I want everyone who reads this to realize that they’re not alone because feeling alone is one of the most excruciating feelings especially when you need someone the most. Sometimes having someone to just listen to you, even if that’s all they do without saying one word back, is all you need.

The last thing that I want is for anyone to feel the pain that I felt often and still do at times. I didn’t speak out because I just didn’t want people to look at me in a certain way that would differ them from actually knowing the real me or getting to know the real me. I didn’t want anyone’s day or time to be darkened. From holding it all in like I did and for as long as I did, all it did for me was hurt me mentally, emotionally and physically. It numbed me when I should have felt my healing in progress. It blinded me when I needed to see my reality and it took away all I could hear when I needed to hear the truth. I wouldn’t wish any of that on anyone, even my worst enemy.

So, I’m here, being honest and as real as I can be. I have been working on this blog for the past year. I know that seems like an awfully long time, but that’s how much this blog means to me. I have re-read it, added more thoughts, deleted some and explained more on certain things just to make sure it’s as perfect and pure as it can be.

I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for most of my life. I have always felt like I wasn’t normal or like anyone else. Like most nights, I am up and not able to sleep. I waken multiple times a night because of exhausting anxiety attacks. I’m thinking about the work week, the personal situations happening, and financial uncertainty’s and it all hits me like a loaded semi-truck. Without wanting to involve my husband, I pretend like everything is fine and remain quiet until he falls into a deep sleep. Once he is sound asleep, I grab my laptop and start writing. I keep thinking, “I really wish I would have talked to him before he fell asleep, but what kind of wife would I be? ‘Oh, you’re tired? Well, listen to me talk myself through this anxiety attack first and then you can go to sleep.’”

Lately at work, I have been under extreme pressure which has led to even more extreme anxiety. With no light at the end of the tunnel, I tend to curl up in a ball to protect myself and then roll myself right into my shell. In there, I’m not happy. I’m just numb.

Once I get home, I am my happiest, even when I immediately make dinner, clean and tackle home duties. With no regrets and never wanting my life at home to be any different, I soon find myself almost moving as if I am a mean robot. What kind of a mom and wife is that?

This year, people, situations and my demons inside controlled me more than I was able to handle. I have consumed myself with what others want me to do and with what will make them happy. At the end of the day, I am drained and unable to feel fulfilled.

I started to see a trend in my actions every day and that trend was scaring me, yet I couldn’t stop it. I was not only drinking every day, but I had to drink every day. I had to have more than just one drink and I had to have it as early as possible. Through out the day, I would finish a drink, just to quickly open a new one. To clean I needed to be buzzed, to watch a movie or my favorite show, I needed that drink in my hand and the moment I got home, before even putting my purse down, that drink was in my hand and opened.

What scared me the most what that if I wasn’t even craving it, I felt like I needed it and I would drink. It helped numb me. It helped my bad day at work or the current situations in my life not seem so bad. I would wake up in the morning hating myself and feeling the most extreme disappointment I could ever feel in myself. I would swear that I wasn’t drinking again. Then in a blink of an eye, I was. And the cycle started all over again. I was so scared that I was an addict. I NEEDED to stop not just for myself, but for my family.

I was lost with, what it seemed like, no way out.

One day, I was talking with a very dear friend of mine. I pretty much word vomited all over her. I told her I couldn’t take it anymore. The stress, the anxiety, the disappointment in myself and who I was becoming as a mom and wife. Then she told me something that has stuck with me ever since. She said, “Never give the best of you, then give your family the rest of you.” I became speechless when she told me that. That one sentence, just those few words, made me break out of my shell because that’s when it hit me…

Waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks because I dreamt of work and messing up at it, my personally situations or questioning the budget for the next grocery shopping trip when the kids need new clothes too is all beyond unhealthy. When is this damage that anxiety is doing to my body going to stop? When am I going to be able to put the drink down because I don’t need to feel numb anymore? When is it my time to FINALLY do what I want to do and have it benefit not just me, but my family? Is this stress worth it? Is it ever going to be worth it? Is the stress and anxiety always going to win? Absolutely not.

Lately, my body has been trying to tell me something…and I haven’t been listening. It’s worn out. It’s tired of fighting for me when I’m not fighting for it. My mind has taken control over everything. How I feel, how I heal and how I move on. And that stops now.

From now on, my family deserves to only get the best of me and no longer get the rest of me. The same goes for me. I deserve to have the best of myself and not the rest.  I deserve to be annoyingly happy again, to laugh at my own jokes, to laugh at my kids “Knock Knock” jokes, to be engaged in their stories about their days, have the mind set to be able to focus on helping them with homework, enjoying their help with cooking dinner with me and hanging with them in their beds before bedtime while they read me their bedtime stories. They deserve a fully engaged, happy and healthy Mommy. Nothing less.

My husband deserves to have his wife back. The wife that wants to do fun things again, be independent again and no longer so dependent. He deserves to have his wife, his best friend and the rock that he needs at times. I have put so much on him to fill in the puzzle where I abandoned all the important pieces. If it wasn’t for him picking up all that I was letting go, my whole family would have fallen. I am so incredibly grateful for all he has done and for all that I have.

Myself, I deserve to have myself back. The real me. The silly, happy and healthy wife and mom, but at the same time, the silly, happy and healthy Joei. I deserve to look into the mirror and love what I see again. I deserve to get my lazy butt out of bed early each morning and work out again, enjoy cooking again and enjoy writing again. Being me again.

Giving the best of you to what makes you unhappy or to things that you don’t want and in turn give the ones and things you love the rest of you is not a healthy way to live. I knew I was breaking my kid’s heart whenever I turned them down of fun family things.

I have realized more of what I am capable of and that is a very rewarding feeling. When you have either lost it or never had it, to be reminded of just how strong you are and to see the talent with in you, can be the most incredible feeling. When times get that dark, yet invisible at the same time, what are you supposed to do? You are unable to see a foot in front of you when it’s so dark. You’re not able to see your next move or feel what direction your heart is telling you to go because the dark scares it. When you get a chance to move past the darkness, you’re frozen. When everything is invisible right in front of you, you stall. You don’t see the importance or the value of any reason or any answer. When times are excruciating and you’re on the brink of being easily pushed out of our own body and soul, that’s when you decide…is it worth the fight or to see it fly away? No more holding back on what you want or following your dreams.

There are so many things in life that are horrible for you, but they help numb the pain. That extra pill, that extra shot, that extra bottle. What I have learned from this hard, past year is that there are way more things in life that don’t numb your pain, but they help you break free from the pain and start to finally heal.

Allow yourself to welcome yourself again, to let yourself in and never let it go. To get know yourself again and to love the fact that you’re you. You were born to be you and no one else. Allow yourself to understand that hard times are going to happen. Life isn’t all rainbows and sprinkles. Life is hard, challenging and can make you feel defeated at times, but it is those times that you need to remember just how strong you are. How important you are. And how this world would be so different without you. You bring your own ray of light to each day. A light that no one can dim. No matter how hard a bully tries, you are brighter and stronger than they could ever imagine. Allow yourself the freedom to find that light.

I know anxiety and depression isn’t felt only by me. Millions of us suffer from it. It’s a pain unlike any other. For those out there that can’t relate, please don’t judge. Instead, please help. Please guide us and show us the beauty in the small things again. In turn, when or if anxiety and depression sneaks up on you, we’ll be there to help and guide you.

Take a bat to those curve balls, turn those bumpy roads into a fun roller coaster and shine your light on those dark days. Laugh at yourself again. Smile at yourself when you look in the mirror.  Simply be you.

I, after a long year, can honestly say that the real me is making its way back to me. My shell of a body is starting to get fulfilled again and live again. When I look back on the year I just lived, I shake my head and wonder how the hell I got through it. I didn’t think I was able to ever heal, but I’m starting to. I will not allow anything or anyone to attempt to break me again.  

Broken times cause broken shells. Let’s heal ourselves and, when we feel like breaking again, remember through it all, we are unbreakable.