Spends a couple hours being social.

Me: That’s enough people’ing for the next 11 days.

The last few weeks I have forced myself to step WAY outside of my comfort zone. I am very much an introverted woman. I keep to myself. I appreciate my alone time more than your average person. I don’t like social settings. Being around groups of people tends to be too much for me. I’m an empath, so I take on the energy of those around me, whether I want to or not. Protecting my energy is something that I am learning, hence the reason for forced social interaction.

The Empathetic Being.

When I am in a group setting, it’s as though I am being drowned in emotion. Some emotions are positive and happy, some are deep, dark, and ominous. These emotions and this energy penetrates my aura the way smoke from a fire permeates your clothing. The energetic aroma seeping into my pores without notice or care, sticking to me relentlessly, following me with each step. The longer I stay in the vicinity, the deeper it penetrates. The pungent odor burying itself deep within my core. This often manifests itself as physical ailments such as a migraine, chest pain, or mental struggles such as anxiety, rampped thoughts, and a strong desire to escape – to curl up in my bed in the darkness, avoiding all external human interaction for as long as humanly possible.

After being in a group or public setting for any length of time, I generally go home feeling completely drained, wiped, cranky, and in need of solitude and a recharge. I NEED my alone time in order to decompress and recharge my energy stores. If I do not have the opportunity to recharge my batteries adequately, I end up in a depressive state. I end up feeling completely exhausted, drained, and unable to function properly. I’m continuously anxious, on edge, jittery, and ready to snap. If it extends for a long period of time, I lose the ability to sleep well.

In a nutshell, when I don’t have my ME time, I turn into a very angry zombie. In short, I’m a total bitch.

When I am in these states I am impatient, easily frustrated, irritable, and I have no ZERO tolerance for anyone’s shit. Normally I can handle a lot of shit, and I have the patience of a saint. I am understanding and flexible, but when I neglect to take care of myself in this way, I’m a horrible person to be around and I hate everyone.

I’m learning to control the in and out flow of energy around me.

Get out of your own way.

The last few weeks I have attended classes, workshops, and women circles – alone. I may have sat in my car for a good 15-20 minutes to psyche myself up enough to get out of my car and go in, but I did it. I’ve gone on dates, met random people, talked to strangers on the street, started friendships with both women and men that I’ve met along the way. I’ve attended festivals, gone to bars to watch bands play, attended shows, and signed up for classes – alone. I’ve done these things alone in order to prove to myself that I can. I’ve forced myself out of my comfort zone in order to test my limits, forcing myself to learn, and grow.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Through a shit ton of self work and introspection, I’ve learned my limits. I’ve learned about who I am as a person and why I do the things that I do. I’ve learned that because of childhood trauma, neglect, and abuse – physical, emotional, and psychological – I have deep rooted issues and pain that exhibits itself through anxiety and attachment issues. Uncovering these things about myself means I have created an awareness around them, which in turn means that I can heal them. In order to heal them though, I have to walk with them. I have to face them, look them straight in the eyes, acknowledge and honour them, and love them away.

In order to heal it, you have to feel it.

The average person, after seeing the work that needs to be done would say, fuck this shit, and turn their back. Not me. I know what I am capable of. I know that I was put here with great purpose and great intention. I know that the only way I can achieve this is by clearing not only mine, but my ancestral karma as well. I need to face my demons and I need to heal the wounds. I need to do the work. I may not want to, but it needs to be done. Not just for me, but for my kids as well.

Nobody said it would be easy. If they did, they straight up face lied to your face.

I gave up drinking 10 weeks ago.

I’ve given up drinking in the past. The last time I gave up drinking was to help support my partner at the time. He drank to shut his demons out. He drank because he thought it helped him cope. His drinking caused him anxiety and pain. He used his anxiety and pain as an excuse to mistreat those around him, those he loved – me. I stopped drinking to encourage him to stop as well. To help show him he could function without it, that without it, his pain and anxiety would start to ease off. In my typical codependent fashion, I did it because I thought I could heal him. I couldn’t.

It was different this time around. This time around I did it for myself. (note – this is the ONLY reason you should do self work – for YOU). I stopped drinking because I felt it was inhibiting my ability to heal and evolve. It was enabling and prolonging my pain. Alcohol was my crutch, my vice. I used it to numb out my pain, and run from my problems. Removing the barrier between myself and my healing forced me to face my issues, deal with my shit, learn from it, and grow. I had no choice.

I gave myself no other option. Woman up or stay the same. Staying the same wasn’t an option for me.

The last 10 weeks have been a profound learning experience. I have uncovered a lot of old wounds, childhood trauma, and intense pain that I had been covering up for as long as I can remember.

How to Cope.

You are going to get to a point where the pain feels like it’s too much and you are going to want to give up, turn your cheek, and go back to how things were before you became aware. You are going to want to give up. You can’t. Whether it takes days, months, or years, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward.

Healing takes grit.

Grit, determination, and a strong will to succeed. I would say it takes balls, but balls are weak and sensitive. Betty White says it best:

Forcing yourself to see all that is viewed as “wrong” with you is not for the faint of heart.

Opening your eyes to past trauma’s is no easy task.

Tearing open old wounds in order to feel through the emotion of the experience is heartbreaking.

Forgiving someone you will never receive an actual apology from is downright cruel.

All these things are required in order to release the anger and pain associated with it. It’s needed in order to create space for more love and joy in your life.

Hanging on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. – Buddha

Tips on how to get through it.

Meditate.

Meditation can be sitting in silence for a period of time, you can listen to a guided meditation (YouTube has a plethora of amazing guided meditations) or simply sit in silence. Meditation is the practice of staying present in the moment in an attempt to control your thoughts so they stop controlling you. Start small and work your way up to longer, extended periods of silence.

Meditation can also be as simple as a hot shower, visualizing the water washing away your pain and frustration. It can also be a slow mindful walk through the woods, or even your backyard. Meditation can be a quiet break laying in bed before falling asleep each night.

Gratitude.

Expressing gratitude is the simplest gesture you can do to start redirecting your life. Start a gratitude journal. Write down three things each day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Keep it simple. Start small.

Be kind and patient with yourself.

This is not an easy journey. It will force you to see things within yourself that you don’t like, things that you wish didn’t exist, things that hurt. Keep going. If you make changes and fall off the path, don’t stress, just acknowledge that you slipped and get back on track. Take things day by day, some days it means taking things hour by hour. Nobody’s journey is linear and straight. The path to healing is tumultuous at best. Ride the waves, enjoy the highs, embrace the lows. Love yourself.

Cry.

For the love of god, cry. Crying is a release. Let those tears flow. Before this journey, I never cried. I kept my emotions on lock down. When I started this journey, every single time I sat in meditation, the flood gates would open and the tears would flow. I’m not talking a tear or two, I’m talking like full-on ugly cry, completely uninhibited. A release. A cleanse. Required. Once the tears were done, I’d slip into a meditative state as though nothing had happened. Give yourself permission to cry and release.

Get uncomfortable.

Do things that push your limits and test your strengths. Step outside of your comfort zone just to see what happens. Social anxiety? Sign up for a class that you’ve been wanting to take for a while. Hit two birds with one stone – get social and learn. Baby steps are still steps. Dip your toes, get uncomfortable, and allow yourself to grow.

Your journey will not match or line up with that of anyone else. Don’t compare your path to anyone else’s. Keep your eyes on your own journey and do your best to stay focused. If you feel like you’ve lost your way, take some time to re-evaluate where you were heading, meditate on things, and get back to it.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal as well.