Today is my 47th birthday and I am determined NOT to focus on everything that this mental illness has taken from me. So many birthdays, I have pledged that by this time next year, something will have happened, whatever my current dream is. It’s time to let that go. It’s time to lower my expectations. Right now it has to be good enough to get up out of bed and make the coffee. It has to be good enough to go to work and come home and eat dinner. It has to be enough to do the laundry and clean the house. What will the coming year bring? I have no idea. I hope things improve but I need to stay in the moment.
Today is also the twelfth anniversary of my one and only experience of domestic violence. Domestic violence doesn’t really sound so bad. I took a terrible beating, on a boat, on vacation for my birthday. At the hands of my boyfriend, who I loved dearly. I haven’t had a love relationship since. As a special present to myself, in therapy yesterday we did an EMDR session on this experience. I went back to that day in exquisite detail. I experienced it all – the taunting, the pain of “why is this happening on my birthday?”, the realization that he was enjoying beating me, the horrible wrongness of it all. I am going to trust the EMDR process and let myself heal. Someday I will let someone love me again. I don’t know if it will be this year or this decade, or if it will take sixteen more years of therapy. My heart was pummeled. But I am willing to heal.
I am replacing any negative thoughts with a constant stream of “Thank you’s” – I just keep saying thank you. It keeps me in the moment and forces me to focus on something – anything I can find right then to be grateful for. I know for a fact that feeling sorry for myself and rolling around in the sadness of where I’m at does not get me anything good. Maybe focusing on the good will bring me more good. Or maybe it will just mold my brain to see more good that’s already there.
So, that’s my story, my Happy Birthday story. I’m going to continue the purge, take myself to a Paris market, go out with my sister tonight, and give myself permission to have fun today. You know that phrase “Fake it ‘till you make it”? I’m on it. Happy Birthday!