Leah Lair Conner
TW: suicide, suicidal ideation, infidelity
Some of you read the post I made a few days ago - the one about my emotional affair and the damage, but ultimate growth, intimacy, and healing, it brought to my marriage. And at the end of it, I promised to address some of the other issues discussed but not emphasized in that blog. Today, I'm going to start that process.
It's been 371 days since the last time I felt a danger to myself and my own life. 371 days. That doesn't seem like long, but each of those days have been wrought with putting in A LOT of work - mostly on myself, but also on my marriage, my family, my faith/spirituality, my mental health, physical health, and my other relationships. The way we allow others to affect our own peace is a powerful thing, and while I know that we, as individuals, are entirely responsible for our reactions to things/people, we are not always strong. Sometimes, our attachments to people or even just ideas, can break us. Sidenote - consider that last statement, even if you decide to come back to it later - personal attachments are usually the problem, not the person or idea. We build our lives on "attachments" to how we imagine a person or situation to be, rather than on hard facts, evidence, or even intuition.
"Let someone love you just the way you are - as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room," Marc Hack. Notice the subtle use of the word "let" and not "find." We are not here to FIND a person to validate our existence, but it sure does make the journey a bit more fulfilling if we ALLOW someone to - especially since a lot of us who struggle have such a hard time even allowing ourselves that love. It has taken me 18+ years to start to let my husband love me for who I am (and notice I said "start to"), instead of believing that there's no way he really could. I mean, seriously, THIS mess?
If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other of numerous mental health issues, and you've ever had any of these thoughts (or similar ones) I've listed below, keep reading -
* I know everything in my life seems great, but like, I also know that any minute, something horrible is going to destroy it (waiting for the other shoe to drop).
* Maybe I could just keep driving. Like, forever.
* Or, better yet, maybe I could just drive into that tree/lake/barricade/etc.
* You know what, though, I don't really want to die. I just want to not have to live anymore. Or not have to feel anymore.
* I wonder if I got into a horrible accident, like not enough to die, but just enough to be really dangerous to myself, THEN would anyone understand how bad I feel? Would that make ME feel better about being this way? Also, would it make anyone in my life let me know that they really don't want to lose me?
* Never mind. Strike that. It really would just be better for everyone if they didn't have to "deal with" me, at all. I don't want to be an even BIGGER burden.
* Oh, shit. I'm really going to need to ask someone to take away all of my pills, any access to guns...maybe hide the sharp objects. Actually, maybe I'm going to need to make sure I'm not alone, at all, for awhile.
* Medicine? Well, what if that changes me? What if I don't "feel" the same? (and on this one - really? Isn't that what you're TRYING to accomplish? NOT feeling the same? I mean, "the same" isn't working for you, for real.)
These are very difficult feelings/thoughts to even admit, out loud, for some, but they are so very real, and so very daunting. If you've felt them, listen to me very carefully - STOP shaming yourself. Just...stop. 371 days ago, I literally asked my husband and our oldest niece to please get all of the pills out of my reach or even eyesight, because I wanted nothing more than to swallow as many as I could and just...not be here anymore. I really didn't want to die, but I wanted it all to stop. All of it.
When you're in that moment, you're not thinking of the pain you might cause others - in fact, you're literally thinking you are doing what's best for them. It's a horrible, bleak, dark, lonely place - but it's NOT selfish. And it's not shameful. It's mental illness. It's needing to take care of your mind and brain as carefully as you take care of your physical vessel (and yes, sometimes that needs work, too).
If you will "let" someone love you (and this absolutely does not have to be a spouse or romantic partner/relationship), even in that darkest of places, you can start to truly build the confidence to maybe love yourself - or, at the very least, start to believe that you're worthy of the love they offer. That's a start. And "starts" are what cause journeys, adventures, healing...LOVE. It takes a "start" - an allowance - to come into the light. And the light feels so. much. better than what sometimes feels like sweet darkness. I promise it does.
Let me know how you're doing. And let me know how this resonates with you...even if it rubs you wrong, let me know that, too. I'm here to learn as much as I am here to share. And I love you. #lovealwayswins