I’m not a bad person for cutting out a friend who chose addiction

I know I’m not a bad friend.

Still sometimes my heart and my mind collide.

It had been months of no contact when my daughter’s picture appeared on my ex best friend’s profile picture (read to the friend that isn’t a friend anymore).

My jaw hit the ground.

I had boldly and clearly expressed my wishes in this relationship… what did she want from me?!

A tone that sounds so cold but saying goodbye to that friendship was never easy for me either.

I made one of the bravest protests in my life by saying I wasn’t going to do this one way friendship anymore.

Then I just shut off the feelings completely so that I could learn to live with that choice.

It’s just as hard as choosing to leave the one who keeps cheating on you- not because you want to but because you need to.

I want the friendship back so badly but she isn’t in a stage where she’s going to chose to grow up any time soon.

We all have our limits.

This isn’t my rollercoaster.

But that wasn’t always the case.

You see, part of the freaking problem is that same annoying voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you gave up on your friend… those are not your values.”

This voice sits and interrogates me until I’m blue in the face in conflict with myself.

A voice that’s so beyond false I can’t even believe it yet the power it still holds over me is so much more than I like to admit- even to myself.

This process has been constant battles of reminding myself of who I really am and the lengths I went to trying to save the friendship.

I wanted you back so badly and you still picked the drugs- again and again.

It was TWO YEARS of desperately searching for a way to fix this addiction.

I never compromised my values by refusing to enable her.

She mainly kept her distance and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving my mind to fester.

Boy did I make myself crazy in those two years…

I spent more time trying to fix her self-inflicted situation than I gave to my own family.

As a wife and mom to two young children, I feel like that in itself is why I did all that I possibly could have until it just wasn’t enough.

Instead of comforting my husband after a long day at work, I would obsessively google her name to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

While she was shooting up to numb the chaos she’d created, I was living all of it in full strength and it was freaking terrifying.

I did it because that is the type of friend that I am.

After two years of begging, pleading, making myself crazy, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I never wanted to lose her as a friend, but our lives have taken two very different paths.

How many friends from grade school have you grown apart from?

More than you can count probably.

As we grow and change the people that mesh well in our lives change also.

It is completely appropriate to grow apart from people- that’s life.

Putting needles in my arm and nodding out in a motel isn’t really my thing and I think that it’s fair for me to acknowledge that.

I would have helped her get clean but she didn’t want the help to do it properly because she doesn’t want to be clean.

Being fed by a household that enables her every need.

Call me insensitive but as a former addict myself, addiction is NOT a disease that makes you incapable of asking for help.

You have to want help and be ready to put in some insanely hard work… you have to OWN everything and everyone you ever wronged while using.

This requires a great deal of not so comfortable self reflecting.

There is nothing easy about looking in the mirror and doing some serious, heavy self reflection.

It’s not an easy process, and yes I would know because I’VE BEEN THERE.

I came to that dead end where I’d had enough of what I’d made of myself and so I changed.

Until an addict makes it to that road, they will keep hiding behind their “disease”- another reason “they’ve been done wrong in this world”.

This ball is in her court and her court only.

I’m genuinely sad that our story had to end this way.

When she stood next to me as a bridesmaid at my wedding, I never could have imagined this is where we’d be in four years.

I hate that I just wasn’t enough to make you want to get clean.

It kills me that I couldn’t be that friend who helped you get through this dark time.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you get back to the sweet person I first became friends with.

I genuinely pray that someday this will all make sense to you.

Saying goodbye was insanely hard for me but it was a choice that I stand behind.

No matter how twisted the story gets through the telephone line, I know who I am.

I’m not the person who just dropped their friend when they started using heroin.

I am a die hard believer in a person who is hiding behind drugs and I refuse to put myself through their negligent choices anymore.

I am a girl who loves her friends SO much that I will NOT bite my lip and settle for anything less than what’s best for them.

I will fight for what’s best for her, with or without her, until the day I die. ❣️

Check out my Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️❣️❣️

To the person that doesn’t feel beautiful right now

I get it.

I know it’s hard feeling beautiful sometimes.

For many of us, genuine self confidence is a major hurdle.

‘Because I’m not beautiful …’

Says your mind.

Your mind is lying.

You can’t win the game it’s playing.

You’ve been chasing after perfection as if it’s obtainable.

But your eyes are lying too.

In this messy world with these cookie cutter goals…

The girl you see with what looks like everything, is living with a broken mirror as well.

She has her self imposed imperfections on display, yet none can see except the broken eyes that feel this way.

We are our own toughest critics.

Nobody sees us like we see ourselves.

Many of us are too busy shredding our own insecurities to have time to nitpick the invisible “flaws” in others.

I know that when you go out and feel like a spotlight is on you, like everyone is staring at your “flaws”, it’s hard to believe it.

But the streets are not filled with these materialistic beliefs that we are hammering into ourselves.

**eye roll**

Goes your mind.

Maybe you don’t feel beautiful because a toxic relationship stripped you of every sense of your worth.

As much as you try to remember who you really are, those pieces feel as if they are fading away.

Maybe a hurtful comment has branded truth into your negative feelings about yourself.

‘It must be true because someone else said it.’

So, SO false.

There is truth in the statement, “you will never be happy if your happiness is somewhere else”.

We feed these inner voices that are constantly compromising our happiness.

What if we really didn’t “need to just lose five pounds”, or “get a littleeee bit of Botox”, and we could just love ourselves like God loves us, simply?

What if instead of drowning in a pool of everything we hate about ourselves, we worked towards silencing those thoughts with the things we like about ourselves?

What if we tried “nurturing ourselves beautiful” instead of continuously failing at “hating ourselves pretty”?

Such a profound display of self love could be the key that unlocks your prison.

Every day is as beautiful as you choose to make it.

While day dreaming of your perfect physique may seem innocent enough, it’s not a healthy place to linger.

The fact is that you are not “that girl you’d die look like”.

You aren’t “shorter”, “blue eyed”, “skinny”.

By dwelling on the idea that your happiness lives in these things, you are setting yourself up for a long life of discontent.

What if the secret to feeling beautiful was way more obtainable than you thought…?

I know that telling you to love the person that you hate is the last thing you probably want to hear.

And that is the problem.

The truth is my dear, you are so beautiful.

You don’t need to change yourself, you need to change your mirror.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content! ❣️

The process of finding yourself

Is there a part of you that feels like you don’t really know who you are?

As I read through old journal entries dated from childhood to adolescence, there is a common theme to them.

“Who am I?”

“What is my identity?”

This confusing sense of identity has been a constant in my life.

I know myself but I just feel like I’m missing something… who am I really?

The moment I “lost myself” is not an incredibly clear one.

My best guess would be the transition into teenage years.

When you are struggling to fit in, you keep trying on different masks until you find one that people like.

I never found that mask but I did find alcohol, which always took the edge off of the excruciating feeling of living in my own skin.

Tired of failing at being accepted for who I was, I stopped trying completely and pursued the next best option- numbing.

When I was 13, I achieved the feeling of being completely numb for the first time.

Alcohol became my best friend.

When I was drinking, I just didn’t care.

I didn’t care that I was ugly.

I didn’t care that nobody liked me.

I didn’t care that life was racing in a blur around me when I was supposed to be growing into a decent young adult.

The negative choices I made in my adolescence are what robbed me of my identity.

I freaking gave up on myself, gave up on finding my mask.

I chose to hide behind the emptiness of covering up my pain with substance.

Now in my adult years feeling a void in establishing my personal foundation.

I missed all of that and so now, that I’m mature enough to go and try on masks again, I’m figuring it out one mistake at a time.

Life is crazy you guys.

I took a risk when I chose to find myself.

Self reflection isn’t the easiest when you have a battered past.

“I want to go back and relive my worst traumas!” Said no one ever.

But those traumas are literal chains that will keep us bound until we face them.

In the process of finding myself, parts of the old me had to die.

The haunting shadows of the scariest memories of my life felt like a reality again for quite some time as I sorted through it all.

I got a lot crazier before I got better.

I’ll never forget my very first session with my anxiety therapist.

I was two months pregnant with my second child and had already gained 20 pounds.

It was the first time I had eaten like a normal person after an Exercise anorexia 8 month spiral.

I had stopped taking 4mg of prescribed Xanax a day cold turkey because I didn’t want to hurt my baby.

Every day was one big panic attack.

She asked me to say aloud,

“I am beautiful.”

And I couldn’t.

Instead anger and tears erupted in defense of my self deprecation.

We spent three years poking and prying, in which time I became completely nuts.

The first phase of finding myself was filled with anger and blame on others.

In that time I irrationally pointed the finger and blew up on my mom multiple times.

I would call her and be freaking out, sometimes even yelling, about something that I was understanding for the first time.

These memories stemmed from my grieving mind fiercely and emotionally believing that I had been done wrong.

It was a long going, deep seeded outburst of emotions I was just coming to terms with for the first time.

I found out that my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Her symptoms of the mental illness distorted my perception of myself.

I wasn’t actually “the ugliest kid in the entire world”, and if we are being real, I can’t blame her for the fact that I never found myself.

The first part of finding myself required facing some heavy shit so that I could live a better life.

The second part of finding myself was a beautiful blossoming into who I was always supposed to be.

Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the very first time, I broke free from the hell that had been consuming me.

The process of finding yourself is a journey of understanding that you are the only one who can change your situation.

The moment you decide to own responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you become a butterfly. 🦋

It’s worth the process.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content and resources. ❣️

Self validation

“Stop it Alexis, you are such a hypochondriac!”

I’ll admit, I’m definitely on the dramatic side.

My animated personality and high functioning anxiety have unintentionally given me this reputation of being a complete hypochondriac.

A lifetime of being told that every inner intuition was a joke has taken from the grace I give myself.

Sinus infections have been a major part of my life.

I genuinely can’t even remember when this all started as that moment was likely silenced with the distrust I’ve developed towards my own sensations.

I’ve been muddling through life, neglecting chronic facial pain by reaffirming to myself that I’m “just being dramatic”.

I don’t feel fine.

I’ve had a sinus infection for as long as I can remember.

Every day begins with a blaring sinus headache.

Attempting to focus on anything is an impossible task.

It feels like living in a perpetual grogginess.

‘Stop being so dramatic.’

Drowning my thoughts with this message as I attempt to pull through another day.

The frustration lies in the fact that I can’t just turn it off.

No matter how much I try to convince myself that I’m fine, I don’t feel fine.

I’m playing a constant game of manipulation with myself.

It’s a confusing way to live.

Trips to the doctor happen as time and patience allow.

Usually this looks like long periods of not wanting to deal with it until it gets so bad that I cave in.

This past year, as symptoms became increasingly unbearable, I received at least five separate six-week trials of antibiotics and steroids.

The medications provide some minor relief but the problem always returns abruptly.

Over time, I’ve convinced myself that this is just “normal”.

And it is normal, for me at least.

2019 has been a year of taking back control of my health.

I’m tired of feeling like crap all the time… this isn’t normal!

I got a new psychiatrist who actually wants to work as a team.

I broke it off with my anxiety therapist after we couldn’t come to an agreement on proceeding with EMDR.

And finally, I had a CT scan done on my sinuses.

The results were one big wake up call.

“Your CT shows some major changes in your sinuses due to chronic inflammation.”

The doctor then began walking me through the imagery.

First he showed me an example of a normal CT scan of the sinuses.

The image showed air pockets throughout the sinus cavities.

My images were almost a complete contrast.

The right side appeared to be completely blacked out.

The left side, a close runner up, with only tiny pockets of air visible.

“How have you been functioning like this…? You have got to be miserable.”

He said, with complete empathy.

Words that were absorbed like a foreign language.

“I don’t know… I guess I just thought everyone felt like this all the time.”

I was referred to ENT to meet with a surgeon, whose remarks on my CT weren’t much better.

He stuck a scope down my nose to take a peek.

The good news?

I don’t have nasal polyps, which could require recurrent surgeries throughout life.

The bad news?

My sinuses have been inflamed for so long that some of the sinus cavities are swollen closed.

The right side has 3 of 4 nasal cavities completely sealed from inflammation.

The left side is narrowing and bacterial fluid has begun stockpiling.

Both sides will require surgery.

The surgery I’m having will require “cutting out bone” to reopen the sinus passages, allowing them to drain for the first time in years.

Multiple doctors commenting that this surgery could potentially be life changing.

I’m ready to experience this new normal.

April 3rd is the big day and it honestly can’t come soon enough.

I’m ready to experience life at my full potential.

In the meantime I’m left pondering a powerful lesson on self validation.

You see, if I had just listened to my intuition, this could have been taken care of a long time ago.

I have nobody to blame but myself for such neglect.

“Something in my body feels off.”

Is a statement that isn’t up for discussion.

You are the only person who knows how you feel.

Yet society has us trained to value the opinions of others above our own; To practice self care the way in which we were taught, which may not even be the best method for us personally.

I’ve learned that the opinions of others are irrelevant when addressing my personal feelings.

What are your self care habits?

Are you an exemplary advocate for your inner intuition?

Or is your shadow trying to tell you something…?

Check out Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️

Who am I aside from “mom”?

Last week my Mother-in-law took both of my kiddos overnight.

As a stay at home mom for almost two years, it was a bittersweet feeling.

There was this ominous blaring of freedom along with an overbearing sense that I was missing a big piece of myself.

Waking up the next morning to a quiet house and calmly walking into the kitchen.

Greeted with a rush of confusing emotions.

How do I start my morning without my kids?!

The moment was surprisingly overwhelming, igniting a stream of tears down my cheek.

‘Who even am I besides Mom…?’

I’m not your average mom.

When I got pregnant the first time it wasn’t mapped out to happen according to my “picture perfect plan”.

I was 19 and a full blown alcoholic when I got my positive pregnancy test.

I didn’t know how to take care of myself at the time… let alone the life of a tiny human.

There wasn’t a house or a husband… it was indeed, very backwards.

January 2012

I posted this photo to announce the news.

The caption stating, “joining the mommy club!”.

The things that people wrote in response to that post were terrible.

In their defense, the thought of that person as a mom was rightfully baffling…

“That baby is going to be so messed up!”

Only God knew what I was capable of.

The pregnancy was a process of growth and change.

August 2012

I was learning how to navigate life sober for the very first time while also juggling the chaos of preparing for a newborn.

For me, pregnancy was the perfect distraction from all of my “crap” though.

Nothing else mattered besides the precious little life that was growing inside of me.

After my sweetie pie arrived everything literally started anew.

No longer was I the broken young adult, searching recklessly for love at the bottom of a bottle.

It’s like that person died and a totally different me was born- equipped with a baby.

My name is Mommy.

And boy, I could go on and on about her.

Happy mom, sad mom, mad mom, rushed mom, stressed mom, excited mom… to name a few.

Alexis on the other hand?

Literally doesn’t know how to start a morning without her kids.

That’s honestly about all I know.

Motherhood has this beautiful way of changing us.

We take on this new role that nothing could ever prepare us for.

It’s the most fulfilling yet consuming title on earth.

In my case, motherhood literally took my old mess of a life and replaced it with a really good one.

Suddenly I had a reason to live…. my kids.

Motherhood gave me purpose in life so I established an identity around that role.

“Mom” was the new me, a foundation I’ve built from over the past 6 years.

But take away my kids for one morning and suddenly I’m completely lost.

There aren’t roles for “Alexis”, “wife”, “self“.

The problem lies in the fact that I can’t be my “best mom” if I don’t ever tend to my needs as an individual.

And what even are my needs?

I don’t know.

How do you even go about learning who you are…?

Baby steps.

Small observations while continuing on with everyday life.

A good starting place might be imagining my “perfect morning” if I lived alone and had nobody else to worry about.

Understanding how I’d prefer to spend my morning doesn’t mean it’s going to change anything, it’s simply establishing preference as an individual.

Personal identity is a vital part of life.

Our identity cannot rely solely on another person as our identity is what is true for us.

At the end of the day, I am the only person that I’m in control of.

Yes, “mom” is a piece of my identity…. a very important piece that I hold high in value.

But I’m more than just “mom”.

My name is Alexis.

I value God, balance, family, and routine.

I dislike chaos, drama, feeling rushed, and over scheduling.

I will do anything for the people that I love.

I thrive on taking care of others.

And someday, when my kids are grown and moved away, I will be okay with who I am as an individual.

Check out my blog PROJECT IDENTITY for more raw inspiration! 💕

Dissociation- “emotional numbing”

This past year has been the most extensive year of self reflection ever.

And with understanding has come more questions- a lot of them!

Like last week when I processed for the very first time that I in fact, leave my physical body, subconsciously, hundreds of times every day.

Don’t get me wrong.

This isn’t some kind of witch craft or wizardry.

It’s a mental illness called depersonalization disorder.

It’s also the only way I can remember ever functioning…. making it that much more confusing.

How would you react if you realized that you’ve spent over half of your life physically “zoned out” while being somewhere else completely mentally…?

“Whenever my PTSD gets triggered I get like, trapped in another world for awhile. I don’t know what happens there because my memory in that time period gets completely wiped. Nothing really gets done while the time is running.

Sometimes I realize I don’t know what’s going on when I’m literally in the middle of a sentence with someone. It’s super stressful being around anyone really, for that reason.

But most of the time I don’t even realize that I’d left. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and until just recently, I thought that everyone experienced this.

I know that sounds crazy… am I dying?”

My best friend who is studying psychology, responded with this:

“If I’m understanding you right it sounds like dissociation or depersonalization. Which is common for people with PTSD. It sounds terrifying but you are not dying. It is something that many people with PTSD experience.”

Off to the internet I went, in attempt to learn more about this madness, aka my life.

The first thing that stood out to me was “a confusing sense of identity“.

Looking no further than the name of this blog to check that one off the list of qualifying criteria.

As I continued reading, the checks started piling up.

‘Man… I had no clue there was a name for this!’

Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, or sense of identity.

A child is more able than an adult to step outside of themself and observe trauma as though it’s happening to another person.

Children who learn to dissociate in attempt to endure a traumatic experience may use this coping mechanism, even subconsciously, in response to stressful situations throughout life.

The dissociative adult may automatically disconnect in everyday situations, leaving them “spaced out” and unable to protect themselves in the event of real danger.

Dissociative episodes increase in frequency with the severity of trauma and triggers.

Smells, sounds, colors, places…. anything tied to a traumatic memory can send you out from the drivers seat of your body in an instant.

Wow…Just wow!

The research I have done on this disorder in the last week has been redundant.

I am so beyond confident that I battle with extreme depersonalization disorder, it’s like they wrote it all about me.

This understanding has come with the bomb of a realization that I am transitioning in and out of my body hundreds of times every single day.

With this knowledge I’ve made a few reflections.

1) I have depersonalization disorder.

2) I’ve been living this way for so long that the transitions are usually unnoticeable.

3) It would be nice if I could just stay inside my body all the time.

4) How do I make this stop?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple.

Like the majority of my mental health madness, this is going to take a crap ton of hard work.

“Stuffing” is my most often used defense mechanism.

It’s a process of trying to trick myself that any undesirable emotion or sensation isn’t really happening.

This is a subconscious behavior that happens like clockwork.

Typically for me, the “stuffed” emotion presents itself as high strung anxiety or irritability.

To “cure” the dissociative episodes I’m going to have to talk to my emotions and actually feel themno more “stuffing”. 😳

As someone who has “stuffed” every foreign emotion for as long as I can remember, this feels like an overwhelming task to take on.

Dissociation is kind of like having your body and mind living on two different planets.

The first step will be simply increasing my personal awareness.

Mindfulness, sitting with my emotions… YUCK!

I need to practice the repetitive cycle of acknowledging my emotions as they arise and responding that they are valid for feeling that way.

I’d be absolutely lying if I said I wasn’t scared out of my mind.

This entire situation is freaking terrifying.

I’ve been functioning emotionally numb for far too long and I need to do this for me.

Once I begin allowing my emotions to be a part of me, my body will start relearning how to function as a whole.

It will be an intense process of triumphs and failures.

And after all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Trying and failing until we reach our goal…?

I’m ready to embrace this life for all that it is, the good and the bad.

For now, this book is still being written.

It’s my journey and I’m ready to start living it.

In a perfect world, this pursuit will end in an alignment of my identity.

Who am I helping by continuing to live this way?

Certainly not myself.

Project accepted. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

What I didn’t know about addiction

When I got sober it was a fairly unique situation.

The day I quit drinking was also the very first day I wanted to quit drinking.

A couple days of seizures on the bathroom floor was enough to start anew.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned how much my personal experience has clouded my opinion on addicts.

To me, alcohol was an escape from myself.

I hated myself.

I hated my life.

Numb was the only way that I could continue functioning.

Alcohol was that door to checking out from reality and entering a world where I just didn’t care.

With booze, life always seemed less real.

I didn’t annoy myself as much when I was drunk.

The bottle was my ticket to escaping the life I couldn’t bare anymore.

My brother had his own struggles with addiction.

It would be years after my new leaf of living that nightmare with him before things turned around.

The only thing more difficult than addiction itself is watching a loved one throw away their life for it.

Your life becomes a living hell while they are escaping this reality with substance.

“I promise you that life in sobriety is fun T!!! PLEASE just give it a try and find out!!!”

I pleaded, for years on end.

The best word to describe myself in this plea would be naive.

Naive to feeling that every addict is running from reality.

Naive to think that my brother just liked being drunk too much to quit.

A couple weekends ago we were visiting my now 20 MONTH SOBER brother for fall festivities!

It’s MY FAVORITE family tradition we’ve created!

Our life is so normal now.

We get together and do things as siblings and I swear those are some of the best memories of our lives.

Day one we went to the most badass park I’ve ever seen! 👇

Day two we went to a corn maze and pumpkin patch!👇

And day three, during family breakfast, we talked about where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

“Man T… I can’t believe you made it! I’m so proud of you!!!”

I professed.

“I had to stop or I was going to die. I’d wake up with ridiculous anxiety and start having panic attacks. It would feel like I was having a heart attack and the only way to make it stop was the booze. It was like a 24/7 never ending hangover.”

Tears started streaming down my face as I realized how much I hadn’t understood about his addiction.

Here I am, preaching to my brother about how cool life is when you aren’t confused all the time, and he wasn’t even confused…. he was sick.

He confessed the fine line of “sipping and driving”.

In other words he wasn’t drinking just to drink.

At just 29 years old, his body was beginning to show signs of long term alcohol abuse.

His body was reliant on alcohol and was literally shutting down without it.

Longer drives required greater focus and when he was “under-medicated” the withdrawal symptoms were so intense that he would end up pulling over for hours at a time in attempt to stop his heart from bursting out of his chest.

He wasn’t drinking to be drunk- he was drinking to stay alive.

He had punched the ticket but he no longer wanted to ride the ride.

“I was embarrassed with myself for how bad it had gotten. I would have died trying to detox on my own. There was a lot of shame in what it had become and the reality of those choices. It was like drowning and waiting for somebody to save you.”

The day his second niece was born was the day my brother amounted the courage to chase his lion.

“I need this to stop and I don’t know how.”

He admitted to a buddy of trust.

Thank you for hearing him, Carl.

It took ten days in detox before being medically cleared for inpatient rehab.

Detox from alcohol is a serious thing!

My brother put in some insanely hard work as he fought for his life.

**Did you know- detoxing from heroin isn’t deadly (though it feels like it), but detoxing from alcohol can be?!**

20 months later my brother is still prioritizing his recovery as an AA sponsor.

God gave me my brother back and I am beyond grateful for this.

I’m thankful that I have a sibling to enjoy life with.

I’m thankful I’m not living in a nightmare anymore.

I’m thankful for his journey, and the new understanding it has given me about addicts.

We are all different so it makes sense that no addiction is the same.

Every addict is running- our differences lie in what is chasing us.

Thank you for using your story to help others T.

I love you.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Revisiting the memories I would rather have forgotten

“Maybe you should just stop doing the blog if you aren’t able to make any income from it. It’s just so negative….ha. You are always talking about about weird stuff. People must think that you’re nuts!”

This blog has been an absolute rollercoaster.

Some days I ride the high of feeling like I’m helping people while in turn freeing myself of my “baggage”.

Other days I feel like an idiot and wonder why I’m wasting all this time for nothing, until it spirals so far out of control that I about quit.

“Should I really post that?”

“How are people going to react to this?”

Will anyone react to this…?”

The truth is that it would be SO much easier to just go about my life and pretend like all the years of chaos never even happened.

Easier to pretend that I’ve been this “normal” person my whole life…

Easier to bury my skeletons than to go searching for them in attempt to resolve the trauma that they’ve branded me with.

My blog is called Project Identity because I hope to uncover what I feel are “missing pieces” of my identity through the process of this project.

In terms of adversity, I’ve had a very wide range of it.

Mental health, eating disorders, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families…. YOU NAME IT!

By revisiting these traumas, my goal is to sort through my life and figure out who I really am.

This is NOT in any way an attempt to glorify or normalize the things that I’ve done.

Im not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with YOU to win sympathy or to place blame on others for things that have happened in my life.

My intention IS to help others by saying,

“this is where I was and look where I am now.”

An attempt to find the answers for survival after adversity– answers that I don’t necessarily believe that I have, yet somehow…. I made it.

And the story isn’t over.

People don’t just overcome something and live happily ever after.

With time, the book you just closed will start revealing itself in your next book.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder left me runningself medicating with drugs and alcohol.

The consequences that I received for such behavior opened the door for a newfound battle of control with food (read Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself).

All of the above rooting me in distorted self worth and eventually leading to rape and suicide attempts.

Recovery from both addictions simultaneously greeted me with crippling anxiety and PTSD- symptoms I now have to face head on, without a crutch.

I don’t believe that God dealt me these cards by mistake though.

Why?

Because I shouldn’t even be here right now.

The moment my life turned around was also the lowest, darkest place I’ve ever been.

My desire to live was gone, but God had other plans.

Just weeks after multiple failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations, my polar opposite walked into my life and we ended up pregnant.

I wasn’t living for me anymore.

A tiny human who would love me forever was too good of an offer to pass up.

God took the life I couldn’t handle anymore and replaced it with one that I could.

He wanted me here because He knows my heart.

My adversity is God’s opportunity.

His opportunity to change more lives.

This is why I do what I do.

I write about my rawest moments because frankly, life is raw.

The world needs more raw people, too.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Rain rain go away

Rain rain go away

The rain just won’t stop pouring

Rain rain go away

You’re so freaking annoying

Rain rain what did you say

I really must be going

Rain rain go away

The forecast calls for storming

Rain rain go away

I need some help please save me

Rain rain go away

I haven’t been behaving

Rain rain go away

God are you there I’m sorry

Rain rain go away

Is this really my story

Rain rain go away

Your light is there it’s glowing

Rain rain go away

By praying, You can show it

Rain rain go away

I need you Lord I know it

Rain rain go away

Together we can beat this

Rain rain go away

You’re all I ever needed

Rain rain go away

The voice of Jesus humming

Rain rain go away

The changes they are coming

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s so forgiving

Rain rain go away

My life is so worth living

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s always near

Rain rain go away

With Him I’ll conquer fear

Rain rain gone away

The sun is finally here

Check out my blog Project Identity ❤️ for more!

Depression episodes

My life is pretty freaking close to “perfect” yet I keep having these episodes where I feel like I’d be better off dead.

All of my reasons for living get sidelined and I have the worst kind of tunnel vision.

In the middle of these depressive episodes I surrender control to complete negativity and genuinely feel that I’m not worthy of help.

Positive thoughts are rejected one after the other in an attempt to completely drown in my misery.

The problem with self help tools is they are often difficult to access when you are in crisis.

We are not our best selfs while in crisis.

We are scattered, broken, distraught.

The thoughts pulsing through your brain are so ridiculously foreign to your values yet they won’t go away.

Depression opens its big mouth and swallows us whole.

If you’ve never experienced a depressive episode then first of all… you are one lucky duck!

Depression is not an easy thing to go through.

Imagine your mind being hijacked as a dark cloud moves over you.

Suddenly the impulsive, totally not “you” thoughts take over.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“This is too much to overcome.”

“Death is the only way out.”

At times this helplessness can feel like too much to bare.

You guys, how do we fix this?!

If you’ve read (An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system) then you already know that I won’t come within 100 feet of a crisis center… “our system”.

Never again will I submit to such insanity.

Instead I will handle these moments of crisis on my own.

Recently, I added a new “tool” to my “belt”.

In a moment when things were calm I identified my number one ABSOLUTE reason above everything for why I could not lose this battle with depression.

What was it?

I pictured my husband telling our children that “Mommy had to go to heaven because she was very sick”.

I felt the pain that they would feel as they grew up without a mother.

That experience was the most gut wrenching, terrible, unbearable feeling ever.

I could never do that to my children if there was ever an option to choose differently.

Depression freaking sucks.

While I can’t completely avoid these episodes, I can enter them prepared.

In the moments when every sense of logic is completely unavailable to me because of my depression and I’m mentally incapable of helping myself…

That image of my children broken into pieces is much more readily available than a list of things that “I’ve got going for me.”

All it takes is one moment, accessing the image tied to my reason for surviving and suddenly the pain that I feel for my children is greater than the pain I’m feeling in the current moment.

For me, it’s helpful that my image isn’t about me.

Depression makes me feel unworthy… unworthy of living…. unworthy of helping myself.

No matter how unworthy I may be, my kids are the most worthy of things in the world to me.

I would do anything to prevent the pain they feel in my foreseen scenario.

ANYTHING.

Including suffering this “hopeless low” so that their hearts never have to break like that.

It’s important to find a “reason” that fits for you and your life.

FIRST–> Tie that reason to an easily accessible image or “snapshot”.

THEN—> Tie that image to the overwhelming emotion that it brings you…

For example, don’t stop at “my kids need me.”

Instead, validate this statement by feeling what your kids would feel if you gave up on them.

Make it something that is deeply meaningful to you.

If you are struggling on coming up with something pray about it.

I’m praying for you too.❤️

I promise you that there are so many reasons for your survival even when your depression is destroying you.

Once you have your reason tuck it safely in your back pocket.

Every so often take it back out to refresh the emotions that are tied to it so they remain raw– do this as often as necessary for yourself.

The next time you are greeted with a dark cloud it may come in handy. ❤️

Love and prayers for those battling this tough illness…

YOU ARE STRONG!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Freedom from trauma

After experiencing trauma certain aspects of life will never be the same.

For someone who was assaulted in a yellow room that smelled like pine needles… the color yellow, the smell of pine needles, both could potentially be enormous triggers.

Trauma can be anything.

While rape and assault are the most commonly talked about the possibilities are literally endless.

If you’ve had a severely disturbing experience you may be carrying around the burden of trauma.

How do we move forward after experiencing trauma?

Read on to find out ⬇️❤️⬇️

Sometimes the most unlikely memories are the ones that mess us up the most.

The first significant trauma that I can remember was when my childhood “best friend” woke up one day and decided she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore.

I never even knew how badly that experience affected me until just recently…

My brain had literally convinced itself over time that we just grew apart.

Until last summer when my family made a trip back to my childhood vacation spot- Grand Lake, Colorado.

Our previous visit there was over fourteen years before.

The “best friend” I just mentioned came along with us on that last year.

Casually talking to my mom about memories from this beautiful place as we grabbed an ice cream cone at a familiar shop.

“I remember when we got back and Tori wouldn’t talk to you at all. She was completely ignoring you.”

No…I didn’t remember that actually…

As ice cream dropped on my shirt I responded,

“What are you talking about?!?!”

With the transition into middle school we just grew apart.

Or so I thought…

“I came up to her after volleyball practice and her dad ran up and yelled at me to stay away from her.”

Suddenly this memory, which my brain would have clearly rather forgotten, was piecing itself together.

The sounds…the smells….all of it came crashing down on me.

The distant memory suddenly felt like it was yesterday.

One minute I was just a kid without a thing to worry about… the next I’m left with only questions about people… questions about the world.

How could I have possibly forgotten that?!?!

I’d like to introduce you to the human brain.

Capable of so many things… including shielding us from trauma.

It’s not uncommon to completely blackout a traumatic experience in fact.

That is our brains way of “protecting” us.

I don’t remember what happened in the following days or weeks but I do remember that life got really hard after being abandoned.

Moving forward I had a difficult time making friends.

People were so mean.

From there it was what seemed like an everlasting downward spiral.

I guess it’s easier telling people that you “grew apart” from someone than saying “my best friend didn’t want me anymore and she never told me why”…

While this memory was immediately available to me it changed over time like a game of telephone.

Regardless, the awareness of my trauma would be a major step in my healing.

Life after trauma 💔➡️❤️

A twelve year old is blindsided by her best friend, abandoned without an explanation.

If you were the twelve year old, what beliefs do you think you would form about yourself and others as a result of that situation?

  1. People will leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going to hurt me.
  3. I am not in control.
  4. I am unwanted.
  5. There is something wrong with me.

Trauma almost always comes tied with a negative core belief(s).

You are no longer physically reaping the pain of the traumatic event… instead the pain you carry is the baggage of the negative belief this trauma gave you.

Trauma is the event.

Negative belief is the result.

My “best friend” left me when I was 12.

I’m almost 27 now.

“Learning” this new information about my childhood filled in a lot of the puzzle pieces that I thought had been lost forever.

In the years following the abandonment, I’d turn to alcohol and drugs to try and fill the void that my friend left in me.

Like dominos, I would face trauma.

Eventually leading to “textbook traumas”, assault and rape.

As ridiculous as this sounds, sometimes I feel like the abandonment was the worst trauma of them all.

Maybe if it had happened a couple years later….after I’d already successfully finished transitioning into a young woman…. maybe it wouldn’t have been so catastrophic.

But the way it all ended up playing out was the perfect combination to completely damage me.

It is so important to deal with our traumas.

Until you deal with them they will ruin you.

There is a sense of peace in the clarity I have now of why I am the way I am.

My marriage has grown in this knowledge as well since my husband is aware and involved in this reconditioning process.

While it will be a long road of re-training my brain and my beliefs about myself, at least I’m on the right road.

Below are the steps I’ve taken to experience freedom from trauma⬇️❤️⬇️

1) Identify the trauma.

This is the experience that negatively affected you. The “what”.

2) Identify the negative belief(s).

WRITE THEM DOWN- they are much easier to correct that way!

3) Correct the negative belief(s).

FACT CHECK YOURSELF!

Trauma leaves us with unrealistic beliefs about ourselves.

Often times our negative beliefs are exaggerated.

See below how I corrected mine from the example above.

⬇️❤️⬇️

Negative beliefs

  1. People will leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going to hurt me.
  3. I am not in control.
  4. I am unwanted.
  5. There is something wrong with me.

Corrected statements

  1. SOME People willmay leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going tocould hurt me.
  3. I am not in control OF OTHER PEOPLE.
  4. I am not wanted by ONE person.
  5. There is something wrong with me. I am uniquely me.

It’s literally crazy how changing a couple of words can completely alter the quality of your life.

I totally get that sometimes you feel too broken to accept the fact that it’s not your fault that this happened to you.

This is a process and as any process it will have ups and downs.

I’m definitely more sensitive than the average person when it comes to feeling like people may abandon me.

That sensitivity is a whole lot better than the years I spent convinced that everyone would leave me though.

Invest in yourself and your well being.

Be courageous and tackle your traumas.

I promise that there can be freedom after trauma.❤️

Check out my blog for more inspirational goodness⬇️❤️⬇️

Project Identity

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Have a beautiful day 💝


Picking up the pieces

It was a constant battle trying to figure out what in the world happened in my life to make me so messed up.

I’m a stranger to myself.

I have no clue what made me so miserable that I felt the need to drown my sorrows in a bottle of vodka.

What was I escaping from?

Who am I?

The closest explanation I can associate with my behavior is that people didn’t like me.

I was fat.

I was ugly.

I was unlovable.

All of these reinforced with the hell like scramble of years that I was too damn messed up to remember most of.

I was raped.

I was beaten.

I was ridiculed, broken down and alone.

TODAY for the first time in my life, I understand who I am.

I’m 26 years old and until today I’ve been navigating mindlessly in search of my so called “identity”.

For whatever reason I believed that by figuring out who the hell I was, everything would just suddenly be okay.

I wouldn’t have to pretend anymore.

My life to this point has been somewhat of a facade.

I’ve lived every second of my being striving to be accepted.

I wasn’t just lying to everyone around me, I was trying to fool myself as well.

Indeed, all of these years I’ve been trying to trick myself into believing that I’m actually a cool person.

Even my greatest attempts at being likeable weren’t enough to make me truly love myself.

I couldn’t sell myself.

I’d created a belief that I was worthless and from that point on my belief LITERALLY clouded the lenses on my eyes.

In the greater scheme of things all of these factors were surface level.

Sure, they were enough to justify to some therapist a reason on paper of why I wanted to escape.

But all of that was masking the bigger picture, unknown to me until I decided to rewind and figure out THE ROOT of this huge mess.

People don’t just hate you for the hell of it.

Maybe I wasn’t unlovable.

Maybe one “event” wired my brain into believing I was unlovable.

Think about it; if you have a firm BELIEF then there isn’t a single thing anyone can say or do to change that belief. Period.

I never realized how powerful my own beliefs truly are.

I don’t know if training my brain to love myself was the only dose of medicine I ever really needed.

Is self worth really so vital?

That is can cause a lifetime of hurricanes when absent?

Think about it.

All any of us genuinely have control of is ourselves.

We can’t stop people from hurting us but we can numb the pain of being hurt.

And in this world of billions of people how many of them do you think have been hurt?

We can’t erase the hurt.

Our erratic behaviors are nothing but coping mechanisms…things we can control.

And as we grow we only continue realizing how much of this crazy life is NOT in our control; in turn igniting such behaviors.

As someone who took advantage of a very broad spectrum of the WRONG ways to be in control, I’m writing this for my own clarity.

I know I’m not alone in this search for answers which is why I’d like to share my story.

I’m not your average preacher.

If you feel like you have exhausted all your options and have nowhere else to turn in regards to some aspect of your life, this story might be that saving grace to lead you from the dark.

Nothing is more raw than a lesson from someone who has walked that path, somehow managing to reset into a beautiful life- foreign to its counterpart.

❤️