I have always been a bit of an adventurer and a gypsy soul. I love hiking and, despite being afraid of heights, I love climbing hills, mountains, and trails to reach the summit. The cliche always talks about how the climb is the most important part and should be savoured and enjoyed. But I beg to differ. Nothing beats the feeling of reaching the summit, coming out over the edge and looking back at how far you've come while you enjoy the scenery.
My life has been one long journey of climbing metaphorical mountains and overcoming adversity. And although I reach peaks and summits along the way, there's always another mountain left to climb.
If you haven't heard my story or seen my videos, I grew up with a mother who had Borderline Personality Disorder. It was a regular occurrence for her to threaten suicide, so it was a very anxious, unstable, and unhealthy environment. She was in and out of treatment programs my entire life. I grew up having to be the parent, supporter, and provider. Eventually, it became too much for me and I left. A few years later, when I wasn't there to stop her, my mom died by suicide.
At the time, I was pregnant with my first child and living with the love of my life. Unfortunately, I replaced one unhealthy attachment with another and he, too, experienced mental health crises and suicidal tendencies. Again, a few years after our second child was born, I left. And he also died by suicide.
I lived my life trying to fix, heal, and help the broken and damaged, which only left me broken and damaged instead. When I finally found the strength and courage to leave, I lost. It was a trade-off, one life for another. I spent years living in guilt, grief, and pain. Until I healed and realized that it was not my fault and their safety was not my responsibility. As tough as it was to leave and lose them, they had to choose it for themselves and I could not do it for them, no matter how badly I wanted it.
I have raised two children, solely on my own and on one income for a decade now. It hasn't been easy. I have humbled myself and went against my instincts and better judgment in the pursuit of being a better person and to open myself up to trust and to allow others to help me, only to have them stab me in the back, use me, and then discard me.
I started a business only to have it fail, not only by my own mistakes but also by betrayal, selfishness and self-interest, greed, and ignorance. I had finally reached my financial summit and had managed to get myself out of debt following my divorce, only to be thrown back down the mountain and into the deepest, darkest pit and the bottom.
I, again, trusted someone when they offered to help, and was betrayed when it no longer suited them or it was no longer in their best interest. When they didn't needed me, they discarded me.
I have been used and abused more times than I can count. I have been sexually assaulted on several occasions. I have been in narcissistic relationships and have made some foolish choices, despite being done with the best intentions.
Why do I share all this and open myself so vulnerably? Because I hope this helps. I hope that if you are in the pit - you have been betrayed or abandoned, hurt or destroyed - that you can know that there is hope.
I know that everyone says that and it seems cliche. I know that when you're in it, you can't see it. And I know that even when you do come out into the light, it doesn't always last long. But I also know that I'm not special. If I can do it, you can do it. Each day comes with its own surprises (good and bad) and when the bad keep piling up, just trust that the good surprises are on their way. The only thing that I've done differently than the other people in my life is that I chose to keep fighting and to continue.
I have a semicolon tattoo on my wrist that I got after my mom passed away, not knowing it would later resemble my husband as well. But it also resembles me - I could have ended my story, but I chose to let it continue. I have bent so hard that I almost broke, but I'm still here.
Now I'm using my experience to try to help others. And although I know I cannot save anyone, they must choose it for themselves, I hope that by speaking out and sharing my story I am able to encourage and inspire others to choose to continue, to fight, to overcome.
I hope this helps.
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