Oh @Wandering, your message is far from being a pity party. You just let your heart speaks with all its honesty and vulnerability. You don’t sound ungrateful either. I hear that you’re aware of what you actually have in your life and you feel thankful for that. But it’s still okay to say it when you’re overwhelmed and when other things feel wrong. You’re still a human being and you have the right to feel, whether it’s good or bad.
I’m really glad you decided to let this out. It sounds that you’ve been carrying those burdens by yourself for a certain time now, and it makes sense to feel tired. When you’re used to count on yourself, it’s not easy to come to this point of saying “okay, I need help and something has to change”. It takes strength to do so. Even though you don’t know yet what’s the next step in this process, it’s still a first step, and a good one. You’re in a safe place here, among friends, and I hope you’ll receive the encouragement you need to take care of yourself.
There are different parts in your own story that resonates with mine. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for most of my life as well (hell, if I had the power to make something disappear from Earth, it would be those two), I grew up in an abusive environment - because of generational traumas and repeated violence, which is likely why I developped chronic illnesses at a very young age and am still dealing with auto immune disorders, that I wish I could get rid of in an instant. High stress has a real impact, you know that too well already, and I’m really sorry it’s causing your health to get worse these days. Though these years helped you learn to be in tune with your body and how it reacts. I believe this is a real strength, as it allows you to eventually take some actions to take care of yourself - both physically and emotionally, as both goes along anyways.
I also want to commend you for your bravery, especially by ending an abusive relationship. 5 years is not nothing and you will definitely need time to heal from what happened, to heal those feelings of betrayal - if not guilt? And just the stress it creates in your heart. It wasn’t your fault. His behavior was his own, the reflections of his issues, struggles, responsabilities. It’s not your fault if you wanted to believe in this relationship, if you gave him multiple chances when he was apologetic. That’s how manipulation works. It makes you feel like you are the one at fault, like you “should have” done this or that. But the truth is: you did how you could, no matter what, and given the circumstances at the moment. As you said, you were also struggling on your end and you were guilted for that. Again, I applaud your bravery and your decision to get out of this situation. It can be hard to find some clarity when deep emotions and feelings are involved. But you did it. For the sake of your own health and safety.
Feeling overwhelmed as you are right now is, in my opinion, probably the most human reaction you could have. This person coming into your life again sounds to be triggering while your heart is grieving this relationship and what happened. And on the top of that, life just keeps going on. There are still responsabilities, all the “to do’s” of daily life, to the point that even self-care becomes a task - if not a burden. That’s a situation I’ve been stuck in this year, for different reasons obviously. Being stuck in this kind of freezing mode, having your stress getting worse and feeling trapped in this cycle: I need to do something -> I still can’t seem to find how -> I don’t do anything -> I feel worse/my health gets worse -> I really need to do something… And when you don’t have people around you to keep you accountable or to just discuss about what’s going on, it can be more difficult.
With the situation right now and how you describe it, I want to encourage you, first and foremost, to try to be really gentle and patient with yourself. You are stressed enough right now and there is no need to beat yourself up for the things you can’t do at the moment. Yes, there are responsabilities. Yes, there are things you’ll need to do to take care of yourself and get back on your feet. But… one step at a time, friend. It’s not just a matter of willpower, so it’s okay to acknowledge the fact that you’ll probably need time and cultivate a compassionate mindset for your strength, your bravery and your willingness to get out of what probably feels like a rut right now.
Somehow you already started to identify and list the things that are not working, that are causing you some stress or pain. That’s a good start. For each of those, you can start to think about a strategy to put in place and which steps you could take to overcome those hurdles in your life. In your message, I see for example: the need to declutter your appartment/ how you eat/ how you feel about your past relationship/ your ex (or your friend?) being somehow in your life again/ your health/ your need for connection and support. Well, for the last one, you definitely have us here already (The community is also on Discord: (discord.gg/heartsupport) and Twitch - (Twitch.tv/heartsupport) if you want to join us there as well).
At first it can feel like it’s a lot of things to handle at the same time. But again, one step at a time. You can certainly set some priorities there to make everything a little less overwhelming: which ones are the most urgent and important? What could be your first step for those? For example: how could you set some boundaries with this person getting back into your life, from a practical standpoint? Instead of decluttering all the boxes of junk in your appartment, what about trying to get rid of one today? Just one. A matter of 10-15 minutes eventually, and then you congrats yourself for doing it. Oftentimes, the first step is the hardest one. And when you finally take some actions you feel more comfortable to keep doing it.
Those are only some suggestions though. It’s a personal opinion, but I believe that when we feel overwhelmed it helps to take some time to sit down with our thoughts and write them down. You said it yourself, and that’s definitely something you can keep doing. Journaling, no matter how, can be very helpful and productive. To let your emotions out, but also to name it and let those worries and fears spiraling in your mind be somewhere else. In a place where you can see it and feel more empowered by doing so.
But I’m also aware that this process can be stressful in itself. It can also require a lot of energy while your body is already mobilizing a lot of it to keep you healthy. I too struggle with the need to have some kind of noise around me, as silence brings me back to… myself and the deep emotions I try to bury inside too often. I’ve been trying to work on that, but it takes time and just small steps to feel more comfortable. I get that sitting with our thoughts and emotions is not an easy exercise and it can feel unsafe. So if you feel the need to reach out to a professional (a therapist, a counselor) and if that’s a possibility for you, then please don’t hesitate to add this in your toolbox. Talking to someone, receiving insights and ways to challenge our thoughts or fears when we feel stuck can be needed sometimes. And that’s okay. We all need safe places where we are allowed to be just as we are in the present moment and let our emotions flow - without any judgment.
Finally, I’d like to share a few links with you - those are resources provided by HeartSupport, and I hope some could be helpful or inspiring to you:
Whatever steps you will take in times to come, regardless of how and when - know that this community is in this with you. To support you, to encourage you, to help you nourrish your motivation to take care of yourself. You’re not alone. You’re not a failure (just in case it crossed your mind), and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an honor to learn to know you. Thank you for being here.