Irish's Journey of Learning to be Her Truest Self
My story is a hard one to tell as so much time has passed since I felt like I was dropped off at the point of no return and rode the coaster of insanity for so many years until finally finding myself dropped into what I thought was my final abyss, but I seem to have finally hit the bottom of the endless fall down the proverbial rabbit hole just a year or two ago. While I am still down in the hole, I'm not as afraid of the darkness that surrounds me. It took me awhile to accept that I had stopped falling. In fact, I realized that I had been self-sabotaging myself a lot without acknowledging it as such, and it's been a lot of work... so. Much. Work.
My Dad molested me as a child and was emotionally/physically abusive. My Mom encouraged this sick mindset he had just so he would sleep with her, insisting he give my sister or myself baths when we were too young to know what went on was wrong. All of this, I learned from others, never on my own, and my Dad - who I have come to forgive, but not forget - confirmed everything.
People seem to not understand how I was able to bring myself to not only forgive my Dad, but continue to have a semblance of a relationship with him. It wasn't easy, but it boiled down to seeing how much it affected my Dad, too. He was ashamed of himself, as he should have been, he was remorseful and apologized as much as he could and even still does while I'm simply willing to put it all behind us and not dwell on the past any more.
My Dad got help. He went into therapy. He acknowledged he was wrong and something was wrong with him. He put space between us out of respect for me, living across the street with his parents rather than with us in the same house. Am I still affected by what happened? Yes. Am I still afraid of him in some ways? Most definitely. However, I forgave him so that I could try to move on and find my own semblance of peace within myself. My Dad never took the mindset that he would be "cured" and he reminds me that he isn't "cured." But he makes sacrifices to ensure that I am never uncomfortable and that he doesn't feel that awful temptation. He goes to weekly meetings, every Friday morning, to Sex-aholics Anonymous (SAA) and won't stop going as it helps him.
For over thirty years I have been afraid of everyone in my life. I've reacted out of self-preserverance. Protecting myself and my kids, stepping in between them and whatever threat I perceived they were in. To protect myself, I did what I was told by others. I dressed how I was told I should by others.
"You would be so much prettier if you dressed in this..."
I became something that I wasn't while the true me continued to be buried underneath this false personality.
I am unravelling this false self-identity in my thirties with four kids, all of whom have a diagnosis of Autism and ADHD. On top of all this, I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), ADHD, Major Depression Disorder (MDD), PTSD, social anxiety and, unofficially, my doctor even agrees that I, too, may have Autism. Unfortunately, it's just so difficult for adults to be assessed and diagnosed that it's speculative right now rather than confirmed.
In December of 2018, I was hospitalized for a week due to a dissection of the right vertebral artery. However, it is now being debated on whether or not that caused me to have a stroke that wasn't caught by CT and MRI scans at the time.
I walk with a cane. My anxiety is supercharged. I've been in and out of PT and OT since January and I am fighting to receive Disability from the government, though I hope that's going to be temporary as I've recently picked up writing and want to publish books in hopes to provide for myself and my family in the future.
On this journey of learning about my true self, there has been a lot of revelations that I am exploring with my therapist, which is what inspired me to write this for the Beautiful Disaster Blog. I have always called myself "Imperfectly perfect me" and have used that saying for others that need a pick me up. That Beautiful Disaster also references the phoenix has given the mythological creature a whole new meaning to me because I hadn't thought of it that way before. A bird of beauty and strength rising from the ashes of its former self is a beautiful way to describe how all of us have risen above our challenges.