Valentine’s day is one of my least favorite days of the year. As someone with a long history of sometimes complicated, sometimes abusive relationship situations, I can’t recall a February 14th that didn’t break my heart.
This year I’ve been in recovery from codependency for almost 2 months. This means I’ve been attending weekly Codependents Anonymous meetings, bi-weekly therapy sessions, along with inhaling everything Melody Beatty has ever written. Also, I’ve been out of my former relationship for a month and some now. Just to be absolutely clear I have no plans to discuss my recent relationships publicly, and anything said here refers only to myself. The fact remains that those relationships are over and it’s a big part of the current puzzle of my life.
Codependency, in a few words, is not knowing how to live your life outside of someone else. It’s forgetting what your own dreams are. What you want becomes inextricably tied up in what others are doing, thinking, feeling, needing. It’s being so scared of losing control you try to control everything, all the while being blind to your inability to control yourself. You’ll find a lot of definitions for what it is, but count me as living proof that codependency can look like a LOT of different things. If you want to learn more about it I suggest starting here.
The real truth is that over the last 9 months I completely lost myself. Since my 25th birthday my life has been a dizzying combination of chronic illness, death, grief, trauma, constant dissociation & avoidance, and the list continues. Life became about surviving, reacting and rolling with the punches. Now I feel firmly past the point where I’m letting the pain from my past define me. I’m past the point of letting my emotions and triggers run my life.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been fighting every minute of every day to find myself again. Fighting to understand what behaviors and habits that might have helped me survive are now hurting me. I’ve been fighting to find my dreams, my reasons for sticking around. I’ve been fighting to stay here. Here’s the good news – it’s working. I’m getting better.
I can tell you one thing with certainty. You know the one thing you’re scared of most? That fear that lives under your bed? The one you do your best to ignore? To not think about? You can survive it, if it happens. I promise.
I’ll be writing more about recovery and codependency in the future. Today, on one of the worst holidays of the year, I just want to remind anyone reading this that YOU are powerful enough to survive. You are powerful enough to figure out what your survival looks like, figure out the help you need, figure out your own life and your own dreams. And one day, it won’t feel like surviving anymore, eventually, slowly, it’ll start to feel like living.