There are very few people who follow my blog or who are even in my life who know the extent of the disaster my life was from about 2001 through 2009. I was in a destructive marriage with a man who was abusive, an alcoholic, had PTSD, and was just a difficult person to live with. A man who decided about two years into our marriage that he did not want children. I had distanced myself from some of my family and many of my friends. I held a job that I loved but yet found very stressful. For some of those years I was seventy-seven pounds heavier than I am now. I had a food addiction and low self-esteem. There were many times when I considered suicide and the threat was real enough that I was hospitalized several times for depression. For a period of time, I was even considered to have bipolar disorder and I was trialed on every class of psychiatric medications that existed. The diagnosis was later retracted by the same psychiatrist who diagnosed me and my mood issues were thought to be the beginning of my autoimmune disorder, coupled with significant environmental stressors. Then the physical symptoms of my autoimmune illness began.
2008-2009 found me very sick with Sjogren's syndrome. I eventually ran out of sick time and FMLA and lost my job. On the day that my ex-husband threatened me and I thought he was going to be physically violent because he was so drunk, I told him we were done. I got divorced and lost my home. I lost one of my beloved dogs. No job, no home, no kids, no health, no marriage...no nothing.
But wait, I did have something. I had God. I had my family. I had a few friends.
I had myself.
So why am I even bothering to tell you all this six days before I marry my second husband? Because I want people to know. I want to tell anyone reading this who thinks that the only way out is through suicide that there is always a better way out. There is help out there. You can change your situation. The feeling of hopelessness you have now does not mean that things can not get better.
My upcoming marriage has stirred up a lot of emotions recently. Obviously that is due in part to the fact that I am marrying this incredible man who is my best friend and whom I love with all my heart. But the emotions are also there because over the past few weeks, I have stopped to think about where I am and how far I have come. Because at some point I stopped letting myself be a victim. I dealt with my depression and anxiety. I saw a therapist. I developed a positive attitude. An attitude that got me through some pretty dark days. I worked on my relationship with God and with myself. Step by step I made changes in my life that enabled me to be a whole person rather than the empty shell of one that I was during those years.
I still struggle with health issues. I still struggle at times with my self esteem. But at the end of the day I like the face of the person looking back at me in the mirror. Sometimes it is hard for me to think back on the past and even believe that was me. However I have to look back from time to time because those experiences have helped make me the courageous and determined individual I am today.
I am at peace.
I am happy.
So please don't give up. You are worth more than the sum of your bad experiences. God has put you in this world for a reason. The reason may not be apparent to you now. It may never be apparent to you but I promise you, your presence in this world will make a difference to somebody.