Life, mental health, Relationships, self love

Self love starts with self-respect

After Squaddie and I split for good, there was a period of change for me.

For a while, I’d spend my days convinced that nobody could ever really love me. Again, being ‘alone’ made me feel suicidal. I believed that I was not loveable and that I was in everyone’s way. I’d stand at the side of the road thinking “if I jumped in front of that car/ bus/ lorry now, they’d be going fast enough to kill me”. It was a genuine fantasy of mind for too long.

After a while of feeling this way and believing that if I was “stronger” I would have ended it by now, I spoke to my housemate, Hannah, about how I was feeling. Well, I actually told her EVERYTHING. My entire life story. She understood completely how I felt and there was no judgement. She encouraged me to go to the doctor for help.

They put me on Citalopram (20mg a day) and added me to the list for counselling. It took about 6 weeks before I saw my counsellor- we had 10 sessions booked. My counsellor was an amazing woman, she didn’t do much more than listen and prompt me to find solutions to my own issues. I struggled at first to talk to her but after a couple of sessions, I’d got into the flow of talking frankly with her.

We came to the conclusion together that my issues were not based on failed relationships. They were based on my own fear, guilt and shame for things that had happened in my life. My belief for a long time was that I was inherently bad and unloveable- in my eyes, my story confirmed this for me. In my eyes, I would alway be the girl who’s mother didn’t love her enough to stay and get help. Although at this point my counsellor still didn’t know it all. In fact, it was session 10 by the time I told her about the attack in Magaluf. Something that I couldn’t verbalise (still struggle to verbalise). I actually wrote it down and handed it to her. I watched her without blinking as she read it expected to be kicked out early with disgust. Instead, amongst a lot of other things, she said “what he did was disgusting and you were not to blame”. Something that even now I find difficult to fully believe.

After each session, I would come home and discuss every detail with Hannah, who would add her own insights and words of encouragement. Between the sessions and the ‘after session sessions’, I started to feel like I was finding an identity that didn’t have to be depressed or designed for men.

Watching the way Hannah studied and persevered to get to where she wanted to be in her career filled me with dread at first. My initial thought was “I am not intelligent enough to be friends with this girl”. I think I’ve mentioned my old reputation for being “stupid Becky” before. A belief that I carried around with me for years.

After a little while, I started to think “maybe I could do that too- study and get a career”. So I began signing up for training at work, reading more intellectual books and looking for promotions. I started discuss the training and books with Hannah, with the expectation that I would have missed the points or would sound stupid trying to be clever. But that expectation never became reality, quite the opposite actually. I felt intelligent for the first time in a long time.

We were still partying almost every weekend but I started to hang back from “meeting men”, I didn’t need as much validation as I’d previously needed. I was happy to have a best friend so close to me who I could be myself around.

Before long, I managed to come off the antidepressants and got promoted into a different department. IT Training- a department that I never thought I would have the brains to be working in.

I also began working closely with a man in IT that I knew through nights out but had never been able/ allowed to talk to. There was an instant connection. Something told me that he would always be in my life, if I wanted that. We soon became really great friends, we’d go out for a few drinks a couple of times most weeks and would talk about mostly everything.

I started to do really well in my new role with a promotion that I wanted in my mind, and sight. This ‘believing in myself’ was really working for me. I was feeling better in myself with very few times of depression. I was making deeper connections )with new and old friends) and was feeling proud of myself. I was developing some serious self-respect.

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