While I sit here tonight I think about all the things I have gone through in my life. I can only assume a normal person thinks of all the wonderful things that have happened to them and all the great accomplishments they have made. A person like me, however, thinks of all the things that they’ve done wrong or has been done to them.
Every single night of my life I am flooded with memories that I have tried my hardest to forget. Whether it be an awkward encounter with a stranger, an ex-boyfriend that I’m just now realizing treated me terribly, or something I did to someone that I completely regret.
If you believe you have no regrets, then I hate to be the one to tell you that you’re in denial. Everyone regrets something.
As I lay in bed exhausted longing to fall asleep and to get a break from all these memories rushing back to me, I try to think of all the good in my life. For some people this may be easy, for someone with any kind of anxiety disorder this is a daily challenge. I have remembered things that everyone else involved has probably long since forgotten.
Imagine being locked in a room with a television and all that’s playing is all the memories you are embarrassed of, the memories that are so painful you just want to forget them, and the memories that you wish never happened. Imagine doing that every single night before you fall asleep. Can you imagine getting any sleep at all? Probably not, who would get sleep with that in their heads? This is the perfect example I can think of for someone that suffers from anxiety.
The only relief from this occurrence I have is when I take an over the counter sleeping pill. So, while I’m sitting through the worst movie ever for the millionth time I will fall asleep instead of just tossing and turning all night long with no avail. Also, I leave the TV on, ALL NIGHT LONG.
I have slept with the TV on my entire life to stop the noise of the silence. I don’t know how people handle the silence, it’s so loud. To dull the noise of the constant nightmare, I have the TV distract me, with much protest from my husband of course. If I don’t have the TV on I am awake all night long reliving all the worst parts of my life in detail.
There have also been times when I have completely blocked things out, this baffles my mind. I have had full conversations with old friends and have not remembered a single thing they are talking about from the past. I don’t remember much of my high school days, I just remember select people. High school was awful for me as it is for many people, I suppose. So, I guess my mind just blocked most of my high school experience out. I’ve also blocked out much of my early 20’s, I don’t know why, they weren’t all that bad. I guess I just spent so much of younger 20’s wasting it on relationships with no purpose that my mind decided it wasn’t worth remembering. I can tell you what I do remember though, the bad stuff.
I am not sure if everyone with anxiety has lapses in their memory and if they have a hard time remembering the good and not just the bad, but I feel like my life began when I moved away. I moved away from the place that I had all these bad experiences and it was like I woke up from a 15-year nightmare. The sun came out and I could feel like my life was mine again. Obviously, not everyone can just up and move away and I do not condone running away from your problems at all, but you must find something to renew yourself.
If I hadn’t moved away I strongly believe I would still be on the path that I was on, and it was not a good one. Part of my problem however, attributed to the fact that I hated where I lived since the day I moved there at the age of 12. It was awful from day one and from day one I wanted nothing more than to get out of there. If I had been happy where I lived I would have probably taken the same steps I did to renew myself without the moving aspect.
To renew myself I had to remove all the negative people from my life. That meant long term relationships that were toxic or just toxic people in general. Anyone that can possibly bring you down and make you feel worse than what you already make yourself feel. I even had to remove people that weren’t toxic, but they made ME a toxic person.
Yes, that’s a thing, everyone is toxic to someone. Sorry to break the news to you, but you are someone else’s toxic person. You’ll survive. Realize who you are toxic to and change your behavior and if you can’t change your behavior be a decent human and remove yourself for them.
You must remove these people and remove yourself from these people. Easier said than done right? Yeah, I know, but you must do it if you want to restart. Again, you cannot run from your problems. I don’t believe this is running from them I think it’s more of removing the dramatics from your life.
No matter how long it takes and no matter what you must do to take back your life, just remember the memories will always be there. You will never forget the good and the bad memories, if you’re unlucky like me you’ll forget only the good memories… Awesome I know…
You must learn how to manage them, if it’s a good memory of someone that just happened to be a toxic person in your life, take it as that, a happy memory. Don’t let it get you down to where you contact that person again, you removed them for a reason.
You didn’t work together, FOR A REASON. Accept that as hard as it may be.
Memories whether good or bad are simply that, they are memories. You can’t change them, you can’t recreate them, and you sure as hell can’t go back to them.
Move on and take your life back from them. Even if you must relive your bad memories every night before you fall asleep at least you can wake up knowing that is no longer your life and YOU are the reason it changed.
I know there are people reading this right now at each stage of this process. Maybe you are just realizing that this is your situation, maybe you are in the process of removing the toxicity, maybe you just realized that you are the toxic one, whatever it may be don’t give up. Continue working toward your goal and what you need to do in order to take YOUR life back.
Also, just know that you are NOT a bad person for wanting to better your life… Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting something different for your life. Life is far to short to be living it for other people.
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
– Lewis B. Smedes