Writing this post just 3 years ago would have filled me with dread. Actually, it still does a little.
Today, I want to share a post with you that I wrote a few weeks ago because I haven’t been writing very much about where I’ve been lately.
That’s because I’ve been afraid to share it with you.
I speak all the time about how you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about your struggle and reach out, but I suffer from the same fears. I worry that you’ll worry, or that you’ll see that I’m not strong all the time. I write because I know, and I still live it.
After giving it some thought (and some space to heal and gain perspective on my struggle), I came back to the truth that governs Strong Inside Out: vulnerability is a necessary stepping stone to strength. I hope that showing you both dark and light sides of my story will inspire you to find the light in yours.
After working on my strength from the outside in this time, I once again feel strong, grateful and confident in my ability to live fully in spite of this heaviness. All it took to get back here was action and faith. You are completely capable of getting here, too.
The below entry was written after a straight month of traveling for the Tour, not enough sleep and a change of seasons (even in San Diego, I feel it!). A few tour stops got cancelled or just didn’t pan out and I felt like a failure.
So I decided to write you a love letter.
Let me know if any of this sounds familiar…
I’m struggling. Really struggling.
It’s been a few years since I’ve felt like this. While I know in my soul I will never give up to the darkness that’s overpowering me right now, it doesn’t affect the way it is right now.
The thought of talking to someone, even over the phone, makes me feel like hiding in a corner. I find myself drained from putting on a “brave face” with the people I can’t avoid. I’m on the edge of tears every second of every day, but I hold it inside to keep people from worrying. Then, something happens to set it off, something small, and I’m either alight with rage or I’m sobbing uncontrollably.
Escape through TV shows and movies is all that I want to do. When I force myself to work, it’s on data entry and menial tasks that don’t require much thinking or feeling. Clearing the fog in my mind seems too hefty a task to try to put together a coherent post worthy of you.
Getting out of bed fills me with dread. Didn’t mean to rhyme there, but hey. Let’s lighten this up.
I knew the signs were there as they started to trickle in, one at a time, but with my travel schedule, I didn’t have the right coping mechanisms in place to handle them as they arose like I usually do. The lack of sleep, erratic schedule and failure of a couple Tour stops just added to the pot. The darkness came to a peak right after our final stop in Austin, and I haven’t had the courage to tell you until right now.
I feel like I’m failing at what I’m supposed to be, at what I’m trying to create for the world, at what I was so sure of when I left the training job I loved in LA, and the hole that it leaves is consuming me. I’m overcome by the forces that told me I couldn’t do this all along, and I’m fighting my urge to agree with them.
I’m here telling you this because I want you to know I’m not perfect. I’m not a happiness machine who’s full of energy all the time. I’m not “cured.”
Most of all, I want you to know that I’m not giving up. I won’t allow myself the familiar embrace of dwelling in the darkness. I force myself to look at all the love and light I have in my life, even if I don’t feel it. Yet.
I have my amazing, supportive, understanding soul mate for a husband. I have my friends who call and text me to make sure I’m ok. I have my health, my strength, my re-framed perspective that I’m capable of beating this.
And I have you. I have you to show that this is possible to live fully in spite of all this heaviness.
I knew when I started this site that it’s impossible to feel light and free at all times. That was never the message I hoped to send. Struggle is a necessary part of joy.
While I’ve come to a point at which I know I will pull through because I have done it before and will do it again, I refuse above all else to let you down.
And that responsibility requires honesty. It’s my belief that allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of others is the truest form of strength.
So I’m forcing myself to be strong through transparency now, and I’m so glad you’re here by my side so that when I feel light again, we can laugh and you will know that I don’t take that simple act for granted.
Thank you, Strongie, for your love, your support and your courage in being vulnerable right here with me.
Now that I’m on the other side, I can look back on my situation and recognize the power that taking action truly has.
Though I didn’t feel inspired or motivated at all, I went outside and exercised 5 days a week, knowing I would soon feel better. I finally sat down with a friend and just cried while she helped me work through the unfounded doubts in my head. I made a phone appointment with my old therapist who’s above and beyond any other one I’ve tried since I moved away from her.
I allowed myself to hope for the light to come back. I accepted that the struggle was overtaking me, and I surrendered to it so that it would move on faster. I rested, I said “no” to things that would have added extra stress, I made space to fall into introversion so I could heal.
And I did. Here I am, light again.
Even if you don’t feel the call to heal, taking action will lead you there. Sometimes you have to start from the outside in.
Trust yourself. Trust that you deserve to come out of this, and give yourself permission to do things that will lead you to the light.
Here I am, laying my heart out for you in hopes that you’ll see just how worthy yours is. You are not damaged. You are not broken. You are living, and that means embracing the dark times so you can appreciate the light.
The darkness will lie to you, but your light never will. And the message is always the same…