personal · substance use

2018: Growth. 2019: Blossom!

I had an exchange with my friend the other day that revealed to me how much I had grown. In life, in the past year, in general. I told them that I went to Goodwill to cheer myself up because I was depressed; then I admitted that I had driven around old locations in town that reminded me of people no longer in my life while listening to sad music so the only person to blame for my mood was me. As such, I concluded, it was entirely my responsibility to proactively pull myself out of that mindset and do something to make myself feel better.

Not only did I FINALLY buy a winter coat (eight bucks! it’s turquoise and only kind of smells like grandma’s!), but damn wouldn’t you know it, I felt a lot better when I walked out than I did when I walked in!

Even if I hadn’t self inflicted my saddened state, at the end of the day, how we feel is our problem. Not our SO’s, not our family’s, not our dog’s. They can be super helpful and I absolutely believe you should surround yourself with people who are understanding and can maybe give you a tug if you’re really in there but the reality is we’re the ones who control how we feel. Even when it seems like we have zero control! My sister would probably say I’m being ableist and I want to clarify that I know for many people – including Past Carly – this can be EXTREMELY FUCKING HARD! It might even seem IMPOSSIBLE! I get it, my dudes. But I assure you, it is not.

I’m not here (today) to tell y’all what you are or are not responsible for, though. Much like quitting smoking, deciding not to cut yourself or any other difficult life change, you gotta come to the conclusion that the struggle is worth it on your own. I’m really here to share my journey and with any luck, someone might get something out of it. Even if that someone is me, going, “Shoot, I’m pretty great, huh?”

Cutting and then watching my 2018 Recap Video (you can find part 1 here btw), was an absolute trip. Like I said in the video description, I set fire to my life at the beginning of this year. I shook the foundation of my marriage so hard that you could see the steel beams our love was built on, I quit my job impulsively, I let my house go into foreclosure because I was just so fucking sick of the place – and miraculously, it all worked out. My wonderful in laws took in my disabled mother, my incredible husband was able to jump right into a very physically demanding and technical job that allowed us to start a life of travel – thanks to the recommendation of my amazing best friend who I’ve had for over a decade now. And with my brilliant sister’s guidance I’ve been able to use meditation as my guiding light through SSRI cessation syndrome, anxiety and panic reemerging, and the utter reconfiguration of my life as I knew it.

It’s been a fucking RIDE. For all the struggle – the hours spent crying on the floor, the minutes digging my nails into my skin to confirm I’m alive I feel pain I’m not dead I’m here oh my God, the seconds of calm terror when Nicholas suddenly fell unconscious after work during the first month on the job – it’s all worked out somehow. A huge portion is thanks to the unbelievable kindness, faith and generosity of the people in my life. However, I have to recognize that much of what I have been able to accomplish, especially in terms of my mental state, was all me. I’m the one who started testing out of college courses, who started arranging our debt payments, who did hours upon hours of research into our new car. This website was birthed from my intense belief that the things I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn), could be shared with others, to benefit people other than me. The messages I’ve received this year were the most beautiful confirmations of everything I set out to accomplish. And this is only the beginning!

I also want to really quickly address something I’ve heard a few times now – that I make it look easy. Let me assure you, it isn’t always. And it definitely wasn’t always. Those of you who knew me as a teenager and dumb ass in my early 20’s should easily recall what a disaster I was. Years of my life are basically omitted from memory because of how heavily I self medicated with drugs and alcohol. I spent over 10 years tearing open my flesh just so I could deal with the crushing sadness, loneliness and fear. More than one of my romantic partners has felt the harsh sting of my fist against their flesh. I genuinely can not give you an accurate number of times I tried to kill myself. As recently as the beginning of 2018, I casually tried to get a heroin hookup. Thank the fucking stars it didn’t work out but my point is that where I am now, mentally, has taken a lot of time and hard work.

Perhaps related, now I’m pretty boring, substance wise. I think the last time I smoked weed was August. I have a glass or two of wine maybe once a week, usually more like every other week. Sometime earlier this year I quit smoking cigarettes – maybe like July? The relationship between drugs and my mental state could be a whole post in and of itself; it’s very much a chicken or the egg sort of question. I was depressed, so I did drugs. But the drugs made it so I never had to work at developing healthy coping mechanisms and fucked with my body chemistry – so the drugs made me depressed. Truth be told, other than meditating every day, the most helpful thing I did for my mental state was probably get the FUCK out of Ludington. Living in a constant state of resentment towards everything and everyone around you is just not healthy. But I digress.

The moral of this post? All the tools to feel better and be happier are inside of you. In theory, one could attain contentment with nothing more than meditation. However, in my experience, actually addressing the things in your life that make you miserable and doing something about them (like quitting the job that probably caused your hypertension!), tends to make a pretty difference in your state of mind.

So with at least a good six months of intense personal development under my belt, what’s the theme for 2019? It’s time for the strong, green stalk of my budding soul to blossom. I’ve begun crafting my resolution list with a pretty focused plan-of-attack. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my process for coming up with SMART goals for the self loving feminist so do be sure to come back c: now that I’ve watered the garden of my brain and I’m full of delicious nutrients, it’s time to really show the world what I’m capable of. As always, thank you guys for reading – so much of this growth would not have been possible without your kind messages, comments and support. Let us hope that 2019 is our best year yet!

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