This Is What My Anxiety Did To Me Once You Left

Paolo Raeli

My mental illness punished me awfully after we ended.

I have spent more time falling apart since I left you than the entire four years I was with you. Recovering from the aftermath of us was so hard, there were days I didn’t get out of bed in the mornings. And my anxiety punished me. It kept me in bed trembling, afraid to go to work. It made me cry in the middle of the night when I feared that I would never again find someone to love. I spent hours going over the goodbye and the emptiness that had hollowed out my body every since.

That I loved myself enough to leave you, the Β you that balled hands into fists and abandoned me often when I needed you the most, I will always be proud that I left you. But the fact that I had taken four years to recognise the real you, the part of you that knew the exact and insidious way to use my trauma Β against me still makes me so angry at myself.

I do not regret leaving, but leaving has been a disaster after disaster for me mentally. This is the messiest and the ugliest part of healing. Discovering yourself after being so co – dependant on your abuser. I have learned since the days I left you, how to practice self care for my anxiety better. Better yet, I have learned how to pull myself out of every disaster. Here’s the thing about mental illness, it convinces you, particularly when someone is abusive that somehow, you deserved it. That now you are damaged goods and how will you ever be wanted?

It has taken baby steps to finally put myself out into the world again. Buying coffee without thinking everyone in the shop is judging me. Not apologising as much as I used to anymore for everything. Understanding what real friendship is and what it isn’t. Understanding what a relationship should be and what it shouldn’t. Actually understanding what my identity should be and what it shouldn’t.

I won’t lie and say I am completely healed and I have forgotten you. That my anxiety does not punish me anymore. But the truth is, it still does. It has lessened. But I still have a long, long way to go before I can say I am healed from the damage that ending us has done to me.

I will survive this. I say to myself in the mirror every morning. I will survive this. I say to the version of you that still exists in my head. TC mark

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