It’s no secret that change is intimidating and scary. We tend to be creatures of habit who take comfort in routines and familiarity. This is not always a bad thing necessarily. However, for someone engulfed in a toxic environment, staying can prove to be extremely pernicious.
Sometimes the reason we stay is because we have this warped idea that what we currently have is the best we can ever get. We put our effort into making the best of our situation rather than moving on to something brighter. The sad reality, though, is that the longer we stay here, the worse we feel. The more we breathe in our toxic life, the sicker we get.
This is a very familiar feeling for me. There is an unexplainable feeling of unease that comes from being self-aware of our harmful environment. Eventually, staying put and avoiding the unknown can take a major toll on our mental and physical health. When the brain is sick, our body tends to follow suit.
During the most unhealthy time of my life, I was that person who wanted to push through and make the best of living a life I hated. I was prescribed the pills they said I needed. I followed the advice they were sure would “fix” me. I stayed loyal to a life that was pulling me downhill. After years of thinking this was the right way to make myself better, I was actually worse. I wanted out and I didn’t feel like this place was right for me anymore. I was tired of staying and showing alliance to all of the things that were making me more and more sick. I discovered that rock bottom was my exit door.
I finally realized that I was never going to get better because the life I was living was not designed for recovery. Yes, my world was familiar and predictable. Somehow that didn’t help any anxiety I felt, because what was familiar was not actually healthy. We get so used to the bad surrounding us that we accept it as normal, even when it’s not. I was dead set on getting better, even if that meant letting go of the only places I had ever called home.
You cannot heal where you experience trauma. You cannot heal in the places you are being abused. You cannot heal in a place that doesn’t let you grow. You cannot heal while surrounded by people who don’t want you to get better. You can waste years of your life fighting it, but the simple facts remain. Healing requires a healthy environment.
Gather up every bit of strength you have created in yourself and build a better world where you can recover. Give nothing and no one the power to chain you to the past. Step out and create a life where you can feel healthy, happy and motivated to be better. I know the pain that may come from loosening your grip on what’s familiar. You may have to give up some things or people that you never dreamed of losing. It’s okay to feel that sadness. The most important thing is to keep moving towards recovery anyways.
You are worth so much more than what your environment might trick you into thinking. You are more powerful than you’ve given yourself credit for up to this point. You are strong enough to fight for your own happiness, no matter what obstacles fall in your way.
The one thing you can rest assured of is that what is waiting for you on the other side is so much brighter than anything you will ever have to leave behind.