It’s Your Turn Series: Post 1 “Learning to be Loved”

I asked you to reach back to me with your own stories of how mental health impacts you in your daily life. Some of you have told me about childhood abuse, self mutilation as a way to cope, Post-Pardum Depression and body dysmorphia. There are so many more stories and just like some of you have told me that you’ve been sad for me and mine, I am sad that there are so many of us that have experienced some event or events that have led to difficulties as adults.

This is Nikki. She’s 26. Her story is below.

Where it all began

My story starts in 1995, when I was 5 years old. Like most kids my age, my parents were divorcing-I was going with mom and did not want to leave dad. Shortly after the divorce was finalized my mom fell into a downward spiral with methamphetamine. Life became hard. I was sad, I was hungry, I needed help. Long story short, I lived this life for about 6 months, caring for my younger brother and trying to survive (literally). After a long drawn out custody battle my hero (my dad) finally won full legal and physical custody of us, and we moved in with him and our older brother. Life was better. We had food when we wanted or needed it, someone to tuck us in each night, and someone who was there NO MATTER WHAT. Mom wasn’t really in the picture, but I didn’t really notice. I had everything I needed, and wanted for nothing more.

Then real life hit me like a ton of bricks

Cut to my junior year of college- and I started to notice issues with depression and anxiety. I was stressed about work, I was stressed about school, I was stressed about joining the “real world” where I wouldn’t have school every day, and I was “seeing” a guy who called me fat or ugly on a regular basis. I started hating myself. I was overweight and had been chubby since I could remember, but never felt badly about it. I got to the point where I covered my mirrors. I hated my face, my Life, my body. I thought things that terrified me, and decided I had to make a change. I started hitting the gym 6-7 days a week for 2-3 hrs per day. I lost about 25 lbs, and still wasn’t “good enough” the guy still talked badly about me and I still hated myself. Eventually I found a new guy and blocked the original one from every form of contact. Things started looking up, but I was still hurting. The new guy was nice enough, but I felt nothing for him-and I gained no reassurance. After about 2 months we split up-no hard feelings on either side-it just wasn’t right. After about 2 weeks, my brother introduced me to Mike. 

It’s all going to be alright
Oh, Mike. He saved me. He saw everything I hated and loved every piece of me. Even so, I was still struggling-i was often anxious and very depressed. Mike became the first person to know about these issues. He was the first person I had EVER felt safe enough to tell. He never judged-and did his best to see me through issues. Then, we started hitting bumps in our relationship. In many different aspects-we learned we are very very different people. But we had one thing in common; we love each other and never want to love anyone else this way. We struggle frequently. But we never give up. I am still very anxious and depressed often, but he is always loving and supportive and willing to work through any issues I/we may come across. I recently lost 30 lbs and could not have done it without him. He cheers me on when I want to go, and he holds me when I need to slow down-he never pressures or critiques-just supports me. I have a degree in psychology, so I’m always my worst critic, and I have recently tied many of my issues to my early childhood. A “my mom didn’t really love me so why would anybody else?” type thing. I’ve learned that the tiniest thing can have the biggest impact, and Mike and I are currently looking into counseling-not necessarily for “us” but to learn how WE can better help me work through my shit in a productive way that can benefit our relationship as well. I struggle with feeling “good enough” but I’m learning that if somebody wants to love me-it is possible, and I deserve it. 

I am 26, my story started 21 years ago, and I am JUST NOW thinking about getting help. It is hard, it is exhausting, but I want to be better..I can be better. I WILL be better.

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