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I Didn't Recognise Myself

Trigger Warning - Mentions of Domestic Violence.


I look back at the last two years of my life and how things have changed and it is shocking.

When it came to the end of my marriage, I didn’t even recognise myself anymore. I was hollow, empty, paralysed and stuck. I struggled to speak with more volume than a whisper, and you can hear in my videos, I am still quite soft spoken.

I look back and reflect as I near the 2nd anniversary of having my then husband finally leave the home nears - after pushing back on court orders and making threats… continuing to make my shrink further into myself. I was scared.


I truly looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognise myself. My eyes were swollen, my skin was breaking out in rashes from stress, I had a smallness about me, I looked tired. Not just physically, but completely emotionally given up. I got scared on the train, I couldn’t handle any unknown male talking to me in any situation (even if it was to take my order at a restaurant). I cried a lot. I still don’t quite know how this happened to me and how I ended up in that situation.


I went through a lot of therapy, with DV specialists, SA specialists, and PTSD specialists. I had a big outpouring of support from people around me - and I am forever thankful.


I had to learn how to love myself again… to accept myself as I am. I had to learn and understand what love looked like. I had to accept warmth and care. I had to learn how to trust again. I had to learn that what happened wasn’t my fault. I still have flashbacks, I still struggle… But I am making progress.


My therapists saved me - It’s like they lifted me up from the gutters and carried me through - slowly cleaning me up, feeding me little bits of food, washing my face… giving me my strength back. Now of course they didn’t actually do these things - but they really helped me learn a ton about myself and other people.


I then had one very specific friend who stuck by my side, and while tons were there for me, he went next level. To be there for me, support me, make sure my therapy sessions went okay and I was okay after, that I was eating and sleeping… he promised to be patient with me, and accept every bit of me - good or bad. More than a year later - he’s still there as my boyfriend. Still making me feel safe and loved. Something I’ve never experienced with anyone else.


Everyone deserves to be cared for, everyone deserves respect, love, peace and safety. It’s okay to seek the warmth and the care. Allowing people in and trust in even after experiencing devastating pain is okay. It’s part of the healing process. Keeping a soft, and open heart for new experiences in any way will help you through it all. Mostly - keep that heart full of love for you.


I'll say it again, you're worth it, you are enough, you are special and you are loved. Even those times it doesn't feel like it. I'm proud of you! It is a long road to find yourself again, but the journey is beautiful, and so important.


This has been my big reflection for the month.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I know we’re not quite there yet - but consider getting involved with Women’s Aid or Refuge as two examples. The work they do, is life saving.


Wishing you a week full of warmth, care and safety.


Ashley


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