Aug
31

WHO AM I? Will I like Me?

By

depression recovery, new day, hope

I remember the day that realized that I was no longer attached to my former identity. My former identity is the identity that was given to me by my family and almost every significant relationship I ever had since a very young age with the exception of a few special girlfriends and maybe a couple of adults along the way. It was how I had come to think of myself, how much guilt and shame that I carried for things that had happened to me and the way that I believed I was not loveable, that I was not good enough and that something about me was just “wrong”. That identity no longer resonated with me. I knew that I was no longer who they said I was. My identity crisis was over, I thought. I was certain that the little voice in my head would go away now. That little voice that whispered every time I accomplished anything; “who the hell do you think YOU are?? Everyone knows you are nothing, everyone knows that you are an imposter and anyone who doesn’t will soon find out”. I was certain that voice would shut up now and that I would never have an imposter issue again! (Unfortunately this was not the end of that issue, but let’s save that for another blog post later on)

 I remember that the exact moment I realized that I was no longer who they said I was; that I was no longer defined by them. I felt euphoric and immediately empty. I felt like I had reached a goal, but something was missing. I felt amazing and terrified. I felt free and blank all at the same time.  Full of real fear I questioned my therapist; “well if none of that is who I am, then who am I?” It felt scary, dangerous, foreign, lonely and somehow clean, all at the same time.

Prior to this day, in my mind’s eye regarding the process of recovery from all my depressions and dissociative identity etc, I had visions of huge construction equipment digging up buildings, rotten foundations and roots that were miles deep. At first clearing this wreckage ~ what my life had become ~ seemed overwhelming. I didn’t think I could do it, there was so much debris to deal with and the mess went so deep. Sometimes I even pictured huge floodlights so the work could also be done in the dark, as though there was no rest from it. It seemed to go on and on, the things I found in the digging were sometimes shocking, sometimes frightening, and sometimes so enlightening it was like finding diamonds! Most of the time the shocking and frightening stuff eventually was so enlightening that it was like finding treasure too. I found the truth! It was exhausting but somehow I kept going.

Now, on this new day in my mind’s eye I pictured a huge area of land that has been cleared of all trees, structures, garbage, weeds and rubble The land was all smoothed and prepared and the huge construction equipment had been taken away. This new foundation was ready and waiting for me to rebuild on it. I felt shaky at first, as though like a baby, my legs were still wobbly. I was curious about who I would find on this new leg of the journey to discover the real me.  Would I recognize myself, and even more frightening, would I like myself? There was still that little voice inside, asking “what if they were right about me”? What if the people that had defined me all my life were right about me after all”? What if I can’t do me? What if no one likes the real me? What am I going to find out next?

Feeling blank has many fears.

The following months were in many ways no less complicated than the prior months in therapy, they were just different. I had to learn how to live in my new belief system, and sometimes it was uncomfortable.  I tried new things, and almost everything I did felt like I was doing it for the first time, because I had changed all those old beliefs and I was not the same person anymore. Sometimes I wanted to run back to the old life! At least it was familiar and even comfortable there. At least I knew how to function there.

 As I got to know myself, my happiness increased. I felt free, alive, brilliant, strong, dynamic and reborn. I began to feel comfortable; like I was really alright, and in fact I was “right with myself”. I felt like I finally knew what it means to feel like I was who I was meant to be. I was able to impact others in ways that I never did before. I started to feel purposeful and fulfilled. Today I continue to become more and more comfortable in my own skin, more alive, more able to live life fully and to flourish and thrive. I become more “ME” with each passing day and I love who I am!  

Please share your own stories, feelings, fears and victories as we travel this road and celebrate our discoveries.

Darlene Ouimet

click here to read the post on my struggle with my identity

Categories : Depression

27 Comments

1

wow, another good post darlene.
i am at the cusp of changing, i get it mentally but the emotional ties havent been pulled enough for the bonds to the past to have been broken, but i am makin g inroads. i have an assessment for the cbt a wk on monday, i rang and spoke to someone there today. another phaseof my recovery is baout to begin. the dread is growing as to what iwill find but i will deal with what comes up as it comes n hope for the best.
thanks for giving me the tools to work mentally on the bits i had become stuck on, it has given me a springboard to sort out another deeper layer

2

To me going thru the process of becoming me (which I am still going through) has been the most liberating, invigorating yet hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I understand very well what you are saying about feeling empty and yes there is a mountain of fear because all the old coping mechanism’s and even some of our comfort zones has been removed along with all that other junk that was not who we are …
I have had to face some hard realities about myself, I say hard simply because I have had to realize how much I abused myself! And a lot of these abuses that I did to myself were coping mechanisms however many of them were part of my “comfort zone” which come from the old warp belief system that I have had..

I look at my life now like a blank canvas, so there is all these possibilities .. but with each step, yes it is work and takes determination, however I am at the point in my journey where I have come to far to stop now!! I actually get excited about my days now, yes I still have some moments and there are so many more miles I have got to go but life is a journey, however I am amazed to where I am now!!

3

Darlene,

So amazing how what I am going through always coincides somehow with what you write. Your timing is impecable!!! I was in a counseling session yesterday uncovering a belief of how I don’t feel good enough often and I don’t assert myself or set boundaries enough within my relationships. I am really beginning to speak up for myself and put my own needs first. However, I have to first look at the core belief that rests beneath the surface. I am finding out everyday that my needs do matter and that I matter as much as the next person. After years and years of being told either verbally or non verbally that my feelings and thoughts didn’t matter I am standing up and letting the people around me know how I expect to be treated. I have always had this fire in me, but the people closest to me have always tried to stomp it out. I am realizing that I now have an amazing opportunity to surround myself with people who also believe in my worth. One day too, I hope to finally be free. As always, Thank you for writing!!

4

Hi Carol,
It always has to make sense to me mentally before I can implement it emotionally. I am so happy for you that you have taken that next step! I am looking forward to hearing some of your discoveries and victories in the future!!
Hugs, Darlene

Nikki,
Isn’t it great to be waking up excited! Depression was such a big part of my life.. I thought that I had periods of waking up excited, but turns out most of that was the manic phases of bi-polar! I can smile today about it. LOL
I know what you mean about being amazed about where you are now; I never wanted any more then just to have some feeling of “okay” and today I have so much more then that I burst to fill the pages of this blog with the discoveries I have made and still am making! Life is a journey that I am glad I am part of now.

Thank you and hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny!
I have no doubt that you will one day be free just by what you have shared today! wowee. That is so great and such an encouragement to others too! I like your fire analogy, I have a few minds eye images of being stomped on and squished too. But no more! It was a fine day for me the day that I realized that my needs were just as important ~ equally important to anyone elses! I am excited to have this comment Jenny and I look forward to the next one too!

Hugs, Darlene

5

I just realized reading this that I know who I am but I haven’t showed very many people my real self. I believe because of my childhood I also became what everybody else wanted me to be, not who I really was. I know I did things that I really didn’t want to do, I said things I really didn’t want to be saying. I conformed to each person’s life and ways and I am still struggling with this today. I pray to be set free OH LORD AND BECOME WHO YOU HAVE CALLED ME TO BE. AMEN

6

Hi Diane,
We can only change the things we know about so yay for this realization. This was so much my story too playing, to each person was part of how I learned to survive. Doing that for years and years, I lost myself and didn’t really know who I was deep down. I prayed to be set free too; it didn’t happen the way I thought it would be it happened. Today I am me and I live in my life purpose each day.
Thanks for sharing on this post! I am excited to hear how you progress with this discovery!
Hugs, Darlene

7

Darlene I still have to deal with the bipolar itself however when my moods shift and I do hit a low or a high its not like it was before. In other words it does not take over me and become me. Instead I am able to see what is going on and what I do need to do for myself. I am able to let my family know what is going on and I allow myself to take it easy on myself (just as anyone should do with a health condition) Before I would drown in my depression literally! It has been within the last year or so that I have made such progress in being able to accept my reality and accept my life. The change in my life has been so noticeable this year that even my own mom told me that she noticed the significant change in which she is impressed! And you know if you would have told me three years ago that I would be where I am at today in my journey I wouldn’t have believed you. LOL

I honestly didn’t think God had a plan for me, I wanted Him too I hoped He would but honestly I believed that I was nothing more than a court jester to Him just a joke! Not worth paying attention! I love it when God proves me wrong!

There are still some areas I struggle with like getting myself more organized and often simple task like cleaning my house can be overwhelming I am trying to re-teach myself how to get organized and I am trying to learn how to not let things like my house work overwhelm me. I wasn’t like this until after the mental breakdown in 2007. So I am having to relearn things.. This is a process and it is a hard one! However it is not impossible, it maybe overwhelming but it can be done!

Learning to be me is like being handed unlimited access to one of God’s greatest creations! That is what we are! and until we can see ourselves for who we are we miss out on a blessing that is staring at us right in the mirror!! (hmm I think I am going to put that on my status update LOL!)

Thank you for sharing with us the process it has taken you to get to where you are now in your life! Your blog has helped me to overcome some huge hurdles in my own life this year .. often I find myself nearly shouting out loud “YES YOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT!” LOL your courage and insight is very much appreciated!!! Thank you for being Awesomely you! (((HUGS))) to you!

8

Hi Nikki,
I can relate to your comment so much. I wrote a post about a few more of the stumbling blocks that I clued into along the journey to self discovery! (it will be published today) I had to relearn things like cleaning ~ but for me it was about associating cleaning the house with that being one of my values in the past… one that I resented. I had to realize it as a task that had to be done, not something that defined me or didn’t define me. Oh the journey is as exciting and it can be hard! As long as we are on it, I am celebrating!
Hugs and thanks for all your encouragement! It means so much to me!
Love Darlene

9

[…] Related Posts :  Click ~ Who am I  ~ will I like me? […]

10

Darlene, this post brings back so many memories for me…all good now! I was a mess when I entered therapy, much like you’ve described as rotten foundations and roots. I didn’t know what was wrong just that there was a lot of it and I was a disaster. It’s always an ongoing process but after that moment of realizing freedom from the old me it has been, for the most part, liberating to say the least. There are still dark moments and sometimes even dark days but mostly it’s just invigorating and exciting to continue on this process.

My moment came when I got into my rental car after embarking on my first ever solo trip on mother’s day weekend 2008. Yes, I left my mother on mother’s day and did something I wanted. She was not pleased. As I drove from the airport to my ocean front hotel I felt nothing short of ecstatic and that feeling lasted the entire weekend. I was finally an adult doing exactly what I wanted to do on the most hated day of the year for me because of all the obligatory nonsense I had engaged in every other year on that day.

Great post!

11

Darlene ~

Your post spoke volumes. So where I’m at right now. ‘Will they like the new me?’ Will I like the new me?’ ‘Will I be accepted or rejected?’ It’s a very freaky and frightening place to be. I like what Nikki said about being a blank canvas … its been wiped clean, its ours to create a masterpiece on it. That is how I feel – I feel so excited, yet scared. Those old doubts like to creep in (I hate those!)

I love this little community I’m part of – its so nice to not feel alone! :o)

12

Darlene; in one of the comments above you’d said: “It always has to make sense to me mentally before I can implement it emotionally”.

I am constantly amazed at how I connect with others who have found their way out of the darkness the similarities in the paths that we have found – and so far to date – this sentence that I quoted is the beginning of a consistent path that leads to the light.

I can’t stop to leave a lengthly comment right now – but had to stop to mention this.

13

Cyndi,
I love this story of VICTORY. I had such huge issues with the concept of OBLIGATION.. yuck. And “permission” wow, I still wanted permission (a cousin of approval) for everything. I remember this one mothers day in the past when I was really upset and feeling so guilty for being upset because I didn’t want to cook dinner for my Mother in law ~ because I HAD KIDS TOO, little ones actually, and I was dang tired. I had this odd idea that mothers day and my birthday were the only days of the whole year that I should get to do what I wanted.. oh man I feel another rant coming on……… rofl! Might have to expand this comment into a post.
Here is to finally being an adult!
thanks for sharing! Cyndi!
Hugs Darlene

14

Paulette, you know it is funny but I think deep down I thought rejection would be so much worse if I was rejected when I really was being me.. so in some respects that added to the fear. (complicated hey?) But I tried to keep focus on the journey, having faith that ANYTHING had to be better then how it used to be. Half alive, mostly dead, dying most of the time. I could feel the life blood literally draining out of me.
About those old doubts, awareness is the best answer for me. I still get them sometimes.. it is a process.. but they never get me down for long anymore!
Here is to FREEDOM and to being YOU!
Hugs, Darlene

15

I’m not there yet. I’m scared. Empty is bad. Empty was a abuse. Guess I need an attitude adjustment for empty. For so long, I’ve survived. What am I if not surviving? Is it too late? Perhaps it’s not. What if I don’t like me?

16

Hi D.
When I think about “what if I don’t like me?” today I realized that what got me over that fear is that one day I asked myself .. “well, do I like me now?” hummm that kind of changed things a bit. Just something to think about. There was a time when I realized that things could not get as much worse as they could get better. It does take time and as long as we are willing, just a bit at a time, things can change!

Welcome to Emerging from Broken, Hugs, Darlene

17

[…] had all sorts of questions such as “who am I? How do I find myself; what is my purpose; do I have a gift?” But when I think about it today, I […]

18

Again how I relate to your postings who am I? has surfaced over and over again each truth adds to my true identity. I am not the person who was defined by others. As children how willingly we believe others we are so trusting that we can not even think in our innocent minds that these people are lying to us. It takes a long time to unravel lots of emotional upset but slowly we begin to see ourselves as if for the first time we find out for example we are poets, artists sensitive all kinds of positive affirmations replacing the false beliefs instilled into us. We had lost ourselves in the confusion and the pain and lived out our lives in a state of shock.

19

Hi Beverly
Yes, this was a profound understanding for me! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

20

BOOKMARKED! This post is amazing and just what I needed to read!!!!!

A sense of ME. MY life. MY decisions. MY body. MY choice.

Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine…..ALL MINE!!!!!!!

(((Thank you sooooooo much Darlene and for everyone that wrote here)))

This site ROCKS! 🙂

21

LOVE your attitude Brenda!!!
thanks for sharing! I have a big happy smile on my face right now from your “mine mine mine ALL MINE” statement!
YES YES YES
Hugs, Darlene

22

Darlene I liken my life to a building site, I feel like I’ve been sat on a big pile of rubble for at least a month now waiting for the dust to settle. I an now starting reconstruction. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether issues, memories etc need to be dealt with in a certain order or any order I like. One thing for sure, it’s a very different view these days. Afraid to do much as I don’t want to build faulty foundations, I hope I will instinctively know how to proceed with the help of your articles.

23

Hi Sam
I don’t think I did anything in order. I started off the process with the youngest trauma memory, (a way to begin) but after that I did things as they came up. I was very afraid of building faulty foundations, but looking back it only mattered that I was striving to build.. striving to go forward. The pace didn’t matter, just the willingness.
I look forward to your updates about your progress!
Hugs, Darlene

24

Hi Darlene
Just read your post about the Garden of Freedom and Wholeness then followed the link to this page. I’m asking the question ‘Who am I?’ at this very moment – it’s the first time in my life I haven’t had a ‘role’ where I was expected to be what others wanted.

From the first it was to do with being for my parents all they never had a chance to be and do – I had to be the best and nothing less would do. And, while they took care of my physical and educational needs really well, I’m just coming to an understanding of the emotional neglect that was involved – nothing ‘extreme’ or physical, unlike your story, but the fact that I can never remember a time when it was simply OK to be ‘me’. Interestingly, I am only now recovering memories of my pre-teen years which I have been unable to remember at all for years (I’m now in my late 60’s!).

Once I married, he seemed to be the best at first, but a few years in turned out to be bipolar, and 28 years later after a psychotic breakdown and a stay in hospital they began to comprehend his narcissistic personality disorder! And the church we had been part of for the first 15 years of the marriage compounded what I have only recently come to understand as emotional and psychological abuse. I was supposed to be for him all that he needed, and was forever told that I didn’t know what love was and didn’t love him – guess what he meant was that I couldn’t fill up his need…! I left and we were divorced after 30 years of marriage and I moved away.

Then I began training for a ministerial role within the church, and also to try to begin to heal, and 3 years ago he died. But it was only last year when someone came into the church and mirrored the personality of my ex, abusing me and several others, that I finally fell apart – emotional flashbacks, depression etc. I moved away from this person completely, joining a different church where I have good support, and over this past year I have joined a support group for domestic abuse survivors, I’m just finishing a course of counselling and I’m on the waiting list to start psychotherapy later in the year.

But reading your two posts has been hard – I feel like I’m still digging for weeds, still going through the rubble and clearing the site – seems to be going on for so long. It’s as if each step forward takes me down further into the difficulties underlying my life – first beginning to recognise the abuse for what it was, and now trying to comprehend the emotional neglect of my parents. And yet I guess I should take hope, too, that there will come a turning point in this process when I can begin to discover who I really am now that I’m no longer ‘somebody’s something’ – I really have no idea at present and find it so hard to believe that I’m loved. And I’m told I’m hard on myself and trying to understand how to begin to care for myself – I guess I was never taught that?

I really long to reach the point you describe above where you turned the corner and could start to rebuild and find yourself – at present it seems a long way away, but I can’t give up even though it can be a pretty tough process.

Sorry this is a bit long – guess I needed to vent!
Sue

25

I am just beginning the work, but after my first attempt to ‘go inside’ my mind and finding a memory, my mind blackened! I can’t see anything – it’s all black now and for someone with a very vivid imagination it is very frightening. Reading a book is now difficult as I can’t visualize anymore and bridges to memories and information stored is no longer accessible unless I’m in a moment where I need it…this makes it hard at work when I can’t remember research! Darlene did you ever experience these ‘roadblocks’? How did you clear the black? How did you make your mind listen? This feels silly to say and ask, but it’s where I am, AND I would like to move forward to be who I was created to be without fear and voices!

26

Hi Sue
Welcome to EFB~ Hope is what kept me going forward. I had searched for years for the ‘real answer’ the actual truth and when I started to look at this whole thing through a new grid (the one I write about here) that is when everything changed and I felt as though my foundation was really getting cleaned up! It wasn’t so much as the comprehending what they did as it was validating myself that it happened and it caused damage! Keep going Sue! It is tough but it is so very worth it!
hugs, Darlene

27

Hi Stacy
Welcome to EFB ~ YES I did have things like that happen too. I found that the fear of facing things was bigger than I realized it was. It just took time and persistence. I found writing helped me the most! (journaling) I took just a fragment of a memory and started to write about how I felt. All kinds of things came up. It wasn’t the memories that were the most important, it was validating myself that there was damage by looking at how I felt about myself and then looking at where that originated.
hugs, Darlene

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