Hello, my redonkulous friends… this week we have a guest post from Bridgette Tharp. She describes herself as a Social Media Marketer, a mental health advocate, a spatula singer, and a bad joke teller… I’m a “BB” to my nieces, “BLT” to friends, & “B” to most others. So let’s give a big welcome to Bridgette sharing with us her 5 Steps to Healing.
Hey guys. My name is Bridgette. Aside from the description above…I’m also a recovering codependent, reconditioning my life after childhood traumas that I didn’t choose to face or know how to face until I was 30 years old. After years of bad relationships of every kind, suffering from years of depression, and a trip to a recovery facility when thinking about my death was always front and center in my brain (again).
I have a few questions to ask you…
Do you find yourself feeling physically exhausted all. the. time. And you don’t feel like you have a way to explain the exhaustion?
Is there this sinking feeling that some form of chaos is erupting in your life? Though you’re making every effort, in fact, going out of your way to show up for… well, everyone?
Do you feel like you’re constantly running ahead of yourself, afraid of showing people who you really are?
Guys, I FEEL YOU. You are not alone. I’ve spent nearly a decade trying to act like I had it all together.
Faking it til you make it
70% of my life was miserable. Intolerable, even. I imagined my death over and over because my life felt suffocating. But being honest about my mental health was absolutely unthinkable. I somehow justified that the life I was living was the better choice.
The face that my friends saw, and the person I was when I was alone were completely different. I showed up with a positive, solution-oriented attitude. Then I’d go home to sleep on the cold hardwood floor in the middle of winter. I would lay with the heater off because I felt like that’s what I deserved. The shame, fear, desperation, and depression that I felt were unreal.
I went days in a total blackout. Not seeing color of any sort. I was physically sick, and sometimes in so much physical pain that my only option was to hide out.
When your mental health is made public
About 6 months ago, my mental health very publicly came to a head when my two best friends made the decision that it was their responsibility to share what they thought was going on in my life. I won’t lie, some of what was said were true, and hidden out of shame. Other parts were not, but the urge to put me in my place was so strong for them both, that fact-checking wasn’t a major concern.
In all fairness, I was running so far ahead of myself, that I couldn’t keep up with this happy, positive front that I was putting on. I decided I was going to take an “Eat, Pray, Love” trip to Bali for a couple of months, when my best friend decided that made me weak, and that I needed to “learn to get through things without running away”. It took me a little bit to realize that her process was to constantly compare my life and my process to hers. I genuinely wish I was strong enough to have found empathy for her at the time, but truth be told, I was too selfish in my emotions to see it that way. So instead of empathy, I reacted with name-calling, shaming… projection. I was the “B” word.
The other best friend was going through an extremely emotional time in her life, and it’s always been a pattern for her to take her emotions out on me. We’ve been so close our entire lives, I never saw it as her taking it out on me. It was what I deserved, that’s how I saw it. She wouldn’t have done it otherwise, I convinced myself of this. She genuinely is one of the most beautiful souls, but the projection is her superpower. So, naturally, I made an announcement to our small group in an effort to show her true colors. The reaction came before healing.
The Power of Projection
Guys, these were two people who didn’t know each other and lived on the other side of the country from each other, but they felt just enough internal pain to find a way to connect and team up to hurt me.
Let’s be clear, they’re also two people who would be there for anyone at the drop of a hat, myself included for a long time. They are not bad people, they never were. The people I thought were close to me were projecting their pain onto me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was shamed and betrayed beyond what I could have imagined either of them was capable of. I was called a fraud, a con artist. Things were put on Facebook, you guys. I literally could not process what was happening. At that moment, I couldn’t breathe. Every trigger possible went off. My life as I knew it was over. Then I realized, I hated my life as I knew it. I was disrespecting my process. Also, I was shaming myself, betraying myself and I abandoned myself years back. Nothing felt natural, or pleasant.
The process of moving on
Healing from this didn’t happen overnight. I, in fact, went pretty deep back into a depressive state when this first happened. It took months, and if I’m honest I still have to revisit these feelings and remind myself that what was done wasn’t about me. I was so close to both of them, and their families. They were my family, the people I talked to every single day. Since this happened, they never reached back out or apologized.
I had to learn to move on without an apology. I had to accept that holding on to these feelings of anger and pain was only hurting me. And to be honest, what they did set me free. It almost feels like they did it for me, not to me.
I have more gratitude for both of them now than I could have ever imagined.
If you are ever put in this situation, I want you to know that you are not alone. I want to share with you what I have learned along my own healing journey that has helped me. It’s an uncomfortable process, but if I could make things just a little bit easier for you. My goal is complete.
Here’s what I learned and I hope you take something away from it.
1. Some people aren’t meant to be in your life forever, but the lessons they bring into your life, they’ll be there.
2. When someone shames or betrays you, understand that it’s not about you. Instead of looking at it with anger, try to seek empathy. Try to understand that they’re causing you pain because they’re in pain. Wish them healing.
3. Guys… we live in a world where the internet is in our hands at all moments. You don’t have to feel alone with what you’re going through. Even if (and likely the case, as we all typically attract unhealthy when you’re in that space) nobody in your life understands what you’re going through in these tough moments, search your behaviors or your feelings. I promise you, you are not alone.
4. Pour into you. Likely, the chaos is erupting because you tend to feel unappreciated in your relationships. At the end of the day, the amount of effort you’re pouring into your relationships was not something that was asked for. You’re draining your energy for people who can’t possibly appreciate your effort because it doesn’t feel authentic. They can’t match you, and it’s usually pretty obvious that you’re leaving your well-being at the door. You can’t take care of relationships in a healthy form until you take care of and love yourself.
5. Finally…. Guys, while I understand on a deeper level than you can imagine how hard it is to execute what I’m about to say to you, & even if you’re not ready yet, please hold on to this and make baby steps towards your execution: If you’re not owning who you are, you will be owned. The quicker you can own it, the quicker you set yourself free.
Sending you every bit of love and support. I’m right by you, guys.
Thanks for hearing me. Connect with me on Instagram, I’d love to support your process: @bridgette.tharp
Thank you, Bridgette
I hope you guys enjoyed this post from Guest Blogger Bridgette Tharp. I also hope this has helped anyone who is going through a hard time with their mental health. You are not alone please reach out if you feel alone and let’s talk this out. I know it helped when I wrote a letter to my future self.
If you are not suffering from issues regarding your mental health, please take from this that it is NOT YOUR RIGHT to out someone and what they are going through. If you are a real friend, you would privately message them or call them if you are that concerned.
Please share this with anyone you think may benefit from this post. I wish you all well.
Until Next Time, Have a great day!