In the last couple of weeks I have jokingly called myself the “Pied Piper” of anxiety. I’ve had countless students and parents in my office and do you know what always comes up…..anxiety. Dark….smelly……dirty…..ANXIETY! I decided a couple of years ago that I refused to hide in the dark and that I would use my anxiety for GREATNESS! You heard me…..GREATNESS! I would overcome, I would defeat and I would share my story with others. No longer would I hide in shame about my anxiety! No longer would I minimize it! I’m not going to lie….when I decided to do this my anxiety actually got worse. It did not want to let go! It had made it’s home and I would have to fight to get out from it’s grasp.
For so long I had told myself, I have anxiety and anxiety defined who I was. I was no longer a person, I was a person with anxiety. It was my persona and often even my excuse. It wrapped itself around me and became infused and charred in my DNA. I never thought I could break myself free of it, but just exist, hide and control it. Do you have something you like to control? Maybe it’s not anxiety. Maybe it’s depression or some kind of dependency. You try to control every aspect of it, but the truth is….if you don’t bring it into the light (and continue to hide it in shame and darkness), it is actually controlling you. You think that you have the upper hand, but in reality it is pressing down on you and controlling your every breath.
So what do you do? How do you move on from a life that has consumed you for so long and has become who you are? Maybe you just say goodbye…that’s what I did. No really! I wrote my old self a goodbye letter and gave it permission to move on, because I did not need it anymore. You see, the self we release served a purpose somewhere down the line. Maybe it was for self preservation, the result of trauma or wall we built up for protection. Whatever it’s purpose, it can still be released!
My Letter to Myself:
Dear Capable Jen,
I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me and I want to say sorry for everything you had to endure. You had to learn to be strong and hold in your emotions in order to survive. You had to endure a childhood that lacked the nurture that you craved and that left you feeling abandoned and sad. You were taught ideals that were not true and you learned things by watching those around you. Many of which, were lies. You put on a smile and sucked up your way through life.
You were strong when you heard the pooping of the alcohol in the morning, when your mom wouldn’t play with you, when she didn’t want to spend time with you, watch you play or just connect with you. You were strong, as you watcher her hallucinate and come to her worst. You dealt with a verbally abusive father, who filled your head with lies and tried to control you with his fears. You took care of yourself when they abandoned you and did everything an adult would do, when you were still a child.
You smiled as you were made fun of, teased and tried to fit in and were lost. You worked hard at school and were always the optimal employee. You strived for the attention of men and the praise from those around you. You held strong through a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage, that left you abandoned again.
You have endured so much and I wouldn’t be where I am without you. However, it’s time to let you go. I’m safe now. I have people who love me for me, an amazing family, have forgiven my parents and have a deeper relationship with God. It’s time for you to leave and let amazing, beautiful,, funny, and caring Jen move into and fulfill the destiny God has for her. I’m fine now. I need you to leave my backpack, because it’ time to give you up as I walk up the mountain. I need to finish this journey as Jen. The new Jen. The Jen who loves herself and who is ENOUGH!. Who doesn’t have guilt, to please people, and who strives for the glory of God. The Jen who is kind to herself because she has done nothing wrong.
Father God, I ask that you take capable Jen by the hand and cover her with your feathers. Give her the love she so desperately needed all these years and take her hand. Fly her into heaven. Take good care of her, because she has endured so much! Capable Jen, go and be free! Don’t worry about me. You have done your job and now it’s time to fly home. To a home you always longed for and never got. Father God, I release capable Jen to you and ask that you take all of her with you!
Now here’s the hard part. After you say goodbye….it’s time to forgive! To forgive those who have hurt you, to forgive yourself and maybe even forgive God. Because it’s when we forgive, that we encounter true freedom! Freedom from our oppressors and freedom from ourselves!