Monday, August 11, 2008

Grieving the loss of a past self

I wrote to one of my SLAA friends today:

One HUGE thing I am realizing is that I have to grieve the loss of my former self, and accept who I am today. The old Rae was a successful (professional), respected in her community and by her peers, constantly engaged with others, always full of energy and ideas, at the top of her game. The new me is not all that, in fact she bears little resemblance to that -- but I am alive, I have plenty to offer to others in clear, quiet tones, I am fully focused on awareness of myself, equipped with tools that I never dreamed of having, and have people in my life who I love and care for deeply. I must grieve the loss of that past person and embrace the person I am today ... otherwise I will never be happy, never be free from living in the past. Acceptance of who I am now is the answer. There is a lot of me I've never discovered because I was going at lightning speed, never slowing down, and never realizing that I was living life barely on the surface of my potential.

It's interesting as I read that again, that I realize that there is still a lot of that former Rae in me, I simply have a different set of peers.

I "graduate" tomorrow from the outpatient treatment program for depression. I have been a patient for four weeks and have learned a great deal about myself and about managing my mental health. It all supported my need to continue to work a program of recovery and develop a deepening relationship with a power greater than myself. It was interesting today as I spoke with my therapist about our "decades of life." She is in her 50s and I just turned 40 this year. (I finally feel like my chronological and emotional ages are synchronized.) I shared with her that if you had asked me in my 20s if I would have ever, ever experienced what I did in my 30's I would have likely laughed in your face. Yet, I did experience the loss of my career, full-blown sex and love addiction, the near loss of my marriage and my sanity. I am a different person today because of it all. And one day at a time, I am learning, and I'm always amazed at how much more there is to learn.


The Traveler said...

I'm imagining that, over time, your energy will return, and ironically many of the same characteristics you exhibited while playing "game face" earlier will emerge in their genuine renditions. But the wonderful thing this time will be that they will energize you rather than sap you. And rather than live like a leaf tossed in tempest, you will feel the anchor of your inner core bolting you down, as you grow into your real self.

The grief is over the loss of a perceived self, that fantasy we all hold of how reality should be. Once we accept reality as it is, we can begin to appreciate the richness it holds, in promise, for us. But until we grieve the loss of our fantasies, we are stunted from growth in reality. So while grief is excruciatingly difficult, it is nonetheless progress, and the gateway to wonderful things.

With encouragement,

Misery Marketing said...

Hey Rae,

Your blog is so good. I love people who shoot from the heart. Im glad yu are gaining more peace and understanding.