12 ~ 4 years

Lost myself in my past 

The fear is stronger than the reality 

My personality faded fast 

I am not who I want to be 

The desire for recognition 

Too strong present 

The constant doubt becomes a condition 

All this feels so unpleasant  

Lost between fundament and personality 

The constant battle in my mind 

Am I unique or an abnormality 

I can’t find my place in humankind 

Please see my authenticity 

When I am too scared to show 

When I can’t see my own reality 

Will you let me know 

My fundament is broken 

My personality strong 

My thoughts are unspoken 

I don’t know where I belong 

I would like to let go 

Let go of all the fear 

The fear is too strong though  

To let anyone come near  

Kind, caring, spontaneous and cheerful  

That’s my personality, that is me. 

All I want is to be less fearful 

And let my personality just be  

My fundament yearns for love 

Acceptance, approval and validation 

But look beyond all of the above 

Because it is part my limitation 

I see it now 

I will learn to let go 

I will find out how 

And let my personality grow 

Until then, I ask for a friend 

Someone who can sympathize 

And love me when I can’t 

 

I wrote this poem at the end of 2015 at, what turns out to be, the beginning of my burnout. The constant insecurities, battles against myself and the urge for perfection began to exhaust me emotionally and I slowly began to lose myself. After I wrote this poem, it would be another year before I actually collapsed, but the meantime was characterized by slow decline. A few months after writing my poem, I stopped exercising. I was tired, my body was tired and I changed from someone with a strong stamina to someone who had to sit on the side after a few minutes of exercise. My body was consumed by stress. A few months later my food processor also went on holiday permanently. From daily use to unused kitchen accessory. I couldn’t think about healthy food or weekly schedules anymore. I just couldn’t think anymore.  

Every day I struggled with myself because I wanted the best for my family, but in the end I lost the fight. My brain no longer seemed to be able to process stimuli, thoughts or emotions, and that ultimately resulted in panic attacks. Panic attacks where I was sometimes in fetal position for more than an hour. A position in which I protected myself and kept others at bay. I couldn’t take it anymore to get hurt, I couldn’t take it anymore to fail, I couldn’t handle feeling worthless anymore. 

“I started in a canyon. A dark, cold place where I already wandered around for a very long time. I searched for a way out, but every side path I hopefully entered only brought me deeper into it. The more lost I became, the more my determination changed into hopelessness and I slowly lost all my energy. After some time, I just couldn’t walk anymore and I tried to crawl but eventually I just collapsed. My personality was broken and I felt lonely in a dark and cold place. 

(…) 

While I was laying on the ground, my determination slowly came back to me. I decided I no longer wanted to live in the darkness, I wanted to live in the light.  

I couldn’t search for a way out in places I already searched so I had to change my point of view. I needed to look for other possibilities.” (Mind Happiness 3 ~ The climb) 

It took me almost another year before I started to function somewhat normally again and this period was also characterized by step-by-step changes. The difference was that these changes were positive rather than negative. 

Sometimes you have to die before you can really live. You have to say goodbye to everything you knew and thought you were, because everything you knew and thought you were didn’t work for you.” (Mind Happiness 3 ~ The climb) 

Everything I knew and everything I thought I was had broken me and that’s why I could only do one thing to heal; start to invent life itself. I had to figure out what my own values are and figure out what I think is important in life. By thinking about this, I was able to find out who I am. 

That search for myself was the first part of my climb up. I learned what had to learn. Now I’m halfway up the mountain and look up. The second part of my climb will consist of actually applying the acquired knowledge. Knowing something is something very different for me than actually being able to do it. 

I know I have to put my fear and ego aside and let my heart speak. I know that when I feel hurt, it says something about myself. I know that I am my own individual and that no one else determines my value and I know that the feeling of love and happiness is in me and that no external factor should be able to affect that. 

What I want to try now is to let my life be led by unconditional love. For myself and for someone else. Those are my standards and values, my definition of perfection and my authentic personality. 

 

“I love you, always. 

I love you when you make jokes. 

I love you when you smile. 

I love you when you show your wonderful love. 

I love you when you’re sad. 

I love you when you’re angry. 

I love you when you make a mistake. 

I love you when you do something sneaky. 

I always love you. 

My love for you never stops. 

I never think you’re stupid. 

I never think you’re dumb. 

I never think you’re imperfect 

I always love you. 

And I’m always blessed that I can be your mama. “ 

These are the words I regularly speak out towards my children. They are words of unconditional love. What would happen if I uttered these words to myself? What would happen if I made these words sound in my heart when I look at and approach the world around me?” 

Four years after my first poem, I wrote these words in my personal journal. 

I’ve changed from dependent to conscious, from vulnerable to self-certain, from fragile to flexible and from distant to loving. 

I am now halfway up the mountain, look up, and wonder what heights I can reach over the next four years.