Connection

When I started this blog, I wasn’t completely sure how I would use it and I was nervous about sharing my deepest thoughts and the private parts of my life……..

But I took that leap and I started writing this past January.

My most recent blog post, was one of the most difficult to write and to share…….and I almost didn’t. Leaving myself exposed to the judgement of others is quite frightening, but sharing my families story is even more frightening….I am now opening up our story, our life to others. Not just family and friends, but acquaintances and strangers.

After posting my last blog and asking for others to join me in the conversation that will hopefully lead to REAL effective and affordable care for those who suffer from mental illnesses and addiction and for those who love them, I have been overwhelmed and humbled…….

Overwhelmed with the emotions brought from reading the many messages and emails from those who also suffer and from those who also love someone who suffers. And humbled that so many would share with me.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with others who are riding this rollercoaster too, but sad that these diseases are so far reaching.  My blog has given me a connection to others in a way I could not have imagined, allowing me to be a part of the conversation with so many others and allowing me into their private worlds, letting us see that we are not alone and that together we can affect change.

I am not sure where this will all go but……I am going to keep on taking that leap………..and together we can we all just breathe!

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A Shared Journey

A journey is anything that takes us from one destination to another—physically, spiritually or mentally.

We travel many journeys in our lifetime—some of them consecutively, some concurrently. Some journeys end naturally and some we need to end so that we can move on to the next journey. Some journeys take us places we never imagined and some keep us stuck in the same place.

I have taken many journeys in my lifetime—physically, emotionally and spiritually—some with family, some with friends, some with strangers and some alone.

Those journey’s I have taken alone have been difficult, scary, lonely and have often led to discoveries about me—who I am and what I am capable of.

But sharing the journey makes it a little easier, a little less frightening, and a little less lonely.

Often, when we are going through difficult times, we feel alone, as if we are the only ones experiencing this type of event or these emotions.

I have felt that way many times in my life—When my mother died and I traveled the journey of grief alone….no one could know what I was feeling. In dealing with the sudden rise of repressed memories of long ago abuse, I traveled alone on the journey of remembering and ultimately forgiving. Yes, most of my deepest, painful journeys are when I thought I was alone.

Being overweight and trying to navigate the winding, bumpy road of weight loss had me traveling a journey alone……or so I thought.

No one could know what I was feeling. No one would understand the shame I felt being at the heaviest weight I had EVER been. No one else had ever hidden food from others, eating in secret and then hiding the evidence. No one had ever eaten the last of the frosting in the can and then run to the store to buy a replacement before anyone noticed and then had to eat half of the new can to make it look the same as the old. No one could understand what it felt like to get dressed up in a ball gown, make-up on, hair done and feel good about themselves as they arrived at the Air Force Ball…… only to have a group of women point at and loudly say how ridiculous that FAT woman was and how sorry they felt for her husband. No one could comprehend the shame and embarrassment felt when a child pinches your arm and says loudly to you—boy, you are really FAT!

No. NO ONE would or could understand what it felt like to be overweight—the shame, the embarrassment, and the worthlessness. And traveling the journey of obesity and eventually the journey of getting healthy was a journey I traveled alone.

Until…….

I walked through the door of the Weight Watcher meeting on a Thursday morning for that 5th time.

Each week as I sat through the meetings, I began to feel less alone. These were all individuals on a similar journey and they understood. I was not alone. That feeling lifted a weight off my shoulders.

And then I heard someone share that they had finished a bag of cookies and didn’t want their family to know so they ran out and bought another bag of cookies and ate cookies on the way home so that the bag would be the same. Wow! In that moment I realized I was not alone! I was not the only would who had done this!

Finally, someone else got it.

And when someone shared about their struggles, instead of being made fun of or told it was just a matter of willpower, we all got it! Each of us were traveling a journey of our own, finding ourselves, discovering what worked for us. Yet, we were on a shared journey and we were not alone.

To this day, I still go to Weight Watcher meetings. I still need that safe place…….to know that I am not alone. And though I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, having reached my goal over 8 years ago, I still struggle and my meeting is where I find support, kindred spirits and inspiration.

And the meeting is where I know I am not alone……that I travel this journey with others.

This shared journey is one I will travel with friends and strangers for the rest of my life.