In mid 2019, I experienced one of the biggest life changes anyone can go through----I went through a divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. Despite the parting being amicable, I have to admit that the aftermath was tough. I felt lost, scared, and anxious, as I have never been truly alone in my entire adult life. Though I am an introvert by nature, the thought of actual solitude was terrifying and I equated being alone with being lonely, in a way only a recovering codependent will ever truly understand.
I would have overwhelming episodes of sadness, feelings of loss, and I would be gripped by incapacitating feelings of anxiety because I felt like I was losing control. Even worse, I could not recognize nor process these feelings. All of these difficult emotions would be masked by a huge smile, denial, and protected by impenetrable walls.
For all my life, I have prided myself in being very positive, optimistic, and full of joy. I always have a smile and a hug for everyone and I love to have fun and laugh. I never showed any weakness or asked for help when I needed it because I thought that was what being strong was all about.
I also never really learned how to feel and process my emotions or learn to be vulnerable. No matter how I was feeling inside, I kept a bright, smiling facade that I always showed the world. I kept myself so busy, jam-packing my schedule with work, meetings, projects, events, dinners, nights out, parties, and dates. I surrounded myself with people and had no time to really listen to myself and know how I truly feel.
During the past year, because of the drastic changes that have occurred in my life, I decided to start seriously working on myself: finding out what I want on my own, what gives me joy, what I want to cut out of my life, what I like, how to be vulnerable, how I want my life to unfold, where I see myself in the future, and the impact that I want to leave on the world.
Then COVID hit.