I turned 40 yesterday. I had a really nice, relaxing day and my boyfriend and sister are planning a big dinner party for me this weekend with all my family and friends, which is so thoughtful and sweet. My boyfriend is actually away right now visiting his parents in another state. When he left last week, I had a really hard time…which was very unexpected. I actually had a panic attack when he left for the airport. I was so scared that something was going to happen to me when he was far away. It took me a day of feeling really uncomfortable to adjust and work my way through it. I just saw a quote on an ACOA Facebook page that made me think about my experience: “On this day I will help my body recover by acknowledging when I have a physical reaction to a seemingly non-threatening situation. I will then reach out to try to uncover where the reaction is coming from to help myself heal.” This really spoke to me because it is how I got through the last week. I had to identify exactly why I had the reaction I did and then help myself get through it. No one could “fix” it for me or make the feelings go away, but I was able to use the logic based strategies that I have learned in therapy to heal myself.
When I spoke to my boyfriend I didn’t tell him what happened because I didn’t want to worry him or make him feel guilty for leaving. Even though I considered not telling them, I did tell my mom and sister how I felt. I feel guilty being a burden on other people and I know how much they worry about me. My therapist said something really interesting to me this week that I have been thinking about. She said, “You do so much for your sister and everyone in your life. You are always there for them…what makes you think they wouldn’t want to do the same for you?” When I did finally tell my boyfriend, he said he could tell something was wrong. If the roles were reversed, I would absolutely want to know if he was struggling, yet I felt bad telling him that I was having a hard time. I think I internalize and hide things because when I was getting divorced, I was a mess and leaned on my friends and family so much- I know it took an emotional toll on them and I don’t want to do that to them again. I have to remind myself that was a long time ago and things in my life are much different now and that it is not a sign of weakness to depend on other people. In fact, I am so lucky and fortunate to have the people in my life that I can count on and moving into this new decade of my life, I am going to keep reminding myself of that.