Hello, I'm Gloria, and I'm codependent.
Maybe those six words are enough for you to understand my story. Maybe I don't need to write anything more. But I will, for my own sake. I won't write very much right now, but you know what the truth is like when you don't speak it. It will kill you. So, to save my own life I am speaking it. Because I'm not afraid of it. The truth is just the truth - when I speak it, it has no power over me. (It's the same for you, too, you know. We are only as sick as our secrets.)
You may feel uncomfortable with this. Is this inappropriate to share publically? What about J (assuming this is about him)? Isn't his story his to share with others? Well, sort of. I mean, of course it is, but this isn't about his stuff, this is about my experience of codependency. That's one of the insidious things about mental health/illness, addiction, etc - cultural propriety tells us to keep all of it hidden for shame's sake.
To be clear, there is no shame in depression or addiction. There is no shame here. There is only illness and hope and truth and love and pain and healing and setbacks and resilience and, well, you get the idea. Shame has no place here.
This isn't about shaming anyone. This isn't about calling anyone out. But it will for sure feel like that to some people. If you have any weird feelings, any discomfort, I'd shine the light inward and ask yourself why you feel that way. What about my story makes you uncomfortable? Why do you think that is?
Now, this next part might really make some people uncomfortable: it is not my job to make you comfortable. It is not my job to make people feel good. It is not my job to pretend things are fine when there are real things to address - real hurts to heal.
And this is all okay.
My job is my health and my son's health, at least until my son is an adult and must take responsibility for his own health and well-being. I am in charge of no one's life but my own and my toddler's.
The thing is, I'm not okay and I hurt like I never have and this is harder than anything I've ever done and yet I am better than I have ever been. I am stronger than I have ever been. For my whole life I have felt different, uncomfortable, unsure of myself - and I have learned how to be confident, how to embrace my strengths, how to live into my true self. I have struggled - do struggle - with depression and anxiety. And yet I am not afraid of these things or feel the need to hide them. That makes no sense to me.
I just can't take living in a culture that hides the truth in the name of appearances. I can't stand the "fake it 'til you make it" trend where everyone is just pretending things are great but slowly dying inside. Truth will not be denied. No one puts truth in a corner...
Darkness cannot survive the light, and sometimes the light feels uncomfortable. Sometimes the light looks like being honest and saying hard things - saying things no one says, and definitely not in public - but heck to that. ('Heck,' because I'm being 'appropriate' here.)
Silence enables shame. In fact, silence is shame's best tool. Shame is like a cancer that grows in the dark - through silence and secrets and darkness - it is a cancer that grows and grows and grows, and the treatment is TRUTH. The treatment is HONESTY. The treatment is LIGHT.
I'll say it again, there is no shame in addiction. There is no shame in depression. There is no shame in making mistakes. There is no room for shame in recovery. I mean, well, wait. It's natural to feel ashamed. It's a feeling. What I mean is that we don't need to let it occupy real estate in our heart. Feel it, see it, name it, and wave it goodbye. Daily, hourly, every minute if you have to.
You don't need to fear your feelings. Yes, feelings can hurt. Do the hard thing and sit in those feelings. Just feel them. Feel them, see them, name them, and let them pass. And if they don't pass, wonder why. Ask someone why they won't go away. Learn how to work through the feelings.
(I'm sorry. It sounds like I'm making this about you when this is really about me. I mean, actually it is kind of about you, because I wish all of us were as comfortable sitting in the hard stuff as we should be. This is about all of us, really.)
Anyway, my name is Gloria and I am codependent. I love my husband dearly. I pray for him every day. He is on his own journey toward recovery and health and healing and it is his own. This is about my journey, apart from and along with him, however it unfolds. His journey is his own, and my journey is my own, and by the grace of God we will go it together as long as we can. I am unspeakably proud of him for taking charge of his health and wellness and doing the hard things so necessary to live into the fullest and most authentic man, husband, and father he can be.
I'm on a similar journey, a concurrent, parallel journey, to be the fullest and most authentic expression of myself - as a human, woman, wife, and mother - that I can be. I'm doing this by telling the truth.
All that to say, this is me. I am hurting and yet I am good. I am frightened and yet I am confident.
I can do hard things; I am stronger than I thought.
If you are living through some dark things, some hard things, if you need an outlet or a voice or some light, let me know. Let someone know. Light helps. Truth is hard but the truth can heal. We can do hard things.