Last night, as I was just about to fall asleep, an anxious thought invaded my mind. Then several others came flooding in right after. I tried to ignore them, but they were so strong. Mainly, they were specific memories of times during my active addiction that I completely broke my morals; all for drugs.
I kept reassuring myself by saying, “No, Ally, you weren’t in your right state of mind. You were in a bad place. You aren’t there now. You don’t do that now. Focus on now.”
But depression and anxiety (and for my faith followers: the enemy) doesn’t want you to be reassured. It doesn’t want you to be calm, to let go, to focus on the positive. Instead, more invasive thoughts came in to add onto the pain of the already existing thoughts. Did they keep coming because I was fighting them?
So here’s a breakdown of the thoughts in a dialogue form:
Starter thought: “Do you remember the time you (insert memory of the time I degraded myself)?”
My fighting thought: “No, Ally, you weren’t in your right state of mind. You were in a bad place. You aren’t there now. You don’t do that now. Focus on now.”
Invasive thought #2: “But you still did it. (insert degrading name-calling: whore, stupid) You can’t take that back.”
My fighting thought: *deep breaths* “I did it, I’m not proud of it, I’m still in the dark with that time and I’m not like that anymore.”
Invasive thought #3: “But does your boyfriend know about it? What do you think he would think? Does your mother know about it? What do you think she will think? I’m sure this will come to light eventually and you know everyone will judge you and definitely leave you.”
My fighting thought: *trying to ignore the lump in my throat* “I don’t think he cares much about my past. I think I’ve told him about this time, but now, come to think of it, I don’t know if I have told him. Am I being dishonest? My mom would be disappointed, but she has my back. Jen. Must text my best friend Jen. She will reassure me and comfort me and not judge me.”
Notice how I already started to entertain these invasive thoughts?
Shortly after texting my best friend, the tears came, the guilt came, the shame came. Stupid thoughts, stupid anxiety, and stupid depression had me all in my feelings. The enemy is pretty smart; he knows exactly how to trip me up.
That one dark memory reminder caused me to remember and think about several others. I started beating myself up and feeling awful for things I had done.
And then I realized: I need to forgive that younger me.
So Dear Younger Me,
It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I didn’t protect you better. All of this will be for a reason one day, you’ll see.
A Much Wiser You
So although I may be a little uneasy still about the choices I made when I was younger; under the influence or not, I can’t let them destroy the current choices I have. I can’t change the past. I repeat, I cannot change the past. But I can do something today. I can do something in the future. I can protect that inner child of mine. My guard might be up a little extra until these emotions relax a bit, but that is ok. It is ok for me to have to do some extra breathing. It is ok for me to write out my feelings. It is ok for me to lean onto my best friend. It is ok to remind myself that God has forgiven me.
Is there something you need to forgive your younger self for today?