I had something of a breakthrough, about 6 weeks ago, when I was being interviewed for a volunteer position on their phone lines.
I’d applied 2 years ag0, and had gone through all the steps and was in the final interview stage when I revealed that I’d been hospitalized 3 months prior. That was a problem because they have policy that you can’t volunteer if you’ve had a psych hospital admission in the preceding 2 years. I can understand that – they want to make sure you can handle emotionally, difficult calls. So I’ve been waiting out the 2 year period, and as soon as I hit that milestone reapplied.
My interview this time, was with the same woman I’d interviewed with 2 years ago, so she dispensed with a lot of the preliminary stuff.
And then she asked the question: “Can you tell me about an emotionally distressing time in the past 2 years and tell me how you handled it” I almost laughed, I had so many experiences to call upon.
But I decided to talk about the bankruptcy, and my drinking and shopping problems, and not being able to keep my apartment and having to move into transitional housing.
I told her I’d coped by getting professional help re the bankruptcy, writing a lot, my on-line support groups and calling on friends. I then told her I was in a much better place now – sharing an apartment and finishing school.
Her reaction was to say that was a really good example of resilience and recovery.
But the big deal reaction that I had was I’d felt no shame when I was telling my story. I was a tad embarrassed, since I really should know better than to ring up 44,000 in credit card debt. And not feeling shame was the worst.
I think I’ve carried shame around with me, most of my life, and certainly it’s been one of the major themes for me, since starting this recovery journey in 2006.
And ever since that interview, I haven’t felt ashamed. I’ve finally reached the point in my addiction that I was already there with mental health. It’s just part of my story. It doesn’t define me. And if someone wants to judge me on my past, that’s out of my control, so I’m not going to sweat it.
It’s so nice to finally be able to just say that I’m ok with being me.