Haunted by the Past
Do you ever feel you’re haunted? That cold feeling running through your stomach and the hairs standing up all over you? That feeling of fear and dread that almost paralyses you? Some people don’t believe in ghosts. The idea that there is anything after death is just inconceivable to some. I personally believe there is more after this life than an empty nothingness, but that’s a conversation for another day. The ghosts I’m talking about today are when ghosts from your past come up to haunt you and set off feelings of anxiety and depression. I have my ghosts as I’m sure you do too. We all do. But how do you give up the ghost and move forwards? Because when it comes to your mental health how can you ever hope for recovery when even the mention of the name of one of your ghosts sends you back into the darkness? A song I love by Ella Henderson describes it perfectly:
I keep going to the river to pray
‘Cause I need something that can wash out the pain
And at most
I’m sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake
Facing Down the Monster
It’s hard. Believe me. I face down one of my ghosts several times every week in the shape of my ex-husband. He’s a big contributor to the scars you don’t see that make up my complete lack of self-esteem. I also have to wrestle with anxiety every time he has visitation with the children, it goes into overdrive if I see his behaviour slipping into the patterns that caused our relationship to become so toxic. It’s hard. I don’t always succeed very well at keeping it under control, but one thing I’ve noticed that is I am getting better at it. Where I used to lose my speech when dealing with him in difficult circumstances, with no small amount of effort I am pushing it back. I can talk and actually take positive control of the conversation. In doing so I am slowly starting to give up the ghost of that relationship that has at times haunted my life.
My mum even commented after a recent event where anxiety over the children had spiralled, instead of crumbling (with a little coaxing and some excellent advice from one of the wisest people I know) I pushed down the feelings and dealt with the problem head on. For once, fear did not rule me. Okay, it took it out of me to do that, but the important thing is I did it. In doing so, I was that bit closer to exorcising that demon.
Give Up the Ghost, No More Haunting
I am very clear on one thing, it is NOT easy to do this. It takes time, perseverance and patience to give up the ghost of those who have played a part in damaging your mental health. Because, to get like this, to have my self esteem so damaged, there are individuals who can share some of the blame. One thing I have realised though is that by letting these spectres from my past haunt me, they still have a hold over me and why on earth should they have the power to do that? They more than likely don’t give a second thought to the harm they’ve inflicted to others, such people rarely do. So let them go. Delete them from your Facebook friends, get rid of the pictures you may have. Give up the ghost. Stop letting them de-rail your recovery. They have no right to do that.
They don’t give the harm they do to you a second thought, so why should you waste any of your thoughts on them?
Why not subscribe?
Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!