Finding “Cait”

Whether it have been while on a job interview and asked the question, “Who is Cait?”
Or when filling out any type of document that asked, “Tell Me About Yourself”…
This is something I have always struggled with.

I had decided my keyword for myself was “blank”.
This was because most of the time, if it was something I was filling out, I would leave it blank, or if asked the question in person, I would just stare at the person blankly.

“Honestly, I’m just me,” was always the best answer I could come up with.
After saying that a few times out loud, I came to the sad realization, I actually didn’t know who “me” was.

I could tell you my likes and dislikes, what I enjoy doing during my free-time, my hobbies, what my major was in college, what I’m good at (or what I’ve been told from others that I’m good at, or I’ve been good at doing), and I could tell you what my personality is like (based on what others have told me, or just based on what my current mood is at that moment).

But is that what people are really wanting to know when they inquire about who I am as a person?

I’m hoping this blog helps me discover who the hell I am, and answers that question for me.

Lately, I want to reply with that question as my answer, “I’m not sure, I was actually hoping you could tell me, and also tell me what the hell am I doing here?  Everyone supposedly has a purpose in this world, right? Well, what’s mine?  Because I’m sure as hell tired of trying to figure it out.”
But I know that’s not the answer they, or even I, am looking for.

The last thing I ever want (and actually despise it) is sympathy.  But I think the combination of being through so much crap in my life, (and I’m not talking about the normal day-to-day stresses people go through in their lives, but several traumatic experiences that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy), that I ended up spending my entire life trying to forget these random, constant, (and always something new) unexpected traumatic experiences that always continuously kept reoccurring throughout my life, by doing things that were actually more damaging than helpful.
Things mostly like: subconsciously finding people that would be randomly going through a hard time in their life, or just a troubled person in general, and dedicating all my time and energy to helping fix it/them, so they could get back on their feet again.
Somehow, without realizing it, in my mind it had made sense this was the right thing to do, since I couldn’t control what / fix what was going on with my own life. I would get caught up making sure I could help fix everyone else’s problems, and unintentionally forgetting about myself…which meant I never fixed any of the issues I had from what happened to me, or what I went through.
(Not only did this just cause things to continue piling up on my shoulders over the years), but I never took the time to figure out who I was, or what I wanted, or what made me happy, since to me, “happiness” was making sure everyone else was happy.  I never realized, not realizing what made ME happy, was part of figuring out who I was, who Cait was.

It may have taken me 29 years to realize it, (just throwing out that random number, since that’s my current age), or maybe it was the last traumatic experience I went through this year, (or maybe the last 3 over these last 3 years, because they were probably the worst out of all of them), that finally made me wake-up and  realize what I had been doing wrong all these years.
All those previous times I had thought I had hit what they call, “rock bottom”… I can honestly say I didn’t know what rock bottom was until this past year, when I finally had just broken down after trying to be strong for so many years… and not for myself, but so I could be there for everyone else, and be their rock to help them get through whatever they were going through.

But this time, I just couldn’t. I realized, for the very first time, I could honestly say, I was completely broken.
I felt lost, confused, and alone. I couldn’t get off the couch, I couldn’t eat, and because of the anxiety setting in and making a permanent home for itself, I felt I couldn’t breathe most of the time.
For the first time in my life, the always known to all, “bubbly, happy, and fun Cait” was gone, and I didn’t know how to get her back.
The friends and family that truly cared, (which let me tell you, weren’t many), had tried so hard to get what they knew as “me” back, but I just couldn’t feel anything. It was the first time in my life I had ever felt what I now know was depression.

It’s been a hard journey, and also what seems has been the longest journey ever, but I’ve SOMEHOW been able to slowly come back, (which I feel is an actual real miracle in itself), because I truly thought I was done for.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything, because the truth is, every single day is a battle. It’s an internal struggle with yourself, where you constantly are fighting. I have to force myself to fight, or give myself something to fight for, even if it’s just a reminder of some sort that I’m worth something, no matter how worthless I’m feeling at that moment, even the days when it would be so much easier to give-up.

As shocking as it may be for some to hear (or for me to even say), as much as it still hurts to think about all the things I went through this past year, I continue to fight by staying focused on the positive: I am thankful I went through what I did, and I am thankful for the experience of getting to feel completely broken.

Why?

You only have one life to live, and you have to.
I know this is easier said than done (trust me), but those people that hurt you in the first place rather see you still fail after they defeated you (or for the sick ones: dead), so why give them what they want?  They have already destroyed enough of you.

I learned (unfortunately the hard way), you can’t rely on anyone but yourself, no matter how much you may have been there for someone else in the past.

I also learned what the saying, “Only YOU are in charge of your own happiness,” had really meant… and discovered, there’s actually nothing more true then that.  You just have to do your part of figuring out what that happiness is. (Which is the point of where I am at right now).

Which gets me back to my original point:
I am now slowly getting to know myself for the first time in my life, which I didn’t realize I really never did before. I’m getting to discover what Cait wants, what makes Cait happy, and most importantly: do something I have NEVER done in my whole entire life: put myself first.

I learned this world is an evil place, and it’s filled with lots of evil people (this includes the ones that pretend to care, that are actually just nosey)…and the first people to always get hurt are always the ones standing by willing to help people like them at a moments notice.  (AKA: me).

But I realized now, you can’t change these people. These people can only change themselves, and some of them are sick (some with serious mental illnesses that you would have never have known about, because they are so good at hiding them, so if you are one of those people that blame yourself in a situation like this: STOP RIGHT NOW).
These people will hurt you the more you try to help, and you need to learn: no matter how hard it may be, you have to walk away, because that’s the only way to save yourself and your own sanity.
And unfortunately, some of these particular people with mental illness and addictions can’t ever be helped. And the more I tried to help or change them for the better, the more I was seriously affected and hurt myself, until I was eventually completely destroyed.  And because these people drain so much out of you, they even cost you the most important part of you: an identity (AKA: you).  You don’t even know who you are.

Every experience in life is supposed to be a learning experience.
Well, what I can tell you what I learned so far was:  I never want to go through (or even come close to) feeling anything like I did this past year, EVER again.

As one of my favorite quotes says, “Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor,” I don’t believe necessarily means you can’t be there for people like you always have, you just have to learn to be more cautious of who’s trying to sink your boat.
From this day forward: learn that you are the priority, so you never drown again.
Be strong enough to know: who you are, what you want, and what makes you happy.
Still be willing to throw life preservers to those who deserve it, but stop letting them take steer of the boat…YOUR boat.

 


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