Learn to live ... just that

Apprendre à vivre… juste ça

I was born in Granby into a good family where I lacked for nothing. My parents did their best to make me grow up healthy and happy. In elementary school, I was a young girl filled with energy and drive, a go-getter and leader, surrounded by friends and full of confidence. I am an only child, but I was far from alone. I was laughing and joking. I didn't have to worry about a thing and I was confident in myself.

It was when I entered high school, as with many, that things got a bit messy. I hardly knew anyone at this new private school. I was vulnerable. I was scared. I no longer had my friends to reassure me. And it was early in my first year that I started being bullied. How many times have I been humiliated. Rejected. The laughing stock of others. I wanted to disappear, to die. Looking back, I can identify that I developed a great, deep sense of shame that persisted over time and brought me significant psychological pain for several years. It might sound like a lot to you, but it was real in the pit of my stomach. I started to withdraw, to hide, because anyway, I was not allowed to be or be like the others, at the risk of making people laugh at me. I didn't have the right to exist. If I did end up in the limelight, it was only to get another wave of bullying in the face. It was there, in this school, that I lost the most precious thing in the world: Andréanne. I crushed her somewhere deep inside me, then I put on my protective suit, and I tried to survive life, without allowing myself to live, cut off from my emotions and my needs.

At Cégep, I became a perfectionist. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to show others, subconsciously, and myself, that I was of some value. I only existed to prove myself. I have developed anorexic behaviors. I was appreciated at work, always the model employee who does more than others, and I collected excellent marks. I was "hot" at all sports. Perfect. I wanted to be. I believed that happiness was found in perfection and success.

However, quickly, adult life felt heavy. I was still exhausted, but I couldn't understand why. I developed performance anxiety. The pain was still there, chasing me, even getting worse, and I couldn't find the reason.

Then I got acquainted with alcohol and drugs. And I became an alcoholic and drug addict. I used it for about 15 years. I only had two modes. Performance. Lapse. When I was in my false self as the perfect girl, I produced and performed in everything. But when it got too heavy, I fell into my “trashy” character who couldn't care less and who pissed off life. Self-destruction. And when I had enough, I would put my "superwoman" costume back on. Shut up!

But despite success in several areas, life gradually seemed more and more difficult. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second.

And in terms of romantic relationships, I have accumulated setbacks and some traumatic experiences, which have fostered a feeling of shame and disgust for myself. I did everything to please and I did violence to myself at the same time.

Until I crashed solidly last year, in 2019. Second burnout and 6 months sick leave. I wanted to die. Still. Disappear.I was almost already dead

I went into hiding all summer in an old trailer on a 12-step (AA) campsite. And for the first time, I really stopped. No more tornado. The storm is over. Just me. But shit, I didn't know at all who I was, what I liked, my needs, my values, nothing. Nada. And I no longer believed in anything.

I started looking for myself. Truly. Instead of running away from me. I asked for help. I had psychological support. The people around me encouraged me. They were happy to see me. Me. To find myself.

I was scared, but I had no choice. I had decided to get out of it.

Today, I attend AA meetings in a serious way, getting involved in meetings and practicing the 12-step way of life, which also demands rigorous honesty on a daily basis. I am receiving follow-up in psychology. I don't leak anymore. I have regained a spirituality and I meditate regularly. I highlighted my values ​​and rediscovered my passions, especially art in different forms. I paint, I draw, I play the guitar, I eat healthy, I do yoga and zumba, I pray, I have good sleep hygiene… But most of all, I laugh from the bottom of my heart. I listen to my needs. I gradually give way to my emotions. I express myself. I set limits, especially at work and in my relationships. And I don't try to be perfect anymore.

I accept to be me, nothing more, with my strengths and my weaknesses. I am enough. I am Andréanne and I love my colors.

I can't survive anymore, I live passionately every day of the year, every minute, every second. I enjoy every moment. And when things go less well, that's okay. This is how life is and I am human. I accept my emotions. Simply.

I maintain good relations with the members of my entourage. I am no longer selfish and I try to be more present for those I love, without forcing myself, just because I want to. I am no longer blinded by suffering and therefore I can love freely.

I would like to thank my parents and my real friends, because without them I would never have made it. They were there in my worst times and believed in me when I had given up hope.

Happiness is not found in perfection or drugs, it is not superficial. It exists in each of us. In all. At all times. It's about letting it emerge.

I encourage you to take care of yourself and be yourself, and take care of those you love, because this is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself.

I took off my masks. I am real. I love myself. I am beaming. Especially from the inside.

I am Andréanne. Social worker in mental health. And I am KOOL.

Andréanne

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