Depression, family, friends, Life, Weekend, Weightloss

My Two-Year 100-Pound Weight Loss Anniversary

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Saturday was my two-year 100-pound weight loss anniversary. Two years ago I stood on the scale and was finally under 200 pounds and I’ve been under ever since. 100 pounds was my long-term goal. I knew after I reached it I would have new goals, but 100 pounds is a huge deal. It’s a goal I reached in ten short months. It’s a goal that takes most people years. It’s a huge accomplishment and I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t proud. I wasn’t happy. I was numb. I’m going to paint you a picture of a Rachel a lot of you don’t know and some of you know too well.

I used to weigh myself every Saturday morning, but this story is going to start the night before. I went out with a friend to a local bar. We met up with a friend of hers and an acquaintance of mine (who would later become my boss). I remember the bar was busy. We had to share a table with two random middle-aged men. They were very nice and we all made small talk. It wasn’t long into the evening before shots were being bought. Someone bought a round of Jager. I took my shot, but the other girl that was with us wouldn’t drink Jager. So, in typical Rachel fashion, I took hers for her (the last time I had Jager and the last time I’ll ever have it). I didn’t realize that while I was finishing her shot she was buying a round of bourbon for us. In no time I had a few beers in me, two shots of Jager and a shot of bourbon. When I say no time I mean in less than an hour. To say things get hazy after that would be an understatement. I remember a handful of things from the rest of that night.

What I do remember is making a full of myself in front of the guy I liked at the time. In my defense, I’m not sure when the people I was with thought it would be a good idea to show up at the bar he was at (crazy much?). I remember flashes from that trip. There’s a clip of us in my head walking in, there’s a flash of me putting my legs up on the table (apparently I have this thing where I like to be relaxed while blacked out) and him taking them off. I have a flash of us walking out and I have a bit of the conversation on the drive to the third bar. That conversation involved my future boss telling me to forget about that guy because he was going to break my heart. Literally the exact words I remember her saying. She was right. He did. I should have listened.

I have almost no memory of the next bar we ended up at. I don’t even know if I had anything to drink there, but things ended quickly. I was told I had to leave. In short, I was kicked out of that bar. When you can barely stand on your own you should probably just go home.

We had to go back to the bar we started at to close out our tab. I fell out of the vehicle after we parked. Literally just opened the door and fell to the pavement. I should note she didn’t drive a car so it was a decent fall and one I don’t remember. It wasn’t until I stood up the next day and mentioned how sore I was that I was told I had fallen. After that things are pretty black. I vaguely remember being on my friend’s couch puking in a bucket. I might have puked in the bathroom before the bucket. I’m not entirely sure. We were home, tucked in on the couch and I was puking all before midnight. This was a common occurrence that year.

The next morning I woke up before 5 in a panic because my parents were flying out of Pittsburgh very early and I never made it home the night before. My phone was dead. I found my friend’s phone and called my dad. I scared him because he thought something happened. I just needed to tell them I was okay, where I was and say goodbye before they boarded. This was a low moment for me. This was irresponsible. This wasn’t who I was. This felt wrong. This was wrong.

Eventually, the house woke up and I stood on the scale. I told my friend I hit the 100-pound mark. I texted my future roommate. I texted my cousin. I still felt nothing. I didn’t feel celebratory. I didn’t feel accomplished. It was nothing. We went to Eat n Park for breakfast. I had oatmeal. The service was terrible. I went home and got ready for a Christmas party that night. All the while feeling nothing. I drank that night too. Less than the night before, but it still involved drinking Crown Royal from the bottle. I was a mess. I was hurting. I was sad. I was angry. I was alone. I was unhappy. I didn’t know who I was. That night ended with me crying on the bathroom floor to my cousins. The first of many nights to come that month where I would be crying. Where I would be drunk. Where I would be a mess. Where I would feel like I was suffocating.

I achieved something in that day that many people never achieve. None of it mattered to me. Luckily, I can look back on it now and realize what an accomplishment that was. Now I can congratulate myself and celebrate this anniversary. I know who I am now. I know what I accomplished. I love this anniversary and I love taking a moment to be proud of myself. I am no longer that lost, messy girl crying on the bathroom floor. I still have things I’m working on, but you wouldn’t believe how far I am from the girl I was that weekend.

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Depression, Life, Random Thoughts, Weekend

Weekend 45: Currently

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thinking that it bums me out it’s been a week since I last posted.

feeling full from the the pigs in the blanket my mom made for dinner. They were so good!

looking forward to only having to work a four day week

wondering why I’ve had so many (mild) headaches lately. I never get headaches.

loving how blonde my hair is and excited to see what we can do with the blonde at my next appointment.

wondering if I should go dark once I’m over the blonde… hehe

wanting my hair to be long again and to be healthy. so long are the days of straightening over and over and over and ahhhhh

wishing my sister a happy 26th birthday this Wednesday.

excited to go out Saturday and celebrate with her and friends

wearing everything and anything that will keep me warm. I don’t know when this started, but being cold is almost painful.

feeling really tired lately.

realizing my depression might be more seasonal than we thought or realized.

wanting to start reading all of the books I have that are unread.

deciding on goals for the new year. Did I mention that last Sunday? It’s on my mind a lot lately.

working on myself always.

appreciating my parents and my siblings. they’re the four most important people in my life.

Hi, friends. I haven’t posted in a week. I’ve been dealing with a little bit of brain fog when it comes to writing. I think about it constantly, but when I go to put words to paper it’s all a mess. The last few weeks I’ve noticed I’ve had more down days than I’ve had in a long time. I think it could have a lot to do with the season changing, the shorter days, the lack of sunshine, the cold, the weather. It’s something my doctor and I are keeping an eye on, but it’s also something I recognize. Something I’m aware of and something I take note of. Last year at this time I started slipping into my darkest months, but I wasn’t educated then. I wasn’t aware of the signs and how to reroute my mind and my thoughts. I have the tools now to take control, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have hard days. Right now it’s just wearing me down. I think about this space every day and already have plans for my second reoccurring weekly post. This one will go up Thursday of every week and I’m exited for it. It’s something I’ll have to work on thought the week. Looking forward to sharing it with you this Thursday. I hope you all have a motivating Monday. xoxo

 

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Depression, friends, Random Thoughts

Self Critical

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We all have an inner critic. Some of us have a stronger one than others. Some of us just barely have one, but either way it’s there. I can tell you that mine is rock hard strong and comes out at every chance it gets. Sometimes it’ll knock the wind right out of me. It can come out over the strangest things. Things nobody would think twice about. Things I shouldn’t think twice about. Things that aren’t even real. Things I try to push aside, but can’t because I don’t have a handle on it. One of my biggest fears and something that really bothers me is feeling or looking stupid. When I say stupid I mean actually stupid, embarrassed, foolish, vulnerable, etc. Sure, these are things none of us like to feel, but I work my life around not feeling them.

 
There are times when I’m walking down the street and I’ll play out in my head tripping over something on the sidewalk and how embarrassed I would feel if that happened. I’ll figure out how I would recover from that embarrassment and what my next step would be. I’ll replay it and replay it until I’m done walking or someone or something distracts my mind. Sometimes I’ll play out a situation that could happen with me in a room full of people or at the office that would be mortifying and I’ll sit and hope and pray it doesn’t happen and worry that it will because I thought about it. This probably isn’t normal and feeling this embarrassment and shame over something that’s not even real is embarrassing (there’s that word again) to admit. In fact, it’s not something I’ve ever admitted or even talking about.

 
I talked in my depression posts about how I don’t like to not know what I’m doing or to have to ask questions. This goes back to that. I recently started a new job and the first few months of a new job can be hard for me. I want to be perfect right away. I struggle with wanting to be the best at everything I’m doing immediately. When I’m not perfect or I make mistakes my inner critic comes out in full force. When I make mistakes, I can’t help but feel as if everyone around me is thinking or talking about how dumb I am. I replay a mistake over and over in my head and wonder how I could have avoided making that mistake and how to never do it again. When my coworkers talk about people in other offices being dumb I get nervous. I hate hearing them say things like that because I associate myself with these dumb people.

 
I guess I’m different in the way that I criticize myself. Sure, I criticize my body and there are things I don’t like, but I criticize my mind and my abilities more than anything. I struggle with feeling smart enough or educated enough or capable of doing things. I’m always doubting myself. I worry about everything and if it’ll make me look foolish. I was brought up to not care about what people think and for the most part I don’t. However, when I criticize myself so severally it doesn’t matter what other people think or don’t think because I’m already thinking it myself.

 
This is something I realize I need to work on and probably should bring up in therapy. This is a reason I spend every night in the gym. A few weeks ago, I sent an invoice to the wrong client and they emailed our AR email back saying it wasn’t their invoice. I was so embarrassed because the whole team saw my mix up. I was even more humiliated when my boss emailed me to say I needed to pay close attention. Sure, it was JUST AN EMAIL, but it ruined my entire day and left me feeling shame to the highest degree. Shame over an EMAIL that my coworkers probably didn’t even notice because we get hundreds of emails. The shame followed me home and stuck with me for hours and it wasn’t until I started my work out that I was able to clear it form my mind.

 
I need to cut myself some slack. I need to remind myself that people make mistakes. We all have bad days. Things happen and we move on from them. It’s not possible to go into every new situation and know exactly what to do or how to perform. You won’t be perfect at anything and you don’t need to be. You might fall on your face in front of a block of people, but who cares? You don’t know them. Get up, brush yourself off and keep walking. Now, if I could just get this message through to my inner critic that would be great.

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Depression, friends, Music

Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

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It’s rare to say you can remember the day you fell in love with an artist and their music. The exact day you dove into their first album and were instantly connected. That happened with myself and Halsey’s first album Badlands. Another reason I won’t forget that day is because my friend Nikki also came into my life with Halsey. Nikki and I had only talked a few times at work and randomly started talking about music one day (me? talk to someone about music? crazy!). I remember it was a day late in April of 2016. She asked me if I had heard the song “Colors” and I had and I told her I loved it. She suggested we both put the album on at our desk and give it a listen. I was instantly hooked. The music was fun, but the lyrics were deep and I connected with a lot of what Halsey had written. I can’t remember the last time I found a new artist or any artist where I immediately loved an album. It typically takes two or three listens and even then, I usually only like it. I remember Nikki and I messaging back and forth about each song, reading the lyrics with excitement and talking about how much we were loving everything we were hearing. I honestly don’t remember a day after that where I haven’t talked to Nikki.

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Halsey got me through that summer. I was at a point where I couldn’t listen to any of the music I had listened to from the year prior. It all reminded me of things and people and it was too hard and I couldn’t keep going down memory lane. Halsey was new and fresh and I could listen to it over and over and that is just what I did. Her lyrics were explaining everything I was feeling. It’s like she jumped in my head and wrote that album. The songs “Castle”, “Drive”, “Ghost”, “Roman Holiday”, “Strange Love”, and “Haunting” were the songs that stood out and I connected to the most. I mean lyrics like, “All we do is think about the feelings that we hide All we do is sit in silence waiting for a sign” that she sings in “Drive.” In “Roman Holiday” she sings, “Oh, all of these minutes passing, sick of feeling used If you wanna break these walls down, you’re gonna get bruised.” I could probably list lyric after lyric, but I’ll stop there. She went on tour with her Badlands album two years ago, but I didn’t make the Stage AE appearance. When her dates went live for her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour I knew Nikki and I had to attend.

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How is it possible Halsey can be both adorable and smoking hot? Not even fair.

Nikki came into my life when I was a literal mess. We connected over music and our weight loss stories. Nikki is the kind of person that will tell you anything about herself. She doesn’t have anything to hide and she opened up to me immediately. I don’t open up as quickly, but I remember feeling honored that she trusted me (someone she barely knew) with so many of her life stories. We were instant friends and because she opened up to me about so many things I felt comfortable doing the same. I can’t believe the life Nikki has had and the things she has been through. She is one of, if not the strongest, person I know. I’m not going to even begin to tell you her stories, but I bet if you asked her she’d tell you them herself. I am in awe of her at times and her way of thinking and her positivity. She opens my mind up and challenges me to look at things in a different way. She never makes me feel silly or embarrassed and is always there for me. I truly cherish our friendship and I’m so happy we connected over music that one day. I’m so happy she saw someone who was broken down, not in a good place mentally and chose to stick around and support them. She stuck by me in my hardest days and listened to me and was there for me and she only knew me for a short time. I feel as if I’ve known her forever and I’m so happy to call her one of my best friends. I’m so glad Halsey brought us together that day. I remember our conversation before it turned to music. I think Nikki might have known I needed the distraction. I certainly know looking back that I did. Who would have guessed that an artist and a new friend would get me through some of my roughest months?

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Yep, we are wearing the same lipstick.

Fast forward almost a year and half later to us attending the Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour together. Our seats were better than I expected and we had a blast. Halsey puts on a great show. She goes out there on her own and kills it. Her stage was awesome. It was so big and so bare, but so exciting and fun at the same time. She had a single dancer that appeared here and there throughout the show, but other than that it was just her up there doing her thing. She sounded great and played so many of my favorite songs. She even played one that she only has released on a 2014 EP called, “Is There Somewhere?” I. Love. This. Song. LOVE IT and when I saw it on her playlist before the show I was ecstatic. I might have gotten a little emotional when she performed it. It also didn’t help that she said it was for her fans and ran around the stadium hugging people with pure joy on her face. You could tell she loved performing and I loved watching her smirk at different lines in her songs. I just kept thinking, “Girl… we know, we know.” The concert was more than I expected and I’ve watched the videos I took an embarrassing amount of times already. Being able to see her live in a completely different mindset than I was that day I listened to her and with the friend I made because of her was so rewarding. I already can’t wait for her next album and for Nikki and I to attend her next show when she rolls through Pittsburgh.

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Depression

Where I’m At Now: Part 4

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Looking back on the last few years is strange, hard and sometimes unbelievable to me. I can’t believe how much I was able to grow mentally when I was taught the right tools, when someone started asking me the right questions. The last few years made me who I am today. I’m still taking my medication, but the plan is to be weaned off it. It might not work. I might be someone that just needs that little extra help. It also could work. It’s something I’m nervous to try and something I’ll write about when I do. I don’t sit down for therapy anymore, but I do have check ins with my psychiatrist. When it came to the Cognitive Behavioral Health therapy there wasn’t anything I needed to work on or needed help with. I out grew my sessions. However, I have thought about sitting down with someone once a month or so just to check in with myself and clear my mind.

I’ve mentioned I do not regret moving into that apartment and I still don’t. However, I now know that the friendship I had with my roommate wasn’t meant to be. That friendship was so strong because my mental state wasn’t. You allow toxic people into your life when you are beaten down. You allow yourself to be treated a certain way when you don’t care enough about yourself. I no longer feel like a failure. If I want to buy a house in a few years, living with my parents is the best option. It allows me to save money and to have my school loans paid off before I start looking at houses. That is far from failing. I also don’t regret that 5 second relationship I was in, because I learned so much about myself. Both of those things ending was really hard and losing people in your life is always hard. As for the relationship I could probably write a book about what I did and didn’t get out of it, but that book is for me and me alone. All I know is that I grew so much in that short period of time. I surprised myself and even if that relationship continued and thrived I would have put that person above everything else. I would have put everything into caring and loving that other person. I needed to love myself before I could have loved anyone else to my full potential. He would have been number one and I need to be number one.

I’m still not listening to music. I only turn on music if it’s carefully selected from my phone and it took me months to get to that point. Music is still a trigger for me. It takes me back to memories and people I no longer have. Things I still don’t want to revisit. Music is really important to me and when I’m in a relationship or a a big moment in my life I take notice of the music around me and I remember. I remember all of it. I’ve left parties because friends have played a song I told them I could not listen to. A single song. I now put what is best for me above everything else. I must put myself first or everything else will suffer. Do you think my friends wanted me to leave that party? They didn’t and I received texts telling me that, but it was what I had to do. I don’t feel bad saying no anymore. I don’t feel bad turning down invitations or doing my own thing. I’m lucky in the fact that I still have those great girlfriends around me and can even say I’ve added a few. My relationship has grown with some and has become distant with others. That is part of life though. That is part of growing.

I no longer spend days in bed. I’m not home long enough to do that and when I am there is stuff that needs done. I don’t cry like I used to. I cried for the first time a few weeks ago and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried. *Spoiler Alert* I have cried since, but that is okay. I try to take a deep breath and calmly explain myself instead of lashing out at my loved ones. I now recognize when my mind starts to wonder down a negative path and I take control. I take notice of situations that will put my mood in jeopardy and I get prepared for them. I take deep breaths, excuse myself for a minute alone and leave early from events when I must. Asking for help will always be hard for me. It’s just who I am. However, I know now that asking questions and needing help is a part of life. Being put in new situations and learning and experiencing new things is a part of life. If I don’t know what I’m doing it’s okay. I don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed and if someone makes me feel that way then they’re the one with the problem.

I love myself now and I know I’m worth loving because I’m fucking amazing.

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Depression

My Progress: Part 3

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I remember sitting there speechless when my therapist asked me if I loved myself. I did what I always do when I’m asked a tough question or asked a question I’m hesitant to answer. I looked away and focused on a spot in the room and tried to get my thoughts together. I do this because I don’t want anyone to see me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m incapable of hiding much of anything. I told her I had never been asked that before and the thought never crossed my mind. Loving myself had never been a priority. Feeling as if I’m worthy of love didn’t cross my mind. I mean I guess I am? Aren’t we all? She had me start a journal where I had to write down every day something I loved about myself. It was weird and uncomfortable and most days it took me quite a bit of time. Some days were easy. When I didn’t want to put too much thought into it I would remind myself that I love the color of my eyes. Other days I put more thought into it and noticed that I loved the fact that I’m an empath. It started to work. I stopped journaling, but I saw what she was trying to do. She was right. There are many things I love about myself and there were many reasons for people to love me. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it before. The people I loved were just more important to me, but you can’t love the people around you to your full potential if you don’t love yourself first.

When we started diving into my everyday life and the things that affected my moods asking for help was a huge factor. When I really looked into it I realized that asking for help made me feel weak and bothersome. I do not like feeling weak. Sure, I love to learn new things and try new things, but the anxiety and pressure I put on myself to be perfect right away is crazy. As much as I love to learn and challenge myself I hate going into a situation not knowing what I’m doing. I like to oversee everything around me. I need to be in control. I realized that when I asked questions or asked for help people didn’t mind. These thoughts and feelings were in my own head. Working on this and letting it sink in took time and is still taking time. There is strength in asking for help and nothing to be ashamed of.

I talked a lot about the people in my life and the different situations I was in. When talking through all of this I realized that I absorbed all the emotions around me whether it be from people or just simply the atmosphere. Both my therapist and my psychiatrist explained to me that I’m an empath. Yes, it’s one of the things I listed I loved about myself, but it’s also something I learned I’ll need to keep an eye on when it comes to my own mental health. If the person I was with was down in the dumps and constantly talking about it and letting it affect their day it would start to affect mine. If I was spending time with someone sad or angry I would leave with those same feelings. I had to learn to shield myself from other people’s emotions. I could observe and notice these emotions, but I had to learn not to take them on. I had to learn to separate them from myself. Just because those feelings and those things are going on around me doesn’t mean they are my own and it doesn’t mean I too need to feel them.

We talked a lot about my weight and the before and after affects of it. I mentioned in my first post that I used to use my weight to blend in. I used to use it to go unnoticed. I’m no longer going unnoticed. I no longer blend in. Some people might thrive with this kind of attention, but I was suffocating. I hated the attention. I never mentioned that I lost weight to people. When friends would bring it up I would be embarrassed and would do what I could to end the conversation. I never wanted the congratulatory comments. I didn’t need them and they didn’t make me feel any different. I set a goal for myself, I completed that goal and that was it. I never thought anything about it. My weight came up a lot in my sessions and I’ll never forget the day my therapist said, “You are not your weight.” It was a wake up call. Ever since I had lost the weight that’s all I had been. I do realize that I lost an entire person and I realize how hard that was, but I still have a hard time taking the praise. I don’t do anything in life for praise. Being congratulated on anything makes me feel uncomfortable, but I’m learning to appreciate it and enjoy it.

Learning to love myself was probably one of the saddest things I had to work on. We should all love ourselves and the fact that I had to do homework in order to figure that out is horrible. Learning that I’m an empath was eye opening and made so much sense. It explained why large groups of people drain me and why I’m exhausted afterwards. It explained why I need time alone and value that time to recharge. Asking for help is always going to be something that’s hard for me, but I know there is no shame in needing it. It took a lot out of me to seek help for my depression, but I’m so thankful that I did. I’m thankful that I have the tools to get me through.

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Depression

My Darkest Days: Part 2

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As toxic as my apartment had become I couldn’t help but feel like a failure moving back home. I cried pulling away from that dumb apartment. I wasn’t supposed to ever go back home. I told myself it wouldn’t happen. Once I left I was gone and I always do what I say I’m going to do. The months of October, November and December are a blur. If I wasn’t at work or at the gym I was in bed. Literally, in bed. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, how long I had been there, what was planned for the day, I didn’t care. I remember one Saturday in early October having made plans with a friend and just completely ignoring those plans. I was in bed that entire day. I had a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving and I only remember leaving my room for Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t want to interact with anyone. I was tired all of the time. The anger I had felt previously was gone. I felt beaten down and weak. Every morning I drove to work I had to force myself to not turn around. I would call my mom crying from work for no particular reason. I would cry in the car on the way home. I remember one night crying myself to sleep to the point of barely being able to open my eyes the next morning. Things were not getting better.

The one positive thing I can look back on through all of this is the close girlfriends I had that were always there for me. They were always a text away. Whether it was 6 in the morning or 11:30 at night. I always had one of them. They allowed me to cry. They listened when I needed them to. They tried to lift me up and give me advice. They helped me and before I knew it I was sitting down with a new therapist. This time I was working with a Cognitive Behavioral Health therapist. I had no idea what that even meant when I was calling for the appointment. I didn’t even care. Cognitive Behavioral Health is a different kind of therapy. You aren’t just sitting in a chair talking about your problems. You are setting a goal for each appointment. You are setting long term goals. You are rerouting the way your brain has thought it’s entire life. It’s work, but it’s the most important work.

I started seeing my new therapist in December. I didn’t have goals going in. My only goal was to feel better. We only had a few appointments before my Great Grandma fell and was put in the ICU. If I thought I was in a haze before I was completely blacked out at this point. I remember very little from those days. I remember going to the hospital and getting updates from my mom during the day. I remember seeing my family that I loved crying. The men that I loved crying. I remember seeing my Grandma in excruciating pain and feeling that pain when she squeezed our hands harder than they’ve ever been squeezed. I remember trying to push through Christmas without her all while feeling her missing presence. I don’t remember driving or eating or working. I remember trying to fill my brother in on every detail before he deployed. And before I knew it I remember holding her hand as she passed away. That’s the week I stopped listening to music.

My Great Grandma was an amazing woman. She’s remembered by many as the woman who would give the finger to the camera for a photo. That’s not how I remember her. I remember her as the hardest working woman I’ve ever known. One of the classiest and strongest women I’ve known. I remember decorating her Christmas tree in the most OCD way possible. I remember her showing my sister how to alter my prom dress and guide her through hemming her upstairs curtains. I remember her moving around the kitchen cooking dinner every night. I remember her hair and makeup always being done, her nails always painted. I remember her stories, her love and her wisdom. I remember her.

After the funeral and all of the holidays were over I went back to therapy. I was asked how I was doing with the passing of my Grandma and I said okay. I always just said okay, but I wasn’t okay. I was a hollow shell of a person and I couldn’t breath, but for the first time I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to part ways with some things in my life. I had to move on and say goodbye. There is no point in holding on to people that prove time and time again they do not care about you. It doesn’t matter how much you care about them. You need to put yourself first in this situation. You’ll be the only one getting hurt in the end and I was hurt. She had me write a goodbye letter. I wrote that letter about five times. I wrote pages and pages and pages until I finally summed it up in a few paragraphs. When I read it to my therapist I cried. As much as I had cried on my own I had never cried in front of her. I couldn’t keep this cry in. Writing that letter was hard, but it was eye opening. Now that I had said goodbye it was time to work on myself. What I discovered about myself was shocking because it was never brought to my attention. I was always talking about all the people I worried about and cared about and loved in my life. I never realized that I didn’t love myself. I never realized I didn’t think I was worthy of love.

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