This post might be the most personal and the hardest I have ever written. I cheated on my husband and my family. I lied, I betrayed and most importantly I hurt the ones I love the most. Years ago I wrote about my depression, then my postpartum depression, life after having a baby and losing my Grandmother. I seemed to get through those episodes until I became pregnant with our son and we learned he was going to be born with a birth defect that my body created. I entered a depression I didn’t even know existed until I felt empty months ago. I learned to cope with my anxiety and my severe social anxiety attacks five years ago. I went off the meds and back in the Fall while standing in Starbucks with my family I had an anxiety attack out of nowhere. I knew at that exact moment that my mind and body was spinning out of control like it did many years ago. I let my guard down, I was empty and dissatisfied with my life in terms of career. I never stopped loving my husband and my children but I had stopped loving myself. It might seem like an easy equation that once you cheat you house a life full of lies and dishonesty that you begin to stop loving yourself. When I would look in the mirror I no longer saw myself. I would look at myself with disgust and many nights I was left sleepless because I took the guilt with me no matter where I went. This was until November 30th, when I finally came clean about my indiscretions. It was the most freeing moment of my life. I finally felt alive except for the fact that the person I loved the most, the man I had been with for the past fourteen years, my best friend, my lover and the father of our children was dead. I broke him. I crushed his heart and everything he thought was true was now a lie. For the past five weeks I have been on a self-help journey of finding myself. I was untrue to myself for so long. I distanced myself from my family and best friends because I hated myself. I hated this person. That person is gone. I have said goodbye and I never want to see her again. It’s amazing how hitting rock bottom (hard, really damn hard…) that you begin to realize things about yourself that you thought were never possible. I inherently overreact over situations that I necessarily shouldn’t overreact to. Now, I can sit back and analyze the situation before reacting, if I even react at all. A few years ago I couldn’t sympathize with my best friend when her husband was on deployment in Afghanistan. I remember becoming upset with her when she declined an invitation to attend a Summer party, meanwhile, her husband who I have the upmost respect for was on a plane to the Middle East. My reaction was so bitchy and unrealistic. How could I be upset with my best friend when what she was going through was far more important than a stupid ass party? The point of this story is that now I see this. I see how I selfishly acted because I was selfish. I made selfish actions because I was a selfish piece of shit. The moment that I knew I had changed is when I saw the above story clearly. I had an ah-ha moment. It clicked. It took me weeks to get to that point. I have spent the last five weeks staying in-between my parents house and a condo that a friend is so graciously letting me rent from her. I have seen my children a handful of times. I missed Christmas, I missed Christmas, people! My time removed from my children was all because I was selfish and made the biggest mistake of my life. I will never get this time back. I will never get back the birthday party I missed, the Christmas carols that were not sung, the Christmas lights that were not seen, or the Christmas morning magic, but most importantly I will not get back the life I (we) once had. I have seen a therapist five times, two psychiatrists, and even an AA type group meeting for co-parenting through conflict. I have read books and rediscovered the person I have always wanted to be. I now sympathize with the person sitting at a restaurant that looks distressed, I no longer wonder, why the fuck is that person so unhappy? Because that was me. I now look at these people, smile and give a, have a good day vs. passing judgement. I want to understand and sympathize with people. I am thankful for the people that have stood next to me through the most difficult time in my life but I am even more thankful to those who have stood next to my husband during the toughest time in his life. I write this post about my experiences and my road to recovery but the main point is that I am publicly apologizing to my husband for hurting him. I don’t want the life we once had because I want a new path. My new way of thinking and happiness will create a new chapter for us and our children. We are bound to have better days because I am a different person. Jim, I am sorry for hurting you, I am sorry for all the pain I have caused you. I have lost your trust and I want to rebuild this. I know it will take a long time and it might never happen but I love you and I am willing to embark on this journey if you’re willing to join me. I have never stopped loving you. You are my best friend and I so deeply miss you.
Trust takes a lifetime to build and only moments to destroy. It can be mended with commitment, but a scar will always remain. When we learn to forgive, we can wear our scars with pride, as it’s a combination of every experience that makes us who we are.