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A real-life case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

And how I remained Mrs. Hyde

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 Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

I shared previously about no longer seeing myself as a victim of my circumstances. However, at that point in time, although I was choosing to change, I hadn’t yet discovered how. I thought of myself as either a complete loser – like something was inherently wrong with me, maybe I was crazy or I was incredibly brilliant, wise – I could achieve anything.

I think I thought this way because there were many points in my life where I was told that I was a brilliant, straight-A perfectionist student who won all the awards for Most Outstanding student, that I was a rockstar developer, that I was an incredibly intelligent MBA student. Yet, I was also told that I was a screw-up who kept veering off the prescribed path for success. What was I doing with my life? Why couldn’t I choose one career path and stick with it like a normal person? Why was I so moody all the time?

Before a monthly meetup of fellow entrepreneurs that I go to, we were assigned to sketch out our life diagram. Mine looked like a rollercoaster sine wave. After I started to notice this repeating pattern of I’m amazing – I’m horrible, I finally decided to seek out help and to do something about it once and for all. I had been falling apart and then doing well far too frequently. I wasn’t going to wait for the next cycle to repeat.

For years, I could feel the imbalance physically too – it manifested itself in the form of varying physical and mental illnesses. I had IBS, a thyroid condition, rough PMS (to the point that I sometimes needed to go home from work). I would have days at work where I just cratered.

Finally, this past year I put self-care as my number one priority above everything else – being a good mother, being a good wife, running a business, being a good daughter, everything. And gradually, day by day, my mindset started to shift.

I think the truth lies somewhere in-between these two self-limiting and self-aggrandizing beliefs. I am neither a horrible sociopath or a godly saint. I am just another imperfect human – sharing my imperfect self with others. It just took many years for me to see.

There are many days when I make mistakes. I fall flat on my face, but I get back up again and remind myself to smile. There are plenty of days where I feel like I’ve found my superpower and I can fly with everyone else but I’ve learned that’s more through gradual micro- steps rather than being invincible.

The journey to feeling this way has been rough – full of self-doubt and loathing, feelings of teenage angst (long past my teen years) and yet also moments of joy and elation.

As I breathe and write, I realize I can finally accept and love myself as I am. Now, I understand, and more importantly, I believe that on a deep level. I am enough no matter what I achieve. I hope you can too. If not, hang in there, and remember that some of our ups and downs are part of being human. And there are so many amazing people and resources out there who want to help.

I wish I could point to one magic bullet and say this was the holy grail that changed my life. It worked for me, it can work for you too. What I can share is the small steps that over a few years have culminated in my truly believing in myself and loving myself again.

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