My Big Unravel


I had it all together until about 18 months ago, when my life began to unravel. I was 24 years old and had held my family together my whole life. I was the emotional, physical & financial support to both of my parents, whom were alcoholics. I was completely codependent and for some strange reason I managed to carry this burden for a long time, seemingly unaffected.

One day in September 2015, I hit a wall, this was the unravel. I began to feel permanently exhausted. I would  come home from work and go straight to bed. I had no energy so my fiance took me to the doctor, where they said I was extremely stressed. Physically my body fell apart, I suffered headaches, joint pain, IBS and my hormones were totally out of whack causing chronic menstrual problems. I was so stressed out, I lost 10kg without even noticing until one oft friends pointed out I looked like a “lollipop” because head looked big in comparison to my thin body .

For six months I continued to exist without really living. My amazing fiance had to do everything because I had such low mood and high anxiety that I couldn’t socialise, couldn’t cook, clean or do anything. Standing up and walking to the toilet was such an effort. Having a shower was so difficult that when I got out of the shower I would be so depleted, I would just sit there naked and it would take me an hour to get dressed. 

The physical unravel was one thing, but the emotional unravel was really something else.  As I admitted to myself and everyone else my parents addiction and my role within that, a whole wave of grief came over me. Grief for never having a  happy, functional, healthy childhood had me feeling a mixture of anger, sadness, guilt and betrayel. I completely lost all of my self confidence and suffered crippling anxiety. I began to have flashbacks and remember things from my childhood I had previously forgotten. I suffered insomnia, and despite being so tired all the time, I was also, very wired.

As well as the physical and emotional unravel, the family unravel also hit me quite hard. I had realised my behaviour enabled my Mum and Dad’s alcoholism so I began to put boundaries in. Of course this did not go down well and my relationship with my family really suffered. Enforcing boundaries at first was so hard, I felt so guilty and angry at myself.

A year and a half later, things have calmed down with my family. They are more respectful of my boundaries but we don’t have the best relationship. Funnily enough I have learnt to accept this because I can’t change their addiction. My physical symptoms have improved and while I still at times get tired, I feel energised a lot more than I did last year. The emotional effects have improved the most, I’ve been through the grief process and am able to sleep.

Even though the unravel was so hard, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I have learnt so much and gained so much freedom in the last year. I’ve dedicated my life to breaking the cycle and it starts with me.


6 thoughts on “My Big Unravel

  1. Well said. And I can relate. My emotional unravel was way harder than the physical one. And I too went through a lot of grief over the first few years. Scary how much actually surfaces after we put the plug in the jug eh? Happy to hear you are finding your way and trudging the road to happy destiny. All the best … Marianne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are amazing. It’s so painful to be the one allowing others to behave badly, and getting treated like the villain when you speak up. I’m glad it’s behind you! The world needs more success stories.


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