måndag 25 juli 2022

Being a Superwomen or how to carry it all and never be carried

(Please note, I did not, in any way come up with the Superwomen term by myself, that was done already in 1984 by Majorie Hansen Shaevitz who came up with the term "Superwomen Syndrome" to defnie women who was trying to do it all. This is just my storya and take on it.)

Capable is a word many have used to describe me.

Other, very common ones, are a great organizer, work machine (the correct term is workaholic, thank you!), problem solver and fixer.

To sum it up, during the last… ten years, I’ve made myself into just that. A fixer, an organizer and a project leader for basically everything I do.

This is not something I decided on (it’s not like I woke up one day and thought “Ohhh, project leading seems nice, let’s do it”), but rather something that just… happened.

Well, I’ve always had a dream about being a boss so perhaps it was semi-conscious. But since 2012 when I started to relearn my life again, I was in such a sad state. I could barely do basic things like… shopping or even take the local tram by myself.
My ex-husband Svart had to encourage me to do most of the things and accompany me.
But after I got better and better, I felt a need to have control of myself and my life again. I did not want to be a husk of my old self and to feel that my health and life was in the hands of others
I wanted to be in control and I wanted to be able to help others.
Most of all, I wanted to prevent people from getting hurt or to have bad experiences in life.

All of these things turned me onto a path where I became a project leader and a workaholic.

I was a pretty good one. I could juggle a lot of things, keep different projects apart and never drop anything. I managed to get great results, do all the things and dive into new projects and on top of that, have a great homelife and be the fun organizer that always had a plan.

And I felt happy that people appreciated what I did and what I could achieve. I thought that this would prevent me from ever falling into that pit of helplessness and loneliness again.

Oh, how I was wrong .

I did not realize that I had put myself in the position of a Superwomen. 

It is when a woman gets into the habit of being a project leader and falls into the trap of doing everything by herself rather than ask for help.

Illustration made by Dani Pendergast

In my case, it was because 

1) I was very convinced that I would not get any help since I had pretty bad experiences from people around me after my trauma  

2) there were some years when I had to step up and take a big responsible for the household and the economical situation 

3) I already had a pattern of having to be an extra mom for my brothers during my early teenyears and had learned to adapt to not be in the way and to solve my own problems since they took up a lot of space. (Bros, I love you but you were pretty exhausting there.)

This caused me to develop my workaholic pattern (read more here) and to be known as a fixer and a doer in everything.

For me and for many other women, this so-called life of a Superwomen comes with a huge price to pay and often results in burnout and loneliness.

As you might have guessed from my own story above, the Superwoman complex comes from when one strives for a sense of control,but ends up putting other things ahead of one's own well being.

This can be very hard to spot and it took me years!


Well, it’s so easy to be flattered and feel like an accomplished person when you create things that others are enjoying (like organizing events and so on), or being told that you always have things together (being a project leader of a household) or lastly, are the one who can be so creative and come up with great solutions and ideas on the fly (being a fixer and a doer).

The clear downsides of this are:

  • You feel that you always need to be on top, otherwise, you are not good enough.
  • You take on every task and more since you know that you are good at it.
  • You often get left with tasks from others since you are the one “being a fixer.”
  • You very rarely or never get an acknowledgement that you are actually VERY good at the things you do.

A lot of these things are similar to the good girl syndrome that many young girls are put into from childhood, with things like:

  • Always be polite.
  • Never say no.
  • Do not create trouble.
  • Help others all the time.

Being a Superwoman is a straight way to a burnout and instead of being in control, you risk bending over backwards to adjust to what people want or need from you.

Because it is so good to hear those words and feel like you are a strong, capable woman, both in private life and in work life, that it takes a while to realize that you are actually being in zero control.

Read me right here, it is a good thing to be a fixer, a doer and being a project leader for your own life.

But looking at my own story as well as the structures for many other women, this Superwomen thing is when these things start to spill over to the rest of your life and people take advantage of it.

“Well, Anna, you can pull this thing together in a week, right?”

“You are always so good at project leading so we leave this to you!”

“ Strong, independent women.. Love how you can just… organize it all by yourself, it saves so much time and zero help is needed!”.

These expectations and demands are of course without proper credit, payment or acknowledgement which directly affects one's worklife.

The private downside of being a Superwoman is that you can come across as so strong, so damn good of a project leader and fixer that you are not allowed to be vulnerable.
Partners are drawn to you for being a capable woman with a career, goals, ambitions and that you can organize the living shit out of everything.
Many will try to get you to share more duties, to be a team and to be more vulnerable and that can be so good!

If they can live up to this.
However, there is a difference in talking the talk and walking the walk and partners can often be scared to death the first, second or 20th time a Superwoman breaks down under pressure, not having everything together or just being a potato in the sofa.

Because, what people forget about us Superwomen is that we are humans and have the same need for rest, vulnerability and support as everyone else.
When partners and friends are drawn to Superwoman and only feel comfortable with the capable project leader and not the human side of the person… Then it can quickly turn into a very toxic relationship where one part  never is allowed to be weak, have a bad day or even rest.

The result is very often an emotional burnout and being stuck in being an unappreciated fixer at work and a project leader at home that never gets a break. A short advice, if you have friends and partners that can only accept you when you are at your best, cut contact with them.

So, what can be done to support Superwomen in your vicinity?

At work:

  • Do not dump over boring tasks on your female colleagues just cause they are good at it and you (yes, you fellow male colleague) think that they can handle it. Ask them, respect a no and give them credit.
  • Do not give your female colleagues insanely short deadlines for projects with the argument “They are usually good at this and they are a fixer.” Treat their time and competence with respect and at least ask them.
  • Do not guilt them into doing tasks when they’ve said no. Do it yourself and learn to be a fixer.
  • Give women credit for their work. In front of others. All the time. 

At home and with friends:

  • Let your female friends be vulnerable and soft. Let them rest.
  • Ask them how they are doing and do not dump 1000 things on them to solve.
  • Do NOT only value them when they are great and shun them when they have a bad day or are resting. If you are their partner/friend/family, you shall love and value them for all they are.
  • When and if they burn out, do not expect them to get back up in one week. Step up, take care of their things and let them rest.

In short, a women should not have to be perfect in every aspect and have to juggle private life, relations, work and hell and heaven at the same time. 

I have been and still am blessed with great friends that over the years have shown over and over again that it is ok for me to be vulnerable and to not only be in a fixer mode.
But it took a long time to let go and rest in that feeling and it took longer because the pressure of always having to perform was there from so many others.

And to my fellow Superwomens out there: You are great and when you say no, say it again and again. If people around you do not respect it, walk away from them.
(There are a lot of articles around on the internet about the Superwoman syndrome, too many to link here but have search and a read!)

fredag 22 april 2022

Till min vän Tove

Min kära vän Tove Gillbring dog i Tisdags.
Det är fortfarande helt ofattbart att ta in och tanken på att inte Tove finns längre är så smärtsam att den inte går att hantera och den kommer inte göra det på länge än.

Tove var ihop med sin man Anders en legend inom den svenska rollspelsscenen. Med allt arbete från Sveroks medlemstidning Sverox (och Signaler från Sverok) till Westen, Guld och Bly och tidningen Fenix.

Men jag vill berätta om vad Tove betydde för mig.

Tove och jag kände inte varandra så länge om vi räknar i år. Jag tror vi möttes 2017 och det som skulle bli en kort intervju för Fenix om mitt arbete med #Isisnerdfeminism blev till ett samtal som varade i flera timmar.
Det var som att vi alltid känt varandra och jag kände att Tove, det var en person jag kunde anförtro mitt liv, min själv och mitt hjärta till.
Det var en sällsynt känsla för mig efter så många år av misstro av världen, att se in i hennes glada ögon och varma leende och känna att jag hittat hem.

Och vilket hem det blev. Med kramar, samtal och allt i sms, på bokmässan samma år och med en själslig samhörighet som för mig betydde allt. 

Jag flyttade till Stockholm 2018 och med det så bodde jag och Tove plötsligt i samma stad. Hon och Anders visade snabbt bli två av mina närmaste vänner och jag har tappat räkningen på alla kvällar och dagar jag åkte dit för att sitta uppkrupen i deras soffa och diskutera spelkultur och allt mellan himmel och jord.

Jag kände mig ibland som en katt som blev hemskt bortskämd av dem varje gång jag var där, med omtanke, kreativitet, mat och kakor. Tove välkomnade mig alltid med sådan enorm värme och hon trodde på mig, hela vägen, även när jag inte gjorde det.

“Tove, jag vet inte om jag klarar detta.”
“Vännen, jag vet att du gör det. För du är bäst och jag älskar dig.”

“Tove, jag har aldrig gjort detta! Tänk om jag gör det kasst?”
“Vet du, det kommer du inte göra. Du kan allt. Och tror du annat så är det fel. För du är bäst.”

Jag kände att jag kunde göra allt när hon sade det.  Jag växte när hon trodde på mig och jag klarade allt. 

Hennes orubbliga kärlek och tro gjorde mig till en mycket bättre människa.

Hon höll mig uppe när jag föll ned i svarta hål. Hon peppade mig till max och fick mig att fortsätta trots hot, hat och fanskap. Jag kunde prata med Tove om exakt allt och jag visste att hon skulle ge råd, skratta, rasa och alltid alltid vara min vän.

Och som hon inspirerade mig! Tove hade så mycket idéer, så mycket planer och ett sådant jädra driv! Det fanns inget som var omöjligt när hon var i farten och jag älskade att se hur hon och Anders planerade och snickrade på tusen saker ihop.

Tack vare henne skrev jag i Fenix, jag recenserade rollspel (OTÄNKBART!), jag fick driv att organisera saker och blir ännu bättre i allt.
Hon var en sådan virvelvind av kreativitet och pepp att det var omöjligt att inte bli meddragen.
Hur många gånger satt vi båda där och sade “Hoppsan, nu blev det visst nya projekt igen!”
För att vi hade peppat varandra att göra mer och mest.
Och så skrattade vi och det kändes för mig som att världen var vår.

Tove gjorde mig till en mycket bättre människa. Med sitt varma hjärta, sitt mod och sin rättframhet så fick hon mig att kämpa lite till och tro på mig själv.
Med sin outtröttliga skaparglädje fick hon mig att hitta kärlek till vad jag gjorde igen.

Och hon fick mig att se det bästa i människor men också att våga vara arg för mig egen del och rasa för mig själv.

Tove var unik med det hon gav till alla runt omkring sig. En legend för spelsverige, en inspiration och mentor. Samt en älskad och kär vän till mig och så många fler.

Jag kommer sakna henne för alltid och göra mitt bästa för att fortsätta växa på den vägen hon har visat mig. Och hon kommer vara med mig varje steg under resten av mitt liv.

tisdag 8 mars 2022

To all my male colleagues in the gaming industry - I need you to see

Dear male colleagues in the gaming industry. I’m very tired but I will try to be as nice as possible.

Or rather, I will now be as blunt as it is needed.

I need you to be better when it comes to work for diversity and equality in the industry. I need you to step up and I need you to do active  work all year around.

I need you to see.

Our exhaustion.
Our rage.

Our need to be able to take a break.

Perhaps it is a bit too abstract but let me break it down for you from my point of view.

I am a women, an openly queer person and a Person of Color (PoC). I have been on the barricades for more inclusion and equality in the gaming community most of my life.
Not because I want to but because it is needed and I know that if I want things to change, then I have to do it myself.

But after years of doing this and having great support of my fellow women, queers and PoC, I’m tired.

We are all pretty tired here. We would be less so if we got a lot better support from our male colleagues in the industry.

Read me right, there are some great male allies and feminists out there and I feel proud to call them my friends. They do a huge change everyday alongside us.

But it is not enough. And I feel a never ending rage everytime male colleagues of mine act like the sky has fallen down on them everytime sexism, racism and hate against minorities are brought up.
Like it is a brand new discovery every time. And then, they have the same reaction the next time. And the next.

It is heartbreaking but perhaps even more, their words about “Keep bringing these things up, keep pointing it out to us me”

I just want to scream at you all: “For the love of God, I am not getting paid well enough to be your teacher! EDUCATE yourself!”

But I continue to bring things up.

The result?

I get a reputation as being difficult for always raising these things, for being the angry black women (I’m not black, I’m brown) that never can be content and happy.

“Anna, it is great that you are fighting for these things… Oh, not like that, be nice.”

I do not want your congratulations on this day.
Or any other day. I want you beside me on the barricade.
Photo by Iduna Pertoft Sundarp

I have to shoulder the full responsibility of making my male co-workers see how difficult it can be wor women, PoC and queer persons but with zero thanks and only making it harder for myself in my career.

Yay fucking yay.

It should not be my job as a woman to point these things out time after time after time.

I should not have to be the voice of reason all the time and the one who spots sexism, racism and so on.

It should not be my job to educate my male colleagues how much hate a woman gets for being a public person, the hate comments female streamers can get and that it is not normal that we have stalkers, online or IRL.

I’m tired of being the difficult one in all aspects and repeating myself for ears that do

not hear.

I will still continue to be difficult and point these things out  because I want to gaming industry and the gaming community to be a better place where everyone can feel represented,where we all treat eachother with respect and where I am not the only female, PoC or queer person in the room.

But I will demand so much more from now on.

So, dear male colleagues in the gaming industry, here is a list of things I want you to be better at to support me and many other females, PoC and queers in the gaming indrustry.

  • Be the one that points out sexism in early drafts, in video games, in structures at work.
  • Be the difficult one. Tell your male co-workers to stop with demeaning jokes. It is not funny.
  • If there are sexual harassment on the workplace, talk to the men responsible, back up the ones harassed and don’t be silent. 
  • Don’t brush aside your female colleagues,your PoC colleagues, your disabled collegues, your queer collegues when they are telling about hate speach against them. Don ' t tell us that it is fine, don’t tell us to walk it off. Make sure that we are covered, that we get support from HR, from the company. Be a friend here.
  • Make sure to lift your female colleagues, your PoC colleagues, your disabled collegues, your queer collegues, with words and action. These include:
     - Giving praise for work done. ALL work done cause we do a lot of invisible work that you are all just assuming.
    - Make sure that it is not only the men in the theme that get a raise or a promotion. If only the men in a team or a group climbs on the career ladder, it is some fundamental wrong. Challenge it and ask why. To your boss.
    - Men often get way more in payment than other groups, no matter experience or time worked at a company. Make sure to be transparent with salary and to check if your female colleague is at the same level as you are getting the same payment. If not, it is a problem. Your problem.
    - Make sure to ensure that your co-workers with a womb feel that they can take parental leave. This is a HUGE issue since the choice today is usually career or children for many childbearers. Make it change by raising these questions. 

Last but not least:

Educate yourself by listening to lectures and to the voices of your female colleagues around you. And make sure to value their time. Don’t ask them to repeat themself over and over again. Show them, show us the respect of remembering our words

Dear male colleagues in the gaming industry,this is what I want from you.

No more silence, no more surprise face when sexism is brought up, no more relying on  your female colleagues, your PoC colleagues, your disabled collegues, your queer collegues to point things out all the time.

And no more shaming uf us for being difficult infringing these questions up. I want you to be difficult with us, with me and that we can have a change here.

Be part of that change. Some more blogpost on this theme( in Swedish)

fredag 9 juli 2021

Ingen är en belastning för Sverige.

Okej, lite mer samlade tankar om ett visst uttalande om att invandring är en belastning för Sverige.

Först och främst, jag har läst hela uttalandet och funderat många vändor över det hela.

Min första reaktion var en blandning av kalldusch och trötthet. Ett kalldusch över att se samma rasistiska retorik jag sett om och om igen nu upprepas av landets näst största parti. Och det på ett helt självklart sätt, som att inget är fel med det.

Sedan en trötthet över hur långt samtalet förskjutits sedan 2014 och att det gått från att handla om att rasism är oacceptabelt till att tumma mer och mer på det och att det nu handlar om att det är helt okej att kläcka ur sig rasistiska uttalanden utan att ha den minsta analys bakom vad detta har att göra med för strukturer eller vad det gör med Sverige.

Helvete vad trött jag blir. Och arg.

Och här är det säkert flera av er som tänker efter en vända och säger…” Hey Anna, du är ju adopterad, det är ju inte DIG som uttalandet gäller.”

Korrekt, jag är adopterad och har bott här hela mitt liv.

Men vem kan säga det när de ser mig på bussen eller ute på en promenad? Hur särskiljer vi vilka som har rätt att vara här och inte?

Svaret är att det kan vi inte. Utan istället så skapar uttalande som detta en uppdelning i vilka som är riktiga svenskar och det ger också rasisterna vatten på sin kvarn i sin tro att “Bara riktiga svenskar har rätt att vara här och få jobb!”

För när det sägs saker som detta, att invandringen är en belastning för Sverige, så gör det återigen något med hur Sverige ser på människor med utomnordisk bakgrund.
Vi alla ses som mindre värda och det blir ett synsätt som ges legitimitet. 

Sedan har vi den andra biten. Det är denna att när ett sådant här uttalande sker så skapar det också en vilja att försvara mig. Jag vill bevisa hur mycket jag har jobbat, hur mycket jag tillför till det svenska samhället för att säga att jag inte är en belastning och att jag är lika mycket svensk som alla andra. Som alla vita.

Men det är en känsla som varar i cirka en minut för sedan inser jag att jag inte ska behöva försvara mig. Jag ska kunna vara sjukskriven, kass på mitt jobb, sno din jädra flickvän och ändå känna att jag inte är mer av en belastning på samhället bara för att jag är utomnordisk.

Min första känsla är en känsla jag inte kan rå för men jag önskar så att den hade kunnat försvinna. Både för att jag inte ska behöva försvara mig men för att detta också lägger debatten helt fel.

För det får inte bli ett samtal som handlar om “Den duktiga invandraren” VS “Den lata invandraren” för då kommer debatten att handla om vem som gör tillräckligt mycket för att inte vara en belastning. Och vi som inte ser tillräckligt svenska ut kommer ALDRIG kunna göra tillräckligt mycket för att inte vara en belastning. För det handlar inte om det utan det handlar om att vi inte är tillräckligt svenska.

Men ett uttalande om att invandring är en belastning delar upp oss som pekas ut i två läger, de som är tillräckligt bra och de som inte är det. 

Vem klarar ribban och vem får vara med?

Det splittrar, skapar osäkerhet och framförallt flyttar det fokus till oss istället för vart det ska vara: Nämligen att detta är ett rasistiskt uttalande och att det inte är okej. Vi har rätt att vara här på samma villkor som alla andra och vi har rätt att göra exakt så mycket eller lite vi kan utan att det ska skrikas om utvisning eller lathet. 

Och att detta återigen skapar en situation där svenskar med utomnordisk bakgrund känner sig fast i en rävsax där vi inte kan göra rätt.

Vi kan inte vara tillräckligt bra för att inte vara en belastning för vi måste alltid var TUSEN gånger bättre än  vita svenskar. 

Men är vi tillräckligt bra så är vi för bra och då ska vi veta vår plats och den är inte i de vita rummen eller jobben. 

Känn tacksamhet mot det land som tagit emot dig. Känn skuld om du inte tillför. Men gör inte för mycket för då snor du rimliga svenskars jobb, flickvänner och levebröd. 

I slutändan känner jag en enorm ilska över att sådan här uttalande kommer från landets näst största parti som valt att haka på en rasistisk retorik till den milda grad att de numera ser detta som ett helt okej sätt att uttrycka sig på.

Jag är inte en belastning för att jag finns här. Ingen ska känna sig som en belastning för att de bor här och ingen ska känna att de ska behöva försvara sin existens gentemot ett måttstock som är byggd på rasism.

tisdag 11 maj 2021

How it is to live with a trauma.

It’s May and it’s #mentalhealthawarenessmonth and I’m finally ready to talk about my mental health issues and how it is to live with the after-effects of a trauma.

This is the hardest blogpost I've written. Please be kind. 
Photo by Iduna Pertoft Sundarp.

My mental state in 2012: Depression. PTSD and emotional instability.

I was not in good shape after my abusive relationship ended. The first months after it ended I was drunk 24/7, at the hospital for suicidal behavior for two weeks and after that I was on medication for two years only to be able to live.
And during those two years I had to re-learn so much. Like how to be able to walk outside without having a panic attack, how to take a train by myself, how to say my opinion or laugh without being afraid of being scolded or being told that I was dumb or fake.
I had a great therapist from day 4 in the hospital but it took him months to figure out what was wrong with me, apart from depression and recovering from the abusive relationship.

I was always able to work during this time. I took my first exam in Journalism the day before I ended up in the hospital and four months later (with highest grade despite being drunk 24/7), I moved to Stockholm for my internship. No matter how bad shape I was in, how little I slept or how much I broke down at home, I found safety in being able to go to work in the morning.

“You should not be able to work at all, you should be on full time sick leave”, was my therapist's words once. He asked if I wanted to be on sick leave but I said no. I was so down in the dark that I was afraid of what would happen if I did not have the routine of work anymore.

And I did a great job after all, good recommendations and I was seen as a great colleague with much potential. (And yes, here my workaholic pattern started)

But my mental health did not get any better. I continued to be on medication to be able to function, I could not sleep without my pills and I gobbled up anxiety medicine as there was no tomorrow. I had nightmares, panic attacks and I could not stop beating myself up over everything. I could not connect with people and I was just so afraid.

After months of weekly therapy meetings, my therapist started to dig into the possibility that I might have PTSD. 

I ticked basically every box of those tests. We started on a new journey where I trained in managing my everyday life, handling my anxiety and preparing for situations that might come. We started with exposure training, self awareness and a lot more.
And step by step I got better. 

I took my second exam in Journalism. I took on more jobs and I grew in my work role.

3 years after my abusive relationship ended, I could take the train in my city by myself again.
I got off my medication, then my sleeping pills.
I was on the verge of becoming fine again.

Then I had a horrible relapse where I had to relive my whole trauma again. I had to explain why I had not walked away earlier, why I did not go to the police immediately ( I had waited for a year after it ended since feelings are tricky that way) and also defend myself as a person. After all, I seemed so emotional and unable to let go so why should I be trusted.
It almost broke me again and I had to take two days off from work.

My therapist again said that I should not work and that I should take some goddamn time off. But I was in so much pain that I was afraid to do so. At the same time I started to feel the long term effects of my PTSD and living with an ongoing trauma for so long. So with my permission, he called my work and made sure that they were aware of what had happened and that I could skip one of my tasks at work.

From there on, my life kept on rolling. Or rather, routines kept me going. I gobbled up anxiety pills again but I did not have to go back to other medications and sleeping pills.

Me and my therapist kept on working on my mental health and this time, it went quicker. I had some more mental scars from the relapse but in 2017 I was completely good again.

Or rather, so good that my therapist and I both agreed upon that I did not have to come back and that I was as good as I may get.

My mental state in 2021: I have been good for a few years but I am living with the after-effects of  depression, PTSD and emotional instability.

The long term effects of trauma will never go away.

So… what am I living with today?

  • I’m on 80% of my energy. All the time. This was hard for me to accept and it took years, tears and long talks before I could accept that I would never have my old energy back. That I will get tired quicker and if I push myself at work, then my private time will suffer as I would not be able to do anything for days. Things also take longer time, both private and in work.
  • Memoryloss, both short term and long term. I have severe glitches in my memory from the years when I was 26-29. Some periods there when I was on medication.. It is just blank and I have no memory of the things that happened there. Thank god for photos, journals and for me writing things down. I can live with that. The sad thing is that before my trauma, I had a memory I was proud of. I could read 10 pages and memorize them in five minutes and it stayed. Now, I forget things all the time and it takes lots of notebooks, calendars and control for me to keep things in mind. I make it work but I’ve lost count on how many times that I have broken down and cried because of that loss.
  • Lack of concentration and focus. As with my energy, this is 80% and sometimes, it is goddamn hard. The days when my brain is just like a teflon pan, I just have to pull through and write everything down and trust my methods of organization and routines that kept me living during the hard years.
  • Severe trust issues. I don’t trust people and I’m having a hard time connecting on a deeper level. PTSD puts me in a constant flight or fight mode so it is extremely hard for me to trust people. I’ve become very independant and very firm in never having to rely on people again. I’m so afraid of being hurt again that basically, all my patterns of connections are replaced with patterns of protection. I blame or thank my journalist work, my passion for nerdy things and my love for animals that I’m still able to talk to people.
  • Guilt and shame. I constantly beat myself up over mistakes I make. This since I know that I could have done a better job if I were 100%. And also the voice from the mental abuse that says that everything I do is wrong and why do I even try. The guilt and shame are sometimes unbearable and then I can only take care of myself with movies and icecream.
  • Nightmares. They are fewer these days but they have never stopped and I still wake up crying and in horror over old things, even after ten years. 

But why speak about it now, openly here on my blog with everything to lose?

Because it is time for me to be open about my mental health. That is my only answer here.
There are so many out there, men, women and non-binary that struggles with mental health issues and they carry so much by themself and it should not have to be that way. Stories about mental health and how to handle it are important and if by sharing my story and what I live with makes it any easier for people out there, then it’s worth it.

And I don’t fear judgement and loss of things or people anymore. My bosses today already know and me being able to tell them is a result of me being open. 

I’m also extremely grateful to my bosses on different jobs that have been not only understanding but extremely supportive when I told them. They did not see me as broken or a nuisance but they trusted that I had my things under control and that I would tell if it became too much. 

I think I also wanted to be open about it since I think it’s important to talk about mental health and how it affects people. With knowledge and care, it gets better and I don’t want people that go through something similar to find a destructive coping mechanism. Not in this day and era.

Perhaps I also want to say that this is a weight I carry with me, each day and it sometimes affects me more.

These days, I have a very rich and full life where I can do all the things I want. I stay away from certain people that trigger me and I also have to think of what I spend energy on and that I need to rest more often. 

When I met Viktor, my mental health was one of the first things I told him about. We were sleeping together and he needed to know about my nightmares, my trust issues and why I sometimes said that I needed to faceplant the sofa and not move for hours. He needed to know and I needed to be transparent.

Do I wish that this had never happened to me? 

Heck yeah. I sometimes wish for my old self so bad that it hurts. I want to have 100% of my energy and I want to be whole.
But I will never be able to go back to the old me again.

However, I found a new me that is not only surviving but living. With scars, trust issues and being me. I continue to take care of myself, to have awarness of my health and to take help when it gets to much.

I'm very happy for the person I am today and I will make my outmost to have the best life I can.

Every step of the way.

I'm so damn happy over being alive.
Photo by Iduna Pertoft Sundarp.