I have a habit of staying too long.
And this habit has always been bad for my mental health.
Staying in the wrong relationships, staying in conversations with people committed to misunderstanding me or who make my experience wrong, staying in misaligned places that depleted my soul and drained my energy. Staying on a career path or continually working on things that made me depressed and apathetic.
There are plenty of justifiable reasons why I stayed.
But the truth is… I was scared.
I was scared to “blow up” my life.
I was scared to face starting over.
I was scared to explore what I really wanted.
I was scared to leave the “good” relationships.
I was scared to disappoint the people around me.
I was scared to fail, be judged, or make a mistake.
I was scared to wind up alone.
I was scared to trust myself.
So I stayed.
And staying when my soul pleaded for me to leave made me sick.
Physically, I’d experience anxiety and panic, wonky digestion, adrenal fatigue, and debilitating pain. Staying in an abusive relationship caused me to develop dysphagia, where I literally stopped being able to swallow.
Mentally, I’d find myself feeling severely depressed. Sometimes even experiencing suicidal ideation and battling an inability to function in my day-to-day life. I felt unworthy, unmotivated, and incapable of being happy and whole.
Something I say to my clients a lot is:
Nothing is worth dying over.
Perpetual stress and anxiety, staying in the wrong situations out of fear, and feeling wholly unfulfilled can literally kill you.
We know this to be true, and stress is one of the worst things for our bodies.
I stayed too long, and I stopped swallowing. For nine long days, I couldn’t even swallow my saliva. I got one bag of IV fluids, and quite honestly, I’m not sure how my body didn’t completely shut down from the severe dehydration. It was nearly a year before I could eat and drink normally again.
In the weeks after those nine days of hell, when people asked me how I was, I would answer honestly: “I’m just happy to be alive and sometimes eating soup.” And I’ve never forgotten the most crucial lesson of that experience.
Nothing is worth dying over.
I know it’s scary and hard to make the necessary changes for healing and growth. I know the terror that comes from the unknown can be paralyzing. I know that certain situations are more challenging to leave than others, and it’s not always as simple as it sounds. I know the steps you have to take can be complex, and getting to the good parts of the “after” takes time and intention. I really do know.
I also know that nothing is worth dying over.
It takes courage to leave people and situations that don’t feel aligned. It takes courage to create changes in our lives at all levels and scales. It takes courage to go after what you say you want because it requires facing yourself, getting honest about what’s not working, and trusting yourself to navigate the unknowns that come with changing your trajectory. It takes courage to take those first small steps.
Think about what it’s costing you to stay too long.
Think about what can become possible if you trust yourself.
Think about what you desire and let that pull you through the hard moments.
Think about what can go right and how you’ll be supported.
It’s easy to focus on fear over faith, but they’re the same thing. Belief in the unseen, the not yet happened. Delusions, even. So why not energize the delusion that’s more supportive of what you want? Trust yourself to navigate what’s next… you’ll be so much better for it, even if it’s challenging at first.