Everything that is toxic can kill you. Some work quickly, dropping their victims almost immediately. However, not all toxins are fast-acting. Some build up slowly over time. But they are all poisons and, regardless of the speed in which they work, all will eventually kill you.

When most people think of toxins, they think of chemical compounds to avoid, which could make you seriously ill or even lead to death. However, the world is full of people and things that can be toxic to us, that can slowly kill parts of us, our hearts, minds and souls.

So many people are toxic to us. They are the ones who blow us off repeatedly or like to knock us down so they can raise themselves up in life. They are the people that refuse to accept our diagnosis and accuse us of being drama queens when we try to talk about our feelings. They are the manipulators, abusers and narcissists who twist their words and actions so that we internalize their bad behavior as somehow our fault. They are the ones we call our “friends”, “family” and “lovers”, but never act the part. They are the people we have invested our time and heart into loving, yet they only bring negativity back into our lives. They are toxic.

There are thoughts and behaviors that are dangerously unhealthy. When we take responsibility for and beat ourselves up over the actions of others believing ourselves to be at fault for things we had no say in or control over, we are slowly poisoning our soul. When we accept the cruelness of others as truth, believing ourselves to be damaged, broken, unlovable and unwanted because others have told us so, we are slowly destroying our heart by believing we do not deserve to be loved. Every time we give up control to our mental illnesses, surrendering to our demons, we are killing a part of who we are. All those negative thoughts we allow to creep in and take over, pushing us to believe all hope is lost, are toxic.

We make choices all the time that are toxic to us. When we rely on food, sex or substances for artificial highs or to make us forget reality, we are poisoning ourselves. When we accept failure as the only possible outcome so we become too afraid to even try anything anymore, we have accepted defeat before we have even begun. When we choose to invite people back into our lives who have hurt us before, opening the door to allow them to hurt us again, we are inviting poison back into our lives, as well. Whenever we make poor choices that we know will ultimately kill us, we are being toxic to ourselves.

People who want to live long, healthy lives do not go around drinking bleach or drain cleaner. We know it will kill us. We put warning labels on them and take great care when they’re around. We warn our children not to touch them, never to drink them because poisons can kill. Yet, when it comes to toxic people, behaviors and thoughts, we welcome them in with open arms, in turn teaching our children by example that they are all okay to have in our lives.

I know it hurts to remove those fixtures from our lives, even if they are not good for us. We are nostalgic creatures at heart. We try to rationalize holding onto people and things that are corrosive because we crave the familiar and the comfortable, even if it is not healthy for us. We need to start weighing the good and the bad and acknowledge whenever the negatives outweigh the positives. We need to look at how much time, effort, energy and love we put into relationships versus how much others are willing to give in return. We need to be honest with ourselves when our thoughts and actions that are self-sabotaging, causing more pain than pleasure in our lives.

We need to work harder, not only for our own health but the health of our children, as well, to remove toxins from our lives. We need to look at the people who constantly bring pain, drama and unhappiness into our lives and say “No more. You are not healthy for me. You need to go.” We need to push aside our destructive thoughts and call them out for what they are – a product of our mental illness – liars who wish to break us from the inside out. We need to catch ourselves when we make big decisions in life and question our own motives. “Is this choice a healthy one? Am I considering the ramifications of my actions? Am I likely to get hurt?”

We need to be more selective about who and what we welcome into our lives. We need to be more proactive about removing anyone and anything that has been proven to be toxic. We need to stop poisoning ourselves and stop allowing others to do it, as well. We need to fight to become healthier. More importantly, we need to teach our children how to be healthier. Our first step is to begin removing everything and everyone that we’ve allowed to destroy and kill parts of us over the years. After all, you cannot heal from a poison while it is still coursing through your veins or your life.

Author's Bio: 

I am a forty year old mother of three. I have survived physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuses, a failed marriage and a long engagement imploded by my partner’s repeated infidelities. I have been diagnosed with major depression, ptsd and anxiety disorder. I have many facets and have filled many roles. At different times in my life, I have been a student, a teacher, a mother, a daughter, a fiance, a wife, an artist, an author. Throughout my life, I have been both strong and courageous, weak and afraid. I may be a product of my experiences and choices, but I refuse to let them define me. After years of suffering in silence, I have found my voice.

My first book, Unlovable: A Story of Abuse and Depression from Someone Drowning in the Abyss, is available for purchase in both paperback and e-book versions on Amazon.com. It is also available in paperback at Barnes & Noble.