And we're back! The truth of the matter is, is that though I was passionate about what I was writing about before, it wasn’t my reality. I didn’t feel “empowered”, or “healthy”, or like I really had any answers to offer.
I had/have been struggling and while its still not entirely comfortable to talk about, I want to, because I’ve noticed a lot of other people aren’t entirely comfortable talking about it either. I understand though. Its taboo and like them, I had a hard time talking about it for a long time as well.
The people in my life that know I’m seeing a therapist have given it a hundred different little nicknames. “How’d your appointment go?” “What’d you talk about at your meeting?” “Let me know how that thing you have to do today goes!” I’m guilty of it too though. Friends will ask where I have to be later, and I’ll use the same nicknames everyone else uses, “I have a meeting, cant be late,” I say as Im running out the door to avoid any further questions.
I had my first panic attack at 15 years old. At 16, I had started having suicidal thoughts. At 18, I watched my parents search for any way they could help when they found out I had been having suicidal thoughts for two years. At 19, I had friends who’d have to come over once a week to pick me up off my apartment floor and put me in bed after some of my darkest moments. I cried on my 20th birthday because I couldn’t believe I had made it there still alive.
Six years since I first recognized I needed help, at 21 years old, it took me three months after telling my parents I wanted to go to therapy to finally make the call to schedule an appointment. The only thing I regret from those six years was that I didn’t make the call sooner.
It wasn’t that in those six years, I never thought about asking for or wanting help. I had cried over and over again to people closest to me for help on finding a way out of it. I’m so incredibly thankful for those people, because they tried their hardest and were an amazing support system in that time period. Though, those people didn’t have all the tools or knowledge to fully understand what I was going through or the impact it had on my day to day and neither did I.
Therapy has by no means fixed all my problems nor will it ever. What it has done though, has helped me have a better understanding of myself and helped me feel a lot less alone in what I am feeling. I’ve learned that there is explanations for the emotions I’m feeling and constructive ways to move forward in life with those feelings, that don’t involve feeling stuck, lost, or alone. I’ve learned that there is value in what I’m feeling and an immense amount of growth that comes from that. I’ve learned that what I do have is not anxiety and depression as I had always thought and that has brought me clarity and some of the answers I had been searching for for six years.
Asking for help was the hardest first step. And yes, it still feels uncomfortable sometimes to sit down with a “stranger” and put into words feelings that I’ve never spoken out loud before. It has been immensely rewarding though.
It took months/years of people in my life urging me to go to therapy, assuring me it was going to be okay no matter how uncomfortable I felt, and that only good would come out of it. So I guess this is me doing the same for anyone else out there who may feel the way I did about reaching out (ashamed, scared, skeptical, the list goes on..), I can assure you that it only gets easier after you take that first step.