Mental Health Month: Getting Help

Photo by Thomas Verbruggen on Unsplash

This is a pretty normal dorky picture of myself. I  just took this selfie one day at work to send some friends, because why not? I'm always making a weird face, or joke, or singing a jingle. Anything to make people smile or laugh.

But, we're gettin' real touchy feely here today. 

Behind the goofy faces and hilarious jokes, I hurt, and struggle, and feel alone, and can't imagine why anyone likes me. 

I've struggled on and off with depression and anxiety since high school. So for 15ish years I tried to work all of this out on my own. I read books, I talked to my friends, I did a lot of retail therapy, but I never quite got around to seeking professional help, because that was way too scary, and my life was good, so it must have all been an overreaction to stuff, right?! It wasn't.

In 2016 I turned 30, Christopher and I were more like glorified roommates than husband and wife, some days I physically couldn't get out of bed, and when I did everything existed in fog.

I don't like feeling out of control, who does really, but when I do feel that way, I get angry. Like throw shit, slam doors, break a kindle/phone/vacuum cleaner, scream at the top of my lungs and can't remember any of that happened kind of angry. It wasn't great.

I started feeling so overwhelmed by simple things, like going to the beach, to RELAX. I would get to the beach, and the ocean was so loud, and it's so hot, and the sand is touching you, and there are so many things to see and smell, it was like my brain couldn't handle all of that stimulation at once and every single time I would just bawl uncontrollably for 30 - 40 minutes. I found that covering my head with a towel or my favorite hoodie (which I lovingly call my anxiety hoodie) really helped me to regain control, but that's not the way you want to start a trip to the beach. 

I couldn't live like this anymore. I knew it was time to finally get professional help. 

I was so nervous to get help, I asked anyone I knew who had seen a therapist who they saw and to tell me all about them. I asked 3 people help me send a 2-3 sentence email to ask for an appointment, because apparently it not only takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to schedule a damn counseling session, but I did it. I met my therapist for the first time on September 12, 2016.

The thing that is most mind boggling to me is that I would tell my life story to a stranger I met at a party, or obviously to y'all on the internet, but the idea of sitting in a room I had never been to and telling someone one on one that I felt crazy AF was terrifying. I thought I'd just have a meltdown and cry the whole time, because I cry about as often as I breathe. That didn't happen. I've still only cried there once, which makes no sense, but whatever. 

The woman I see is so nice, and calm, and doesn't put up with my bullshitting, which is a requirement because I'm a bullshitter. Just going to her office makes me feel better about life. That's not to say I don't ever leave thinking to myself, "weeellll fuck", but she helps me make sense of my feelings and keeps me accountable with allowing myself to feel things at all. Which I don't love, but I've been assured eventually I will learn to tolerate it.

I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty for being depressed and anxious. I have a great life, a great family, a husband who loves me, friends that would do anything for me, and the cutest dog alive, but I've learned through therapy, books, blogs, and vlogs that mental illness doesn't discriminate. Black, white, young, old, rich, poor, dog person, cat person, mental illness doesn't give a fuck who you are. It just moves it's baggage into your brain. 

I'm still in the swamp of figuring out self confidence, self love, mindfulness, and balancing being and doing. It's hard, but I think it's worth it. 

If you struggle with the feels, you are not alone. Make sure you are taking time for self care. My favorite ways to care for myself are: making dinner at home with Christopher, journaling, gratitude lists, meditation, drinking a comfort beverage (coffee, tea, coke), going to Disney, listening to a podcast, swimming, laying in the hammock, snuggling with Christopher and/or Lucy.

Make a list of easy things that give you a boost and keep it handy so when you are deep in the fog, you don't have to go far for a little self care. 

If you feel like you need someone to talk to, don't wait. Find someone now. 

If you ever feel like life isn't worth living, please call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255, they are open 24 hours a day every single day of the year. 

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash


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