December 2016 arrived, and I had given the year all that was left in me. Most of the year was spent cycling in and out of depressive episodes, battling severe loneliness, and questioning if moving across the country was a grave mistake. The pains of the year brought one realization to light, I could no longer go through life’s journey alone anymore. I needed something beyond that motivational speech from a good friend. I needed more than the insight that a caring coworker could provide. I needed help… I needed professional help. It was time to return to therapy.
I was never the one to shy away from knowing when to say too much was too much. It has never been a problem for me to say, “Hey, I’m not okay.” I have trained myself to know when to take that next step necessary to remain healthy. However, for the first time ever, I felt hesitation. I really didn’t want to start over with someone. I didn’t want to recall the pain of the past. I didn’t want to be reminded of the true impact that mental illness has had on my life. I didn’t want to share that after feeling so strong for so long that I had finally reached a point where I felt weak and unsure of myself. I didn’t want to accept that this disease was rearing its ugly head again, and it was making my life miserable.
Sometimes you don’t want to be reminded that you live with an illness. You don’t want to think that when something happens it may take you weeks or months to recover. After doing so well for so long you want to believe that the good times will always continue. You need to believe that the self-care you have put in place is effective enough to see you through. Unfortunately, the true of the matter is you can do all you need to do, all you’re supposed to do, and still need help.
I consider myself a champion for preaching, promoting, advocating for mental health treatment. I have held the titles of therapist, assessor, social worker and advocate; yet even for me it can feel heartbreaking to know that I need to go seek professional help. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from feeling ashamed of my mental health diagnosis. Though, it does hurt when life reminds me that it is still there. Seven years after my first diagnosis, I still find myself dropping a tear here and there because I get frustrated. I want to yell and curse to the highest mountains whenever I begin to suffer. Yet, despite of how I feel about going to that office, I go.
I go because I understand that at times I need the strength and guidance of someone else to assist me in sorting things out. I go because I realize that I need a voice other than my own to weed through the layers of irrational thoughts that plague my mind. I go because I know what life can become when the right professional is a part of your support team. I go because I know I that I need and deserve a safe place to open the doorway to my emotional self.
I have been in this fight for a long time. Although I have suffered deeply at times, I believe that I can continue to live a fulfilling life. Sometimes, I can do it on my own. And sometimes, I cannot. Right now… I can’t. Life may never give me the “normal” I see in my head, but I will always hold the vision of seeking out a life worth living. Living with a mental illness is a journey that comes with many twists, turns, and bumps in the road. For me, at this moment all roads lead to therapy and I’m okay with that.