In 2009 – it was literally only a matter of months from the time I started feeling that first sense of things being “off” in February to things being so severe that I needed to be hospitalized in May. This is why I am ALWAYS really quick to say “GET HELP” when people tell me they are struggling, it is why I take it seriously, why I personally get back in counseling as soon as I feel things slightly declining.
It didn’t take a year, or 9 months, or 6 months… It took 3 months, friends. That is less than 100 days, to go from, “I’m struggling…” to “I. can. not. be. alive”.
Take it seriously. Dear, sweet, precious human person that is desperately loved, take it seriously.
It is all a little foggy looking back, but for me it started with feeling “off”, down, out of it… I was crying more, I was not getting up in the morning (well I mean, whatever that means when you have 4 hungry young humans counting on you to eat and live and go to school and stuff). At first it is slow, it creeps in, it creeps up, it might take you by surprise sometimes because it feels like it isn’t so bad… but then strange impulses would hit me out of the blue – to veer off the road, to jump from somewhere high… to harm myself in different scenarios… for me those thoughts weren’t pre-meditated at all, but felt like blips… Shocks to my system. Warning signals are what they were… My subconscious was crying out, it was telling me something important, and although I didn’t listen at first, eventually I gathered up the courage to speak the truth of it to the closest people around me, and in turn, they helped me find help.
From there I got support in calling a therapist. I got on PsychologyToday.com and called the very first person who took my insurance and looked “nice”. The only explanation I have for how amazing that very first therapist I called was, is simply the hand of God. He KNEW exactly who would be gentle enough, strong enough, compassionate enough to save my life. I thank God over and over and over for her, because starting in therapy was KEY, it was the way I ended up getting the help I needed, it was how I was brave enough to walk into the ER just a few months later, it was my path to feeling better. Even more than that, it was my path to freedom from so many of the emotional chains that had bound me. Whether it is God, or the universe, or faith you have in your own flipping self, I beg you to step out in faith a little and make that initial call to get some help. There are SO many qualified professionals out there, so many ways to connect to them, so many programs for whatever your budget or time constraints are… I beg you, reach out for it today.
Even with therapy, things declined so super fast for me. My therapist sent me to a psychiatrist and I went on medication pretty quickly, but the right meds are not always easy to find, and the acceleration of my mental illness was outpacing the search for the right pill. I started to find my self-sitting in those harmful feelings more and more, I couldn’t sleep, eating felt like a waste, everything was cloudy and hazy and I started to feel further and further away from everyone around me. I don’t remember those times super well but what I do remember so so clearly was that I felt absolutely worthless, unworthy, and alone. I went from sad, to depressed, to hopeless… to desperate…
That desperate, friends, that a dangerous place to be. Desperate is not a place that the human soul can thrive… or really survive. Tomorrow I will talk more about that space….
Let me remind you this though, before I go, the warning signs our bodies and brains give us, they are REAL THINGS and they deserve our honor and respect. When you are hurting, and feeling alone, you need to care for those needs, you need to listen to your soul. You also need to hear/know/remember this feeling hopeless doesn’t = actual hopelessness, feeling desperate doesn’t actually mean you have no options. THIS Is why we ask for help, this is why we have to reach out, because sometimes we need people alongside us to give us the perspective we need to make it through… Just because I was in a hole and everything looked dark and empty and led to nowhere, it didn’t mean there was actually nowhere to go. That is the beauty of other people, because there are people that can see over the edge, there are people who know what is beyond your current dark space and they can help you get there.
There are people that have been there: desperate, dark, and alone, and have lived to see the other side. In may of 2009, I thought I had lost all hope…. but the truth is, I had only lost SIGHT of hope. And here on the other side, let me tell you. There is hope for miles. I see nothing but hope sweet friends, for you, for me, for all of us. Just reach out (seriously, message me, comment, call a friend you trust, whatever you can do!) I will hold some hope, right here, for you too.
*Please remember too, if you are in trouble, and thinking about suicide, don’t wait, reach out. Here call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website here.