Once Fall 2015 rolled around, it was clear what my issues were: anxiety and depression. The next step would be figuring out how to deal with them. After a numb September, November became too much. I can remember it specifically. November 14. It was a Saturday. For some reason, being home alone in my new solo apartment and everything else in life was too much. I wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone. I had a girls dinner planned with my friends, which I attended. I can’t say I said more than 5 words at that whole dinner. They visibly noticed something was wrong and I just said that I was not feeling well. They laughed and drank and had a great time. I barely ate, did not drink any alcohol, and certainly did not share any laughs. I guess I went because I did not want them to know something was wrong. Or maybe didn’t want to have to admit to myself what was happening inside my head.
Then I left…and I just felt that was it. This was going to be the last day of my life. And frankly, at that moment I was OK with that. My drive home I considered my options. How would I actually go about killing myself? I debated and finally settled on something. Then, it dawned on me that I should think of any possible reasons NOT to do it. “Well, I guess there are a couple reasons. My cat would basically be homeless. My birthday is coming up, maybe that could be fun, even though nobody even knows it’s happening and I have no plans. Family and friends? They are all strong and smart, they would get over it. Work will figure it out, so not that. My niece Lydia would probably miss me.” Those were the thoughts I had. And it was that last thought about my little niece that made me pass that night; but I did cry myself to sleep while shaking and wondering what would become of me.
After that I knew I needed help from a professional. I then somehow mustered up the energy during work one day to look on our health plan’s website for a therapist. I looked at the first five pages and felt very blah towards all of them. Then on the sixth page, I saw a last name that resembled the last name of an athlete I like. At that moment, I knew she was who I needed. I have no idea why I knew, but I did. It felt silly that was the “reason” I chose her, but as it turned out, she was the therapist I needed.
Life got a little better. Our weekly sessions helped me. Some of the things I shared at times felt ridiculous as I said them aloud, but she never made me feel as what I had to say was invalid or unimportant. That was crucial for me.
December 2015 felt great. Many great things happened, as generally happens for a lot of us during that month. At times I felt very anxious, but overall things felt as though they were moving in the right direction. I was feeling good over the holidays. Even right after, things were alright. I was holding steady and coping. Then after a work trip in January kept me stranded across the country due to a winter storm, my strength I thought I had so aptly built up came crumbling down. I was lost again. My relationship hit some bumps that frankly, I did not know how to handle. February 2016, things again got unfathomably overwhelming.
Again, I can remember the day so vividly. February 13. Another Saturday. As I drove home in late morning, everything came crashing down. I felt totally helpless towards everything in my life. I could never escape this. Or at least that is how it felt. I came home, and this time I not only had a plan, but laid everything out. It was all there, ready for me just to take the next few steps to complete the process. I stood in my kitchen over my counter, crying to the point where my vision was blurry at best, and began to take the first step. It felt weird but I could not stop. Then, for some reason my body stopped working and it walked me out of my kitchen into my living room. There was no real thought behind it. It just happened. I was in a haze. And the next thing I knew, I was on the phone with my sister. Basically, I ended up leaving a few hours later to stay with her for the weekend because being by myself was probably not the best for me at that time. I never told my sister (and still haven’t) what happened that morning, but her being so understanding without questioning may just have saved my life.
Once I returned that week, I talked with my therapist and explained I felt it was time to seek the help of a psychiatrist. She gave a recommendation and I was able to make an appointment which ultimately led to the decision to seek the help of medication. I did tons of research on all the medications, their benefits, and their side effects. Ultimately I ended up with the lowest dosage of Zoloft (50 mg). It’s helped. Am I “better”? Absolutely not.
What I’ve learned is the path to feeling yourself again is not linear. In non-nerdy terms, the path is not straight. Imagine a mountain…you are probably picturing a triangular image like this:
You, as I’d imagine most people would, might look at that and think “mountain.” Sure, definitely true. But let’s look at a REAL mountain, up close and personal.
(Picture taken in Capri, Italy by me)
If you look on the right side of the picture you can see the bottom of the mountain and the top on the left. However, look at the route up. Does that look completely straightforward and simple? No. There are ups, downs, and even plateaus that ultimately help get you to the top. This is how I have started to think of my journey towards feeling myself again. It’s not simple. Sorry to say, but I am not going to be a blogger who tells you any amazing secrets to recovery. I am not going to pretend that I am healed or better myself. I am very much still recovering. I will continue to try and recover, even if I do not understand the reason completely.
Many times I’ve wondered…will I see the top of the mountain? What is the point? What will getting to the top of the mountain even do for me? Honestly, I don’t know those answers. Many times I wonder why I still try to get to the top of the mountain. And too many of those times, I really have no idea. But to this point, I have continued. And I continue with the knowledge that the trip up the mountain will not be simple. To be perfectly candid, I consider myself still at the bottom…slowly scratching and clawing trying to climb the way up.