Trigger warning: Mention of self harm.
This post won't be as emotional as some. In recent days I saw my depression worsen, the holidays sent me spiraling to an all-time low. I took PTO from both my jobs to think and rest. I reflected on this last year, for all the positive steps I have taken this year I am nothing but proud.
The progress I have made in terms of my health has been astronomical. I have stopped self-harming and binging and purging. But the root cause of what even provoked those distasteful acts of belligerent unkindness towards myself still haunted me. I was battling an invisible enemy daily. I have leaned on my spirituality and religious beliefs to guide me and help heal me and I still attribute almost all of my recovery thus far to my faith.
It is actually with many days and nights of prayer that I have come to my next decision to seek medical and therapeutic help. This came once more in a whisper conscious to me saying: "It doesn't have to be this hard." I made my appointment the next day and cried on my way home because I wanted to be enough to fix me.
It is hard, humbling and incredibly embarrassing to ask for help. And often for people who don't normally ask anyone for anything, you can be sure that by time they do they are at the end of their rope. I was at the end of mine, when I tell you I counted the days till my appointment there is no ounce of exaggeration. I needed help.
I was taking bathroom breaks at work to cry, my mind would not silence itself, I became absorbed with concern about how everyone around me viewed me and of course my interpretation of that was not positive at all. I couldn't muster energy to shower, I'd lie on the floor trying to convince myself to get up and do my chores. I'd fight the urge to punish myself in ways I used to because look at me, I'm pathetic at this point. I would break down and cry in corners of rooms and it felt like there was a knot building in my chest. I slept too much and then not at all. I was exhausted, and all it would take was one mildly annoyed comment from anyone to break me.
With all this being said the panic before my actual appointment was worse. What if they tell me there is something wrong with me? I mean I know there is but what does it actually mean to receive that validation. I didn't really want to go at this point, I was feeling more me from the time I initially made the appointment, and my emotions were close to leveling out again. But the whisper of conscious one more said: "You need stability." That voice was a 1000% right. I had been riding this rollercoaster for too long hoping it would stay on a flat plane, not realizing another drop was just a corner away.
In a 30-minute appointment I was diagnosed with PTSD, PMDS, Depression, and Anxiety Syndrome. I was prescribed two medications. One to control the depression and anxiety, the other to prevent PTSD flashbacks and control Panic attacks as needed. I was also referred to therapy for my PTSD as my psychiatrist believes that particular trauma to be the root cause of everything.
Where all of this should have seemed validating I was pretty dryly amused, I mean I kind of figured that's what's been going on in all honesty. But there was one thing she said that was so much more validating. She told me that I will never get past or over what happened to me, but I will find a place where it belongs. She said it is a part of me but we will find a way to make it stop running the show.
Wow. I've had years of people saying to let it go, stop thinking about it. Tuck it away, burry it. Now here was someone saying let's make just the right amount of room for it. Now that was far more validating than my diagnosis. I walked away feeling understood and normal.
There was slight bitterness and resentment that came in the days following my appointment. It's not like I hadn't sought help before, in high school, college numerous times, and even later a couple. Doctors would refer me to therapy where I did a lot of talking with not a lot of response from my assigned therapist. It left me wondering if I was paying for a friend. They told me they were there to guide me the answers... by saying nothing though? Then there was that one panic attack where the ER doctor told me she thought I should make more friends and listen to music when I tried to talk to her about my anxiety. Funny too, my next panic attack a week later landed me in the ER once more and I was diagnosed with anxiety syndrome and referred to a specialist and prescribed Xanax. Of course my parents didn't want me to either of those so I didn't. Oh and there was my favorite therapist who told me to count and look at colors. She was certainly holistic. She was also late to every session, and ended it on the minute it should have ended every time had she been on time.
So yeah, sorry for the vent session, but it has to be said. Some medical professionals suck when it comes to inserting their own personal opinions about someone's mental health. Which honestly they should use only their professional opinion.
But yes, truth be told there is slight resentment on time wasted. I could have been better sooner, I thought to myself. I silenced that thought. I am where I needed to be In life. I am learning a lot about me. I am getting stronger, and most importantly I was strong enough to be vulnerable once more and ask for help. Today I can finally breathe.