I was talking to my best good friend Emily last night when it occurred to me that I haven’t talked about my mental health in quite awhile.
I’ve tried to be really open about the fact that I live with Major Depressive Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder. And a couple of years ago, I was at my lowest point ever. I was hardly talking to anyone, avoiding social activities with even my closest friends. Completely withdrawn and totally miserable.
For more than three years I’ve been seeing both a therapist and a psychiatrist, combining anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication with talk therapy to work through a lifetime of issues. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it’s been really, REALLY hard.
But I’m here to tell you that it gets better.
Today, I am in a completely different place from where I was three years ago. I generally feel hopeful, optimistic, full of ideas and plans and I can honestly say that I am happy. For the first time in my adult life, I actually feel good.
It’s been a long, tough road. I wish I could say it was easy, but things that are worthwhile rarely are.
I guess I just want to say to those of you that are struggling…it really DOES get better. I’ve been to the edge. I know what it feels like to go through every single day having to make the conscious decision that TODAY I will stay alive. I know how it is to not know if I’m going to make it to the very next minute, to feel so overwhelmed and consumed by darkness that going forward feels impossible.
It gets better.
I’m living proof of that.
I know I’m not cured. There isn’t a “cure” for what ails me. And I’m still taking medication, even though I’m starting to really consider tapering off.
(A thought which both excites and terrifies me, btw.)
The point is, I found what worked for me and I’m sticking with it. I still see my therapist twice a month. Even when it seems like I won’t have anything to talk about at the next appointment, something always comes up. There are still issues to work through and feelings to feel. I’ll never be free of those.
But the best thing I ever did for myself was to acknowledge that I needed help. It was terrifying at first. It was terrifying for awhile. I used to go to my therapy appointments full of anxiety over what we’d have to talk about. Dreading the conversation and the ensuing feelings, but almost always able to breathe again after I’d walk out of the office. Now? I look forward to seeing my therapist. I look forward to our conversations and I love talking things through and realizing that I’m not as crazy as I thought I was.
It gets better.
So if you’re struggling, please reach out to someone. Anyone. Find someone you can talk to and start talking through those struggles. It got better for me and it’ll get better for you, too.
The first step is scary. But it’s worth it.