*Note: This post is in no way an invitation for my readers to feel sorry for me. I didn’t write it with that intention at all. I actually feel empowered sharing this with you. I guess it’s one attempt to solidify the facts and separate them from the fears. To face what’s going on and fight to get to the other side. I really pray that this empowers someone else who may be going through the same thing. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you all.
Over the last few weeks, maybe even months, I’ve been in a slump. Mentally I’ve really been struggling. With my depression, sometimes there are certain situations that trigger a memory or a thought that sends me into a deep valley that I can’t get out of. (The winter weather in Chicago didn’t help either…) On the outside, I’m “fine”. Just going through the motions of the days or weeks. Still laughing, smiling and being me. But…my brain and my thoughts are a different story. Never turning off or down. Sleep eludes me and my appetite is spotty. There are times when I can easily push through those valleys and there are times when the shadows in those valleys overtake me and I can’t get out as easily. My usual escapes are music, reading, writing, running, working out, eating well and prayer. But when those don’t work (which means I don’t get back to feeling “normal” or like myself) my body and my brain remind me that my methods are futile and I have to find an alternative.
The truth is, the alternative I’ve been avoiding for years, beating around the bush and trying to dodge the big pink elephant in the room. The alternative is one I know will help regulate my mood, help me work through deep rooted issues and triggers and help me be more “normal”. It’s one that I know has worked in the past and that I desperately need. So, why haven’t I taken the steps to get better and seek out the help I need? Honestly? I’m terrified.
It took me more than a few months, back when I was in college, to actually make the call to set up an appointment for a consultation to see a therapist and inquire about the possibility of medicine. And if I remember correctly, I didn’t make the call myself, a friend of mine did it for me. The terrifying feeling came in the form of doubt, denial, avoidance and disbelief. To this day that paralyzing fear still exists. On those good days when I feel fine, there can’t possibly be anything “wrong” with me. But when the bad days begin to outweigh the good I had to put all fear aside and figure out how to help myself.
Those words last 6 words in that paragraph above will either propel me into action or stop me dead in my tracks. While negative thoughts take root and grow bigger, the Renisha that longs to feel “normal” again is screaming for help. So, I’m going to help her. Terrified or not.
I was reminded this evening of the many reasons why I workout, run do yoga and try to eat well. Not just for a summer body or to look good in a certain outfit. I move because I’m capable, I’m worth it and my body deserves to be taken care of. I deserve to feel good. I love helping people feel the same way about theirs. And then I realized… this same care for my body can be applied to the care of my brain. I deserve to have a regulated mood, good thoughts, healthy coping methods, creative outlets and safe spaces. I deserve to live without excessive amounts of anxiety. I deserve to enjoy life without the heavy cloud of depression threatening to ruin what should be happy and joyful moments.
The first step to getting help (and accepting it) is always the hardest, but the fight, the journey and the outcome will be worth it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself…