Think of when you were at the lowest part of your life. When you felt like you couldn’t get any worse. When you felt helpless, or hopeless and you just couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. For me, that was in October of 2017.
I was working a job that I couldn’t handle. A job that I could no longer leave at the door when I went home. Every day I went in was like another brick added onto my back. If I wasn’t having panic attacks, I was crying. I was overwhelmingly sad and almost relapsed with self harm. I felt like I was broken.
I have always had these struggles, but in October they felt like they had grown bigger than me. Like I was small in comparison to them. Like I wasn’t me anymore, I was only my illness.
I didn’t laugh anymore, I didn’t dance, I didn’t talk to my friends.
My days consisted of sleeping in til 1:00 pm, crying in the shower, and forcing myself to leave the house for work, only to have panic attacks in the bathroom once I was there.
I was at the end of my rope, and there wasn’t a net to catch me when I inevitably fell. I couldn’t do anything but try to pick up all of my pieces and try.
So I tried.
It was a Wednesday at 11:00 am, I was experiencing yet another anxiety nightmare and woke up in a full blown panic attack. I immediately called my mom, saying the words I never thought I would: “I need to go to the hospital”
I’ve never been on medication for my anxiety and depression, I had never spoken to anyone, I had never tried to get help. I never felt “sick enough” to so I suffered in silence. But at this point, I felt like it was my only option left.
So after a 7 hour wait in the emergency room, I got some time off work and was advised to seek counseling. The next day I called the local community mental health office to make an appointment. I saw a counselor every 2 weeks and did CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). It helped. I finally felt like I could see a tiny light way, way, way down the road at the end of the tunnel. Every session the light seemed closer and closer, until it was time to go back to work.
This was hard. I mean really, really hard. It felt like everything came back. I started having panic attacks again, started feeling depressed. I could feel myself slipping back into that hole that I wanted so bad to be out of. I felt so stuck, like I had no control.
Then one day, it hit me. I had ALL the control. Sure, maybe I didn’t have control over what chemical inbalances I was dealing with, but I could control my surroundings. That day I gave my resignation, asked to be put on the casual list, and applied to university. I started eating healthier, lost 15 pounds, and started working on regaining “normalcy” in every area that it had disappeared in. I worked on my sleeping cycle, my relationships, my self esteem. I finally felt like I could breathe. I still suffer with anxiety, with depression. I still have days where I need to remind myself how far I’ve come with my coping skills and managing this ball and chain of mental illness. But I’m happier. And I have the support system I created by seeking help to thank for that.
I guess the point I’m making, is even when you feel like you’ve done all there is to do, when you feel like there’s no way out of this black hole you’ve fell into, you’re not broken. Get help. Call someone. You’re not alone, and you got this.