In December 2010, the 13th day to be exact, my life fell apart. I experienced a rough couple of years prior to last December, but circumstances and events literally crushed me. Life threw everything it had at me and it almost won. I honestly didn’t think I would come out the other side stronger and happier than I’d ever been before. Some of that might be the crazy pills talking, but I do believe that I, life, and relationships have changed for the better.
I never knew cliches could be real. We’ve all talked about the weight on our chests, feeling like we’re being buried alive, drowning and being driven mad. We throw these phrases around regarding a bad day at work or a tiff with a loved one. However, I actually felt these things; sinking, drowning feelings with weights holding me down, making it impossible to recover. I honest to God did not know which way was up or which way to turn. I walked around in a haze, only able to experience pain and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, at the end of my rope.
Last December 13th through February 4th, 2011, I was at the lowest point of my life. I’ve been suffering from dysthymia and anxiety disorders for most of life. Being a therapist, you’d think I would be able to deal effectively with my emotions and manage myself. Nope. You couldn’t be more wrong. I can dish out all the advice in the world, but I can’t take my own medicine. Having already been struggling with mental illness, those few months were almost debilitating. I went days without sleeping or eating. When I did eat, it came right back up. When I did sleep, it was anywhere from 15 minutes to about 90 minutes. I had black circles under my eyes and lost 30 pounds in under a month’s time.
The only thing that got me out of bed and kept me going was my dogs. They needed to be feed, pottied and loved. They are the reason I went to work everyday. I needed money to feed them, to make sure there was a roof over their heads. They knew something wasn’t right with me and loved me in return. For their love, I am grateful and will never abandon them. Or myself now.
Not many people knew how badly I was suffering. As a therapist, I’m a great actress. I know how to fake it since I’ve been trying to cover up my feelings and issues for most of life. It came surprisingly easy. My clients never suspected and most of the people I encountered on a daily basis were oblivious. There were a few however that knew right off the bat that I was experiencing something beyond my ability to cope. There were others who I shared my pain with and who supported me in every way they could. To all of you who helped me overcome those few months, I am eternally indebted. You can never know how much you mean to me and how much I love you for a kind word, tweet, message, text, whatever. You got me through. Honest to God. I missed a meeting at work and was not answering my phone because I was with a client. I had two coworkers headed to the parking lot to drive to my house to make sure I was okay until they were finally able to reach me. I was MIA from social media quite a bit and my friends messaged me until I responded and said I was fine at that moment. Those who were there for me, know who you are. Also, know that I would do anything to help you in return. You are true friends and amazing people.
Now, after a year of therapy and psychotropic medications, in addition to my support system, I am a stronger, happier and much more well-adjusted individual. My emotions, circumstances and other people no longer control me. Only I do. As it needs to be. This past summer, I got a tattoo on the inside of my left forearm so I can always see the message. It reads, “Ta se ach noimed” or “It’s just a moment.” It’s done in Gaelic because 1) I’m Irish and 2) it’s from a U2 song. It’s sorta my “this too shall pass” thing. When I struggle, and I still do at times, I look at my arm and think, you’ve been through worse, this won’t last forever and does not have to have a hold on you.
With that being said, I’m off to celebrate the new year with some good friends. 2012, do your worst.