Hey guys! Today I am going to share with you my friends story about his state of mental health, anxiety, depression, PTSD and the things he has been through. I want to thank him for being so brave and courageous to share his story with us. Without further ado let’s get into his story.
With everything I have been through in my life, I’ve realized that I didn’t make it through anything unscathed. I constantly worry about anything and everything, I feel as if I can’t walk out into the world without everyone hating me and being against me. It’s difficult to have conflict or disagreement with someone just because I want them to like me and be on my side. I would like to share more of my stories and the main story I want to share is the day I decided to go to therapy and how it’s changed me.
I attempted therapy shortly after one of my biggest traumas (which I can tell a separate story on) and it was a male psychologist which made me really uncomfortable. He was tall, probably 6’6” or taller, and he was skinny type lanky with a deep husk voice. Just trying to open up to him about what life experience I had, which for an 18-year-old was more than most 30 year olds go through, made me emotional and scared. My voice trembled with every response I gave and I kept feeling as if I was going to start bawling. The session finally came to an end and I felt no better than when I came in, if anything I felt worse than when we started. I decided that I was better off helping myself than seeing a professional.
In the years from then to now, I met my beautiful and very caring partner and he has helped shape me into a better version of myself every day. I look in the mirror now, not with self-consciousness and hatred like I used to, but with more self-esteem than I ever thought I’d have. Although, when I saw myself in a better light, I still saw a crack in the person in front of me. I still had deep-set issues and troubles that I needed to resolve. That’s when in 2016 I kept telling my partner, “Babe, I think I need to go back to therapy this time. Maybe if I see a woman it’ll be easier?” To which he told me if that’s what I wanted to do and felt like I needed then to go see a therapist. He has always been supportive and understanding even after knowing all the trauma I had endured all these years, so for him to give me an impression of “therapy may really help” I knew my concerns were valid. However, I still held back all the way until this past November. I scheduled an appointment in January, but that got pushed until March.
I was scared, terrified to be vulnerable, I was always the person that had to be strong and level-headed for everyone else. Even when my grandmother who was like a second mother passed away in June, I was still dry-eyed and present for my sister and mom to break down and grieve. So to cut open that wall and let everything out after so long..that was horrifying to even imagine let alone do. I had walked into the building of the therapist trying to mentally prepare but I couldn’t. I’d been so molded by everything to hide emotions, not tell people how I feel, to drought up any tears that could ever come out yet still feel like they would fall. As the professional comes out and calls my name, I breathe a deep breath and try to let my mind settle but it’s near to impossible.
We sit down and she informs me that her license won’t allow her to take private insurance so she has to refer me to someone else in the building for permanent sessions, but that she would see me that day and ask me some pre therapy questions. She asked things of me I never thought I would be willing to answer: “Have you been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused?” Yes to all except physical. “Do you ever feel irritable or just angry for no reason?” Yes. “Do you live with anyone who could be considered an alcoholic?” Yes, for the most part, they still function but do drink quite often when in the home. I also tell her that I notice when I drink I am a lightweight so I only have one or two glasses but that I can tell it relaxes me and it’s scary. The reason being that if I relax with one drink and can be free, that shows me I’m predetermined to try to self medicate and become an alcoholic.
She had been doing screenings as to find if I have any serious conditions and I did. As I had researched years before, I was diagnosed with PTSD and slight depression. She recommended me to keep on in therapy with a psychologist and also see a psychiatrist for medication so we can help ease my symptoms. Finally after all these years I had my answer. I knew why I hadn’t hugged my family in years. Why I hadn’t been able to open up to new people. Why it hurt when I lost all my friends I thought I’d had during school years. Why my mind couldn’t let down the defense mode to fight against anything. My traumas left me feeling worthless, an object for people to use however they saw fit. They told me “you’re not worth the air you breathe in. You might as well stop”.
I never thought I would see any progress. I never thought that I would feel helped walking out of a professional’s office, yet as we walked down the hallway with recommendation in hand, and while I scheduled my next appointment I felt a million times better compared to the first time I went. The challenge now was going to be making it from middle of March until beginning of May for therapy and then beginning of June for psychiatry. It was up to me to stay calm until then.
I was wrong though. From the second I put my foot on the pedal of my car leaving the parking lot, everything was revealed. My mind had masked my consciousness to the ways I react to anything coming my way. The best comparison I was able to think of so my partner would even partially understand the change was like how the Claritin D commercials show you having allergies and seeing the world blurry and then with the medicine it rips away to reveal crystal clear views. The diagnosis was the medicine ripping away the film. I noticed how tense I get when I drive, how I try to steer clear of men and refused to open up to new people. Why my family and my partner aside from a few friends were all I hung out with face to face.
I began having what I call “freak outs” or “breakdowns” and some of them my partner just couldn’t wrap his head around. Such as we were in the car and I was driving and we saw a smart car with Pinkie Pie on it (I low-key kind of like My Little Pony, don’t judge) and I liked it but then the driver stared death into my eyes and tried saying something to me. I instantly went into mental defense and tried getting away from them. That’s when I saw a vulgar photo of the same character on the back of the car which made it worse and my partner kept saying “it’s just a car I don’t see why it’s such a big deal”. He couldn’t understand the man saying something to me and staring at me and following me was making me on edge and scared and I just wanted to run away.
He’s becoming more open and trying to understand more. As I write this I still have a few weeks until my appointment and I still feel on edge and nervous, but now I’m hopeful. I hope that my story helps anyone in their time of doubt and fear and lets them know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel even if you need to take someone else’s hand to reach it.