Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Calling in the Professionals

Last week I went to see a psychiatrist. Going to that appointment was probably the best decision I've made for myself since moving here.

Its no secret that I've been struggling with a lot of things lately -- my dislike for my current town, the narrow mindedness I've encountered here, my stepdad's stroke and that changes that's brought to our entire family. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I knew I needed to do something. I've been sad before but never this sad. The sort of sad that I regardless of what I did, I couldn't shake. The kind of sad that ice cream and endless episodes of The Gilmore Girls doesn't cure. The kind of sad that has found me in my dark apartment way too many weekends because I just couldn't bring myself to open the curtains to let in the light, zoned out in front of the tv because its easier than thinking about what was going on in my life.

I was fortunate enough to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both times, upon returning to Georgia, I cried the ugly cry the entire car ride from the airport in Savannah to my apartment an hour away, hating the thought of returning to life here, wishing I was almost anywhere else. Being here has broken me in a way that I've never been broken before. Broken me in a way I was starting to doubt I could ever put  myself back together again. I stopped being myself. I quit reading, writing, and keeping in touch with my friends. Its almost as if I dropped out of life for a while, which is basically what I wanted to do. Numb myself because that was easier than feeling. Hide because that was easier than facing the situation head on.

In my family, no one really talks about depression or therapists or anti-depressants. Its uncomfortable and messy, almost treated like a weakness because the old fashioned way is to just tough it out. Sure life sucks sometimes, but you just get through it. I tried it that way for a while and it wasn't working. Not even a little bit.

Making the decision to go see a psychiatrist was scary. Scary because I didn't know what to expect, what he might ask me, what I might say. Upon walking into his office, after he asked me why I was there, the feelings and thoughts I've been keeping bottled up, tumbled out and over each other at such a rapid pace; even I was astounded at how much I'd been holding in. Speaking to someone about my issues was a relief. Through my tears I told him what I've been experiencing, how I haven't been coping. And he told me it was ok.

I know things will get better. And there are good days intermingled with the sad days. I'm reading again and slowly finding my way back to the blogging community. I'm finding moments, friends, and family that lift my spirits; grabbing on to those moments and not letting go. I'm trying to remind myself on a daily basis that this stage in my life isn't permanent, even on days when it feels like it is.You have no idea how much talking to an unbiased third party helps until you go do it.

I've really debated about writing about this, but its part of my story. Life isn't always sunshine and roses. There are times its messy and uncomfortable. And its ok to get help when you need it. I've always told this to others, but for some reason had trouble telling it to myself. I'm learning that regardless of how strong you think you are, no one can shoulder the entire world on their shoulders alone. Pretending to be tough isn't the answer. Eventually it wears you down to the point where you don't recognize what you've become. I'm learning that sometimes being strong means putting down your sword to quit fighting, learning that struggling isn't necessary. Feigning happiness will only get you so far. I'm learning that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask for help.