“I have spent my entire life trying to find my purpose but it’s not my purpose to find anymore. My purpose is designed by God and it’s for me to discover through prayer and scripture. Without that, I have nothing”
I started therapy this week with a Christian faith-based therapist.
Therapy is hard. No matter what you are seeking it out for, it is just plain hard. Talking about the circumstances that bring you to this place in life is painful enough so sitting down in a setting where all you do for an hour or so is just talk about it all, peeling back the layers of each and every single circumstance is nothing to joke about. It is a process of scratching surfaces that have been covered up over time. A very long time.
Just like an old barn with time, things build up from the elements of earth if unattended too long – worn down paint, nails become loose, boards fall off, the structure may get weaker, foundation may be shifted, doors squeak, webs of foreign things build up in odd places, holes form that allow other elements to seep in. Is it a safe place to enter? Maybe it is but it’s not for everyone. You must proceed with caution and be prepared to make repairs that can take weeks, days, months and maybe years. You have to maintain the repairs as well as keep up the entire structure. Diligent work must be done.
Our mental health is the same way as a barn. We (our minds and our thoughts) are the barn and we are the caretaker. Without our desire to maintain, it can become a dangerous place. Although beautifully worn on the outside, with every part telling a story of the storms it has weathered, we must take care of the inside as well.
I have been saying it for a week – I feel like I am in a vortex of hell and I can’t get out. I have become indecisive, grasping at answers that I really don’t even know the questions I am asking. I have been grounded from flying until further notice and it may lead to forever as a flight attendant. I am angry. I am heartbroken and I am crushed on the inside. I can barely survive on short-term and while I have tried other, small part-time jobs, none of them made me happy. I am either going to be a flight attendant or I am either going to be a hairstylist. I don’t know if I can be both but I am fighting this thing with all I have.
I have been bitter since moving to my hometown. I feel like God called me here but I also feel like God brought me here and dumped me out. I know God doesn’t work like that at all but this is just how I have been feeling. Nothing has gone good for me since coming here and if it has, I am struggling hard to see it. Or I am just being a stubborn jackass and refuse to see it. It is not the city. It is not what I have been use to for years. Slow paced, quiet and many days while I know it is 2018, I feel like this place is still in 1985. No offense toward the people here – it is just how I feel and I can’t hide that.
I am trying folks. I know you may think I am not but I am still here for some reason and while I am still here, I do try to I am failing miserably at it so far. I miss Raleigh so badly but I know that I can’t afford to go back right now. Raleigh – sigh. I love that city. I feel I am terribly homesick for it. I love the home we have here in my hometown. It is the best thing about being here outside of being close to my parents. I like my little house and how I have made it such a pretty home. My children love this house. Oh, and I do like my neighbors. They look our for us. They are good people. Yet – it is not Raleigh. See? I always go back to that. I am so messed up over this portion of my life.
In order for you to understand what I have been dealing with, I want to point out to you just some of the things that I have dealt with in my lifetime. You can add all of the other factors in and you will see why I am seeking out the journey of therapy right now. I am freaking confused and I don’t know my head from a hole in the ground. Okay, so I do know the difference but I am in such a terribly confusing position on what to do with my life right now.
As I heard in a movie recently, “You’re trying to get a harvest before you plant the seed”.
I have dealt with the loss of a baby due to being abused, rape as a young adult, a painful divorce, two failed marriages, sickness, temporary homelessness, domestic violence from my second marriage (I was still young and lacking self-confidence, don’t judge me), fighting for my life and the lives of my children, loss of income, attempted abortion with my third child (to which I ran as fast as I could once I felt God reach out to me and tell me NO!), ongoing divorce battles that seemed to never end, proving my worth and my honesty when certain people have worked tirelessly to make it seem I was less than anything but those attributes, five major surgeries in a short time, fighting to live, a move that has made me unhappy, one crippling circumstance after another and the list goes on with what seems like a song that never ends.
THIS. It is my life. My reality. These are the demons that I deal with every single day of my life. They haunt me, they try to whisper back to me that I am not good enough. They try to choke my self-esteem and tell me I will never be good enough for anything or anyone. I know that is a lie. I know that God has greater things for me than all the circumstances I have endured – I just can’t seem to find the reasons within me to fully believe all that. I feel broken.
The last time I sought out counseling / therapy was when I lived in Raleigh. I hated going at first because I didn’t want to deal with the pain. I loved my therapist because she never made me feel pressured but she held me accountable. I remember this one session where I told her I reluctantly came to the session because I was tired of hurting and each time I left therapy, I felt like crap. It made me dig deeper than I have ever been made to and to dig that deep in a past that was so painful was not fun. I hated it. It drained me so badly. I was like a zombie in emotion the rest of the day. She looked at me and she said to me, ‘Christian. This is not easy, you are correct. But you can not expect to repair years of hurt, abuse, anger and all that you have experienced in a few short sessions’. That is when I knew she was a logical therapist with a common sense approach.
I stayed with her for a few short years until she had to move due to her husband’s job. I never went back after our final session together. I just didn’t want to see anyone else and have to go through that entire getting comfortable, spilling my life story again and blah blah blah routine. It was even daunting to think about it so I never went back to the next therapist that I was recommended to.
Here I am in 2018 and I need therapy again. No shame, no hiding my current state of mind and I am certainly not going to let anyone make me feel bad about going. I need to go.
I liked my first session and it went fairly well. I felt comfortable and given that I had been through therapy before, I sort of knew what it was that I wanted and didn’t want in a therapist.
No medicine. That was something I stressed from the beginning. I have a very strong view on that. I am not one who thinks you can take medicine and make it all better. Maybe this is the case for some but it is not for me. I tried it once after I had one of my children and I flushed it down the toilet. It made me feel like an emotional wreck. I said not ever again will I take a pill to alter my thinking. How will I know I am getting better at understanding what I am feeling if I am not thinking clear thoughts of my own? I don’t want a medicine to think for me. I want to think for myself. To know when I am loosing footing and what I need to do to gain it back.
The discussion of mental health seems to be a taboo topic. It is a tragedy that we are not talking enough about it. It is a bigger tragedy when others make someone feel less than because they are seeking help. Friends (and I use that term loosely) will back away from you, keep a distance and often times act like they don’t know what to say to you. Support in such a time is crucial. Isolation is hard and while many who are going through depression, anxiety, grief, hurt – whatever it is they are going through if they are seeking therapy, what they need is a circle of support.
As for me, I am notorious for being alone and isolating myself. I have spent the last 18+ years of my life trying to do life on my own because well, lets face it. It is just easier. For me anyway. I have conditioned myself to be alone. It sort of works for me but it may not work for someone else.
Depression and the effects it has on one’s life can take on a multitude of colors as to what it looks like, what it feels like and what it does to each individual. Mine has been slowly crippling me for a long time now. The constant string of unfortunate events has not been desirable. I want to believe and see that I am more than all I have been through. There just has to be more than all the back and forth.
Here are some things you just don’t say to someone who is dealing with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues.
- You will get over it
- Time heals it all
- You just need to move on
- Remain positive
- Snap out of it, get it together
- Did you take your meds?
- You are being silly
- Someone else is worse off than you so stop feeling sorry for yourself
- Go do something nice for yourself. It will make you feel better
- I was depressed once and I snapped out of it (not all forms of depression are the same)
This is what you do say to someone who is dealing with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues.
- What can I do to help you?
- I am here for you to talk with anytime
- I love you and you are loved
- It will be painful to talk to someone at first but it is the right step. I am with you.
- I will be here to see you through the good and the bad days
- You are not going crazy
- I may not know what you are feeling right now but I am here to offer you compassion
- I am a safe zone for you
- Do not feel ashamed
Not everyone will always understand where you are coming from – they are not supposed to. It is not their story, it is not their emotions and it is not happening to them.
Want to help? Always understand that in times of complications in life, we are not even understanding of our own situations so please, please – I beg you – don’t expect someone to explain to you so you will understand because many times, we don’t understand it ourselves.
We are just trying to get through the days. Be a listening ear. Talking, supportive friendships, supportive family members – it is crucial.
I openly share these personal and private things with you in hopes that it will help someone else. I know that I have received messages and emails where others are struggling as well. This is a voice for them. They are why I write. While I seem like I tell it all, I assure you that there are some details I won’t share. Not because I am ashamed of them but because it just isn’t time.
May you all have a loving peace in your lives no matter your struggles. I know that God is a loving God. He is faithful and He wants what is best for you. He wants what is best for me. My faith, although worn, tattered and often times straying – it is what has kept me hanging on for so long. My story is not done. God has amazing things for me and I believe that the more I seek Him, the more I seek Him through being faithful and working on myself as a person, that He is going to reveal something really big for me. I have a vision of being a speaker, to help others who need to hear my story.
I know this is God shaping my testimony for amazing things so if you would like to follow me on this journey as I blog about therapy, the hurdles of what I am facing and where these events are taking me, then I invite you to come along. You can sign up through my blog page so it can email you when I post or even follow my blog on Facebook.
Peace, Love & Happiness