“It’s okay not to be okay.”

It’s been a long time coming, but this girl is going to therapy! And when I say a “long time coming,” I mean like ten years. My parents have been wanting me to go to therapy basically since I got sick and started sinking into myself. I had seen a psychiatrist—the one that gives you the meds—but never sat down and actually talked to someone. Fast forward ten years and I think I’m ready to give it a go.

I have the tendency to bottle up all my feelings and frustrations until they finally explode out of me, usually in the form of a sobbing mess on the floor. Whenever I’m scared or worried about something, I just shut down: before a presentation, on a roller coaster, the week leading up to my brain surgery. Sometime during a summer break in college and I went to see a psychiatrist—they are the ones that handle the pills. I was mainly going there for chronic pain because a lot of antidepressants can help with pain, but if they could also treat my growing depression, that was a plus. I would go see her for about five minutes every three months, she would charge an exuberant amount of money, and then I was on my way.

To be clear, the meds were a godsend when it came to my depression and my OCD tendencies, at least for the time being. You have to go through a lot before of different meds before you find the one that works for you: Prozac (made me feel like a zombie), Zoloft (gave me panic attacks), Lexapro, Celexa, ect. It wasn’t until Cymbalta walked its way into my life did I find some inner peace. But you could give me all the pills in the world and I would still be depressed. After college. My parents started in with the ultimatums. It was only after a major crying fit one night that I agreed to go talk to someone. I still didn’t see the use, but I didn’t really have a choice.

I have always looked at my depression as a symptom of my pain. If I didn’t have all this pain, then I wouldn’t be depressed. I get anxious and upset when I can’t find a job or I’m forced to cancel plans because of my pain.  My chronic illness has made me a reclusive introvert, fed up with living this limited life. There is a direct correlation between my chronic pain and my mental illness. They are one in the same. I spent about two or three months with a therapist, seeing her nearly once a week. She knew how much I didn’t want to be there, but she never pressured me in any way, and I really did try. We would talk about how I was feeling pain-wise, how it was making me feel, how it affected the relationships in my life, but soon we hit a standstill. After trying to push and make the session go the whole hour, we both came to the conclusion that this was kind of a waste of time and we weren’t going anywhere, so I stopped. My parents were annoyed and continued to push for therapy as time went on. I was just too stubborn to give in.

After moving a few months ago everything kind of clicked. With all my friends on the West Coast, my health still shitty, and a pretty empty life, I think I’ve come to terms with my mental health. I needed to hit my bottom and come to the decision myself to finally get some help. It’s never going to be cured, but why not work to find coping mechanisms to make it bearable. It’s going to suck because I hate talking to strangers, especially when it’s about myself. Now, nothing has been started yet—curse you, insurance—but I will definitely share my journey on here for others, but also for me. I want to be able to look back at when I made this choice for myself.

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