I spent the last two months of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 in an in-patient treatment facility for my (at the time, deteriorating) mental health. I had, what the therapists like to call, a “spiritual awakening.” They choose this term over “mental breakdown,” but they both mean the same thing.
Let me give you a little back story as to how I ended up in the nut house (I’m kidding).
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety ever since I could remember. I was an incredibly anxious child, always catastrophizing. As I’ve gotten older, both my anxiety and depression have amplified, and I’ve invited bipolar disorder to join the club. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I’ve got the trifecta of mental illnesses (in my book, at least). Over the years, as my mental health started really going downhill, I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me medications to help my mood. After one too many trial and errors, I just flat out STOPPED taking my meds. I had begun to abandon myself. This was around March of 2019. Believe me, I KNOW this was bad and it only made me feel worse. When I tried to schedule appointments with my psychiatrist, he was never able to meet, which made me think that even my psychiatrist didn’t have time for me. I ended up taking control of that situation by reaching out to a new psychiatrist and getting an appointment set for the very next day.
Here is the bullet point version of the remainder of my year that pushed me to my breaking point:
- sexual abuse
- rehomed my puppy
- boyfriend and I breaking up
- fleas (this was a VERY big anxiety provoker for me)
- my roommate situation turned to shit so I moved back home with my parents
- suicidal tendencies
And those all led me to voluntarily admit myself to a treatment center to get help.
From an outsider’s perspective, I come across as a very positive, happy-go-lucky person. People are always referring to me as a “light in this world,” to which I scoff and roll my eyes at. This response isn’t to invalidate the people saying that, but because I’ve just never felt like a “light.” I’ve always felt such darkness and helplessness, so I was never able to grasp why or how people saw me as such.
Treatment helped me see my light.
When I first arrived, although voluntary, I didn’t want to be there. I was VERY reserved which, if you know me, is sooo not like me. I didn’t open up much the first couple days and I was very irritable. I slept more than I had in months, not really attempting to meet anyone. I thought, “If I just keep to myself, sleep and take my meds, I’ll be out of here in no time.” That definitely didn’t go as planned, but what in life ever does?
The people I met are some of the most inspiring, courageous individuals I have ever met in my entire life and I got close with a couple of really amazing people. I am a better person because I know them. The people that came through at the same time as I did are a very special group of people. I wasn’t sure what to expect, who I would meet, but I believe we were all there at the exact same time for a reason. I learned so much from everyone and am so deeply grateful. There is something beautiful about meeting people from all walks of life who are dealing with a lot of the same issues. It made me feel less alone. There was no judgment… we got to be human with one another.
For me, it was nice because while I was making friends, I was still making myself a priority… checking in with myself when I was overly stimulated emotionally, napping when I was tired, working out when I felt unmotivated, going to my room to read when the nurse’s station got too crowded. I really began to focus on what I NEEDED and not what others needed from me. There was an invasion of hope where hopelessness once reigned. I was feeling, dare I say, H A P P Y. I began believing that every ounce of my being is important, that my should deserves to feel it’s own worth. God had broken me for a reason… to bring me back to life, to show me how to lust after life rather than dread it. He broke me to build me back up, stronger with fixed vision.
Now, treatment did not “fix” me, but I 100% have learned a TON of coping mechanisms that I have begun to apply to my day-to-day life. Healing takes time, and it’s not possible if you don’t put in the work. It may take a lot of time, but is is lovely… so so lovely.
I am so very proud of myself. The fact that I was able to let my walls down and really, truly open up to people is something I will greatly admire about myself for the rest of my life. I sat in discomfort (I hate being uncomfortable) and really grew form this experience.
I have hope again. My bad days are nowhere near what they used to be. I have become aware, in those dark moments, that that’s all they are… fleeting moments. They aren’t there to stay.
I’ve learned how to regulate my emotions and not try to control situations that are out of my hands.
My negative self-talk is beginning to turn into radical self-love. The healthier I talk to myself, the better and more confident I feel. I no longer am going to participate in my own abuse.
I believed, when I first arrived at my treatment center, that I was incredibly weak and broken for having to admit myself. When people heard where I was going, they told me I was brave for seeking help. I looked at them like they belonged in treatment, not me… but I see it now. The courage it took for me to pause my entire life and devote all of my energy and time on getting better, on healing myself… I’m so far from weak. I am strong, brave and capable, and I owe that to my treatment center for reminding me of all that I am.
Going to treatment doesn’t make you weak.
Taking care of yourself and your needs doesn’t make you selfish.
I owe my life and my new perspective to treatment. It’s not for everyone, but it sure was for me.
It’s scary, I will admit that. It’s absolutely terrifying… but it is so incredibly worth it.
If you or someone you know are in need of help or you’re curious about treatment, DO NOT HESITATE to reach out to me or these trusted resources:
- Dating Abuse Domestic Violence: 1 (866) 331-9474
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
- General Crisis Text Line: Text ‘Support’ to 741-741
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1 (800) 950-6264
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: 1 (800) 656-4673
- Griefshare: 1 (800) 395-5755
Every ounce of your being is important and YOU are so very necessary to the world… remember that.