When everything seems to be going wrong in my life I know there has got to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I can’t always see it while life is upside down, like it was a few weeks ago.
I suddenly realized that my paycheck as a maid was barely covering what I was spending in gas and car maintenance to drive to all the houses I was cleaning. I was overwhelmed by my overdue student loans and bad credit score. So, I made the rash decision to up and quit my job and go to a temp agency instead.
But this led my boyfriend and I to get into an argument because he didn’t think it was a good idea, and when I came home from work I couldn’t seem to stop arguing with my almost nine year old son. And to top it all of, it was my irritable time of the month, so when Mother’s Day rolled around the corner—one of those days that is supposed to be all roses and sunshine—I felt especially underappreciated and disappointed when the day went on like any other day.
It was all so stressful for me that I decided to do something that I’d been putting off for a long time. I decided it was time to go to a therapist—and to get help for the anxiety and depression that I was dealing with.
As I drove to the county Mental Health office, I was very emotional. It was difficult to decide to go because not only did it make me come to terms with where I was at, I knew it would make a couple of people close to me mad.
When I went to a therapist in the past, I heard so many negative comments from people who were skeptical about therapy and medication that it made me give up on going. They made me feel bad for trying to get help and told me that I didn’t need to see a professional and that I was fine.
But this time was different. I know myself—I have been diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder in the past—and I knew that I needed the chance to talk to somebody who wouldn’t have a biased or judgmental opinion of my life. I needed to talk to someone who could give me professional guidance and perspective on my problems.
So take my story as encouragement, if you think you need help, go get it. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
That’s something I really want other people who struggle with mental health to know, including my son. He has shown some of the same symptoms as I have, and I want to set an example for him so that he knows it is okay to get help for problems. I don’t want him to have to deal with a mental illness alone or to feel the need to self-harm like I did as a teen. I want him to know that I’m there no matter what. Sending that message to him is a big reason why I chose to go to counseling, even while some others around me look down on it.
In the end, meeting with the therapist wasn’t that scary. We just talked about what was going on with me, and when I left I felt a little better just getting it out. I’ve since gone back and I look forward to getting better at coping with the stress in my life. Since then, I’ve also returned to my old job, and my manager recently told me that I am an asset to the company and that they wanted me back because they knew that I am a hard worker. I also have reached out to an acquaintance who can help me with some financial planning. All this gave me the confidence to know that when I set my mind to something, I do work hard and can overcome the challenges in my life.
A few weeks ago when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, the darkness around me forced me to go searching for light. I had a decision to make, and I’m glad I made it, because reaching out for help brought me some renewed hope.