I am human. I am educated. I am outgoing. I have tons of friends. I am also an addict. I am a recovering addict and suffer from depression, general anxiety, and PTSD from a lifetime of trauma. I have recently begun the excruciating process, both mentally and physically, of freeing myself from the solid grip opiates, depression, anxiety, and trauma have had on me. I am taking an extremely active role in repairing my mental health bit by bit, day by day. This is my life. No one really knew (or ever said anything), because I was the one “who always had it all together,” presumably because of my generally high energy, social, entertaining demeanor. Just because someone isn’t crying all the time, failing at life, looking like shit or any of the other symptoms people assume go hand in hand with depression, does not mean they aren’t torn up inside. Listen to your friends. They’re entrusting you with something monumental.
Trauma has affects on us we can’t always see from the beginning, and it can take its toll for a lifetime. It affects how we handle our emotions, and simple situations may be near impossible to deal with and cause us a great deal of suffering. So if you’re like me- independent, prideful, Type-A- you ignore symptoms even when they are screaming at you, jumping up and down, waving red flags. You find ways to cope that are not healthy and do not allow for growth or recovery. You suffocate yourself, telling the world you’re “okay” because you don’t know how to be any other way. Some people wait until it’s too late.
I realize I can still be independent and simultaneously receive help. I had been unable to walk this fine line until very recently. I have been participating in group and individual therapy-after a stint in a psych ward and subsequent month in intensive outpatient therapy- practicing breathing techniques and meditation for stressful situations, learning how to accept my emotions and channel them appropriately. It takes continual practice to be mindful, grateful, and not beat myself up for being a little past the “timeline” I set for myself and my achievements. I realize I am making some massive changes. Others are slower going, but all in all it’s a definite transformation I’ve needed to undergo and be patient with. Being clear-headed, and holding myself accountable for building the life I want and deserve is my priority. I have some amazing friends who have been there through every single step of this journey. No judgment- just understanding, support, and motivation.
My life has been full of adversity, change, loss. I started running, and it took me a long time to realize how crucial it was for me to stop running and learn to cope in a healthy manner. I cannot stress enough that if you are suffering like I was, and still am at times, do NOT be ashamed to seek help. Do not let yourself get to where I was. Do not try to take your own life, because it has value. You’re not alone, even when it feels so lonely. Even when you think you’ve got nothing left, there is something to fight for. When everything comes crashing down around you, you can’t rebuild it without making an even bigger mess initially. It’s okay. Seek help and hold your head high.
It shows immense strength and a resolve to win and overcome obstacles, regardless of what anyone else has to say. If your “friends” don’t support you in this journey-fuck them. Through this journey I have learned who my fair-weather friends are (WERE), and cut some people out that used to mean the world to me. I don’t deserve to be looked down on because I’ve made some human mistakes. No one does. Loving someone from a distance is one thing; completely disregarding someone’s feelings and struggles because you think you’re above it is something I can’t forget. Forgive, yes. Forget-absolutely not.
I have a long journey ahead of me, and today I am excited to take part in every bit of it. I’m also scared, but I know this time I’m not alone and I have the necessary tools. For the first time in what seems like forever, I am thrilled about this future I see for myself. The future I deserve, the future I used to dream of, and the future I tried to rob myself of when I hit rock bottom. I wake up with purpose, I am grateful for the little things, and I am learning to process my grief. Knowing I have taken a huge step towards a much better version of myself, I am grateful…
…Grateful for life, true friends, and the strength and resolve my adversities have built within me.