Getting Real

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It was a pretty normal Thursday morning. I texted my boyfriend, “I don’t even believe in souls but I think mine is dying”. It did even occur to me how melodramatic that sounded until after I sent it. I wasn’t trying to be a sad rag or a drama queen. I was just trying to express how I felt in that moment to the person that cares the most about those feelings.

It bothered me, that message. I began to think more seriously about the number that my doctor had given me, for self-referral to a therapist. We’d made light of it in her office, my insistence that my bunnies and my running were more than enough to stave off the mild bouts of depression I was sometimes bothered with. But maybe I wasn’t holding up as well as I thought.

I decided to do a self test on Psychology Today, just to see. As I was taking the test, I found myself thinking “Well, yeah, I feel sad a lot and everything sucks and I get anxious, that’s all normal. I don’t have any of these real symptoms like hearing voices, uncontrollable urges, panic attacks, etc.” It wasn’t until I was almost done that it occurred to me—maybe these things that I think are so fucking normal, that they are pointless to try to fix because I’m not reallyunwell, maybe other people out there would look at those items and think they are just as outlandish as the others. Maybe not everyone feels the way I do. So maybe I would call that number, later, in some future version of me that could actually pick up the phone and make that step.

When my boyfriend managed to call me that afternoon (a rare and wonderful occurrence as he is on deployment), I ended up lying on the floor of my living room, sobbing. About nothing, really, just an overwhelming agony at the fact of living my life. I was so ashamed. I felt like—feel like—I am falling to pieces. The black hole that sometimes resides in my chest has taken up a residence there so permanent that I’m not sure—that I would really be me without it there.

But enough is enough. I picked up the phone. It was terrifying, honestly. I almost hung up on the receptionist multiple times, just backed out and wanted to say “No, this is all a mistake, I just need to try harder to smile and focus on the positives in my life and I’m wasting your time because I’m just lazy,” but I didn’t. I stayed on the line. I have an appointment next week. I’m terrified to go, but I’m even more terrified to keep going on like this.

(Note: I wrote this post–or a version of it–originally for myself as a journal entry. I decided to post it here in case my experience can help anyone else. I know that many creative types struggle with issues like this, and I do believe there is hope for us all!)