Continued from It’s OK to not be OK…
“I am so tired of this. What would happen if I disappeared? Would they care? I just want to sleep and not wake up for a long time. Would they miss me?”
This was my inner dialogue about four years ago, and these thoughts were scary. I was emotionally and psychologically exhausted by what my life had become. The fact that I had the power to choose such actions was alarming, and even scarier was the reality of “what if” it went further than just a comma.
Something was not at peace inside and I was screaming for help.
Previously, I shared with you that it is okay to not be okay. I believe there is freedom in giving yourself permission to fall apart, but I am sure some of you are wondering: how far down is too far? I don’t have a concrete answer because each person acts from the depths of their own pain– and some reach great depths–but I do have some guideposts for you.
Having scary thoughts about hurting yourself or doing harmful things is a symptom of depression. I firsthand know the crazy thought battle that comes from a place of wanting to just “not feel” anymore. Most people will not follow through on the thoughts that they have, and I share this not to de-validate what you are feeling, but to reassure you that you are not going crazy even though it feels like it.
The Attacking Anxiety and Depression Program I went through taught me many truths. First, that the harmful thoughts we may have actually come from our anxiety and depression. We do not need to be afraid of these thoughts, but rather recognize that they represent deep issues, and see that they also have something to teach us about ourselves. What I personally learned about myself is that I long to be noticed and accepted. I felt like the people in my life did not validate my pain. Your lesson may be similar or completely different, but the truth is that we need to gain the power to validate our own pain, and reach out to people or resources that help us take time with ourselves to listen to our needs and wants.
Sometimes we wish God would put on skin and sit and talk us through it all. But we forget that he does–He speaks through the people He created, and there can be true healing and guidance through the words of others. Most of us want to be the ones helping and we do not realize how much more we can help others until we have accepted help.
In college, studying psychology, I went to counseling to learn what it would feel like for the patient. As I continued I came out of this denial that I did not need other people. There is great power in sharing the pretty and ugly with someone and having it accepted. It opens you up more to do the same for others.
When I use the word ugly I am talking about the parts of us that scare us, that are not so pleasant, and we all have them. It is important to learn how to accept and love those parts of yourself. It is through love and acceptance that we grow and it often begins with someone else giving us the permission to love ourselves.
If you are looking for guidance in that next step, going to therapy or finding a mentor is a must. One option that’s free and brings in a spiritual element is contacting a local church and talking to a Pastor or a woman who works in the women’s ministry. You can also call a University with a strong Psychology program; they usually have good contacts with counselors who are well trained and have knowledge of affordable places. Now, I recognize not everyone feels they need counseling and that is okay, but try not to underestimate a good heart to heart with a friend…
Everything you think and feel is telling you a story about yourself, and at anytime you can say, “STOP!” this is not how the story is going to end. Don’t miss out on a story that really revolves around you and your journey of healing.
*Note: If you or someone you know is actively thinking about harming themselves or ending their life, then it is very important to reach out and find a helping hand. Tell someone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a 24/hr hotline, and click here to visit the website.
For more information about warning signs and resources on suicide please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention . In this case it is important to get professional help and there is absolutely no shame in that. You are worth investing time in. People are trained to help others because they recognize their own need for help in life. We are all human and you don’t have to suffer alone.
Photo Credit: Mimi Giboin