Today was my final day of group therapy and I have been officially discharged from intensive outpatient therapy.
When I first was admitted, of my own volition, I was in the throes of deep depression and anxiety. I had long since detached emotionally from just about everything – work, friends, family, life in general. I could not even feel happy to see a person I genuinely liked or cared for. I felt nothing. I had stopped dating, due to being deeply hurt by someone. I thought to myself, that I should get back out into the pool. I met a man that made me want to feel things again, that made me want to be vulnerable to someone. Then, he hurt me too, and I retreated back into myself, faded into black.
I was feeling guilt and anxiety over events long forgotten about. My mind would wake from sleep and automatically say, “Remember that thing you did ten years ago when you were in college?” or, “Remember that thing you said when you were 8?” and so on, so forth. I would remember all the vivid details of that moment. Every movement. Every word. All aspects of the surroundings. I would feel all of the guilt I had felt, or should have felt, then. I felt it to the point that I was giving myself panic attacks, feeling my heart’s increasing rhythm, my chest tightening, my blood pressure rising. I was stuck in the do-loop of rumination and obsessive thinking.
Tonight, after six weeks of intensive therapy, I feel more like myself than I have felt in probably the last year and a half. I feel confident in the future. I have hope in it.
I was not coalesced into therapy. I wanted to go. As bad as my depression had been in the past, it had never been like this. I had never felt so void of feeling. I lacked care and pride, So, I told my therapist that I thought I needed to check myself in somewhere – an idea that might seem daunting and incomprehensible to most. But, I needed, I yearned, to feel better, and because I accept my mental health for what it is, without the usual social stigmas, I was happy to do something extra, for my own sake.
Of course, I was resistant at first, as I always am, due to my impatient, analytical nature. There were things that I expected therapy to be that it was not. As such, my agitation would surpass the need to just listen and learn. But, over time, I relaxed, was educated, and, though not cured, on a path out of the dark.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” The Serenity prayer. I’ve always despised it, a feeling perhaps inherent in my own nature, because I do not like to think that I cannot change something. I like to be able to control my life. In time, though, even I have learned to start understanding and accepting that I cannot control everything. There is no sense making myself miserable trying to.
I am in a good place, one that I’ve never been in during this years long journey through mental illness. This is not a journey that will ever end, for certain, but it is the first time I have left somewhere feeling that I would not have to go back, feeling like I had made significant progress and my outlook on the future was a positive one. Tomorrow will be kinder (great song, by the way).
Our minds are precious. Look after yours.