18 Aug

There Is Life After Pain

I’ve never fooled myself into thinking there was nothing wrong with me. Wow, I can’t believe I wrote that. I almost started backspacing over it because of how ridiculously false it is. So why didn’t I erase it? Because I’m not alone in my attempts to fool myself and others into believing I am okay. l have always known deep down when I wasn’t in a good space. I knew the signs. I fought like crazy to believe there was nothing wrong, though. It’s amazing how convincing the stories we tell ourselves can be; full of incredible lies that become truths once repeated enough times. After struggling for a significant amount of time and having many aspects of my life negatively affected, I seek help.

I’ve made many attempts at getting help with my mental illness. I’ve tried various types of therapy from individual to group therapy, with various psychologists and social workers.  I would go to my appointments and talk with my therapist. I don’t think I ever “finished” being in therapy, though. Therapy was something I knew I needed and I believed it would help. I wanted it to help, shouldn’t that be enough? What I didn’t realize was that I needed to do the work. I needed to open up to a complete stranger about my deepest, and darkest thoughts and feelings. Did I really think this was supposed to be an easy task? Was I convinced that I was doing everything I could to get better? Well, I was fooling myself as I would never open up completely. Opening up meant feeling pain. Pain that I believed would swallow me whole. I never fought through the pain of therapy. Instead, I would run and find reasons to quit.

I didn’t consider what quitting meant to me and the state of my illness. Did I really think I got a little bit better because I got a little bit of help? Did I think it would go away without help?  Did I not see how much work I was doing just to keep myself together? I don’t like to make comments like, how different my life could have been. Instead, I’m going to say to you…..fight for it. Find a way to tell yourself that NOW is when you want to be better. NOW is when you want to do the hard work. Find the strength to get the therapy that is right for you. Find the strength to go to every appointment and then schedule another. Find the strength to open up and dig deep. Find the strength to tell the truth. Tell your story. It will be painful. There is no doubt about that. Imagine the other side though. There is another side. There is a life after the pain.

Image a bridge. I imagine the one pictured below. You imagine your own bridge.  What does it look like?

bridge

I imagine I am on one side of the bridge. On the other side, I imagine life after pain. Pain is what exists on this bridge. I won’t get to the other side without going through the pain. There isn’t a way to leave any pain on the bridge. I need to fight and defeat all of the pain. This fight needs no weapons and no armor. This fight needs desire, strength, and commitment. This fight needs faith that the bridge will stay standing and the other side will always be there. This fight belongs to each of us! We have a battalion. They don’t go with us. They stand behind us. They are there when we take a step back feeling defeated.  They remind us that we are strong and can win this battle. They help us get back on that bridge and stick with the fight. They assure us that while they are behind us now, they will also be on the other side when we get there.

I have new doctors. We have the beginnings of a plan for me to get well. I know it won’t be easy.  I’m ready, though. I have my battalion behind me. I’ve taken that first step and put a foot on the bridge. I have another session next week. That’ll put me closer to the middle of the bridge. It is very scary, but I’m so excited for what awaits me on the other side of the bridge.