When I met with A. this week, I told her that after meeting with her last week I read about depression and how it described what I have been dealing with for years. I told her how emotional it was to read. I feel so safe with her, I can’t really even describe it. She is so connected to me and present. I feel like I have been longing my whole life to be seen, really seen. Without it, I don’t think I could do this.
And so I proceeded to tell her things that I have not been able to admit or say out loud regarding my depression to anyone, not even a therapist, because I have been hiding. I have been struggling for years with panic and emotional torture without letting anyone know, while at the same time desperately crying out for help. But no one could recognize it.
It seems sometimes the easiest place to hide is right out in the open.
I asked her if it was possible to be depressed and not even know it. Because at some point I was able to shut down my emotions, and it made everything else not seem that bad. It felt like a relief. I felt as though I could deal with the fact that I have a hard time doing the smallest things, that everything seems laborious, and other struggles that have been hard to admit. I was hiding it from everyone, including myself.
I was able to be honest for the first time in detail how much I am struggling and have just accepted it as normal. It has become my way of life. I was able to tell her things I could not ever say before.
When I was done sharing this with her, she looked at me and said, “This is what I wanted to talk to you about today.” Apparently, last week she had just briefly looked at the diagnostic evaluation and saw signs of depression. She told me that later when she scored the evaluation, I scored in the severe range for depression. This didn’t change my truth, but it did shine a spotlight on it. For the first time in my life someone saw the depth of my struggle. She told me all that I shared with her before she told me this confirmed her diagnosis. She said she had to check the score twice and go over everything again because I hide it so well that it is easy to miss. She is the first therapist to discover all of this… to see beyond my mask and see me. I needed someone to tell me what I could not say.
She told me that it is very rare for someone to have suffered the way I have and not to struggle with suicidal thoughts. She asked me to please tell her if I ever do because it could potentially be a problem going forward. No one has ever caught any of this before. I have felt so diminished and alone throughout my life that I don’t think I could have shared any of this with her if she wasn’t as skilled as she is and in tune with what has happened to me. It is as though, for the first time in my life, I have a place to begin to feel safe talking about the struggles I have inside with someone who is trained enough to understand better than I do what is happening to me and why. It is very emotional to face how much I have suffered unnecessarily, without this kind of support, because a professional took away my ability to feel safe or risk getting the help I have needed. It has caused me countless years of internal torture that has been locked up, silent and alone. I haven’t known what was happening to me to tell anyone. I have been too afraid.
Because I have been suffering with severe depression and PTSD for so many years, she wants me to consider medication. She knows that I am resistant to this and she wasn’t trying to force me to take it. She told me that when you suffer for this long it changes your brain chemistry. We are no longer talking about will power. She said that if my depression was minor she wouldn’t even mention it. God knows I have been trying to pick myself up for years. I have been very hard on myself, disappointing myself daily. I don’t know how I got here and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I have had periods of time when I feel okay only to keep struggling again. I feel as though I am walking around with lead weights on my ankles. When I shared with her my struggle, and she was trying to describe to me her plans to help me, she was crying with me. I really do feel blessed to have found her. I could not have even hoped to find someone like this to help me.
I don’t know what I am going to do regarding the medication. I have done some research and found some natural ways to increase your serotonin levels. I will talk to her about that this next week. I am sure many of you are or have taken medication for depression. It is all overwhelming right now to think about.
She wants me to start being aware of my emotions and how I am feeling every day and write it down. She said this could be frightening for me to do. I realize that this is everything I worked so hard not to do. So I am not sure how any of this is going to work out for me. She also told me that since all of my traumas have involved relationships, it makes sense that most of my triggers will be created by relationships. This has helped to explain so much for me. And also was very emotional to hear because I have been very hard on myself for these triggers and struggles in my life.
I haven’t been able to talk about the ways in which I struggle in detail before. I guess the best way I have been able to express it, has been through my poetry. Which also has made me sensitive to the responses I have received at times from it. Poetry is the only tool I have had to express my pain.
For so long now, poetry has been my only way of crying out for help!