It’s safe to say that the hardest part of my journey was admitting a need for help. I was raised as an ideal perfectionist, always striving for more. Constantly, I criticized myself concerned with how others viewed me. Yet, I was strong and independent and therefore, I refused to admit to imperfections. For 19 years, I portrayed a tough and emotionless exterior. To me, vulnerability was a sign of weakness and it was a feeling to avoid at all costs.
It was difficult for me to acknowledge that I had an mental illness, and so for many years I simply viewed it as a part of who I was. I viewed myself as a control freak and emotionless. I remember thinking to myself:
“Am I going to feel like this for the rest of my life?”
Two years ago, the answer would have been yes. However, I continued to push myself to my limits, craving the challenge. It was maintaining this ‘perfect’ reputation that nearly killed me. Suddenly, I found myself no longer able to know the difference between what I wanted and what I was simply doing because others expected it from me.
Within a matter of months, my life fell apart and I was forced to come to terms with my darkest secret. It was May 2014. I stood outside the counselor’s office, took a deep breath and walked through the door. Uttering the words, “I need help. I need to talk to someone” will remain the hardest act of my life. I could feel my eyes filling with tears, but with it came a sense of relief. I was no longer in this battle alone.
Today, I am able to accept who I am. I have a mental illness and funnily enough, I am beginning to be okay with this notion. It may have taken me 20 years to admit these five little words, but it was a step in the right direction.
“I suffer from clinical depression”