Today I would like to introduce Jordan to you.
I'd like to take this opportunity to share my story with you. It might not mean anything to you, but then again, maybe it will. So here goes.
I have struggled with severe depression since I was around 15. Coming from a family who didn't talk about weaknesses, I learned at a young age how to stuff my feelings and pretend everything was fine. In the years to follow, I became very good at this.
I remember sitting in my bathroom floor one night around the age of 16, crying hysterically for no reason. I have no idea what set it off, but I just remember that I couldn't stop. I went into the medicine cabinet and pulled out everything I could find that I thought would "do the trick". However, I was crying too hysterically to actually take the pills that I wanted to take. I heard the front door open, and my mom was home from work. Maybe next time, I thought. I got up out of the floor, stopped crying, washed my face and walked out of the bathroom like nothing had ever happened.
Yes... I'd become very good at pretending everything was fine.
I managed to keep my life on track for many years with that trick. To the outsider, I had it all together.
It wasn't until much later in life that my facade started to wear off.
In the fall of 2007, my husband was deployed to Iraq. It wasn't anywhere near our first deployment (our 6th, actually), but it was his first one to a combat zone. This was also the first deployment since we'd had our son. It was a very tough adjustment learning to live life as a single parent. I adapted, just like I always do. One thing being a military spouse will teach you is how to adapt.
When my husband returned in the summer of '08, things were much different than normal. He was not the same person he was when he left. Not by a long shot. He was moody, lazy, short tempered and overall an unpleasant person to be around. Nothing like the funny, sweet guy who left just months before.
We fought constantly. I had reached a breaking point. I couldn't allow this intruder in my home any longer. I packed my son's and my bags and went to stay with my parents. Until my husband could figure out what was going on with himself, I didn't feel like it was an environment I could continue to stay in.
He started talking to a counselor and soon his personality started to become that of the guy I remembered. Things were going much better between the two of us and it seemed as though things were back on track. What I didn't realize is that I'd spent so much time trying to fix what was wrong with him, I forgot to fix what was wrong with me. I'd filed it away like I always had. Then one day, after years and years of pushing it back, it all came pouring out.
After an especially tense fight between my husband and I, something inside me just snapped. I still can't really put my finger on what happened. It's like when you twist a rubber band over and over. It gets tighter and tighter and eventually, it will break. That rubber band was me. I broke. I flashed back to that night, sitting in my bathroom at 16. I was sobbing hysterically in my bathroom floor- only this time, there was no one to stop me. I took a large amount of pills.
My husband came into the room and asked me what had happened. I couldn't stop sobbing long enough to tell him, but he eventually put two and two together and took me to the emergency room.
I was admitted to a mental facility after that. When I first got there, I was scared to death. I didn't want to be there. I just wanted to go home. After a day or two, I finally started to participate in the group sessions they offered and I actually learned a lot. I was put on a medication that actually worked. I've been on about 15 different ones in my life, and this one was the first one that actually made a difference. I was released several days later with a lot of new information and understanding about my illness.
After many therapy sessions, I can say that I am finally in a place today that I never thought I would be. I am so happy that I am still here to take care of my son. My marriage is in a much better place than it's ever been. I have learned to read myself and understand when I am getting to a place where I need to ask for help. Most importantly, I have learned that it's OK to ask for help. There is no reason to be embarrassed about it. We all have weaknesses and we all need help sometimes.
If you are going through something that you feel you can't handle, ask for help. You'll be glad you did.
Monday, July 5, 2010
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