November 10, 2006

Get Help If You Need It

I went to dinner last night with someone I met during my downward spiral.

She mentioned that while she didn't really know me, I had seemed a little "out of it" the last night we interacted. That would be the night before I started my 3 day crying binge. "Out of it" that night would be putting it mildly. I have never felt so helpless, lost, overwhelmed, and sad as I did during that time period.

This was my first time dealing with true depression. Before, I thought I'd been depressed, but really, I'd just had the blues. I now feel so horridly inept for all the things I ever said to people who were going through a similar experience. It was so much more overwhelming than I could have imagined before facing it. I can easily say it was the worst I've ever felt in my life. It was as if the bad feelings from the my Dad died, the day of my Dad's funeral, the day of my Grandfather's funeral, the days of bad childhood fights with my parents and every bad break-up I've ever been through all needed to be felt at the same time.

The good news is, I got help. I read books. I sought therapy. I let myself sit on the couch and cry for days on end, which is something I've never done. Apparently, I had a ton of sadness, guilt, negative thoughts and frustration that I needed to address. I even let myself be somewhat spontaneous and emotionally-driven with my career decisions. This is something I never would have done in the past. I always trusted logic and information over feelings. I thought feelings, other than love, were weak, and frankly, I trusted logic much more.

The emotional side of me rebelled and humbled me with its power and wisdom. For all the strength that I attribute to myself (which, for those who know me, strong is a word that I like to think describes me at my core), I was reduced to a sniveling, incapable, needy mess by my own emotions. So I guess that side of me is strong enough to subjugate my logical side when it needs to. It was very humbling.

But it didn't break me. The overwhelming negative feelings weren't permanent. I will still have negative feelings in the future, and I will have to face them. But the torrent released by the floodgate eventually slowed to a trickle. It forced me to make some decisions that eventually led to me being happier than I would have been had I not been emotional. And I am so thankful.

So please, if you are feeling sad, alone, overwhelmed, etc. or find yourself doing things that you feel are out of character, seek help. Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass.

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