About a month ago a friend of mine disclosed that she didn’t feel right, and knew something was wrong but couldn’t pin point what was causing her discontent. She struggled with sleep, would wake up unsettled, and came to a cross roads in her mental health which she told me she had ignored for over a decade. In fact, as a late teen, her parents begged her to get help, and it caused strife in the family and hindered their relationship to the point that she moved across the country to start a new life sans any mental health treatment.
However, now in her late twenties, she can’t ignore that things are not well so, I sat down with her and had a heart to heart on how courageous it is to ask for help. I disclosed to her how I spent the majority of my twenties living with bipolar II without any knowledge of my illness, and somehow managed to finally get treatment at 28-years-old. I described how making that first step wasn’t easy, and the road of psychiatric treatment would be long and hard but necessary. I recalled my years of mania and just thought that was normal. I expressed regret and frustration that I was ignorant to my disease, and could have had a much easier childhood and early adult life if I had known that there was something wrong, and needed help.
I left our conversation not knowing if she would follow up with an appointment with a Doctor. I didn’t hear from her for awhile, and didn’t know if she followed through. Then, yesterday she called me crying. She thanked me for our talk, and said if I had not encouraged her to get help, she probably wouldn’t have done anything to seek proper treatment. I explained that I didn’t do anything. I just happened to be there at the right time, and had knowledge of the struggle it can be to make that first step. She said she woke up the morning of her scheduled appointment and wasn’t sure if she was going to go. She was dreading the appointment and on the fence about following though, but, she managed to go and get a prescription for medication. So I asked her, what made you finally go? She said she didn’t want to wake up in ten years, or two years, or five months, and be stuck in her crippled mind.
I believe there is an inner voice that often times gets suppressed by fear of the unknown. Taking that first step for help after a lifetime of nothing can be a challenge but, when you stop and listen to that inner self crying out for help, you can make moves to better your life. I’ll never forget the moment that voice surfaced in my journey. I was at the gynecologist office having my annual pap smear and was defeated. Something wasn’t right, and although I couldn’t articulate the problem the inner voice unleashed. I sat on the table and out of nowhere I said, “I need help.” I didn’t even know it was me that had said it but, it came out of my mouth. Just those three words speaking from the inner voice changed everything.
Call it your spirit, call it intuition, call it divine intervention, call it whatever you want but, I know from personal experience as time goes on without help that voice gets stronger. The part of you that cares for you and loves you inside will rise up. It might not be in the time frame that you need but, it will inevitably come forth and get you where you need to go. It will get you to that appointment. It will get you to the pharmacy to fill that prescription. It will get you to your next follow up appointment – if you listen to it. It may be challenged with negative thoughts, or fear, or doubts, or laziness, and at times be suppressed but, it’s still always there waiting to be heard.