I walked into the Behavioral Health Unit at the local hospital to visit my friend this month. He was extremely intoxicated one weekend and called 911 while struggling with suicidal ideation. Last May, nearly one year ago, I willingly checked into the same Behavioral Health Unit. It was the lowest I’d ever been. I was powerless and could no longer manage my life. I was constantly depressed, anxious, overworked, and fatigued.
Early in the morning one day, I woke up with a bad stomachache. I knew I had to get up and get ready for the day. Despite my fatigue and the pain in my stomach, I went about my morning routine. While trying to listen to an audiobook to self-soothe, I dropped my phone in the toilet. I tried to find my glasses and couldn’t see. I hit rock bottom and started crying uncontrollably. I felt helpless, alone, and hopeless.
I was scared when I checked into the hospital. I wasn’t planning on hurting myself, but I was also afraid to be alone. In my highly activated state, I had recalled an extremely traumatic memory of being assaulted ten years ago. Why had I repressed this memory deep down? Why didn’t I seek help? In some part of my mind, I wasn’t ready to face a harsh reality.
Little did I know at the time that checking into the hospital was the first step to my life drastically changing for the better. I needed to surrender. Deep down, I was scared and angry. My Inner Child surfaced, seeking safety and relief.
The therapist at the Behavioral Health Unit told me something I’d never known: “People heal from this. You deserve to heal.” That simple sentence became my mantra for months to come. You deserve to heal. You deserve to heal. You deserve to heal. It was that simple. I just hadn’t known. Other people like me manage to get better, and I could do so as well, if I only gave myself the chance.
Eventually, Iwho I have come to trust and who has assisted me with rediscovering myself and finding the help I need. I’ve rebuilt my life from the bottom up. I never knew life could feel this good. I’ve started to forgive myself for not being able to protect myself. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of the negative and abusive inner monologue of my Inner Critic. I now know that it’s okay to ask for help, and I do so regularly.
Walking through the hospital hallway to see my friend, tears welled up in my eyes. I’m so lucky and grateful to have come so far in my healing journey. I hope that by visiting my friend and being open and honest with others that I can pass on what I have learned and be an example that. Sometimes the hardest part is the first step. And I’m still practicing it every day. Surrendering more and more to the simple idea that I deserve to heal and all I have to do is take that leap.