Before all of this, I was a private person. I didn’t cry in front of people. I kept my emotions in check. And now, here I sat reading confidentiality paperwork and moments away from sharing every detail of my life with a counselor. The chair was soft, a dark brown leather. Chinese lanterns dangled in the left corner of the room, conveying a soft and inviting ambience.

I wish I could list the name of my counselor, because she is simply wonderful. Like a surgeon for the soul, she is stitching me back together. “We will get you through whatever happens,” she declared as if there were no other options. Joy, let’s call her that because she fills a room with joy, is of Hispanic decent. Her bubbly personality fills the room with kindness, warmth, and comfort. 
She is never shy with handing out compliments- something I think people could be better at. “You look beautiful today,” she told me. 

Actually, this was the most presentable I had looked in days. I was dressed in something other than workout clothes, flip flops, and a ponytail. Looks can be deceiving. Though I appeared cool, calm, and collected- my soul was shattered. 

It had been one full week since I walked away from J. An act that took every ounce of strength I embodied. There was honestly no other option for me- I had become a shell of the person I used to be. I had slipped so far into a depression that I wasn’t even sure I would ever be happy again. What I did know was that I needed help to get out of the miserable. I wanted to know why I had allowed myself to be treated like an afterthought. Why had I stayed when I knew I deserved better? 

Mostly, I just wanted to know why I, a no nonsense type of person, had believed all of his lies and stayed with him even though it was toxic. Uncharacteristic for me. I needed to see someone who was educated and capable of providing me with tools to prevent another situation like this. 

He had finally revealed himself to be a pathological liar. A master manipulator and sculpture of my emotions. He was good. So good at deceiving people that you remained utterly clueless to his tactics. 

I had an inability to fix myself or my situation. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed in the morning. I wanted to hide. That was how I recognized I needed to go to counseling. 

It was hard to even articulate what was going on inside of my body. I was numb- it was as if I was standing in a void space just existing. I had to daily fight the desire to buy a one-way ticket to anywhere but here. What people don’t realize about depression is that it is an actual chemical imbalance. It is the result of decreased serotonin in the brain. 

My family physician recognized my depression immediately. I had lost my appetite. My body was in a constant state of anxiety, which resulted in extreme nausea. The once womanly shape I embraced had disappeared. Instead, I had taken on a cachectic appearance. I could go on for hours about the physical beating my body took during this relationship. 

What I know to be true- is that sometimes the bravest people are those who ask for help, recognizing  they can no longer battle on their own. If you have been that person, hold your head up high!! And if you are currently struggling, ask someone for help. Fight for your happiness. 

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