When I was asked to contribute here I was at a loss as to what to write. That I WOULD write was never in doubt. I was given the suggestion to tell the story of how/why I finally got help, and I had to laugh because that story LITERALLY affected everyone at least a little.
What follows is very disjointed and for that I’m sorry. My memories of that time, and most times when my depression is at its worst, are like that.
It was my 32nd birthday a beautiful Tuesday morning in mid September of 2001. I felt great, well as great as I could having to be in work at 6AM, but still I felt good. At about 8:30, that started to change. A coworker said “A plane just hit the towers in New York.” I figured it was some small prop plane gone awry, tragic, but not the most major thing. Twenty minutes later I knew just how wrong I was.
The world changed and I broke into a million pieces.
I walked up to my boss in a daze and said I had to leave. He asked why, so I told him it was my birthday and he said “I am so sorry.” We all knew something massive had just happened; we just didn’t yet know the severity of it. That came later. After that brief exchange, I walked out to my car and drove the 15 minutes home. I remember nothing of it, not one thing. Not a single second until…
I walked into the house to see the South Tower collapse. I vaguely recall exchanaging some words with my Dad and climbing the stairs to put on green sweatpants, sitting in my chair and staring numbly at the TV for three days crying endlessly.
I was in a deep pit of dispair. I was so sad for all those directly affected, I found out later I knew in passing a few folks who perished, but also really feeling sorry for myself. I was broken; I had been for years, and I saw no hope, no way out. I didn’t want to die, but I had no idea how to live.
In the middle of this, some sense of reponsiblity kicked in and told me I should call work and let them know what was going on. That call made all the difference. I was refered to our EAP (Employee Assitance Program) and they gave me a list of doctors covered by my insurance plan. My very first call almost ended my journey; while she was very nice she was booked solid. She did however recommend the doctor I still see to this day. I got an appointment for the 17th (my Mom’s birthday), and I haven’t looked back. Well not TOO much it’s only natural to want to see how far you’ve come.
The important thing to remember is that getting better is a change to your life, not some “quick fix.” Better mental health takes commitment, and you will still have bad times, but they will be rare and short-lived compared to what you are likely dealing with now. If you’ve read this far I urge you to make that life changing call for yourself.