Wow! I cannot believe this Friday will mark two years since I’ve had a drop of alcohol and two years since I decided to change my life and I asked for help. In ways, the two years have flown by as time seems to do, but some of the time, along my journey, it seemed like time was standing still. I’ve seen many ups, but I’ve also had to endure the lows. As I come up to two years, it does find me reflecting on all I have done and all I have went through. It really has been a wild ride for sure.
As I reflect on this time that has passed, I find myself thinking about how I felt two years and a handful of days ago. Two years ago to this very day that I type this, I was really in a bad place. I was caught in a downward spiral. I was lost. I was not happy with my life. I was not happy with some of my life choices. I had lost all hope. I felt like I was on a downward spiral, but at the time, I feel like I had already ended my descent and had just smacked the bottom.
I was drinking a ton. I never was an all day drinker as I had a job to do. I was a champion binge drinker. When five o’clock hit, it was time to drink as much as I could before I either ran out of alcohol or I passed out where I sat. This was becoming a daily ritual. It had become a ritual I could not maintain. I thought I could…I’m just that stubborn, but I was on fire (in the worst of ways) and the wind that was blowing was threatening to blow my fire out. I was absolutely lost.
Add in the horrible outlook and thoughts about myself, and I was a speeding locomotive which had already sped off the tracks. There was no longer train tracks to help guide my path. I had no idea where I was going and I no longer had control of this very lost path I was on. And I felt like my out-of-control train was quickly coming to the moment where I crashed and I would not recover and I felt like I would lose everything.
I felt like I would lose my life. The scary thing is…I didn’t care anymore. I was so far lost and hopeless that I even was having thoughts of ending my life. It really felt like the only option at this very cloudy and dangerous time of my life. I even had a plan. I even was having very vivid images of me going through with this extremely distorted, but very real (at the time) plan. I was lost. I was unhappy. I had lost all hope.
When your brain is chemically imbalanced, as this is what depression is, you basically are along for the ride. Depression isn’t something you can turn on and off. When you have a chemical or a neurotransmitter imbalance, you have absolutely no control over it. Depression is a disease. A very dangerous disease. It isn’t something you can just “get over” or something you can just “suck up”. A disease process does not work this way.
The thoughts I was having about myself where terrible. I had zero self-esteem and zero self-confidence. In my eyes, I was failing at every aspect of my life. It didn’t matter what people around me would say to me. My chemically imbalanced brain was in full control. It had so much control over me that I reached the edge of the cliff. The voice in my head said “jump”. It made me believe that if I ended my life it would all be over and this is the only way to go. My brain wasn’t telling me to turn around. It had convinced me to keep plowing ahead, a speeding out-of-control locomotive which was no longer on the train track and had only one destination.
To no longer exist. To end my one chance at life. To finally blow out the flames raging inside of me. My brain lead me to believe that the unthinkable was the only answer.
Thank God, let me say that again…thank God I get to celebrate two years of sobriety and I also get to celebrate the most important decision I could have ever made for myself. No way I could have arrived at today without God in my corner.
I decided to choose life. I decided to ask for help. I decided to choose me!
I wasn’t in control, but thankfully God was still and still is in control of my life. He gave me the push I needed to turn away from the cliff edge. I am so thankful that I get to celebrate 2 years this Friday. Instead of forcing people to mourn my death, I get to celebrate my life and the decision I made to change my life.
These last two years have not been easy. Yes, I asked for help. Something I would never have normally done. I really felt I was good doing everything as I always have. Well, that didn’t work out so well. I asked for help. I had to shed the stubbornness and swallow my pride. I had to strip myself down to the absolute most vulnerable version of myself. I decided to open myself up to making a new and better me.
I’ve had some really low times over the last two years. I wish we could make the decision to ask for help and then everything magically disappears and is replaced by a whole new life where we are good. We all know life doesn’t work that way.
The changes I made required and still do require a ton of effort on my part. I love to use the word “active”. I had to be active in the changes I was making. I had to be active in implementing the advice I was receiving from my therapist. I had to be active in the treatment method my Psychiatrist was implementing for me.
Change is hard. We aren’t wired for loving change. Change can be hard, but change is necessary. Think about if certain aspects of our lives didn’t involve some level of change. Where would we be? Would we be stuck in a stagnant rut? Would we be bored with our life path? What if we made a decision for our lives and we didn’t have the ability to change that course as we saw the previous way wasn’t exactly working anymore? Where would that leave us?
Folks, we do get the option to make changes. We get the option to make minor adjustments, but we also get the ability to make major life altering changes for ourselves. Doesn’t this thought provide you with some level of comfort? If we don’t like where we are headed…change it. We get the ability to change our lives. Sometimes our lives need the change to sustain our life and insure that our fire for life doesn’t go out.
Change is un-nerving. It sounds scary, but thankfully, in the end, it is a fact of life. Have you ever been involved in a change in some aspect of your life whether it be professional or personal? Wasn’t it terrifying at first? But, in the end the change ended up being exactly what you needed? We get this chance when dealing with our mental health.
Let’s be real. Some changes don’t always work out for the better. Sometimes the old way ends up having been the best after all. Do you know what’s cool? If we don’t like the change, we get to change it again if we so desire.
The ability to change is endless. You do not run out of the ability to change. Change is always an option. We just have to look for the need to change. We then have to exercise the ability to change.
Thankfully, when dealing with our mental health and also dealing with mental illness, we have the ability to make changes. We have the ability to make as many changes as we want. We get an unlimited amount of opportunities. We don’t get to exercise the change if we don’t initially ask for help. The ability to change starts when we ask for help.
Say something to someone. If your mind is confusing you, please say something to someone. It doesn’t have to be a professional, although I encourage you to use the mental health professionals, but the initial act of asking for help can be to anyone. A family member. A friend. Your local pastor. Someone you may be close to in an activity you participate in. Whatever and whoever. The key is asking for help.
Again, the key is asking for help.
I am so thankful I decided to ask for help. I am here today because I asked for help. I absolutely believe asking for help saved my life. I now get to look back at the highs and the lows of my journey, since I asked for help, and I get to celebrate my huge accomplishment.
Never sell yourself short. The changes you make after asking for help is a huge accomplishment. It is something to be proud of. Shout it from the rooftops. You never know who might hear what you have gone through and it provides them the push to ask for help for themselves.
I get to celebrate my second chance at life this Friday. I hope you get to celebrate your chance. I want all of us to celebrate our chance. Way to many people are losing their personal battle everyday. Suicide is winning way too much. I understand the hurt and the pain and the hopelessness of being at the cliffs edge. I understand that jumping and ending your life seems like the only way to quiet the voice inside our head telling us we are worthless. I really do get it.
I also now get to understand the other side of it. Trust me…there is another side to the hopelessness and the desire to end it all. It can be so hard to see when you are hurting, but the other side is there. The other side is a life you can feel is worth living. Ask for help. You will not regret it. Be ready to be active in your pursuit for better mental health and a better outlook on life. You will not regret making the biggest investment in your life or really the biggest investment FOR your life.
Better days are ahead of you. They really are. Ask for help and turn away from the cliff’s edge. Come celebrate with me as we celebrate a gigantic accomplishment in life. True strength comes from admitting we need help from time to time. The time is now to flex. The time is not tomorrow. The time is now. The time to change your life and get to the point where you get to celebrate two years of choosing life, as I now get to, is right there in front of you. Make the choice to get help. Make the choice to change your life. I would love to celebrate you and your life and the awesome choice you made to make an active change. We are in this together after all.
You got this! I got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this journey together.
Have a great day!
Head over to my website: rockingmentalhealth.com
There you will find this blog along with a podcast I do. I also use other forms of creative media to get my mental health advocacy message out there. The creative media is like each individual instrument in a band, that when they come together for a Jam session, the end result of everything put together forms a strong harmonious message.