April 14th, 2019 is a date that changed the trajectory of my life forever. On this night, I finally did something that I had needed to do and known I needed to do for a very, very long time. In the extremely early hours of that day, I wrote a note to a loved one, sent a few texts to my family and friends, loaded myself into my truck, and drove to the hospital. I admitted myself to the mental health facilities that morning and started what would turn out to be the best thing that I ever did for myself. See that night; I was faced with two options: to continue living, get the help I needed, or take my own life. I am proud to say that I chose to take the road that tragically is far less traveled when it comes to mental health.
As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with my own mental wellbeing. As a kid, I’m not sure I could fully comprehend what exactly was wrong with me, but as I grew older, my understanding of what was wrong grew. Until two years ago, when I was finally comfortable enough with my issues to share what I was facing, only my closest family and friends had any idea that I was having trouble. For the longest time, I hid my problems behind closed doors, allowing only my immediate family and loved ones to see who I really was. Depression and anxiety show themselves in many different forms, and I was no exception. From an incredibly young age, I had an extremely difficult time controlling my anger. I would blow up over the smallest of things. No one around me ever really had any idea what would light my fuse, forcing them to walk on eggshells around me. My anger and lack of control over it cost me friends, damaged relationships with family, and even cost me romantic relationships.
Aside from the anger, I often faced intense mood swings, crippling depressive episodes, and anxiety that would pick me apart in even the simplest of situations. I was deeply ashamed of the fact that I was facing these issues and fought the fact that I needed to get help. Unfortunately, what it finally took for me to pursue the help I required was the loss of a love I was convinced was the one for me. To this day, I sometimes wonder what might have been when thinking about certain aspects of my life had I pursued the help I needed sooner, but I am also left feeling thankful for the fact that everything ultimately led me to seek help when it did.
Now, two years removed from what was ultimately my rock bottom, I am in a better place than I have ever been. Since my release, I have taken the time to care for myself and focus on what is important to me. I opened up about the issues that I was facing in a very public way and was met with an overwhelming outpouring of love from those I know and even some that I don’t. I have been laser-focused on pushing forward and building a life that is truly worth living. Last summer, I purchased my first home and was beyond blessed with a crazy little golden retriever puppy with which to share it. I am just over a year into a new career that has presented itself with quite a bit of upside and allows me to spend much more time with my friends and family. Life truly has never been better than it is for me now. No longer am I ashamed of the issues I have faced in my past and occasionally still struggle with now. I know that my depression and anxiety are forever going to be a part of me, and there will always be days that I struggle with them. However, the important thing is that I am now more capable than ever to face those days and come out of them in a more positive place.
By sharing what I have faced in my life, I was lucky enough to meet Kathy. Kathy and I share a special bond through her son Eric. Eric was one of my good friends and someone I found myself spending a lot of time with towards the end of his life. I was a bit of a newcomer to the group of friends that we hung around but developed a genuine friendship with Eric and still spend most of my free time with those same friends. Kathy and I share texts back and forth on a sporadic basis, but it is always a blessing to see her name pop up on my phone as I know that I will always be met with a loving and caring message when I open her text. I am beyond lucky to have formed this relationship with her. I am so thankful for what she has done for me and for others like me. When Kathy reached out to me and asked me to share my story a few weeks ago, I was honored to accept her offer to share it on her page. Mullen’s Miracles is an amazing organization that Kathy has built from the ground up, and I am thankful to be even a small part of it.
I hope that by sharing my story, I can show anyone on the fence about seeking help that is undoubtedly worth it. There is no shame in admitting that you can no longer fight your demons on your own. Thank you to Kathy and Mullen’s Miracles for providing me a platform to share what I have experienced. Life is absolutely worth living.