One year ago today not knowing that it was World Mental Health Day, I reached out to SG asking for support, recognizing that I had come to view him as a mentor.
I was going through life on an island, seeking the help I thought I needed through therapy, but keeping myself walled off from friends who could have supported me, not being vulnerable. I remember sitting in my therapists office wondering how to “do vulnerable”, trying to come up with a process, a way, a path that made sense. There is no way to “do” vulnerable, she told me. “It’s not rational, and you’re trying to rationalize it, to put it in a neat learning package you understand.”
I had found someone who was intuitive, picked up on my shit right away and was willing to open up to me, to offer me support while I rejected the support over and over (and over…) again. No, we’re not alike. No, you don’t get it. No, just fucking fix my back already. When I reflect on the first year of working with him, it’s embarrassing. Everything I was throwing at him, I was throwing at my friends and colleagues. Stay away, you aren’t safe, I’m only safe with S who is unfailingly supportive. The way my relationship developed with SG is a microcosm of how I was showing up in the world.
Writing the email to him brought up anxiety, hitting Send made me feel like puking, and the reply I got wasn’t surprising, “I’m happy to continue supporting you”.
One year after hitting send on that e-mail, there’s been more to work through (hi boundaries! what are they, what to do they look like, what do they mean for me? oh, super easy to use SG as my test case, so let’s fight about those for a few weeks), and I’ve managed to do several important things:
I’m Celexa-free and holding steady. There are downs but I’m flowing with instead of fighting against and have been able to stay out of the spirals of despair.
I had a tarot card reading and my birth chart analyzed. Those are important because they helped drive a point home that I had been skirting around.
I know my purpose.
I’ve let go of a lot of shit at work and that makes work-life so much easier. Who knew? I mean, still there’s a struggle with focus but now I know where that’s coming from.
And most importantly: I’m learning to trust my intuition. When it came up for the umpteenth time since February, I struggled for a couple weeks then checked in with my body and…yep, felt like puking. “I want to work with you”. It wasn’t the first time I had said it, but it was the first time I was serious about it. The response from SG was positive. I mean, there’s no definite, yeah let’s do this one thing, it’s just important that I said it out loud to SG and now the possibility is on the table. I talked to S about how my vision is suddenly coming together, and he’s in. None of this transformation has fazed him. (might tell you how not-awesome it was to live with me while I was depressed….)
Last year at this time, I couldn’t see what was in front of me and felt stuck in a dark and scary forest. In February it was a dark and scary forest I was determined to get the hell out of. I like this analogy: I could continue to creep out of my safe cabin and explore the forest, get scared then run back in to safety, repeating the process until I finally leave the cabin behind. Or, I could embrace the change and soar above the forest.
I’m soaring now, and it feels good.
Today’s World Mental Health Day is focused on suicide prevention. Every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. Suicides are preventable. Suicides affect people in all age groups in all countries. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255