I was about sixteen years old when I was diagnosed.
I always knew there was something different about me. My emotions were extreme and intense, whether it was anger, sadness or excitement. These emotions can be perfectly normal for a child as children often lack the ability to control their emotions while their brains are still developing.
I reached a point in high school when I knew I needed help. The emotional pain I was feeling was overwhelming. I felt like I was suffocating and control had been lost for some time. I was scared to tell my parents I needed help, I was afraid of letting them down, of disappointing them in some way. I didn’t want them to know that I was falling apart.
I remember sitting on my mom’s bed crying. I remember the TV was on; news I think. She was getting ready for bed; her nightly routine. I don’t think she understood what I meant at first when I told her I needed help. I don’t think I understood what I needed when I first asked for help. That night I opened the door to my pain, just a crack, as I tried to explain my feelings to my mother.
My parents wasted no time in getting me an appointment with a professional. It helped that one of my father’s closest friends from high school was a psychiatrist. It all began getting very real.
I was so confused, I felt nauseous, I thought both my head and my heart might explode at any moment. What if there’s something really wrong with me? How am I supposed to open up to my dad’s friend about the things that are tearing me apart inside? It was hard enough telling my mom that I was losing it, I don’t think I can tell a complete stranger! I’m not crazy. Maybe I am crazy! This can’t be happening. I just want this pain to go away.
I was scared, to say the least. Some of the things I was thinking, and writing in my journals, were frightening and potentially harmful to others. I struggled with peers at school, I hesitate to say I was bullied because I know people who had it far worse than I did, but it was brutal enough. My sister was equally cruel, if not more so, which meant home was not emotionally ‘safe’ either. So I wrote down ways I wanted to harm my tormentors, it was the only space I had control over. I am not proud to admit that, but I made a promise to always be honest on this blog. Although I knew about doctor-patient confidentiality, part of me feared that my doctor would tell my dad what I said in our sessions because they were friends.
Try to imagine all of these thoughts, emotions, and fears building in the mind of a sixteen-year-old girl awaiting her first appointment with a psychiatrist! I was already so confused, I was sure nobody understood what I was going through, and my emotions felt like shards of glass ripping me to pieces from the inside out.
It was too late to turn back, I was about to find out what ’getting help’ meant. But knowing what I know now, I wonder how my life might have progressed had I not asked for that ‘help’.
That concludes Part 1 (of 4)
To Be Continued…
The following will take you directly to Part 2