2017 has been a rough year. This is not news. It’s been rough for pretty much everyone I know. And how could it not be? Everyday feels like the end of the world. The 24/7 news cycle is filled with almost nothing but despair.
And It’s too much.
It’s all just too much.
It’s not a surprise to me that this has had an effect on the personal lives of almost everyone I know. Life is hard. It’s a lot harder with the bombardment of trauma and terror. It makes it feel impossible.
So for me, like everyone else, I’ve struggled more this year than I have in a long time.
I haven’t really wanted to write or share about this because when I have, I’ve felt embarrassed and ashamed.
My inner dialogue when I have posted anything has gone as follows:
You are a joke
You look like you just want attention
You sound like you are just complaining
You don’t have the right to talk about this stuff when you're struggling so badly
You are a failure
YOU ARE A JOKE
And over and over it will repeat til I’m stuck in the fetal position on the couch.
So I stopped sharing so much.
Sharing is part of my healing process and I took it away from myself because I couldn’t bare the humiliation my head made me feel.
And also maybe sometimes sharing isn't necessary or needed.
Still, I sunk deeper and deeper into depression. And I couldn’t believe how strong and unrelenting this depression was.
And I felt more like a failure because JESUS CHRIST! AREN’T I BEYOND THIS?!??!
I scared my husband who’d come home from work everyday to me crying.
I’d lock myself in the bathroom sobbing not letting him console me.
I’d zone out into some TV show and be unresponsive.
Anything to not be present.
I felt stuck.
I felt lost.
I was angry.
So fucking angry.
At God and myself.
I’VE WORKED SO HARD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING??? WHY IS NOTHING MOVING FORWARD IN MY LIFE??? WHY DO I FEEL LIKE THIS?!?!?!
And lastly I lost hope.
To strive for a career in writing or even health and wellness you have to have a level of faith and hope. You have to have patience. You have to be willing to roll with the punches and the slow times.
You have to be willing to get up and show up and try and keep trying and be willing to be embarrassed and be willing to fail and be willing to make mistakes and then get up and try again.
I prided myself in never losing that level of faith and hope. That sure things were moving soooo slowwwwllyyy, but they were moving and something somehow would eventually hit and things would start happening and my dreams would come to fruition in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
I believed it always. I could feel it in my soul. It was my guiding force.
Things will work out, things will work out, things will work out.
And then this year came. And with it, all the trauma. And all that political and “Me too” trauma reflected my own internal trauma and it took me down.
And for the most part, I hid it, and suffered in the privacy of my home.
Hating my body again.
Angry at God again.
Wanting to die again.
So there, now I’ve said it. Admitted it publicly. I wanted to die. I was once again, 13 years after my last suicide attempt, suicidal.
I never would've acted on it, I trusted myself enough to know that. I wasn’t 16 year old or 19 year old Sara. I was 32 year old Sara and I wouldn’t do that again. Not to myself. Not to Ben. Not to my family.
But still, I wanted to be gone. I wanted it to be over.
It was too much. Everything. my life, the world, the political climate, my body, my pain.
And I felt like I was suffocating and I didn’t know how to make it stop.
I’d hang out with friends. I’d keep up with my projects that I was working on. I’d do my health coaching work. I’d live my life.
And no one would know.
And then I’d go home or be home and fall apart.
How could this be happening again?!
HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING AGAIN?!?!!??!
And then the holidays started. And I dreaded them, knowing I'd have to pretend more. But was grateful that my sister had chosen to host Thanksgiving this year and the most we'd have to travel was walking ten blocks.
The morning after, Ben and I went to have coffee with her and my mom at her apartment.
Everything was normal. Regular chit chat and then seemingly out of nowhere I started talking, and the talking turned to bawling, and it all came out.
The anger the depression the frustration the hopelessness the tears and snot.
And my sister said the thing I needed to hear. Especially from someone like her, who had also been struggling, but used this resource to keep her head above water.
“Dude, you NEED to talk to someone.”
I needed to talk to someone. I needed to go back to therapy. I hadn’t been in consistent talk therapy in a decade.
I’d used healers and yoga and meditation teachers instead.
And they helped and were necessary and needed.
And after 15 years of therapy a break was also a million percent needed. Big time.
But it was time to go back. I needed help. Consistent help.
I needed to hand the burden of 'too much' to someone else. I needed to stop trying to do everything alone.
I needed to rebuild my faith and my trust.
I needed to rebuild my hope.
I needed to rebuild myself.
I had lost myself in always trying to fix myself. Always trying to meet some healing quota. Some self acceptance and compassion quota.
I needed to stop and hand it over.
Two days later I found a therapist.
A week later I had my first session. I was nervous. Finding a therapist can be a nightmare. I know this from years of experience. But I knew immediately. I had found her. Found the therapist I needed.
A therapist who isn’t trying to fix me, or push me to fix myself, but be there with me. Help me. Support me. Guide me back to myself.
And already the hope is coming back.
Because you CAN’T do this alone and you don’t need to.
And your family and your friends and even your partner can’t really be the ones to help. They’re living their own “too much”. They can offer support and love, they can be there for you, but they can’t take on the weight you’re carrying.
That’s for you and a trained professional to manage.
And I knew this. I’ve known this. But sometimes you forget and that’s okay because eventually you’ll remember. Or eventually the right person will remind you, during that exact right moment, when you can hear it and take it in.
So now I'm sharing again, to let you know, that me too man, the ‘too much’ of 2017 got me too.
And this morning I told my last client I won’t be coaching for a while, because I can’t help anyone else but myself right now.
Because too much doesn’t need to be too much.
I can lighten my load.
I can allow myself to heal.
I can find myself again.
And I will.