My best friend and I always dreamed of having the entire alphabet behind our names. You know, Michelle Early, B.S., M.P.A., Dr.PH (I claim that last one in Jesus’ name!)…I wanted it all. But never in my life did I think that some of the other letters to follow my name could dictate my behavior and attitude.
Who am I…
The therapist right before my last therapist (I’m a cyclical attender- I’d go, get better, relapse, and then find a new therapist) was the one that I saw during The Dark Place. She was nice. A funky dresser who ignored my prudish views on matching, but she was sweet. I distinctly remember our first meeting. I had explained why I was there, she listened intently, and then threw the alphabet at me. She stated that in addition to the Depression, General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that my doctor had diagnosed me with, I also had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Or did she say Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)…I don’t remember.
Hi. My name is Michelle and I have Depression, GAD, SAD, PTSD, OCD, and ADD. It’s nice to meet you!
I think that day in the therapist’s office made me feel worse about myself. As though, on some level, I had failed to fix my life after the rape which was decades ago.
Why wasn’t I healing?
Why was I still in my brokenness?
Ultimately, asking myself those questions only caused me to sink deeper into despair.
Just be you…
I spent the first 30yrs of my life trying to be like everyone else. As a child and a teen, I watched music videos and tried to sing, dance, and look like the women in the videos. They got attention, and that’s good, so that’s what I needed to do. I even colored my hair in high school because everyone else was doing it. I went on endless crash diets to look like the women in magazines. I did it all to look and be like a bunch of people who weren’t M.E.
In my brokenness I thought that I had to act a certain way to be accepted by others. For men, I thought that I had to be (or appear to be) promiscuous in order to get their attention. For my family, I thought I had to be super smart and successful in order for them to accept me. I thought everyone had expectations for me and that I had to live up to them in order for them to love me.
I cannot stress enough how trying to be like someone else will only drain you and make you more unhappy than anything else. I learned that lesson the hard way and I want to prevent others from making the same mistake.
GAD+ SAD+ OCD+ PTSD+ ADD= (for M.E.) failed suicide attempts.
And thank God that they failed!
My desire to please and be accepted by everyone led me to think that I was not good enough to be on this earth. I would often wonder why God had even created such a mess like me.
What some people fail to realize is that a smile is just like any other accessory- it can be put on and removed at any time. I smiled when I needed to. I allowed people to think everything was ok. For 21yrs I had everyone believing that I was just some normal person. But the truth was, I was fighting a battle with myself every single day. All of my letters caused me to wake up many days literally questioning God as to why He woke me up, instead of calling me home.
Things were bad. Very bad.
But I just wore a smile and kept going.
Thank God for praying friends/family…
My mom and my best friend, Amy, were the only two people who truly knew what I was growing through.
Amy knew because I tell her everything. Absolutely everything. Like, “way too much” everything. I would come to her crying about my issues and she in would in turn pray with me and for me. Then she would ask if it was ok if she shared it with her parents (who are like my other parents) and I always knew they were praying for me, too.
On the other hand, I never told my mom a single thing. Not a word; she just always knew. Call it mother’s intuition or God snitching on me (smile), but my mom always knew what I was doing and how I was feeling at all times. She would come to me with her questions but we both knew that she already knew the answers. Even to this day, my mom will drop some random, unsolicited wisdom on me about how handle life’s difficulties. And everything that she suggests would work like magic. She’s my mom. My heartbeat outside of my chest. And a low-key psychic.
Other people would pray for me and I could feel their prayers working but it’s something about a praying mother and a praying best friend…seriously, I thank God for them.
It wasn’t until my breakup with GD that I realized just how much I was putting on airs. I finally saw that I had a habit of doing things or remaining in situations that were not good for me just to appease others. I finally began to seek God and His ways. In doing that, I began to appreciate the things that make me different from others. I began to appreciate my quirks, imperfections, and unique attributes. I finally loved M.E.
There comes a point in your life when you have to stop worrying about what others will say and think about you- LIVE YOUR LIFE!
To be honest, it is my prayer that no one will be able to relate to this blog. I do not wish mental illness on anyone. I do not wish suicidal thoughts on anyone. They are hard, very debilitating, and financially exhausting. I attended a seminar last night and learned that my PTSD is the cause of my memory blockage. I do not wish that on anyone. In fact, I wish nothing but God’s blessings to each and everyone of you. But the reality is, someone is dealing with these issues. Statistical data for these matters would not exist if people were not dealing with these illnesses. For you, I pray that God would touch and heal you of whatever conditions may afflict you. Seek God. He is a healer of all things- nothing is too big for Him. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave it there.
*If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, Depression, or any other mental illness, please call 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7 to talk to you.*