Saturday, September 6, 2008

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

You would think that a psychology major, who also dabbled in a marriage and family therapy masters program, would easily recognize when it was time to get help and not be embarrassed to ask for it. You would think.

But you would be wrong.

For a while now, in the back of my head, I have wondered if my sadness and depression was a little too much to handle. My bad days were getting worse and more frequent. What would throw me off was I would have good days in between. I still felt sadness on these days, but I felt I could function normally and I was still laughing and smiling. So every time I would have an awful episode and consider pursuing help, the next day would be okay and I'd think, "I can do this on my own". Adding to this dilemma was my stubborn and independent attitude.

Well last week, I had one of the worst nights ever. Let's put it this way, I cried for hours and ended up broiling a batch of lemon bars (instead of baking them). Nearly catching your house on fire is enough to make you wonder if now is the time to get some help.

In my clinical psych class, the question was asked how you know if someone needs treatment. We were told, once the problem is affecting their ability to function they may need some help. I thought about the times I will sit on the couch and just stare for an amount of time that is embarrassing to share. I thought about those nights when my body is exhausted but I refuse to go to bed and sit up until all hours of the night. I thought about the times I avoid doing things with family and friends. I thought about the times I close my office door and just sit there and cry. I thought about that very night when I, a proficient baker, made two batches of lemon bars, both of which had monumental errors, one nearly causing a fire. I thought about the fact that I didn't even remember making them and that one batch broiled for 35 minutes and I didn't even smell it.

Fortunately, that awful night continued into the next day. Because of this, I was able to sum up my courage and call for some help.

One major reason I had been avoiding that phone call was money. Most therapists can cost over $100 an hour. Insurance can cover it but I had always heard of insurance coverage being something like six sessions. I had noticed a phone number on my insurance card for mental health, so I decided to give them a call.

As soon as I heard them say, "Psychological Services", I nearly hung up the phone. What am I doing? My 'problem' is not big enough for all this, right? How many people deal with infertility without therapy, and make it through just fine? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

It took a second, but I found my voice and told them the reason I was calling. I think that God knew if He put one obstacle in my way to seek treatment that I would give up. Not only does my insurance cover therapy, but they will help pay for 35 sessions a year. This is pretty much unheard of. Even the lady on the phone was surprised. All I would pay is the co-pay, which is somewhere between $15 - $25. After all the money I have wasted on infertility treatments, I figure it's time to spend some on myself.

With the money business out of the way, it was time to find a therapist. The company that runs my insurance's mental health division is unbelievable. I told them a little bit about myself and why I was calling and they matched me up with someone. They were soft and considerate and understanding. I truly am blessed.

So, I have my first appointment in 2 weeks. I am scared and unsure. What will I talk about? How do I start? What if I just sit there and cry for the entire session? Can she really help me feel better?

I always thought the only cure for infertility was adoption or pregnancy. Now I am learning that there is no cure. I have a wound deep inside me. Someday it will heal, but there will always be a scar. If I can find someone to help the healing process, than it's worth a shot.


Brock said...

I think this post is so powerful and brave. I don't know where you summon the courage to be so honest. Thank you for sharing/inspiring. I love you!


Kristie said...

Michelle, you are seriously so amazing. I admire your ability to be so honest and let the world see your vulnerability. I think we can all learn a lot from you. Thank you!!

Shannon said...

Amazing post. Thanks for your honesty and wonderful example of courage.

Jill said...

A agree that you are a wonderful example of courage and honesty. I cried as I read your post. I don't pretend to know the depths of how you feel, but I have known several couples who have struggled perhaps in similar ways that you have. My heart and soul goes out to you. Dennis and I pray for you every night. One of these couples who have I have followed their struggle is at
I mention them because today she has a particular post that addresses their struggles of the past.
Sometimes I think if we could only see the ending from the beginning, life would be so much easier to endure at times.
I am so sorry you have to go through this. I hope I have not said anything here that makes that even a little worse, I hesitate writing at all because really, what do I know about this... But I did want you to know that my heart is with you and we do pray for you every night.

Wynn Family said...

Thank you so much for letting all of us into your mind and into your heart and all of your most personal feeling. I can't begin to imagine or even pretend to be able to understand the depth of your pain and anguish. If I were there I would want to give you the biggest huge I could imagine. It hurts my heart to know how much pain you are constantly in. I wish I lived closer to you and that I could hang out with you. Michelle you are so amazing. I know that I could never say anything that would take the pain away or even begin to help. I just want to let you know how much I love you. Your Heavenly Father loves you so much and I know just as he was in so much pain as he watched Jesus suffer on the cross and not helping him because of the greater cause, I know He hurts as He watches you suffer, but hard as it may be to believe, there must be some greater good to accomplish that He can't interced at this time. I love you. I am going to call you this weekend and I hope I get you!!!!

Wes and Dani said...

I've considered this myself. Since my miscarriage back in August...I've had a serious feeling that I'm suffering from something more than just "grief." I think I've moved into "depression..." but I'm too proud to admit it to my husband...let alone a therapist.

Maybe someday.