“You didn’t fail,” I told myself as I sat in the doctor’s office. I was waiting anxiously for her to return. I sat there, spinning my wedding ring. I occupied my mind with the posters on the wall, but they couldn’t stop my heart from racing, my palms from sweating. My chest tightened as the minutes ticked by. I stared at my feet as I tried to ignore the spinning room and the ache in my stomach. No matter how hard I had tried, I could not silence the loudness in my head, the chatter that came from all different directions. How did it come to this?
“You didn’t fail,” I told myself as I watched the doctor type the pharmacy address into her computer. Her fingernails clicked across the keys and the taps echoed in my ears. I could feel the tightness make its way to my throat. I struggled through each breath as I forced my lungs to work. Was this necessary?
“You didn’t fail,” I thought as I watched the prescription notifications ding on my phone. The bings appeared to ring louder than the others. A simple notification grabbed my attention for minutes at a time. A simple reminder drawing me in, refusing to let go of my gaze. The mental battle continued in my head. The negativity spiraled out of control as I debated the outcome. What will they think of me?
“You didn’t fail,” I told myself as I listened to the silence on the other end of the phone. “Babe, do you want me to stop by the pharmacy?” My husband patiently waited for a response as he drove home from work. I felt the tightness in my throat again as I responded. I hung up the phone. Was I really going to do this?
“You didn’t fail,” I thought to myself as I held the bottle in my hand. The letters on the label blurred as my heart raced. The weight felt different. My hands shook as I twisted off the lid. I had opened many prescription bottles in my life. Once for concussion headaches, many times for a pregnancy complication, a few for pain, but none for this. Why was this any different?
You didn’t fail if you manage your mental illness with medication. Regardless of what society says. Don’t let the world tell you that it’s all in your head, that you are too weak. When the self help doesn’t work. When you struggle to stay above water no matter how hard you try. When you need something more than exercise, healthy food, and lavender. When your doctor see’s that you have hit a wall. Do what you need to do to take care of you.
You didn’t fail! You succeeded in not allowing your mental illness to take control of you and your life. You chose to protect your mental wellness from the darkness that tries to break it a part. Good for you! Celebrate the fact that you made it through another day. When things weren’t working, you started a new healing journey. You payed attention when your body was screaming out for help, and you acted! You refused to ignore the signs. You’re a fighter, not a failure! Don’t you ever think otherwise when it comes to your mental health, and don’t let anyone tell you what you need in order to heal.
You didn’t fail because your doctor told you that medication may be the best form of treatment for your mental illness. Trust what your doctor is telling you and ignore anyone who tries to make you feel bad for it. They’re not fighting the battles that you are, and they are not living with the darkness that you have to live with, every day. This is your journey, not any one else’s. This is your road to a healthier you.
You didn’t fail if your current dosage or medication concoction isn’t working and you’ve been struggling with managing your symptoms . Every one’s experience is different, and everyone battles their struggles differently. So what if you take a lot or a little. So what if you have to mix and match different managing treatments. You didn’t fail when you are constantly on the phone with your doctor because you feel like it’s not working. Call them 100 times! Try different treatments, medications, dosages, and managing techniques until you find the perfect mixture of stability. Find what works for you and forget what anyone else thinks of it. That’s not failing, that’s fighting!
I didn’t fail because I finally decided to say yes to medication for my anxiety. I decided to take medication because I refuse to fail. I refuse to give up on my daughter, on my family, on myself. I refuse to drown, and I will take that next step. Whatever is necessary to stay afloat. To keep going. To be the mother my daughter needs me to be. To be fully present each and every moment of the day. To fight through the fear and the chaos.
I didn’t fail because the self-managing was no longer working, and I needed tougher armor. Even if that means being judged by the rest of the world. I said yes to medication because I am willing to do what I have to do. I did not fail! I am not going to let the treacherous waters consume me. I will swim out of the deep end.
I didn’t fail. The fight is not over. With my shield, my sword, and my new armor, I prepare for the next battle. So, I hold my life in the palm of my hand, a glass of future endeavors in the other. I place courage on my tongue, and I swallow my pride.
I didn’t fail; I prevailed, and I am ready to set sail through stormy waters.
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