I don't remember exactly when, but I think it must have been some time between 1996 and 1999. And it did occur in one moment. Somehow it occurred to me that something was really wrong with me. Even though I was willing to think poorly of myself, even brutally, even past all of that point of view I finally thought that even this was too much. Yes, people got angry; but like this? All the time? Every day? Every minute? Yes, people got tired. But like this? Unmoveable for hours and days? Unable to brush one's hair for days and weeks?
Every day had been a mountain like that for years. Even the worst person who wanted to be good (as I so desperately wanted to be) would have figured it out by now, right?
I finally accepted that there were some things that were out of my control. That there was something(s) happening to me that I didn't choose. I didn't immediately name it "mental illness" nor did I necessarily even connect it to my family history at first.
I'd like to say that this realization took me straight to the cure, but I still had a long road ahead of me.
I describe one healing journey I took as a set of decisions I committed to throughout my life. I wrote that book. I got stronger through sheer grit but with a greater understanding of what I was facing.
But I also started to have certain experiences that eventually led me to understand the root of my problem was not in behavior nor in the level of my challenges past and present, but in my body. (And which also led to How To Move the Universe, so I could share what I learned.)
I found out that by taking a high-quality whole food vitamin in the morning, I wouldn't "crash" until the afternoon (instead of the morning). I wanted to take the vitamin just to be generally healthy (and it was from an MLM I was in at the time), but I was surprised that it had actual consequences in my energy level.
I started taking St. John's Wort (mildly supportive to me). But then a friend of mine urged me to get medication. I still did not think that could make a difference (I was still struggling with old paradigms and lack of understanding). But I decided to see what would happen.
I went to see our family doctor. He was not a psychiatrist specializing in the issues I was facing, but after we talked, he was willing to prescribe Lexapro to me. I did not have money for medication, but our family doctor went through all the cupboards in the entire doctor's office and located all the samples of Lexapro they had, and gave them to me. It ended up being a 3 month supply.
Now, I know different people have different experiences with medication. But, for me, Lexapro was one of the major miracles of my life. Within a day or two of taking it, I received my mind back. Or, I should say, for the first time. Because as I entered a new mental state, I could not ever remember experiencing life and thought patterns this way. I don't think I can describe it with words except that everything went in its place and did what it was supposed to do. I remember thinking, "So this is what other people's brains feel like." I hadn't known. I hadn't known that you could need to call someone on the phone and then just do it; without descending into hours of anxiety regarding the phone and the person and yourself (for example). I thought that you had to "set a goal" or "work on yourself" and "overcome your anxiety". I hadn't known that if the chemicals are working, it's just right there without effort.
When the 3 months was coming to a close, I still didn't have money for Lexapro and I wondered what I was going to do. When going to town, I kept seeing a new massage therapists sign out. I felt inspired to go there even though I don't normally take advantage of self-care opportunities.
The massage therapist also did energy work. She told me my cells were lying to me about reality. She told me I was in a state of fury (I knew that, lol). She took me through my birth process again (which I would have poo-pooed up to that point, but I actually felt that). She helped me release and drain a lot of stuff from my energy. I told her that I was going off Lexapro and could she teach my cells to do that without the medication. She did her magic. I was able (financially) to go to her twice. (I still want to go back!) She helped me a lot and I did enter a place of my life where I was a little healthier than before although I still struggled a lot. I also think that now that my brain and cells had had the example of Lexapro, they now knew a little better what to do, which they had not known before.
All of this took place over several years. I was a little healthier, I understood that I had serious problems that weren't my fault. I had developed some coping strategies (decisions). So let me say something here. I had not healed. But I coped. I learned to be functional, whereas before I had been dysfunctional. But I still had daily symptoms as well. My function and coping required massive amounts of energy applied to it. I talked myself through everything. "Now brush your hair. Now fix breakfast. Now this. Now that." I constantly talked myself out of the brutality in my head and heart. It was better than before, but only by a little. But it still wasn't that good. But I got my associate's degree. I started working fulltime. I pushed that mountain around all day long.
In 2005 my husband passed away (February). I also had my sixth child that year (August). I quit my job after the funeral. The job had destroyed any health gains I had up to that point. I had some resources, so that year I decided I was not going to work and was only going to have that baby and enjoy my children. My kids had been through a lot with me, too. It was a good year. And 2006, also, we took a road trip that summer through the Western states. (I started working part time in August 2006, when baby was one year old. And started my bachelor's degree in 2008.)
I continued to struggle with symptoms. In 2007, I made an important decision. I decided that I didn't have to do this alone (which was my decision up to that time). I wanted to break my isolation and have some people accept me the way I was. I was terrified, but I was also willing. I began attending a 12 step program (for overeater's anonymous although that didn't cover the half of it). I had a good opinion about 12 step already, I just hadn't realized it was going to apply to me. But in 2007, I started that and did that for a couple of years. That was a very healing experience on many levels. And I gained some peace about what I had lost as I saw the burdens others carried and realized that this was all the human condition. No one escapes. Everybody has something.
And I will continue in Part 4 about a huge leap in healing I experienced only within the last few years.