I have made the decision to go for counseling. That one sentence embodies the toughest decision I have ever made. It goes against my very fibre of "I'm gonna do it my way". I guess I got that way from years of feeling like no one understands, or cares for that matter, so therefore I must handle everything myself.
How, where, or why I guess is a moot point.
I did talk to a clinician last night and after reviewing my physical symptoms as well as the emotional side of things, I am absolutely for sure struggling with anxiety and depression. I hate that truth, but it has grown to where I really can't afford to be a John Wayne any more. From a weight loss perspective, I don't believe I can go any further until issues, however painful, are addressed.
When I first started at 385 lbs, my calorie requirements were so high that I could make small changes, get off my rear and do something and lose weight in spite of the emotional eating episodes and binges. Not so any more.
There is a part of me that doesn't want to admit it, and certainly not in a public forum, but there is safety with my friends and I have had nothing but support here.
It's ok to admit that I am not strong.
So much of this stems back from when I was growing up. I was one of "those ADD kids". I was failing in school and I was put on Ritalin. My grades instantly skyrocketed. I could focus, think again, mom cancelled her reservation at the loony bin and life was good.
I hated it.
I hated the fact that I had to take a pill to be normal, that I was defective and could not measure up to the normal kids. I would always be substandard unless I took a pill. Between that and being the fat kid, being bullied, and not being well to do in a preppy school, I never measured up. A day late and a dollar short in everything I did.
Once I got out of school I vowed I would never do that again. I would be capable.
I has worked...for the most part. I delved deep into tons of self help literature (as if you can't tell from my writings) and really looked inward. I learned goal setting and the empowerment that comes from doing big things and it really helped.
But that is also why I feel like a total failure because for me to go to counseling feels like all that I did to try to help myself was pretty much a waste of time because ultimately it came full circle and here I am in some shrinks office.
I feel like I am weak and all of the talk, the stuff, everything I did was just so much piss and wind...pardon the French.
However, I have learned that when you know what you must do in your heart of hearts, you must do, no matter how uncomfortable, how humbling, how un-manly it may seem.
Maybe I just need a friend.
Maybe if I can come to grips with those things that are really hurting me, that I will come out more battle ready than ever and will finally reach my destination.
It is for that reason alone that I will go because I am tired of floundering. I have proved that I will stop at nothing to see it through but this......this is hard.
If I can run a marathon, I can walk into a doctors office.
Thanks for sharing. I recently made the same decision myself. It's nice to know I'm not alone in struggling with depression and finally accepting that seeking help isn't a sign of weakness. 1271 days ago
Just scrolling down, I see the many people moved by your blog post. Thank you for your honesty and open-ness. I actually think the fact that you are able to be so introspective and go for the help you need shows how strong you are, not weak. That takes a lot of courage. Congratulations! I hope 2013 is a fabulous year for you! 1271 days ago
Obviously, there are alot of people who feel the way you do. You can count me amoung them. I have also been diagnosed with severe depression. It is a terrible thing to go through and I want you to know that, for all the bad press, Prozac or similar drugs have helped. Along with Diet and SP.
I was not sleeping nights at all. I would stay up for hours or be in a cold sweat. I just could not feel joy. I love chocolate and even that lost its emotional pull. I was terrified. First, I got a psychiatrist and told him my problems. I was so afraid of getting addicted to pills that I refused the help at first. But a doctor told me something I will not forget. He said, "Fear is not of God." I don't know why but it stuck with me.
I started out with sleeping pills and Xanax and Prozac. I was terrified. But then I just was determined to get myself back on track. I slowly got off of the Xananx and the sleeping pills and now all I take is Prozac.
I feel like a new person!!!! I have lost 15 pounds on SP...I just keep track of my calories and work out a few days a week. But for me it is a MAJOR accomplishment! I feel in control of my life. Not petrified with Fear!!! 1271 days ago
Wow. I can see from your post that you have acquired a wisdom many of us lack. It is so often seen as weakness to ask for help but, of course, we are just succumbing to the Victorian notion of a stiff upper lip. Best wishes for another part of your journey.
Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. We are all here because we need help in one way or another. Seeing a Counselor is no different than seeing a trainer. We are mental, physical and emotional beings and we have to get that all in check or we won't be successful. 1271 days ago
Thank you for this entry. People tend to think courage is going it alone when I personally believe it takes a heck of a lot more courage for someone to admit they need help, and then get it! 1271 days ago
You are far from weak for wanting to seek professional help with the issues that are holding you back from being healthy. I know that talking with a therapist at various times definitely helped me, and I'm considering going back again, because I've always been someone who does things to an extreme, and I desperately need more balance in my life.
Do what you need to do to be healthy in body, mind and spirit and to hell with what anyone else says! You'll do just fine. :) 1271 days ago
I'm so proud that you are going to see someone to talk to about everything. Please don't think that you have failed at all because in your words here that you have not failed...you have lots of success! I told my daughter when she first started going to talk to someone to think of it this way. We pay a dentist to clean out teeth, even though we take care of them daily. LOL
I think that you are very brave and that in the long run this is going to help you beyond what you can see right now. Just go with an open mind and it will be a great benefit to you. Sometimes just having a person to listen to us and to help us see things in a different light is what we really need. I personally would still be blaming myself for the sexual abuse I went through as a child had I not gone and talked to a professional.
i, too, have been on a life-long journey of trying to figure it out...sometimes on my own, sometimes with help. please hear this: nothing you've done has been in vain. you have kept yourself afloat, jumped many hurdles, climbed many mountains, and just done amazingly in spite of the burdens of your past. you've taken yourself as far as you can go...finding someone to help you make your way to the "next level," so to speak, isn't weakness, it's wisdom. and it's probably one of the scariest things you can do--woohoo for you for being brave enough to face what you fear. you've got this, friend. 1271 days ago
As someone who lives with general anxiety disorder and mild depression, it took me a long time to also get into counseling. I, too, felt like I was always in control of things until I realized I wasn't.
What you are doing is not only brave but also inspiring to others. I wish you nothing but the best in your journey. 1271 days ago
My nephew was diagnosed with ADD and my sister had a hard time dealing with having to give him medication... I think my brother in law put it the best, he told her "If he needed glasses, we would get them for him." It helped my sister SO much to hear it like that. Its not anything to be ashamed of, its just how your body works!
I am speaking as someone who has worn glasses for many years...oh, that and being medicated for many years for depression, lol! I always thought the same thing "Why do I have to take a pill to be 'normal'?" Years later, I understand why...its because that is how my body works! What's normal anyways, BORING! That's what!
Robert, I have a few things to say to you.
First, please allow me to share that I am not the best at situations like these. I am much more of the "tough love" type than any sort of sympathy or empathy. My heart is tender, but my logical mind only lets me go so far into these scary emotional territories. My point: I'm not hear to make it all okay, because I can't. But I do believe I can add some perspective.
You say that you are not strong. Well, I disagree, but rather than argue the point, let me say this: Perhaps you are not strong, but Robert, you sure are courageous.
Do you understand the incredible will to live better and the personal power it takes to write a blog like this?
You worry that the time and money you spent on self-help books was wasted. Impossible to know, but highly unlikely. Think about it Robert, you are taking hard steps to take control of your life, would you have been able to do that without the work did before with those self-help mentors?
You think that going to counseling makes you weak? Why? You have injuries that need to be healed. If you had badly broken your leg in grade school, and that injury periodically caused you pain as an adult, would you refuse to see a medical doctor for help?
Your counselor isn't an evil last resort. It is someone you hire to give you the expertise, tools, and healing you need to live the happiest life you possibly can. Its no different than going to an orthopedic, and allergist, or a shaman.
If this is the next step in your healing, then so what? You don't owe anyone an explanation or an apology, not even that part of you that judges you so fiercely. Give yourself a break Robert. Its not that you are not strong, maybe its just that you are not the strongest alone. And guess what? None of us are.
I don't know you. But I do know that this blog was not written by a wimp. This was written with incredible insight and courage. You may think you are not strong, but to me, you are freaking SUPERMAN.
Oh my goodness, what a great post! The hardest blog ever written maybe, but one of the best! You've perfectly described my own journey, maybe some of the details are slightly different, but it's still the same story. You obviously know that SparkPeople is a safe place, and you've found a place to "belong". You're embracing your human-ness, and it's GOOD! If you're at a place where you can embrace counseling, you're in a very STRONG position. I'm SO proud of you, you get a WOOT WOOT, you're on the right track. Keep pushing, keep going, don't quit! 1271 days ago
Going to therapy is hard. From personal experience, I can tell you it is never an easy decision. But, how can we move on sometimes if we do not go? You will take the skills they will teach you and you will still be doing it yourself. I struggled with that, too. But, as others have said, we see doctors for other medical conditions. It only makes sense to see them for these problems, too. The payoff is huge! We become stronger. It spills over and helps us in all areas of our lives. My prayers are with you. 1271 days ago
This can be one of the best decisions you have ever made. I went to someone and although it is hard at times the benefits are so real and as Mel Gibson says at the end of braveheart "FREEDOM"!!
I will tell you a funny story about the first time I went to someone. I went in sat down and here is this beautiful woman with a sweater suit on and perfect make up, the works. I thought No way can I talk to this woman she can never understand what I have been through. After a short time into the session she made the comment about how she grew up. Her Dad's way of dealing with everthing she did was to slap the piss out of her.
I knew right then that we would get along great and you know what she helped me a lot. I grew up with almost no coping skills. She taught me some and that made my days so much easier.
One thing I want to add. I told my brother during a conversation not long ago how we grew to be really tough. We were and still are some tough people. But tough is not strong.
What you are doing now; That is Strong.
Good luck and I will think of you every day 1271 days ago
There is no shame in finding resources to help along the way. If you are clinically depressed, this will be a short term thing to assist in getting your brain back on track to feeling ok with life and the world, so to speak. I know this is a challenge for kids with ADHD, but somehow the world needs to take a second look and recognize that this is not the fault of the child experiencing it. It is often hereditary (well-documented now), and we are fortunate to have ways to extend the chemical balance in the brain and improve the child's attention. One more area to balance...and the ADHD is clearly working on your behalf now both at work and in your healthy lifestyle! I have enough ADHD that it helps me to go-go-go and work circles around my workmates! It has been a blessing and not a curse...I believe it is for you also. Once your brain chemicals are back in balance, you may re-look at your childhood as one where you got more done than anyone else!! Hang in there! 1271 days ago
I think it takes a wise, strong, insightful person to reach the decision you have made, and realize that you need to put away the sociological mainstream and seek out help for your situation. That is NOT a cause for shame, but for celebration! Best of Luck to you and I guess next year at this time, we'll be reading about your progress? Please keep us posted! 1271 days ago
Robert - you are one of the BRAVEST and STRONGEST people I know. It won't be an easy road; but you will be well rewarded. I just know you can do it! Kudos to you for taking these steps. Thanks for sharing your story! Chris 1271 days ago
Look, if you had diabetes, you wouldn't feel bad for "going it alone" without any medical help. This is the same. Go get some help. The only irrational thing would be to not go. It's a mature, sane, rational thing to do. It in no way negates your accomplishments. In fact, it will enhance them. Failure would be sliding all the way back. That's not what you're doing. You are acting. You are taking action.
Just because you can admit you need help doesn't mean you're a failure or make you any less of a man or a human being. You're right, if you can run a marathon, you can walk into a doctor's office. If you're strong enough to start a healthy lifestyle, you're strong enough to walk into a doctor's office. Just remember, you're not walking in there alone. We, your friends at SP, will have your back. 1272 days ago
Awesome, gooood for you! it takes so much more strength and courage to say "I need help. I can't do this alone anymore", than to "tolerate" a life of anxiety and depression, and lack of self love. I admire you and wish you the best on your journey. 1272 days ago
You are awesome! You have come so far. You know, I think I need to go to counseling because I can't make myself do what it takes to lose weight, quit smoking, or stop having anxiety and depression. There's only so much my meds can do. I struggle every day to be as "good" as everyone else (this is bringing tears to my eyes), but everyone tells me that I am one of God's children and there's nothing wrong with me. BUT HERE'S WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: Some people have cancer, some have diabetes, some have heart disease. It does not matter what the illness is. You would not hesitate to talk to someone if you had a heart attack or a stroke. A therapist is PART of the treatment, just a part of the treatment. A therapist is just a boost to the medication we need for the type of illness we have. HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH! You have already accomplished so so much! 1272 days ago
dear Robert, you are so very human. There is so much great input in these posts all I can say is read it and weep. There is so much sadness and misery in this world it is a wonder we aren't all suicidal. You are doing the right thing, keep us posted. 1272 days ago
Kudos to you! My mom was a therapist and believes that everyone should be in therapy, no one is perfect. The tools you learn are invaluable and we can all benefit from them. Way to take charge of your life. 1272 days ago
Wow. You are smart enough to know that you do need help from someone else instead of trying to cope on your own and not succeeding. It was enlightening to know how you felt about taking your ADD meds, as a teacher I understand the other side of the situation but never thought of that point of view.
As you can see by the posts already made, lots of us have struggled with depression. I go to therapy and take my meds - - and they work. I still get in messes - - working with the codependency issue on a daily basis - - that is kind of like my issues around food - - a life time thing. But all that being said, I am happy to be alive and happy to choose joy.
And...no one would think a diabetic was weak because they took their insulin. We aren't weak if we take our medication.
Good luck! This is going to be a wondeful year! 1272 days ago
How amazing for you to share this with us. It's hard sometimes to face those things that make us feel weak and accept them. I'm so glad for you that you're taking the steps to make yourself happy. :)
My son, 9 years old, is ADHD, as is my husband. My husband was labeled the "bad kid" in school, even as far as his parents telling him that some people just aren't smart enough and that he "wasn't meant for school". He did great on Ritalin for a few months, but they found it to be expensive and took it off. So, he subsequently failed 3 different grades and dropped out of school in the 9th grade. As an adult, he learned ways to cope with his ADHD, and more recently, to use it to his advantage. When our son was diagnosed, the same thing happened as to you - - instantly, his grades and reports from school improved drastically. Because of my husband's experience, we've decided to really approach my son's ADHD as a blessing, because honestly, it is. Sure, he knows he takes medicine to "help him focus", but we tell him it's so that he can use all the thoughts and ideas he has at one time rather than to have them going around and around like crazy.
To us, and because of how we've talked to him about it - to him as well, his ADHD is an outlet. It's a way for him to achieve things he couldn't otherwise achieve, develop talents he might not otherwise have found and cultivated. Musicians, artists, novelists - so many of them are/were ADHD. It goes to show something.
My husband grew up feeling like you, and as a result, he has battled quite a bit with feelings of inadequacy, depression, and tons of anxiety issues. He decided about a year ago to talk to the doctor about medication again. He's on a very small dose - the same as our 65 pound kid - but it's just enough to help him focus more.
Anyway, I'm sorry to blab so much, but you brought a little inspiration. Congratulations to you on what you have, and what you've yet to accomplish. Just based on your blog, I'm sure you're incredibly intelligent, and you can conquer anything. Best of luck to you!
But you ARE doing it your way. YOU made the decision to go to therapy, and YOU will decide what you work on. You don't have to take meds, nobody can make you do anything. YOU ARE IN CONTROL! 1272 days ago
Wow.... You are amazing, you are strong and your are so smart to be able to make the decision to come to terms with the issues that have haunted you all of these years. Be proud that you can do this, only someone with great strength can admit when they cannot do it all on there own. You have inspired me on my journey and I wish you only the best that this new amazing year has to offer. Stay strong and know that there are others who believe in you, even if right now when you are not believing in your self. 1272 days ago
want to say first off- none of what you have been doing for yourself has been in vain. You did what you could do and accepting that you need help finishing the job is the great act of courage.
You have been such an inspiration to so many and we are all behind you.
I have dealt with depression for many, many years. One day- I left my daughter with my grandmother and said- I don't know when I will be back. I was ready to admit myself. HA- after filling out paperwork and talking to someone... I was told to come back in two weeks. Seriously? I was ready to admit myself and they said come back? I called a different help center- they go me in the next day to talk to someone. I ended up just getting outpatient therapy- but I was started the next day.
I was very blessed to be turned away from the first place- I found many answers and was put on all the medication I needed. I had been up and down with depression and medicines for years. it would help for a while and then... it wouldn't this went on for years. Finely after seeing a DR. he figured out I needed both kinds of chemicals. This was over 20 years ago. I couldn't afford medicines for a while and now know I can not go without. That being said- all these year I have been alive- but not really living. just kept eating and gaining weight. Oh- I would have my moments. I am changing that- it is all connected I still have issues and have days I am depressed. but I am alive! and I know by changing the things I eat and exercising will make the rest of it come together.
You have already done that- and while going through the emotional issues will take time- YOU will succeed and be even stronger for it.
Good for you- way to start the new year with getting support where you need it.
As I said I did find answers... and I am still working on them. it is a process. And when the time is right it will all come together! It will for you too! 1272 days ago
I have to agree with what people are saying here. Mainly I agree that everyone out in this world could def use some therapy. I mean do you really know someone that doesn't have issues they find hard working through ???? Who can't use a little help now and then?
BRAVO to you for taking what you describe as your final step !!! I say go and get all you can from it. You will be posting before you know it what a great decision it was for you to make.