What If Therapy Doesn’t Work?

I’m a 38 year old mother of 4. I was a teen mom. I’m a college graduate. I’m an educator…and I suffer from depression.

My mother passed away 9 years ago after battling chronic illness her whole life. Growing up with an ill parent is a story in itself, but not here, not right now. My stepdad, who raised me since I was 11, passed away last year. My mom was 52, my stepdad was 56. I can’t imagine only having 14 more years to live. How sad to think life is cut off in your mid 50's.

My biological dad and I haven’t really had the relationship I’d hoped for since he left.

My own marriage, and 10 year relationship, fell apart last year when my husband admitted to being a closet alcoholic. Come to find out he’d been dealing with his own depression and mood disorder. I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t remain in a marriage that required so much of me.

I’ve always dealt with anxiety. My whole life has been spent coping with one terrified after another. I don’t know what if feels like to feel safe and relaxed.

I’ve tried therapy before. I go for a few sessions, but nothing seems to really work. I pay my copay, I talk, I listen, I cry…but still, nothing seems to fix the sadness, the fear, of this life.

This summer has brought a new level to my drepression. Changes in my career and days without routine leave me feeling lost, overwhelmed, and tired. I sit for hours and wonder where the day has gone. I think of heading out to the grocery store to shop for my family, to cook dinner, and sit around the table chatting, but all of that seems like too much, so I keep sitting, feeding the kids processed foods that don’t require much preparation or hamburgers from local fast foods, something I swore I’d never do as a parent.

I visit my doctor regularly and she ups my medication, adds another to the mix, and encourages me to exercise, eat real food, and schedule an appointment with a therapist. I take my pills, I push through walks, a few pushups and maybe even a squat, but I conveniently forget to call the therapist.

What if therapy can’t fix me? What if I never live another day with energy, hope, or true gratitude? What if my life before the loss of my parents, before the loss of my marriage, what if that life never exists again? What if the days of running mile after mile, smiling after a great workout, are over? What if I’m never the me that I once was?

I still have my health. I still have my family. I still have friends that call and encourage me to join their outings. I still have a career. I still have so much, but it’s just not what it was. And why is that bad? Why is a new me so difficult to swallow?

I pick up the phone and dial the number. My heart beats with anxious dred, I breathe…I make the appointment, giving myself permission to discover a new me.

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