A New Start | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

A New Start

By Stephanie Christie

Here it is. My confession, my fresh start and perhaps the beginning of my mental health chronicles.

stephanie-christie.jpgAbout a month ago, I made a choice that changed the direction of my life. With the help, support and guidance of my husband, along with a referral from an old friend, I made a phone call. It was a scary call to make, but I reached out to make an appointment to see a therapist. In that first intake call, I had to answer a couple of questions about myself that I had never said out loud. I had to admit to myself that I needed help and to say that to others.

I had always imagined that I would be the person offering people therapy. Never did I see myself as the patient on the couch. In fact, though, I have been the patient on the couch four times now. I actually look forward to it now, and I can see myself growing as a result.

The first time I sat on the couch, I cried and cried and cried. That was not at all what I was planning on. I haven’t cried again. Since that first visit I have laughed, I have released, and I have learned so much about myself.

OK, so here is my confession: I am a huge control freak. I want to control every aspect of everything, all the time. It was getting to the point that I was really pushing people away. Changes and transitions give me so much anxiety, I can’t even explain it. At the end of my first appointment, after crying almost the whole time, my therapist had to give me a diagnosis. This was for insurance purposes, but this diagnosis has been brought up in every subsequent meeting. My diagnosis: chronic adjustment disorder, induced initially by my ex cheating on me and ultimately by the end of my first marriage. Perhaps I should have sought counseling five years ago, although I don’t think I was in the right place then to accept it and move forward. With the support of my husband, kids, family, friends and coworkers, I am ready now. I am not embarrassed about going to therapy.

It wasn’t until this morning during a conversation with a dear, lifelong friend that I knew that I could write about this. That I should write about this. My mental health is important, and it’s OK to talk about it.

This afternoon, I spoke about noticing myself reacting differently to things. I’m not panicking as much with adjustments as I had been just six weeks ago. I just packed my gym bag for the morning, for the first time in two weeks. I downloaded more books onto my iPad to read while working out, and then I started writing this blog.

I am ready to continue on this mental health journey, rebooting the way I look at things and resuming the physical health journey that I had started back in the spring. I believe that these two can work alongside each other to make me the best me I can be, on the inside and out. I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes me.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).