A week ago, I talked about PTSD being a fight that is often faced alone. While I do not wish to retract that statement, I would like to clarify that it is okay to ask for help.
Within hours of posting “A Solitary Fight” I suffered a relapse more severe than any that have come before. Overcome by flashbacks and anxiety, I seriously considered ending my life not for the first time. What terrified me more this time around was how appealing the idea seemed.
When you are in the middle of an attack such as this, all you want is for it to end. You can beg and plead and still it seems as if the world has completely fallen out from under you. People can tell you that you are okay – they can believe that the sound of their voice alone will pull you back from the edge. There are instances when this is true, and then there are instances when you become a danger to yourself. I did not want to die, but I did want the terror to end.
Admitting this is perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever done. I have a fear of being perceived as “crazy” because of the fight that is happening in my head on a daily basis. In the past, I have waited too long to ask for help, and when I finally did, it was too much and too late. This time, I was strong enough to call for help.
If you haven’t checked out Baby Steps My Dear just yet, I would encourage you to do so. My friend and roommate Kate runs this beautiful site and is making big strides in raising awareness concerning mental health. When I felt myself spiraling, I was able to read a letter she posted not too long ago. Her words gave me the strength to pick up the phone and call. Immediately, she was at my side, riding the terrible waves with me and prepared to pull me to shore.
She reminded me that I am not alone. Even if this is a fight I have to face in my own head, I am not alone. During my relapse, I did what I dread most – I turned to a razor to ground myself. While Kate bandaged my arm, she talked with me patiently and by some miracle, the attack ended. I could see clearly – I could no longer hear the events of the trauma replaying in my head.
So I am telling you, as one of the most stubborn people on this planet, it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to admit that there is a problem. Do not try to be a hero and do it all alone. It is your fight, yes, but there are people who care enough about you to help. There are people on this planet that will give you shelter and aid. Do not fear reaching out – do not fear being a burden. Keep fighting your fight, but allow people to offer you the support you need to keep living.
This is the letter that saved my life:
Hey there, I know you are having a hard time right now. I can see the pain on your face and I can hear the hurt in your voice. I understand those feelings. You may feel like depression is pulling you under and you can’t stay a float, but let me be life saver. Hold on to me and don’t let go until we get to shore. You will never know how much I love you and look up to you. I have watched you and have learned and aimed to be in a place like you. As I see you struggle I am reminded that you to are human. I know its hard to run from things that are in your head. Those stupid thoughts you have, I just wish I could mute them for you. I wish I could hug and hold you and make it all go away, but I can’t. I am hundred miles away, but know all the way from over here I am shedding tears about not being able to be there. There is a pain in my heart that won’t quit. Your head can be a dark place, I know that, but don’t let it win. I love you too much and I hate seeing you in pain. I know you are trying. You are trying everything and I know you are still hurting. Let me be there for you, I beg of you. Please forgive me if I have been absent or been lacking being there for you, but I am here now. And I am ready to love and care for you. You just have to let me.
You know I can only express how I feel with song lyrics so I found some for you. “I tried to walk together, But the night was growing dark
Thought you were beside me, But I reached and you were gone. Sometimes I hear you calling from some lost and distant shore, I hear you crying softly for the way it was before. Where are you now? Are you lost? Will I find you again? Are you alone? Are you afraid? Are you searching for me? Why did you go? I had to stay Now I’m reaching for you Will you wait? will you wait? Will I see you again? You took it with you when you left these scars are just a trace. Now it wanders lost and wounded. This heart that I misplaced Where are you now? Are you lost? Will I find you again? Are you alone? Are you afraid? Are you searching for me? Why did you go? I had to stay Now I’m reaching for you Will you wait? will you wait? Will I see you again?”
You are so beautiful and are full of love to give. You matter so much to me and everyone who knows you. You brighten the world with your smile. The things you do and are dealing with I can’t fathom, but boy do I wish I could take this from you. I would take your pain in a heart beat. I’d take the sleeplessness, the hurt, the pain, the not knowing, I would take it all if I could, but I cant. I just need you to hold even though I know you feel like letting go, just keep holding on. I know things right now, they seem messy and hard, but WE can get through this, TOGETHER. I know you can’t do this on your own which is why I am not asking you to. All I ask is that you hold on to this little bit of hope I am throwing at you. There was a time where someone threw me a little bit of hope and I held on so tight until I was able to get a good grip and now I can hold on with no problem because I know that person on the other end is still holding on, so let me be that other person for you. Let me throw you some hope. Let me hold on. Let me anchor you. Let me hold us together. All you have to do is hold on.
Can you do that? Can you hold on? Don’t let go, ever. Even when you have that grip, I will always be here holding on. So it’s up to you, Will you hold on?
Take those baby steps with me. I’ll be here, holding your hand the whole time. I’ve got you, I wont drop you. I wont hurt you. I will love you. I will help you. I will cheer you on. Promise.
You are not alone. I am not alone. Keep fighting, no matter what, and never hesitate to ask for help. Turn to God, to family, or to friends. If you see someone struggling, even if they are a stranger, go to them. Offer them your shoulder. Kate did not know that this simple letter would save a life, but she wrote it anyway. Be a friend to those you do not even know. Lean on those who offer their support and do not push them away.
We can keep fighting, you and me, together.