It’s been a long hard year friends. Back in October I posted about my anxiety and my prediction for what would happen if I did not get it under control. Depression and anxiety being what it is I did not heed my own advice. Cue the winter months and days and nights spent in bed doing nothing. I’d drag myself out for an occasional social obligation, to teach a knitting class, or attend a medical appointment. I would then count the hours until I could return to bed.

I had a low key but good birthday, however turning another year older did cause some what of a not so existential crisis. In the grand scheme of things 35 is not old and I have a lot of time to question my purpose, make goals, and do great things in this world. However my 35th year also coincided with my 10th year of chronic daily pain. This is what got my hackles up. 10 years!! How, oh how am I going to do this for the rest of my life! I was exhausted and in a state of non-function. I was not enjoying the things I love, and I was sad. I was done, ready to stop trying, ready to give up.

The end of April brought on an excruciating migraine, my regular Botox injections had stopped being effective in June of 2016. The morning of April 23rd I was suppose to teach a Learn to Knit class and I knew I couldn’t do it, there was no way I could drive to the place I needed to be AND teach a 3 hour class. My brain then started thinking of ways to get out of this obligation. My anxiety saying that making a phone call and simply canceling was not an option. My depression in all its wisdom, and that part of me that was just ready to give up, suggested driving my truck off the road on the way there.

WHOA! What?! I said to my depression. That’s crazy talk. But I also saw it for what it was, it was a sign that if I didn’t change something soon things could get really bad. So I said to Ryan “you need to take me to the ER.” Having had a similar experience in 2008 I knew that at the hospital I could stay safe and make the decisions to take the next steps to get healthy.

24 hours of observation in the CALM (Crisis Assessment Linkage and Management) Unit and I was enrolled in the Partial Hospitalization Program at The Ohio State University’s Harding Hospital.  Through the PHP and intensive outpatient care I talked through my depressions, anxiety, sadness and anger. I was given tools to manage these emotions and steps to take to avoid crisis (which is defined as wanting to hurt myself or others.)

By the end of May things were looking a whole lot brighter. Not only did I address my depression and anxiety which I have lived with since my early teens, but I also realized that I was angry and started to practice acceptance of my life with chronic illness. I left my program with goals and a plan.

I hope to address that plan over the next few weeks. My recovery and healthy active life is the result of not just one change in attitude or a particular treatment but an integrative approach of medication, therapists, doctors, neurologists, physical therapy, exercise, and self care.

I find myself at the beginning of this new season (it certainly does not feel like Autumn yet) with plans, big plans. Goals for myself and The Pink Woobie business, and an incredibly different attitude than what I was living with 6 months ago. There are still horrendously awful days, but I get through them, I say “tomorrow can be better”, I call my care team, I accept it for what it is, and I take care of myself.

One last thing, if you find yourself in a place where you feel that there is no way out, please seek help. If you feel like you don’t have anyone you can turn to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255