From me to you…
Many years ago, as a teenager and young adult, I struggled with an undiagnosed syndrome. At times, the symptoms ranged from deep depression to uncontrollable anger to thoughts of suicide. Although it was confusing to me, there were other times when I felt healthy, energized, and normal. Because I kept my struggle a secret and because I didn’t know where to turn for help, the “shame” of not being able to control my emotions contributed to deep feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. As I grew into a young woman, I made unhealthy choices in relationships and in life decisions all in a desperate attempt to ease the pain of worthlessness.
As I entered into my early thirties continually masking the craziness inside me, an extraordinary exchange occurred. For the first time in my life, I shared my secret struggle with a dear friend. Although I was embarrassed and frightened as I disclosed my story, my friend not only listened to and comforted me, but she guided me to a doctor who she thought could help me. Within a couple of weeks, I was diagnosed with severe Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (once known as PMS!) and was given a comprehensive treatment plan that included everything from medication to life-style changes to counseling. From that day forward, I committed myself to my recovering program, determined I would not waste another moment suffering, nor would I keep it silent!
Although there are many lessons I learned along the way, some of the most valuable include the following:
- When we suffer in silence, we keep ourselves held hostage to our circumstances.
- The longer we stay in bondage to our circumstances, the more we will lose of ourselves – physically, emotionally, and relationally.
- Although there is always a level of risk when we tell our truths to someone, the consequences of not doing so far outweigh our fears.
- There are trustworthy knowledgeable health care professionals available to us. We must be brave enough to step outside of our pain and ask for help. There are good people waiting to help us name our pain, understand what we are feeling and why, and then guide us through a healing process.