Choosing Health

This month’s topic is when to go for help, and I have struggled for weeks to figure out what I could say without disclosing the problems of loved ones. I can certainly use my own experience, however, and I have needed help several times in my life. The first time I should have gone for help was when I observed a loved one using drugs. My thoughts were “Oh, that person should get some psychological help.” (Not me.) I saw nothing bad happen to the group, so I gave it a try myself and continued to use various drugs and alcohol for ten years. Needless to say, by the time I finally went for help, I was in a lot more trouble. I got counseling for living in a dysfunctional family, found a way to better parenting, and turned my life around. A very unhappy marriage led to a major depression with panic disorder, and I had no choice but to seek help. I thought I would be leaving my family and taking up residence in a mental hospital. Thankfully, I was able to improve with medication and psychotherapy. When I couldn’t bear the thought of staying in the depressing situation any longer, I moved from a farm to a city and sought counseling for myself and my kids. Someone had recommended it to me, but I waited until there was a hole in a wall and another in a door. (Anger.) Counseling helped. Luckily, we were in counseling when one of the children was caught stealing car ornaments and again when an extended family member was accused of sexual abuse, so the counselors were able to communicate with the kids using their professional skills. Life calmed down once the divorce went through and my depression lifted until I was told I might be looking for a new job in 1997. Anxiety led to sleeping problems, and I once again sought psychiatric help. Today I am retired, a productive member of society, my community, my church, and my family. My children are beautiful, caring people who are using their talents to help others. Do I regret any of the times I went for help? No way. I don’t regret the pain, either. It led me to a healthier way of life

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