The first bit was easier than I thought.
Not easy, mind you. Just easier.
I fronted up to my GP and told her I was struggling mentally and might need some help.
That bit was ok because my GP is lovely and I knew there’d be no judgement, just nurturing concern and open ears.
The next step was a bit harder.
I found many excuses for not picking up the phone, dialling the number of the psychologist she’d recommended, and making an appointment.
But eventually, I managed to do it.
And truly, I thought that would be the hardest bit. (Because really, is there anything more scary than making an appointment to tell a complete stranger all your problems? Inviting them to examine recesses of your mind you’d spent years burying?)
Apparently there is.
The morning of the appointment I woke up, blithely kissed my husband and child goodbye, and headed off. Oh look at me I thought! Off to do the very thing I’ve been telling other people to do for years – see a professional for your problems. How self-aware! How progressive!
Then I pulled into the psychologist’s carpark.
Suddenly my entire body went rigid. My heart-rate went through the roof at the same time the breath got knocked right out of my chest. Every cell in my body screamed at me to get the heck out of there and drive home.
I have no idea how I stayed put. To this day I am awe of my brain.
Because it told me ‘breathe Kelly.’
‘Ok good,’ it said once that basic physiological requirement was taken care of. ‘Now, what exactly are you so scared of?’
Good question. What was I scared of?
When I thought about it, I was mostly scared about the work that lay ahead of me.
There was so much to my story, so much that had brought me to this point. So much that needed to be done to dig myself out of the hole I was in. And I was just so bloody tired.
I really didn’t think I had the energy for it.
But somehow, (and I’m still not sure how), I found the energy to:
Get out of the car.
Walk into the reception area and announce my arrival.
Sit down in the chair in the psychologist’s office.
Answer her gently probing questions.
And bawl my eyes out with relief and gratitude when she said to me “Kelly, you know what the biggest problem here is? You’re exhausted. You’re utterly exhausted. Now here’s what we’re going to do about it.”
Last week I saw these words in the comments of a blog post:
Being brave isn’t about doing the things ‘most people’ are afraid to do.
It’s about doing the thing you’re afraid to do.
Given I’m afraid of situations where my emotions are allowed off the leash …
Given I’m afraid of admitting I need help (because I really believe I should be able to sort my shit out myself) …
Given I’m really afraid of admitting my life isn’t as perfect as the one I present to the world …
Walking into that psychologist’s office four years ago was the bravest thing I’ve ever done.
And given where I am today (happy, content, fulfilled!), it’s clearly the best thing I’ve ever done.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?