When it comes to mental health, not everyone can “fake it till they make it.”
This can even be a dangerous sentiment, as it can cause those struggling to believe that, if they slap a smile on their face long enough, they can force the kind of peace they desire.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the opposite will happen.
Tonya knew she would not survive by simply “faking it.” In the same year, her marriage fell apart and her father passed away. Plainly, she broke down.
Every few weeks, flu-like symptoms overwhelmed her physical well-being, and she realized her physical and mental deterioration were linked.
Initial encounters with therapy helped a bit, but they were inconsistent. Living with her mom and stepfather, she felt unwelcome. Agoraphobia crept in, leaving Tonya fearful of grocery store trips, or simply leaving her home. Moving away to a house in Sterling, Colorado might help, she had hoped, but living alone was not the relief Tonya thought it might be. She was far away from close friends, loved ones, and any kind of support system. Her mental health affected her job performance, and she found herself in and out of different employment situations. After getting terminated, Tonya spiraled into a severe depression. Her family was worried, her children most of all.
“I was emotionless,” Tonya said. “A walking zombie.”
She began to put her affairs in order. She sorted out possessions that she wanted her children to keep. On a phone call with her daughter, Tonya admitted these feelings of suicidal ideation. Her daughter, who, of course, loved her mother, was heartbroken. Lots of talks and one long, contemplative shower later, Tonya promised her daughter that she would check herself into Highlands Behavior Health System.
“The people [at Jefferson Center] are caring. They’re compassionate. They believe in what they’re doing.”
Client of Jefferson Center
As an outpatient, Tonya agreed to set up consistent therapy visits with the counselors at Jefferson Center. She discovered that she had a borderline personality disorder, and the more she learned about her disorder, ironically, the better she felt. Learning more about what was going on inside her head made Tonya feel like she had better control over it, grateful for gaining the confidence to work on those issues and get better.
Tonya found immense peace after beginning DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) groups and somatic therapy. A kind of “whole body” therapy that focuses on physical wellness in addition to mental wellness. Practices like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises helped Tonya realize that there was hope. If that kind of peace of mind was achievable, she could get through this. She is very thankful to now live a more functional life, and she will continue to seek help to become the best version of herself she could be.
“People need to realize that they shouldn’t give up on themselves.”
Client of Jefferson Center
Tonya wants others to know that, if you are struggling, if you are facing similar life issues, which happens to many, seeking help is the most important thing you can do to feel better. Never give up on yourself. It may be difficult to try therapy, especially for the first time, because the unknown can be scary, and no one likes admitting that they feel vulnerable. However, find a way to get yourself motivated. It is worth it to find the therapists, programs, and services that work to provide peace for you.
Has your life improved because of mental health treatment? Do you wish to use your experience to help others?
Sharing your experiences with mental health treatment can help others who are struggling, and it can help fight the stigma of seeking mental health care.
You can remain anonymous.
For more information, please email VoicesOfHope@jcmh.org.