Two years and five months ago, I had my heart broken and with my heart went everything else about me. I became broken. The happy, driven and energetic Channing I had been prior to that date left the building and in her place sat Sad Channing.
You see, I had been talking about marriage with this person who broke me. We had discussed children and how to raise them, how to decorate a house, daily responsibilities, how to handle finances, where religion would fit into our lives, and all the other topics one talks about when they are considering a life with someone.
Then I heard the six words that would reverberate in my head for months: I just can’t do this anymore.
The Pre-Help Downward Spiral (IYKYK)
And with that, I broke. I turned into a puddle on the floor with such a lack of control over its emotions that even Sully, my sweet Chocolate Labrador, didn’t know what to do with me.
“Do I stay close? Do I give her space? What has happened to her?” These are just a few of the thoughts I imagine ran through his head.
The truth is, I didn’t know what to do with myself either. I spent hours, days and weeks going over every single thing we had discussed, analyzing and replaying every great moment together and trying to find out where I had gone wrong to lead to such an abrupt change. These thoughts dominated my days.
People advised: just take it one day at a time. One day? Ha! I had to focus on one hour at a time.
Could I get through one hour without crying?
Could I get through one more meeting without letting my clients (or prospective clients) see how I really felt inside?
Could I get through one hour without thoughts of him?
Could I get through one conversation with a friend or family member without bringing him up and making them subject to more of Sad Channing?
Unfortunately the answer to that last question ended up being “no” more often than “yes” and I am truly grateful for the friends and family who not only tolerated Sad Channing, but actively tried to include her in social occasions in the vain hope it would help me heal. Like any band aid though, those occasions only served as a temporary fix to a much more serious problem.
I wasn’t just heartbroken. I was depressed and I needed help.
Eventually It Became Too Much
So into therapy I headed. Oh that poor therapist who thought they had a case of broken heart coming to their door and instead received a hyperventilating, sobbing, snot covered broken human instead.
While the first one I visited didn’t turn out to be the therapist for me, she helped me in another way. She identified the mess I had been feeling inside, the inability for me to turn my brain off from the thoughts of him and the constant replaying of our life together (and our break) as more than simply overanalyzing.
I had been experiencing ruminating thoughts. They came up of their own volition and remained so negative and self-defeating that I couldn’t move on no matter how many runs, meetings or distractions I put on my schedule. My brain had locked onto them like the stereo in my car during college that refused to eject the Keith Urban CD and forced me to listen to “Days Go By” on repeat for months!
The good news: this could be fixed!
Sometimes You Need to Call In Reinforcements
With a combination of cognitive and medicinal therapy, I could get control of my thoughts again and move past Sad Channing to reclaim who I had been or redefine entirely who I wanted to be. The choice would be mine.
Now I’m not one to jump on the “fix it with a pill” bandwagon, but I also didn’t feel like fighting with one arm tied behind my back anymore either. If a medication out there could correct what a doctor (who I saw on referral from the therapist) determined was in fact a chemical imbalance, then fill that prescription please!
And so began my healing with Lexapro taken every night and weekly sessions with the second therapist I visited who proved to be the perfect fit for me and what I needed at the time. As weeks turned to months, these resources provided me with the control I needed to do the self work that would lead me to becoming the woman I am today – a woman I am damn proud to be.
Owning My Story
He may have broken me, but I rebuilt myself stronger, more confident and self-aware enough to know when I need help with ZERO shame or qualms asking for it.
To this day I continue to have sessions with my therapist, albeit biweekly rather than weekly, and have successfully weaned myself off the Lexapro. (A process MedShadow interviewed me about for this article.)
I used the Lexapro when I needed it and after it served its purpose, I moved on. Cognitive therapy continues to serve a purpose so it stays, though the frequency waxes and wanes as needed at the time.
Could I have gotten to this place of confidence, peace and truly happiness in my life without the medicine? Maybe. Would it have been a whole hell of a lot harder? No doubt. I am not one to shy away from a challenge (7x half marathoner training for a full marathon over here🙋🏻♀️), but I’m also strong enough to know when to call in reinforcements.
Just because we can do something alone doesn’t mean we should always have to do it alone.