Not long after I pressed publish on my last blog post I crashed. At that time of writing, I was in the middle of an all-out war within myself after experiencing adult bullying at a local Moms group. It was a war of wanting to live and wanting to die. There was something about being rejected and bullied after such a traumatic life event that pushed me over the edge of reality.
Thankfully, in this season, I have given myself freedom in speaking freely with where I am at emotionally. Obviously, wanting to die because of how people treat you or gossip about you shouldn't be. But because I was already taking the risk of reaching out to find community in the midst of rebuilding, it ripped that scab of not feeling okay or normal right off. After much discussion with my counselor and my physicist, I knew that their advisement was some of the best advice I could get on what I should do. Their advice was to complete an Intensive Outpatient Program at a Mental Health Hospital. When I heard those words "Mental Health Hospital" I was completely against it. Why? Well, because I thought I had my *ish together. But the reality was that I didn't, and I had to face that. I wasn't against it because I thought it was bad in general. I just didn't think that it was for me because, well, we all know "I got this". Speaking of the term "I got this", I have learned that it can literally lead to death. There is not anyone in this world thats "got it" altogether or doesn't need help somewhere. So on September 23, 2016 I checked into an Intensive Outpatient Program at a Mental Health Hospital here in Tucson. As I said before, I was highly against it. But now that I am close to graduating from the program I can say that it has helped and I have learned vast amounts of information. Especially on coping (specifically my coping), with anxiety and PTSD.
So for a moment, let's talk about the bullying and gossip that got me there. You would think that bullying as a term or action that would end with high school, but it doesn't. These last 2 months I have dealt a lot with those 2 terms. Not necessarily with the people that do it or did it to me, but how it affects me. I am quiet, reserved, and factual and sometimes with being that way people feel that they have a right to twist and skew that for their own good. I have realized that going back and looking at my actions, reasons why, and the facts of what happened during that situation can help me in grounding myself. I also realize that if others who choose to believe the gossip or judge off of what others say they aren't worth my time.
You're possibly thinking how is it that easy to move on? It's not. Being bullied was actually the catalyst of suicidal thoughts for myself. It added to the hurt of not feeling okay with panic attacks and PTSD. These women who had a glimpse of me were basing their thoughts or what they would tell others off of that vulnerable moment of a panic attack. Which for a while was hard to think about. Then, as I sat down and talked things out I realized that the bullying and judgment that was happening to me happened to be over small things. Small things that were misconstrued into bigger things. Things like having a panic attack in reaction to how someone was treating me was construed into aggressive behavior. Mainly, because I tried to leave and stand up for myself at the same time. Saying no to a stranger who asked to hold my baby during a time of getting food. Me playing on my phone before the group getting started. Then another moms comments were added in saying I ended up on "aggressive" and on "bad" terms with our previous church home. Even though the person relaying the information was not witness to why I left. But it equated into reasons why I wasn't allowed to attend the Moms group anymore until I apologized. It was hard, but you can see these are small things that got to me. Because I was doing something abnormal for me as far as reaching out to other moms where I was in need of a community. It took some time to realize where I was coming from and how others interrupted it, that's where I realized I needed to move on. Because I couldn't change their viewing of me or how they would talk about. Anyone in this position is completely out of control -- it's okay to reach out and get help from someone outside of the situation and it's okay to be angry that it happened to you.
The great thing that came from the Intensive Outpatient Program and this bullying was that people surrounded me. People gave me so much grace as they sat with me in that dark time, they handed me tissues as I lost my junk, called me just to make sure that I was okay, they stood with me as the police were repeatedly called, and they encouraged me and stood with me as I stood for myself. It was one of the most empowering moments in my life because the community and support that I had.
People say that once you hit rock bottom that there is only going up from there. When I initially thought of that saying I thought it would be like one of those graphs that they show where the arrow just catapults into the sky. For me, as I journeyed into the last few months it was a slow army crawl. Sadly, there's no other way to describe the last few months just slow and cautious moving towards things important to me.
Slowly I started a new job, I found friendships where I least expected it, I pressed publish on items that have been sitting in Evernote, I processed all that I learned about myself...slowly & painfully, I slowly opened my design shop, I started volunteering, slowly...and slowly, but surely learned to love who I am...quirks and all.
I graduate next week from the IOP - other than college and labor this will be one of the few things I have fully completed. I am excited to free up 12 hours of week and I am excited to see what comes from this experience in my life, but I am going to miss where I am able to process day to day things with someone. Oh, and if you're wondering the panic attacks, anxiety, shakes or flashbacks... they haven't magically quit since this, but I have learned how to cope and to challenge my thoughts with them.