Thank you so much for your loving and supportive words following this post. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on what my next ‘brave baby step’ might be and what parts of this very personal story I am ready to share publicly. And I honestly was not sure — until yesterday, when I sat down to write ad copy for the Recharge and instead the following words began to flow.
(Just a quick head’s up as it is not a regular part of this space, there are swears in this post. I’ve chosen not to edit them out. They, and the emotions behind them, are part of my story.)
I took this photo yesterday morning, with much gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me, my ability to see and appreciate it, and the deep peace I feel.
* * * * *
Tuesday, May 22, 2012:
With tears streaming down my face and my heart racing, I sat in my car and dialed my doctor’s cell phone number. My voice quivered and cracked as I did my best to leave a reasonably coherent voicemail message.
“Hi, John. This is Erin Goodman. I need to come in and see you. (Long pause punctuated with sniffling.) I . . . umm . . . I really think I need some help.”
I continued, letting him know that I was not in a crisis or in need of emergency treatment but — having been there before — I could see where the path I was on was leading, and I knew I needed help.
A few days later I sat in his office, with tears again streaming down my face.
“Tell me what’s going on,” he said softly, passing me a box of Kleenex.
I wiped my tears, loudly honked my nose (laughing nervously at the absurdity of the scene and what a mess I was), took a deep breath, and told him what I was experiencing.
* * *
As my doctor, he knows my history.
We’ve talked at great length about my often fickle creative mind and how challenging it is for me to focus and follow through (or on the flip side to un–focus and disengage when I become absorbed in a project).
He knows about my panic attacks and that I can’t get anywhere near an airplane (or crowded subway) without significant pharmaceutical support.
He knows that I am predisposed to depression and that I experienced severe clinical depression when I was in my mid-twenties.
He knows that for the past decade I have (mostly) been able to manage my moods with healthy (a.k.a. real) foods, regular exercise, yoga, Reiki, spiritual healers, soul friends, beach walks and my own special blend of herbal teas, homeopathic remedies and flower essences.
And when he heard me describe what I was currently going through — the insomnia, the fog of malaise, the sensation of a lead blanket weighing me down, the overwhelming desire to run away from my life, the frequent and intense panic attacks — he also knew exactly which medications could help me.
* * *
I sighed and I thanked him, fumbling with the multiple prescription scripts I was now holding in my hands, feeling a mix of shame, fear, failure, relief and hope.
My mind was spinning. What the FUCK??? How did I get here??? I *teach* people how to breathe and relax and cope with stress in natural ways. Just exhale. return to center., right? Shouldn’t I be able to meditate and positively affirm my way though this shit?
As if he could read my mind, he said . . .
“This is not a failure, Erin. This is why these medications exist. This is why good people, with good hearts and families just like yours and mine, dedicate their lives to creating just the right chemical combinations so that YOU can function in your day-to-day, and take care of your children and do the good work you are here to do.
This doesn’t have to be forever, but this is what you need right now.”
I sniffled and sighed a heartfelt, “Thank you.”
And then we hugged for a moment.
“You are going to be okay, Erin,” he whispered. “We’re going to get you through this.”