I can’t take the noise.
Everything is SO damn loud.
The rage inside me builds. I can feel it rising to the top. It takes all of my energy to keep it from exploding. I am not strong enough to keep it in and it explodes from the very bottom of my lungs anyway. It doesn’t make the noise go away. Everything is still too damn loud. Nothing makes the noise go away because so much of the noise is in my head.
On that day it became too much.
It was a beautiful summer day and I was working from home.
I couldn’t concentrate. I tried to distract myself, but nothing was working. Nothing had been working for weeks. I went outside to take a break. It didn’t help.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a feeling of desperation I’d never felt before. I desperately needed to escape the noise. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I was looking for an answer to a question I didn’t know how to ask.
I was losing myself.
The noise was winning.
Everything went quiet and dark. I stood frozen in time believing the answer before me. It was quiet – the quiet I had so desperately been searching for.
In that moment all I wanted was to escape into quiet.
I was interrupted by something wet touching my hand. I looked down and there was my dog, Odin, nudging my hand with his nose. He gave it a lick when I looked at him. He looked up at me and nodded to the house as if he was telling me to go inside. We spent the rest of the day cuddled up on the couch.
In that moment I finally understood that I couldn’t get through any of this trying to be strong and taking all this on by myself.
It was still weeks before I told anyone about this and weeks more before I could bring myself to book an appointment with my therapist. I wasn’t even planning on telling her what happened. I was scared of what it would mean. I was scared of asking for help, from my therapist.
We did talk about it and surprise, surprise, it helped. Talking about it out loud helped, a lot. As much as it helped, at first it didn’t make my journey easier.
It was really frustrating.
Depression hit really hard.
Going to work took everything out of me.
In the months that followed I didn’t leave my house for much else.
In that time I did what I needed to take care of myself. I leaned on the supports I trusted the most. I didn’t always get the help I needed, but verbally saying “I need help” is still so hard. It took a while but day by day I eventually started feeling a little better. I started recognizing the early signs that I need a break before everything becomes too much and I shut down. It’s a work in progress. What works today may not work tomorrow. What “taking a break” means looks different depending on my symptoms. I’ve started to be a little more open and honest about my mental health. It helps knowing I have people on my side.
It helps knowing I have a dog on my side. A dog who is, perhaps a little more intuitive than I ever gave him credit for.
I hope to never again feel the way I did on that day and that is what motivates me to take better care of my mental health.
I will forever be grateful to the boy who gave me his paw and reminded me that help is there, even when I don’t feel like it is.