I’m Dani Ward,

and I do lots of things.

I start therapy today.

I’ve been going to the free clinic every other week since I first became a patient in January. After literally 6 years of almost never going to the doctor, this has felt really excessive…but also has driven home to me how sick I really am. Since my time there, I’ve gotten my asthma and allergies mostly managed. When I get a sinus infection, as I often do, I can treat it right away. I was given birth control pills and when that wasn’t enough to stop the most worrying symptoms of my PCOS, I was given an IUD. We’re working on getting my anemia under control (I’ve received bi-weekly iron injection for a few months), along with whatever is causing me to be so deficient in various vitamins. I’ve been given the medications that help keep my migraines manageable, for the first time in years. I even have an appointment with a rheumatologist in July to discuss the possibility (probability?) of fibromyalgia, or another similar syndrome.

And now, today, I am also starting to see a psychiatrist (who is also a psychologist, so I get the best of both worlds).

I’m terrified, honestly. My experiences with therapy have not been good. They were never voluntary, and the kind of therapy was never helpful.

It’s hard not to look at this as admission that I’m broken. That I’m crazy. That I’m irreversibly fucked up.

But I’m trying to be hopeful. I’m trying to tell JerkBrain and the scared little kid inside of me that mental illness isn’t a perjorative. That I’m doing something right here. That needing professional help isn’t defeat.

But I’m still scared. I’m so tense, I have a migraine. I’ve written up lists of things I don’t want to forget in case I lose my words, and I’m just shaking like a leaf and almost want to cancel the appointment.

I’m not going to, of course.

I just…needed to say this, out loud, since I want to live openly and honestly. I am going to therapy today. I don’t know what to expect. I’m terrified it’ll be as awful as it was when I was a teenager.

But I’m hopeful for more. I’m hopeful for better. I’m hopeful that one day, I’ll be able to manage my mental health in a productive way that helps me feel whole and healthy, rather than just barely scraping by as I’ve done for way, way, way too long.

I’m cautiously, ever so cautiously, hopeful.

UPDATE June 2:

It went well, I think. It wasn’t actually therapy as I thought it would be, just psychiatry. (Not “just,” but you know what I mean.) There were no surprises. Pretty much it was, “What brings you here?” “I think I have these things.” *series of questions determining why I think that* “Hey guess what, you have these things.” Way less scary while also being very scary. He didn’t discount anything I said, he didn’t disbelieve anything I said. I have two different kinds of depression (persistent depressive disorder and whatever kind is worse and makes you suicidal sometimes), generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. It’s all “official” now. He gave me an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication, and we’ll follow up in a month to see how I’m doing on the medicine.

No one was kidding about how tired and sad I’d be the next day, though. I feel like I’ve run a marathon. My whole body aches, and I’ve been shaking off and on all day. There’s a cacophony of emotions, but mostly I’m just tired.


  • Amy Blackmore

    Not sure if this helps or not, but you are not alone. I’m also starting with a new counselor after having some pretty bad experiences before. Something one of my professors taught me: Not every professor is right for every student. Applies to counseling as well. I hope this person is a good match for you, but if not, I hope you are able to find the person who is. And in case you need it, RAINN has an online chat feature (something I find easier than talking on a phone to a stranger and can be found at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/). Hope you are well tonight.

  • Thank you <3 I hope your new counselor is a really wonderful fit for you. I do need to check out RAINN at some point. I think it could help, but not sure if I can handle the emotional fallout right now. But soon. Thank you. Best of luck!

  • Chantilly Alberti

    Hang in there! I’m proud of you! It’s not easy for sure but it sure is nice to have someone listen and believe you, you know what I mean? Hoping the meds help!

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