There’s Always Light at the End of the Tunnel

October 20, 2021

By Salsa Utariani

Defi “Salsa” U. (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Indonesia. She is a college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering who’s passionately raising mental health awareness. Her passion for literature inspired her to write a winning essay in celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day. Salsa does a lot of creative writing in her spare time, mostly, fiction. Working as part of a team has always excites her, and as such, Salsa had served in her student council for two periods back-to-back. As a natural-born leader, Salsa is eager to motivate others to grow and care for their wellbeing.

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Trigger Warning: Today’s story contains descriptions and information about suicidal ideation, which may be triggering to survivors or to the family and/or friends of victims. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 for assistance.

My therapist diagnosed me with depression.

As I mentioned in my previous CK Story, You Matter, I did a lot of self-harm, and I am struggling with intrusive suicidal thoughts. After years of battling with myself for years on end, I finally found the courage to seek professional help.

I finally found the strength to prioritize myself and seek the help I’ve been denying. My best friend offered to accompany me for my first session, knowing that I was scared. On August 3rd, she walked me down the local Public Healthcare making sure I didn’t feel lonely. I was the first patient on the list, so it didn’t take too long for my first session to start.

I remembered walking to the room with my heart thumping, beating loudly in my ears. I second-guessed myself — thinking that I might be overreacting, that I made these issues up. But I pushed it aside. I took a deep breath, entered the room, and sat on the chair across from my therapist. She greeted me warmly, introduced herself, and asked me how I felt that day.

I started shaking.

I didn’t know what to do and where to start. Her question struck like lightning. It took me a few seconds to compose myself, and I started by opening up about the suicidal thoughts I had earlier that week. Everything flew with ease right after that. I was able to share every single detail that had been haunting me for years. I cried ugly tears throughout the session. I couldn’t care any less. The only thing that I cared about was how to let go of this particular ghost of the past. I sat there for an hour or so, pouring my bottled-up problems.

My therapist gave me a lot of advice about managing my emotions since I tend to dwell too much on certain kinds of feelings. She told me to start journaling, to write my feelings and emotions down. She suggested that I turn my emotions into something meaningful. I’ve been writing since a young age, so executing this suggestion wasn’t hard. I love it so much. She also advised me to destroy papers if I had any intention to hurt myself. I did everything she suggested to do, and it’s safe to say I now had more control over my mental stability.

I am writing this story to share my personal experience to show that therapy isn’t as bad as you think. Quite the contrary, it feels liberating for me. There’s a small part of me that feels glad I got diagnosed. Not that I want to glorify mental illness, but it was a clear sign that what I felt was real. I didn’t make any of it up. It was a sign that my feelings were valid. Always is, always have, and always will be.

Now that things have been sorted out, my only job left is healing. I’m going to try one more time. Mental health is not a destination nor a goal. It’s a journey. Recovery isn’t overnight, and being proud of what we have accomplished is the only thing that matters. One day, we will be happy with ourselves and finally living the best life we never thought we’d have. I believe there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

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