‘I thank the stars we are strong enough to beat this’

Accept not being OK; no shame in asking for help



It took Molly Wilk 19 years to seek help — from attending therapy to learning how to combat her panic attacks and depressive episodes.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

I wanted to center this story on my experiences with imposter syndrome. And even as I sit down to write this, I tell myself that my story is not important enough, loud enough, impactful enough. 

I grew up denying that I needed help. I excused every panic attack, every flip of my stomach, every intrusive thought as a universal experience. I degraded myself to the point of believing I was not deserving of the help I so badly needed. 

When friends told me I should look into doing something about how I was feeling, I let their comments go in one ear and out the other. I could not accept that even a licensed professional would care enough about me to want to help. 

I continued this cycle for 19 years. It was only when I could no longer suppress my emotions in public that I decided I was ready to do something. 

Let me rephrase: It was only when I felt I was burdening more than just myself with my mental illness that I decided I needed help. 

After 19 years, I sat in a therapist’s office for the first time and rated how I was feeling. I lied, thinking that if I answered honestly, she wouldn’t believe it was that bad. 

She never told me I was normal, she never said I was not in need of help. She told me I was getting the help I so badly needed and deserved. I could not believe the pain I had inflicted upon myself by belittling my own experiences. I would never wish that pain on anyone. 

From then on, I started getting help. I tested out different therapists and therapies. I found ways to combat panic attacks and depressive episodes, and I leaned on the people I knew would support me.

However, this is not a piece about how I’ve overcome the years of suffering. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that happiness yet. I love reading survivors’ stories and knowing that there is hope on the other side, but I’ve also found it so hard to understand why I have not been able to find that happiness. 

So for the others not quite there either, I’m writing this to say that I am right there with you. There is no shame in not being okay. There is no shame in going to therapy. There is no shame in helping yourself.  

A few months ago, my manager told me something I will always hold on to. He told me that he thanks the stars every day that he is the one who has to experience this type of pain because while he cannot speak for other people, he is certain he is strong enough to survive.

And so, while I badly wish we did not have to feel this way, I thank the stars we are strong enough to beat this.