It was my 39th birthday. On the surface, I should have been so very happy. I was working as the director of psychological services for an outpatient pain clinic, receiving an excellent salary. I truly loved going to work, every single day. I felt like I was genuinely impacting the lives of my many outpatients.
I worked with an absolutely brilliant team of anesthesiologists, physiatrists, neurologists, and neuroradiologists. I had recently received advanced training in biofeedback interventions for chronic pain syndromes. I was continuing to learn so very much, every single day. Only a few days ago, I had learned that I had successfully passed my psychology licensure examination, a grueling test that I had spent the entire previous year preparing to take. I was finishing teaching Abnormal Psychology, for upper level undergraduates, at a nearby private university.
Just that day, I had delivered a solo presentation at a regional pain conference, regarding psychological pain management strategies. I received several compliments about my presentation. I returned home to a comfortable, spacious apartment, in a nearby complex that was only five minutes away from my job.
Nevertheless, the familiar demons of my long-term struggle with depression were truly haunting me. I felt paralyzingly alone. My personal life was far from the way that I wished it to be.
Despite appearing to nearly have it all on the surface, I was truly hurting. My fifteen-year-old daughter was continuing to live with my parents, in Upstate New York. I desperately missed her. My medical problems had proved to be just too much for my significant other at the time to handle. So, I ended up crying that evening, behind closed doors.