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The Only Way Out

Hi all!

Long time, no see (or read… or is it write? Either way.)! I wanted to start this particular post off by saying thank you for being patient with me the last couple of months (all 9 of my fans, I see you).

When I say it’s been a season lately, it has been a heavy one. A season filled of rain and very few umbrellas. But that’s how life goes sometimes. I think there is great irony in the fact that as someone who has been so wonderfully tasked with a mental health blog, is currently struggling with my own mental health. And for the sake of being transparent and vulnerable, that’s a hard place to be. When you build your whole career around trying to help others, yet you feel like you constantly fail your own self… it makes you feel like a joke. Yet; as I was watching one of my favorite, terrible, binge-a-ble t.v. shows, I heard something that resonated with me. A character, voiced by Henry Winkler, was talking about the inevitable emotions about grief and running from your emotions. He stated “The only way out is through” and that one sentence both ripped my heart open and healed a piece of my soul.

There is a lot that has happened in recent months. Somethings, maybe, I will share with you when/if I feel brave enough to. But the biggest and most life-altering was the loss of my grandfather in May. If you know me, you know how close I was to my grandfather. I was often joked about being “just one of his kids” and honestly, that brought me so much pride. Even though my grandfather was sick for a while, I was always carelessly optimistic that he would pull through. That’s just what he did. My grandfather was an incredibly stubborn man. An amazing, selfless, caring man; but most definitely stubborn. I thought I had all the time in the world. Yet, when his health suddenly declined, I think I spent a good chunk of that time in denial as to how bad the situation was becoming. I was holding his hand when he took his last breath.

When I walked out of that room for the last time, I felt as if the air around me would never feel breathable again. Maybe it was because I had never experienced that type of loss before, but the grief was so… odd to me. I became hyper aware of how “normal” everyone else’s lives still appeared to be. Yet, mine would never be the same. I became jaded and angry in the fact that my life still had to continue and that I couldn’t simply put it on pause. I even felt guilty about grieving because I had a family to care for, a job to do, school to complete, etc. So, I tried to just sit my grief in a chair and throw a blanket on it. Out of sight, out of mind. Am I right?

It worked for a while. That is until it didn’t. I think the weird thing about feeling myself unravel is how well I was able to convince myself that I wasn’t. I could pretend that I was still okay. I was still composed. I was still fine. Because as long as I didn’t acknowledge the darkness below the surface, then the darkness just didn’t exist. And even after I was confronted with it, I still continued to deny it. It wasn’t until earlier this morning, I couldn’t drown out the darkness anymore. Instead of it looming beneath the surface, I was suddenly aware that I was drowning. The intrusive thoughts were now louder than my own voice of reason. I could no longer talk myself off that ledge. I had already fallen. To quote the ever so wise BoJack Horseman, “I've had a lot of what I thought were rock bottoms, only to discover another, rockier bottom underneath.” So, what do we do when we find ourselves at another rock bottom?

Well, as sucky as it is, we just have to go through it. That’s not really good advice is it? Nor is it a happy one. But sometimes life isn’t happy. Sometimes it’s just rock bottom. That’s not to say that I think that is all that it will ever be. I believe life is incredible. It’s filled with so much good and wonderful things. It’s just really hard to remember those things when it can also feel so gray, heavy and lonely. It’s hard to remember to celebrate life and love, when grief and loss also exist. It’s hard to exist in the present, when someone you love exists in the past. It’s hard to remember the sunshine, when all you can feel is the rocks at your feet. But be patient with yourself and keep trying. Pack a pair of comfortable shoes and keep going. Life is full of ups and downs. The highs and valleys.

It’s okay if you are just in the valley right now. I’m there too. But we have both got this... Together.

Kelcee Sitzes, M.S. is a graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Substance Abuse Disorders. She is employed with Counseling Associates as a Forensics QBHP/Mental Health Liaison and Care Coordinator. She is a wife, girl mom and a plant enthusiast.

If you need help or might need help, please reach out at:

Crisis Line: 988

Text to Chat Crisis Line: 988 (pretty cool new feature)

Arkansas Crisis Center:

Trevor Project: 1-888-488-7386

Trevor Project Text to Chat Crisis Line: 678678

AFSP Arkansas Chapter:

Arkansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center:



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