Aug 1, 2016
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with depression.
I was put on small doses of meds. And life went on.
At the the age of 35, I got real low. I didn’t know what was going on or about any of the resources out there. As I got worse and couldn’t get out of bed or anything, I lost hope and attempted suicide. At this point I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 rapid cycling and generalized anxiety disorder. When you’re in this state, you have no idea the impact you are making. All you want is the pain to be over with. I was yelled at, given so much grief, and was told, ‘How dare I. Do you know how we would of felt?’ But with no regard to my feelings. Then I went to a treatment centre that has had a great success rate in helping people. They specialize in mood disorders and other things. They saved my life in giving me the tools to cope. I was on a lot of medication, but I was fine with that since I was stable. I stayed like that for 10 years and saw my psychiatrist and social worker on a very regular basis. This kept me on an even keel.
They saved my life in giving me the tools to cope.
But then, at the end of May in 2014, I passed out at work. Apparently my heart did a funny thing and wasn’t beating right. But after a few days in the hospital they couldn’t find anything wrong and said it was my psychiatric meds. I was taken off them cold turkey and that is where life really changed. They tried 5 different meds and nothing worked. I isolated myself for over a year, eating only a banana a day during this time, and lost 130 lbs. I was suicidal and put in the hospital for 2 1/2 months and then spent 2 months back at the treatment centre.
Through all this time I felt lost, hopeless, that no one cared. It’s been my experience that when you are diagnosed, people turn the other way. I cried and cried for someone to visit or call. I wanted human contact. Even my family avoided me. This is when I found the most wonderful doctor and he changed my meds. What a great success! It took 9 months but you can only increase them in small doses over time. I still had many obstacles to overcome. To turn the isolation around so I could get out. I took many trips out with others and then after 6 months, my stubbornness kicked in and I decided that I wasn’t going to allow this to control my life. I found that by me taking these baby steps I was able to conquer this isolation.
There is always hope and help.
I’m struggling right now because they took me off a med, but it was critical that I come off it. This has caused me to spiral down. They continue to work on my meds and I’m hopeful I will get back on track soon. There is always hope and help. This illness will never be cured and can be life threatening, but it can be managed with meds, therapy, doctors, social workers etc. There is always a solution, you just have to keep looking until you find it. Living with this illness will never be easy and I struggle every day. A lot of the time I would never give my mental illness up. It’s what has made me so unique, compassionate, caring, and loving of others – even strangers. I find the good in all people. I understand mental illness and can legitimately say that. I encourage people to visit, call, invite them out. I never get offended if they say no – it might just be a bad day – so I’ll continue to try and reach that person no matter what. Eventually they will surprise you and go. Just the invitation alone means a lot to a sufferer. I know it would of meant a lot to me. I still struggle with everyday life and the reality is that I always will. You learn to cope. Suicidal thoughts? I have many of them. But I have learned to deal with them, and know I have the resources to help me if needed. I encourage everyone to make a safety plan so if these thoughts are coming in. Have a piece of paper you can pull out of your pocket with phone numbers for help, doctors, family members – anyone you feel comfortable calling and talking to, so they can get to you to help. It has helped me in the past and I still carry my piece of paper.