Aug 18, 2016
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
Diagnosed with depression at the age of 21. Was on small doses of meds and life went on. At the age of 35, I got real low and I didn’t know what was going on with my body or about any of the resources out there. As it started to get even worse, the motivation to get out of bed or do anything just seemed to disappear. I lost hope and attempted suicide. At this point I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 rapid cycling and generalized anxiety disorder.
When in this state, you have no idea the impact you are making on other people. All you want is the pain to be over with. I was yelled at, given much grief and constantly asked, “How dare you. Do you know how we would have felt but had no regard to our feelings”. I went to Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, which has great success rate in helping people. They specialize in helping people with mood disorders. They saved my life by giving me the tools to cope. I was on quite a bit of medication but I was fine with that since I was stable and stayed like that for 10 years.
Throughout my entire life I felt lost, hopeless, that no one cared.
That whole time I saw my psychiatrist and social worker on a fairly regular basis. This kept me on an even keel. Then near the end of May 2014, I passed out at work. Apparently my heart did some funny things and wasn’t beating right but after a few days in the hospital they couldn’t find anything wrong and said it was probably my meds so I was taken off them cold turkey. This was where my life really changed, they have tried many different types of meds and nothing was working. I was isolated for 18 months and was eating only a single banana a day during this time, losing 130 lbs. I was suicidal so was put in a hospital for 2 1/2 months and then I spent 2 months in Homewood. Throughout my entire life I felt lost, hopeless, that no one cared. It’s been my experience that when you are diagnosed with a mental illness, people turn the other way.
I cried and cried for someone to visit or call. I needed real human contact, someone to actually communicate with. Even my family avoided me. This is when I found the most wonderful doctor who really seemed to care. He changed my meds and what a great success they was. It took 9 months since you can only increase the dosage a little bit over time. I still had many obstacles to overcome to remove myself from this encompassing isolation. At first, I would only take trips outside with others at Homewood and then after 6 months my stubbornness kicked in, saying I wasn’t going to allow the isolation to control my life. I found I was able to slowly conquer the isolation by taking baby steps.
I’m struggling right now because they changed up my medication to get me off one of my meds that too strong for continuous use. This has caused me to spiral down for a while. They continue to work on my meds and I’m hopeful I will get back on track soon. I know that there will always be hope and help from those around me.
This illness will never be cured and can be life threating but it can also be managed with meds, therapy, doctors and social workers. There is always a solution; you just have to keep looking till you find it. Living with this illness will never be easy and I struggle everyday. But I would never give my mental illness up; it has made me so unique, compassionate, caring, loving of others even with strangers. I always look for the good in all people. I understand the struggles and dilemmas people go through with mental illness.
I personally know that just the invitation alone means a lot to a sufferer.
I encourage loved ones of sufferers to visit, call, and invite these people out. Don’t get offended if they say no because it might just be a bad day but continue to try reaching that person no matter how many times it takes. Eventually they will surprise you and go. I personally know that just the invitation alone means a lot to a sufferer. I still struggle with handle everyday life and the reality is, I always will. You learn to cope.
I still have many suicidal thoughts. I have learnt to deal with them and know I have the resources to help me if needed. I encourage everyone to make a safety plan by writing down resources, phone numbers, family members or anyone else you feel comfortable calling and talking to. That piece of paper will always be there for you if you ever feel those thoughts are becoming too much for you to handle yourself. It has helped me in the past and I still carry my piece of paper with me everywhere I go.