Dec 5, 2018
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
It was in November 2017 when everything in my life came crashing down around me. When my world went dark, it was like a light switch being flicked off.
One day I was managing life fine, the next I was being sucked into a great, dark hole of panic and depression. I lasted less than a week at work and I was sent home on sick leave. I could barely function, let alone work.
My family doctor, as concerned as he was for my well-being, was completely out of his element. The prescriptions he gave me actually only served to worsen the problem. I went to the emergency room at my local hospital, desperately seeking help, but our hospital doesn’t even have a psych ward or a psychiatrist on staff, and the best the crisis team could do was send me back to my family doctor.
I could barely function, let alone work.
I expected to be off work for a week or two. But two weeks became three, and I ended up taking the full fifteen weeks of allowed sick leave before I returned to work. At this point I was feeling somewhat “normal” again and mistakenly thought things would be fine at work.
After the first two weeks of being back to work, I started to slide. I started waking up with increasing levels of anxiety which worsened at work. I started having panic attacks and terrible mood swings. I took Ativan throughout the day to try and get me though, but they made me tired and my work sloppy. At the end of two months, things were so bad inside my head that I could hardly get out of bed in the morning, and I was barely making it through the work day. One morning I woke up and the anxiety and depression were gripping me so badly that my mind was literally stuck in a loop saying, “I need to go to work…but I can’t go to work,” over and over. I was paralyzed by my fear and panic.
I had no idea what to do. I leaned over to my wife, “Take me to the hospital. I need to go to the hospital.”
I went to the local emergency room, desperate and looking for answers. I waited for six hours and was given none. I was offered a teleconference with a psychiatrist from another hospital in a month, and told I could attend an information group on Thursday nights. I can remember sitting in that room with the crisis counselor, tears spilling down my cheeks, thinking, “Don’t you understand? I need help, right now. My family needs me!”
I no longer wanted to live.
This however was the best my local health care system had to offer, and by Monday I was sicker than ever and I was unemployed.
Things spiraled down from there. The teleconference appointment produced no good results. The depression and anxiety got worse and eventually suicidal thoughts were creeping in to my mind. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry. I was losing all hope. I no longer wanted to live.
Eventually my wife suggested that we visit the emergency room in the neighboring county, as we were told that they had a psychiatrist on staff. So we made the trip. Again we sat in the ER for about six hours before we saw a doctor. I asked him about seeing the crisis team. He said it would be a week. I asked him about seeing the psychiatrist. He said it would be 12 – 18 months. I told him I was thinking about killing myself. He sent me home.
Looking back now I can see the signs of depression.
It was only my family and my faith that kept me from suicide over the next few months. But then, by what can only be described as a miracle, a close friend found a psychiatrist who would see me within the week. It was a three hour drive away, but I was too desperate to even care. He has been my lifeline in this, keeping regular appointments and proper care. He has diagnosed me with GAD, major depression and bipolar. He says that my depression stems from my childhood, and it is because of a lack of proper care and treatment that I ended up where I am.
Looking back now I can see the signs of depression and anxiety, all the way back to my childhood. Mostly I survived through substance abuse or distraction, but eventually it caught up with me. This is why I am a firm believer that education is so important. Thank you #SickNotWeak for the resources you have given access to, and the people you have educated and helped. I am one of those people.