A few weeks ago, frustrated and tired, I decided to adjust my own medication. Not a move that I would recommend to anyone. That led to a plummet to rock bottom. All I could think about was how I couldn’t live another day feeling like “this”. Without meds, I can’t function, but with them I feel drugged, foggy and numb. I’ve been on 12 different medications in the past 5 years for depression. Some better than others, but overall, I was honestly just tired of feeling the way I feel. Major Depressive Disorder has taken over my life and it seems no amount of talk therapy or medication is making progress as fast as I would like it to. My impatience and lack of better judgment got in the way and I started messing with my meds myself.
A week and a half ago, I had a total meltdown in my therapist’s office who suggested I needed to come inpatient to readjust my meds and for safety concerns. I left his office with the intention of going home to pack a bag and coming back to the hospital to be admitted. Here I was again. This would be my 6th admission in either a residential treatment facility or inpatient mental-health treatment hospital and I felt only minimally better than I did the day of my first admission 18 months earlier.
So, I called my therapist. Crying about how I couldn’t do this anymore. Crying about how miserable I am and how I feel like I’m getting nowhere. Crying about how my husband was going to be left yet again to pick up my slack (if I was away in the hospital) because I can’t do the things I’m meant to do. I can’t function on a daily basis and get simple tasks done. And then (thank you, wooded on a hilly road) my call dropped. My therapist freaked out and called 911 and within minutes 4 Sheriffs stood on my doorstep.
They found a very upset and tired me. I just wanted to escape, to sleep it all away- a common coping mechanism for me. So I had taken a couple extra Xanax in hopes of just falling asleep. With this information, they loaded me up and took me to the hospital where I was held for 72 hours on suicide watch.
I didn’t truly want to die. I have a great life and a family I love. I have 2 great kids and a husband whom I adore. I don’t ever want to die, I just want out. I want out of this head that I’m in; the constant anxiety, the ruminating thoughts, the depression and the constant desire to sleep life away. It’s no way to live. I want to wake up happy and enjoying life. I want to be able to love my kids the way they should be loved. I want to be here, in the moment. THIS moment. I want to feel ok. I want to not feel like I’m constantly running from the thoughts in my own mind. I just want to be in this moment, right now, able to see clearly.
So, why am I telling you this? I’ve been home from the hospital a week now. I’m back on a somewhat decent medication regimen. I feel like I can somewhat function again. I share these things so that people understand, sufferers and non-sufferers alike. So that the people who do suffer know they aren’t alone. I sat with a friend who admitted herself to the hospital for severe depression not long ago and I know that just being there, even in the silence, helped her because she knew that I knew how she felt. She knew that I knew how troubled her heart was. I knew. So I share my story so that you can know too. So that you can know you are not alone.
Is there more to my story? Yes, much. Regardless of how you got here, know that you are not alone; that your depression, anxiety, mental illness of any kind or any other struggle is not something that you must suffer through alone.
Most of society does not understand. This is obvious and apparent in the stack of medical statements, bills and papers from my insurance company saying they don’t cover this or that for my treatment. They don’t view it as a true medical issue needing medical treatment. Some days, I think I would be better off having cancer. At least then they’d cover the medical bills and that would be one less worry I’d have.
Some people try and find solace in their faith and churches. Even the people there won’t always understand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that if I “just prayed more” that I’d feel better. Mental illness and spirituality are separate things. They do not go hand in hand. That’s like telling a cancer patient to pray harder to get better. Without medical intervention, there’s not a whole lot of hope for survival for either one. Faith just leaves us with a light of hope that at the end, better things will come.
So this is why I share. This is why I write. This is why I’ve spent 2+ years writing a book that will hopefully be ready soon- just so that people like me, and like some of my friends, will know that they are not alone; that someone DOES understand. Unless you’ve been through the pits of depression or other mental illness, you don’t know what it’s like. But I do. And I know plenty of others who do. They may not be as bold as to stand up and say something about it, but I will. Because, I’m tired of being made to feel like I’m “crazy” or there’s something “wrong” with me. I’m no different than the kidney patient at the other end of the hospital hall. I’m sick too. It’s valid. It’s real. And I know I am not alone.~Lindsay