Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Some of you may be shocked or saddened to hear of everything I have been through lately.  But don't worry I am now getting the much needed help, and this time I need to do it right and stay on track with the help of friends, family, doctors and counselors. 

Most of you who know me probably see me as a happy, funny, fun-loving, bubbly kind of person who loves life.  That's who I used to be, and that's what I hope to get back to one day.  To be honest, it is really hard to pin-point when I really fell into depression/anxiety and why it even started.  I know after having my son Aidan, I definitely had Post-Partum Depression which led me to finding support through friends and counseling.  I did this for a couple of years until I felt better, or so I thought. 

I have had my ups and downs since then.  In the winter months it has always been a struggle for me, as I never enjoy being cold and seeing how dreary it is outside makes me feel even more depressed and excited for spring/summer.  I love the sun, flowers, birds singing and the daylight in the evening hours.  Even if I don't go outside, it just makes me feel better naturally. 

Last summer was the best as far as feeling really good goes, so I decided to go off the medication.  Not really talking to anyone about it, but thinking that I didn't need it anymore.  To be honest I hate taking medication for anything, I only like to take it as a last resort, since I know some of my family members have battled drug addiction.  I am absolutely terrified of falling down this path.  Even though my husband promises he will make sure that will never happen, and the doctors reassure me as well. 

I started a new job in the summer working in an office.  I was so excited considering I had always wanted to work in an office, but didn't have any prior education.  I had a feeling this was where I was meant to be and do for the rest of my life.  It didn't matter if it was for a cleaning company. 

The first few months went by like a blur, I had learned so much and took as many notes as possible.  After my probation period I realized things were starting to change.  I no longer felt like part of the team, no one ever asked me how I was doing anymore, or involved me in any of their work discussions.  But I still went and did my job. 

I noticed the relationship change between a co-worker and I. She had started treating me differently.  Always with rude remarks, belittling, humiliating me in front of other co-workers or trying to start arguments.  This started as once in a while, into happening every single day.  Throwing jabs at everything I did or said.  I felt like I couldn't do anything right.  It was getting so bad she would start asking about my home life, and trying to dictate how I should spend my money or make it seem like I was a horrible mom for going away for a couple days to visit friends. 

I explained to her that this was something I really enjoyed.  I started counting down the hours of work being over so I could run upstairs into my bedroom and either sleep or cry over the horrible day I just had.  My bed/bedroom started to become a safe haven where I could run away and isolate myself but then feeling guilty for not spending time with my family downstairs.  This went on for a few months, and I kept saying I wanted to get out of this rut but I wasn't sure how or what to do and why was I feeling this way. 

Towards the end of February I went away to Chicago for a couple days for an event, but really it was to hang out with my friends.  It was so much fun, we stayed in a haunted hotel called The Congress.  As a side trip we went to check out "The Bean" that you may have seen in movies.  It was definitely the highlight for me.  We had so many laughs, and good times even though it was short.  I was sad it had ended, but knew I would see them again in a month. 

When I came home I didn't have that depression slump like I normally did, which I thought was weird but maybe it was because I knew I had another event to look forward to.  I went back to work on Tuesday.  My co-workers asked how it went and I said it was fine.  Not really wanting to talk about it, because I was worried about them twisting my words, or just asking too much information so I kept quiet about it. 

Later that morning I had a panic attack. It came on so fast and sudden.  I haven't had a panic attack since my dad died, but I knew what it was as soon as it happened.  It felt like the walls were crumbling around me, and I was so depressed and scared.  I wanted to die, I kept thinking I need to run away and die.  This life is too hard for me, I can't do this anymore. 

One of my co-workers asked me what was wrong, I told him everything I had been going through at work, and how I was sick and tired of being depressed and I hated feeling the way I felt.  Meanwhile he had no idea I just cut myself several times on my arms.  It felt so good to cut, it was like a relief of the pain I had endured for so long, but after the relief went away I could feel the pain set in on my arms. 

As soon as Chad picked me up from work we went over to the hospital. As I walked up to the Psychiatric Ward which is called Archie Courtnall, I said to myself I'm not supposed to be here, this isn't for me.  How did I let myself get to this point? Were the doctors really going to help me? I was still dressed in my work clothes so they probably saw this person who looks well dressed in an odd place. 

I was interviewed by so many people throughout the day: a social worker, several doctors and psychiatrists.  They wanted me to stay overnight but I asked them if I could go home. They agreed as long as Chad was home with me.  I agreed to that as I didn't really trust myself. 

The next day was hard. I had no motivation or desire to get out of bed and I still had the same thoughts of not wanting to live or be around anymore.  I kept looking outside from my bed wondering how does the world keep revolving regardless of how I was feeling.  I don't really know what I would expect it to do otherwise, but it was a thought I had several times.  Like looking outside and seeing people driving in their cars, or going for walks talking and laughing.  How come I couldn't be like them?

On Thursday I ended up back in hospital again. This time I was hoping would be the last time.  It was much quieter this time. For some reason I felt safer being in hospital.  I had to go through the same ordeal as the first time, but this time was different. We had a better plan in place. 

The last few weeks have definitely pushed my limits. I went through a few weeks of not wanting to talk to anyone, still isolating myself, I had no desire for watching tv, playing computer games, household chores or going for walks so I had to start pushing myself. I decided to start small and socialize, then the next day go for a walk, or visit a friend for coffee.  The steps were hard to take, because all I could think about was my bed and sleeping all day. 

It has been several weeks now and even though it is still early, I am proud of myself for the small accomplishments I try to achieve everyday.  Thanks to my counselor who has me doing a checklist each day, I feel like it has been a good motivator.  Trying to talk myself into saying I can, instead of the negative thoughts.  Also deciding to go back on medication for my own good.  These are steps that may seem small to someone else, but these are big steps for me. 

I honestly got so tired of not being the "real" me putting on a face, showing I'm happy on the outside, but not on the inside.  That will take some time to heal and re-learn but I believe I will get there.  My hope is to be the "real" me with anyone and everyone.  Stand up for myself when I know something is wrong regardless of who it is and stop living in fear of what if. 

I am learning to not care about who likes/dislikes me.  I want to just love myself again.  I want to love looking at the mirror and being proud of myself and feeling good within myself.  I want people to know that if you are struggling with depression/anxiety I can totally relate and understand what you're feeling and going through.  It doesn't matter how old you are, where you're from, or how good of a job you have.  It can happen to anyone, at any time. 

The good news is there is help, but you have to seek it and have the support system behind you.  I can't thank my friends/family enough for everything they have done for me.  Whether it is sending me flowers, cards, cookies, and messages.  It has helped me see that it is worth living and I will come back from this stronger and healthier mentally and psychically.