Friday, November 28, 2014

The one about mental illness.

I've been wanting to write about something for awhile that's become a huge thing in my life. My anxieties have mostly held me back from writing about it with fears of how it would be perceived, etc. But it's such an important topic and I want to let other people who may suffer from similar things know that they aren't alone. I'm just going to spit it out and hope it comes out coherent.

As long as I can remember I've suffered with anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed Major Depressive at the age of 13. I have severe insomnia. However, this is only partially about that. This more has to do with current events. After the birth of my son, Tristan, in January, it quickly became clear that there was something off with me. I struggled with severe depression to the point where I would consider the worst thing that you could consider. I, as I have said numerous times, have no insurance. My sisters and everyone around me became extremely concerned for my safety and well-being. Around May things got so bad I knew I had to do something. I found a free clinic, but the soonest they could get me in was September. I knew I couldn't wait that long. Things were bad. Scary bad. I began isolating myself. Starting fights with everyone around me to push them away from me.

I was alone and scared and severely mentally ill. I finally couldn't take things any longer. I made an appointment with my OB since it appeared that it all arose from the birth of Tristan. Through it all, I never had any issues with taking care of the kiddos, which is a miracle. If anything, I was overly focused on making sure their needs and wants were met at often my expense or the expense of others. The OB got me in as soon as possible, they talked about potentially checking me into the hospital if things got too bad between the time I called and the time they saw me. It was heartbreaking and scary to talk about truthfully on the phone. I worried a lot about how people would feel about me or if they would assume that I wasn't taking care of my kids. My kids are the entire thing that I lived for at that time and it was so fear provoking, that I don't even know what. Plus it was going to cost me $110 to see her. Anxieties were a rollin'.

I got into see my OB who diagnosed me with severe Post Partum Depression. She immediately put me on a medication and it helped some, but something still just wasn't right. I was having intense mood swings. I varied from so extremely depressed that I couldn't clean the house or do anything but sit on my phone all day and make sure the kids were happy to being so active that I felt like my mind was going a million miles a minute taking care of every possible chore with no regard for my physical exhaustion limit. During the amped up periods, I would have extreme irritability triggered by pretty much everything and would often get into fights for little to no reason. I felt like I was spiraling totally out of control and what I deemed as a "normal" mental state for myself no longer existed. I had to wait 4 months in an indescribable hell for the people around me and myself to get into the free clinic. They tried switching around my medications and it just was not working. Finally I was referred for a psych evaluation about 6 weeks ago.

The psych evaluation was long and dredged up a lot of things that have happened to me. I won't go into all of those here, but I've dealt with a lot of bad shit in my life. It was extremely tough for me to do, but I did it. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I with anxious tendencies and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This was so great to me in a way, because now I knew that I was feeling crazy because I was a little crazy, but it was fixable. They put me on a mood stabilizer and I've been powering my way through the side effects and trying to get myself right.

I just want other people out there to know that you're not alone. Mental illness is a real struggle that could have cost me and other people around me a lot. But, the most important thing that can be done when you realize something, "just isn't right", is get help. Not tomorrow. Today. Get help. Find resources. It's not worth losing everything that you are to avoid getting help that you need. You are worth it. Do it! Do it now! And if I can, I will help you! But please do it before it's too late. It may be the best and smartest decision you ever make along with the hardest.

Love always,

Alex

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