WARNING: This could be triggering for some.
As a child I had anxiety. If my parents were out for dinner I could’nt sleep until they returned home. I worried about everything. Absolutely everything. I just thought everyone was like me and because I internalized so much my parents weren’t fully aware of my anxiety. I was then and have returned to being a very positive bubbly person. But for some years I sunk into a dangerous and dark mindset which was actually threatening my own well being.
After my son was born I had post-natal depression. The only support I was offered by a GP was anti-depressants. The medication was just a band aid and it fell off time and time again. I had to increase my dosage. I had to change anti-depressants. I had to increase the dosage again and then again. Still I was seeing only my GP. I decided to see a psychologist and found her to be very helpful. Sadly she passed away and I felt alone again. My GP told me he would not increase my dosage and I should see a psychiatrist. I ignored him which was a critical oversight by me.
About nine years ago I started to cry and I kept crying. I couldn’t stop. My husband and my Mum took me to a public hospital. It was a weekend and nobody from the Mental Health area worked on weekends. I missed that memo about not breaking down out of hours. So in the midst of a dark rainy night and me scared and very unwell along with my husband and Mum tried to find our way around a closed and badly lit private psychiatric facility.
This was the beginning of many admissions into this hospital. I met and made lovely friendships. Many I still have contact with now. I tried cognitive behaviour therapy, electric convulsive treatment (suffering a mild short term memory loss I’m told will return but doubt it after so long). I started a day program two days a week. I prefer not to share the name online due to friends I know still attending. I also saw a mental health nurse who practiced ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy). I loved ACT the most. It was very realistic and reminded me that the way I feel right now will not be the way I feel in the next moment. It’s not that simplistic but I really found a way to use that treatment to help me become stable and slowly repair my damaged soul.
I have a history I will not share. It involves a trauma that is only something that my family knows about. It wasn’t a lengthy trauma but my mental health care team all agree that this most likely has caused the dark pervasive mindset I lived with for so long. I nearly killed myself. I didn’t attempt. I had a plan though. I won’t share that either. My husband heard it once and that was bad enough. Thankfully he listened and acted.
I fought so hard to become well. I was treated very badly by a few people along the way which made it even harder to recover. These people taught me the value of steadfast loving family and friends. I know at my most unwell I doubted I had one person who liked or loved me. That was not because of anybody’s actions but instead because of the horrible feeling of being unloved that I had. To this day I am very needy and at times mildly paranoid. I struggle if I don’t hear from someone for awhile. I forget people are busy and that they aren’t even thinking about me. I forget that people care and the right people I need in my life are on call 24/7.
As I write this crying with absolute relief and gratitude I just want to say that I know that I did not do this alone. I know I had people rooting for me whether by being present in my life or watching on the sidelines.
I am now in constant awe at what happiness means for me. I can’t believe I am the same person. I can’t believe that I can now manage anxiety. That it is possible to drive somewhere new without a practice run. That I don’t have to arrive an hour early to anywhere I go. That I can dance and sing loudly because it makes me happy and I don’t care what people think anymore. I am not longer the person who sometime ago thought my family would be better off without me. Suddenly everything interests me. I am curious and I want to learn. I want experience everything. Sadly my wallet disagrees with this.
Helping my son with his business and then starting a social group for autistic kids and teens along with being Mum to my daughter has been the absolute most rewarding things I have ever done. Having a great relationship with my husband is important and being able to support him for a change means so much to me.
To my friends who I know are still gripped by dark days I wish for you to have what I have. It pains me so much to know that you are still fighting something so hideous. I just want you all to know that you have to hang in there. Find a way to get through the pain and ground yourself by surrounding yourself with the people who love you. No matter what you think they will never be better without you. I would not be better without you.