It’s New Years Eve, which means we take this time to look back at the past year, make resolutions and celebrate. This year I find myself having great rumination. This New Years marks a type of anniversary for me. My depression and anxiety had hit an extreme low(or high depending on how you look at it). I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I was hit with such a “force” I could no longer remain standing and act as though I was fine. I couldn’t stop the panic, I couldn’t stop the fear, I couldn’t stop the need to escape. I shut myself in our dark bedroom alone and tried to block out the overwhelming fear of simply being alive. Every minute that went by felt like hours. The fear had to leave or I did. At that point I realized the fear was stronger than I was. I slipped my shoes on, grab my keys and left our house. I didn’t say a word to my husband or our children(who were downstairs). I drove straight to our hospital and signed myself in. I didn’t know what to tell them, I had no idea how to explain myself. How do you tell someone you want to kill yourself but you don’t want to die. I don’t really remember what I said. I’m sure I was looked down upon, viewed as weak and/or completely crazy, but that didn’t change anything. I needed help. I hate asking for help. I hate needing help. But that night I knew I had to look people in the eyes and tell them I was breaking/broken. While I was in a room in the ER with a security guard beside bed, I suddenly felt like I was a little girl. I wasn’t allowed to be alone, to make my own decisions, to have a job, to have a family. I had to stay there until an “adult” said so. While I was running a million thoughts through my head the security guard started trying to make small talk, he asked me about my family so I asked about his. He answered back with routine answers. He got quiet then said he son had past away a few years ago. I remembered thinking how odd it was for him to just come out and say that, especially conditioning he was only sitting next to me to make sure I didn’t try to kill myself. As I think about it now, I suppose he thought I might understand his hurt. I most likely wouldn’t judge him and I was forced to sit next to him no matter how bad his story got. I can’t exactly what my reply was but it was something about how I knew what it was like to lose someone. Again he got quiet. A minute or so had past before I was realized he was crying. Tears were coming down his face, hitting his jacket. But he wasn’t moving, not his body, not his expression. He finally let out a loud breath, stood up and walked just outside my door. When he came back he had dried his tears but I could still see that pain on his face. I talked with him for probably close to an hour before they take me to a room. I don’t think I’ll never forget that interaction. I realized how much pain can connect people, if only for a short time. I no longer felt like a child. I wasn’t hiding behind my fears, I was looking them head-on.
I spent three days in the hospital, eating my meals at scheduled times, calling my family on a shared land-line, bra-less in scrubs, watching our first(and only) snow that winter fall, coloring, building puzzles with missing pieces. There were people of all ages, color and stages of their lives. They were all at different levels of stable. I talked with several people who were similar to me. We didn’t want to die but we couldn’t live either.
On the third day I was discharged. I got dressed, walked to my car and drove home. I went right back to the life I had temporally left. I wasn’t cured, the medicine they changed me to didn’t work, the thoughts didn’t leave. The only thing that had changed was the fact that I realized I had to take care of myself. If I needed time to myself I had to take it, if I needed help I had to ask, If I was scared it was okay if I admitted it.
I spent months calling doctors and our insurance company, going to appointments and trying different medications. I spent months mostly at home, rarely driving, asking friends and family to come sit with me so I wasn’t “alone”. I took care of our kids and house, I spent my alone time crying and fearing I would get worse.
Finally in April(after a cheek swab) we found a medication that actually(somewhat) works. I started getting out more, driving more, starting projects around the house and working part-time. The fears got less and less overwhelming. I was realizing I hadn’t actually been “myself” in a long time. I didn’t think the same way, I didn’t react in the same ways. The person I had been wasn’t really me. It was who the wrong medication had me out to be. I was slowly being altered, becoming less and less of who I really am. I honestly don’t even recognize the person I was a lot of the time.
I still have really bad days and weeks. I still get crippled by fear. But I don’t dismiss it. If it sticks around I call my doctor, I tell someone. I don’t let it go and assume it’ll go away on it’s own.
I don’t want to post this. I don’t want anyone to think any less of me, view me as any less capable, think I’m weak and/or crazy. But this is me. This has been my life this past year. I’m not setting resolutions for myself, I’m not trying to start over, I’m not thinking my 2017 problems will be wiped away in just a few short hours. I am sitting thinking how far away the end of this year seemed from the beginning of it. I’m thinking about the fact that I almost didn’t make it to 2018.