PTSD stinks. Despite being out of work since May and taking lots of meds and going to the best doctor and therapy, I still have rough days that frustrate Dave and me so much. I can have a great two weeks and out of no where, my anxiety and depression comes back. I will say, I am feeling more like myself and am so focused on returning to life as a teacher in a week. It is good for me to have structure, but I have been actively praying about this all summer. I want to resume life, but the thought of resuming life is a little scary. I have had a safety net since May, my family and friends.
I often wonder how many people suffer with mental illness in silence. How many people are embarrassed that they are on medication. Silence never worked for me and when it comes to mental health our society needs to be more vocal.
There is such a stigma attached to having this “weakness” and it bothers me so much. There is nothing weak about fighting through life with depression and/or anxiety. In my opinion trying to do life and having this illness, is really pushing yourself to DO life. The only weaknesses are the people who judge.
As a Christian, I sometimes feel like the church thinks that you can fix it on your own. The only thing I know is that Jesus loves all of us: the happy, depressed, addicts, etc…. We are all broken. As a survivor, I know that working through it isn’t always an option. I never did anything wrong to cause my depression or anxiety. No one chooses it and everyone who suffers wants out of it.
Unfortunately, I can say, without a doubt, that if Dave didn’t put we in a mental treatment facility in May of 2011, after the birth of the twins and after my discharge from HUP, I would have eventually taken my own life. I had so much to live for, but the torture I experienced was far greater than life at the time. I had a phenomenal support system. Not everyone does. Writing the words “taken my own life” is so real and so chilling to me, but at that time, I was running out of the ability to fight much longer.
I just hate that people suffer alone. During this bout with PTSD, part of my own personal therapy was to completely go through every room, drawer, closet, and cabinet in my house. My family and friends helped, watched, cried with me and were afraid they too were going to be put in a trash bag if they stood still for too long. Every day Dave would come home and see more stuff gone, our house filled with people and not question a thing. I was in OCD overload and for me this is such a red flag that I am hitting a rough patch. My Dad took more trips to Goodwill that the staff may invite him to Thanksgiving dinner.
Unfortunately, I was embarrassed that all of this was happening and felt so defeated. We kept a lot of it private, but really feel that privacy can’t help anyone else and I truly believe we were made to live these life experiences and share them to help others.
If I help at least one person, I know that I have a purpose here and a reason for suffering. I reflect on all that has happened in my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am who I am because of my life experiences and the obstacles along the way. The only thing I would change is that some people think mental illness isn’t real, it is a crutch or an excuse.
I’ll leave you with an example of something that happened years ago after the birth of Camryn and after Postpartum Depression. The September after I had her, right after the new school year began, there was a coworker who wasn’t showing up for work. The rumor was that he had depression. I stood in awe as another coworker questioned how bad it could actually be and felt that he was faking it and felt that he should just snap out of it. I can’t remember if I spoke up. Probably not…. I am much better writing my thoughts on paper, but I will never forget this. I often reflect back on it and wonder how he is doing and if my coworker’s life in those eleven years has been impacted by this illness and their viewpoint has changed.
I wouldn’t wish mental health issues on anyone, but I would wish that people would stop being so opinionated about what others are going through. It is real and if you don’t believe that it is real, I am looking forward to sharing with you more stories that will change your point of view.