Wednesday, August 3, 2016

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

📸: Kellie Harley

When 2016 started I never would have imagined that halfway through the year I would be where I am right now. I started off this year with a medication revamp which ended up turning out really well for me. It was a rough few months but finally around April I started feeling amazing. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time I felt that good; that happy. I finally thought that I had found my solution and that I was going to be able to finally live the life I'd always dreamed of. So I started to do just that. I was finally able to not only live in the "real world" but be comfortable there. I took advantage of this and started doing things I hadn't done in years. This was great, but along the way I stopped doing certain things to take care of myself. This is where the problems started for me. I slowly but surely started taking the medications that manage my hormones (my hormones are imbalanced because of my PCOS) less and less until ultimately I wasn't taking them at all. I knew that I could never miss a dosage of my anti-depressants because that's dangerous, but a missed dosage of the other meds/vitamins would be okay, right? While that's probably the case I didn't realize that eventually this would turn into me not taking any of my other medications and vitamins at all. Once I realized what I was doing I knew I needed to fix it. I figured I could just jump right back into taking everything as normal and all would be well. So that's what I did.

July 4, 2016 started off just like any other day. I was happy, all was well, things were good. I spent some time with my family at my Aunt's house where we ate and celebrated the holiday; everything was great. I then left to hang out with a friend for a bit; everything was great. I ultimately ended up at home ready to get into bed. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, I was just hanging out doing my own thing and all of a sudden I started crying. Then came the sense of hopelessness that just surrounded me so out of the blue. I couldn't pin point anything I was upset about; nothing was wrong, nothing had happened, I couldn't even remember thinking about something that would make me so upset. This continued for an hour or so while I started to get ready for bed. Everyone in my house was asleep so no one knew that I was upset or had any idea that something was wrong. Finally it was time to take my nightly medications and as I sat there and looked at them I suddenly realized how tired I was. Then a thought came to mind, "I could take this whole bottle of Xanax mixed with this whole bottle of anti-depressants and just go to sleep and never wake up." At the time, that sounded pretty great to me. It sounded like the perfect plan. I had everything in place, all I needed to do was start swallowing the pills. Then something happened to me in that moment that I cannot fully explain. It was in that moment that I stopped and was able to look at myself and really see what I was doing. I immediately started sobbing and went to get my mom out of bed. Through tears I told her how I was feeling and that she needed to take all my medications from me and hide them. My mom took the medications away while I took my usual dosage for the night and got into bed. My mom then sat there with me until I fell asleep.

The next day I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a bus. We're talking body aches, headaches, grogginess, the whole thing. I was still incredibly sad and would have bouts of sobbing for absolutely no reason. My mom called my doctor and they couldn't see me for a couple of days but told me if I felt suicidal that I needed to go to the emergency room. So a few hours later I checked myself into the ER. After being medically cleared I had to wait for a crisis psych evaluation. Those hours that I spent laying in a hospital bed were miserable. I had to constantly have a hospital staff person with me and nothing was allowed in my room. It was during this time period that I realized just how serious all this had become. I felt so out of control, so powerless to do anything. I was scared because I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I didn't know how to deal with these new feelings I was having. Nothing made sense to me and I just wanted everything to stop. How did I end up here? A few hours later after an evaluation I was released into my mom's care with a list of mental health clinics, an appointment with someone who would help me set up various doctors visits, and a promise to follow up with my primary care physician. Finally, a couple days later I was able to meet with my doctor and she felt very strongly that this was happening to me because I went off of the medications that kept my hormones under control. So we took all those medications and cut the dosages in half in order to slowly reintroduce them into my system. Finally a game plan was in place! The problem was potentially solved! All I had to do was follow my doctors instructions and everything was going to be fine.

That was about three weeks ago. Things have not been as easy as I hoped. In three weeks I have had 2 suicidal episodes which have been pretty scary. My mental state is completely unpredictable and very unstable. Messing with my other medications has had huge effects on my mental state and so we are having to slow down that process and do a whole lot of waiting while we try to figure out exactly what is going on with me. In the meantime I have met with a counseling center to get that process going. I will be having another evaluation done where I will get another official diagnosis, just to make sure I am still dealing with what I was diagnosed with 7 years ago. I will also be set up with counseling and various other things to help me learn how to better deal with this. I thought I knew myself well, I thought I finally had things figured out but it turns out I really don't. I still have a lot to learn about myself and about what I really am dealing with. I need help navigating how to live life to the fullest while still dealing with mental illness. I clearly don't have everything under control, but I'm willing to learn and I'm asking for help. I don't want to have these feelings anymore, I don't want to be so out of control. I don't want to feel helpless.

I hate asking for help. I hate needing people. I hate having to be so dependent on my friends and family. Even though I hate all of this I have realized that I need help and I'm not ashamed of that. Mental Illness shouldn't have such a stigma. It shouldn't be something that's hidden or just brushed under the rug. It shouldn't be something that we are afraid to talk about. I know, for me at least, it's therapeutic to talk about; to write about. I feel empowered by having no secrets and sharing what I'm going through. I know I've been very vague about what has been going on with me lately but I'm finally ready to talk about it. I need to talk about it. I need it to not be a secret. I'm dealing with some pretty heavy, pretty scary stuff right now and I need it to be known. I need help, I need support, I need to be able to talk to people who I trust who know what is going on with me. I'm not ashamed of what I'm going through but I know many other people are and they choose to suffer in silence. If you're reading this and that is you, STOP. Don't do it anymore, it's not worth it. I did that for awhile, but if I've learned one thing these past few weeks it's that so many people care. So many people are willing to help out; even if they don't know you. You never know what kind of impact you can have on a person. Live consciously.

I am certain that life is worth living. Now I just have to figure out the best way to do it.

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