I’ve been debating updating my blog for many, many months. And…of course the story to be told is my recent and current journey with mental illness, which is what has stopped me from sharing. I don’t want to be thought of or even think of myself as mentally unwell.
But I think the time has come to open up a bit and let some people into my story…so here goes…
On a normal day near the end of December of last year, I came home from work for lunch and my life completely changed. For several years and months stress had been accumulating in my mind and body and I guess I just didn’t have a way to dissipate it. I had what I consider (and my specialists too) an emotional breakdown. For a period of a few hours I could not stop crying, could barely talk except for a few words (“I don’t know what to do” and “I need help”). I managed to contact one of my best friends and she came over and got a crisis phone line to assist me to calm me down. I felt done in, I felt my body and my mind had let me down (or I had let them down…). I was exhausted, so very cold, and my mind would not stop racing (“What am I going to do?” “What is happening to me?”). The next day I got in to see my physician who put me of work for at least 3 months–5 months later I’m still off work (but more about that later).
I was terrified because I had no idea what would happen during this time away from my regular schedule. At first, I slept–long nights of sleep (medically aided at first) for 10 to 12 hours each night for about a month and a half before I felt any kind of refreshment when I woke up. I stopped myself from thinking anything scary — which helped me live in a bubble for a while that everything was okay — and I filled my days with doing work around my house (painted my living room, painted my china cabinet, painted my kitchen, cleaned, etc.) I also spent a lot of days without the energy to do anything at all–wake up, crawl down to the lazy girl chair, turn on tv, veg, crawl back upstairs, go to bed. My energy was lower than it had been in a long, long time. And that is even after losing 75lbs. Things that would previously taken me a day or two (like painting my living room) took over a week–I did it one wall at a time, with days off to rest in between.
I had to fill out more forms than I can ever remember filling out for anything before–work insurance, loan and mortgage insurance, claim forms, EI insurance, etc.
I was referred to a psychiatrist who, in my opinion, is the worst doctor of any kind I have ever seen. The fact that he’s a psychiatrist and deals with mentally unwell people is scary as he did not want to hear anything but yes and no answers to his questions and anytime I tried to elaborate he’d respond with “whatever” or “I didn’t ask you that” or “I don’t need to know that”. At one point he told me, “I’m not here to deal with feelings, I’m just here for prescriptions and paperwork”. I’ve asked for a new referral and am just waiting to hear from them. I would have stopped going completely but the insurance companies needed their paperwork done. I left his office feeling worse than I did when I came in and would cry all the way home.
My work insurance provided a “work health solution expert” which also managed to cause me great anxiety by underlying threats of losing my job or being cut off from my insurance.
And my loan and mortgage insurance was denied because they felt I wasn’t totally disabled and could work somewhere else even though my doctor had put me off work…still appealing that one.
So there has been a lot of stress already added onto my situation by the very people and companies who I expected support from.
It hasn’t all been bad though.
I’m lucky to have some wonderful friends nd family who check in with me often with phone calls, e-mails, and texts. I’ve had people provide me with money or gift cards for groceries, gas, some bills. Some I am paying back, some were gifts that I am so grateful for.
I have a union representative that is so much on my side it can be scary with the letters she writes to people requesting better care.
My mom has been a blessing, she has either come to my city or helped me go to her house when I really, really needed her. And she calls me constantly with words of love and support or just to listen to me cry about how scared I am about the future and how I don’t know what to expect.
One of my best friends has helped me find a fabulous therapist who is helping me holistically (physically, emotionally, spiritually) which is what I really feel I need. I have felt so disconnected.
My dog–what can I say…anyone who has a dog just knows what I mean without saying anything. She cheers me up just to look at her, she looks at me with love and she is great at licking away the tears. I also have cats which love to be hugged and cuddled.
This post is going on longer than I originally thought…
So…to present(ish) day…the depression seems to be lifting, but I have been having a very, very hard time with anxiety and panic the last few weeks. I realize it’s because there is now a definite time frame of when I’m heading back to work (gradually), which is about a month from now. I’m going to be working at a completely new building, in a completely new area of town from where I have been working (which means commuting time and cost I haven’t had for a very long time), a completely new job (at my same level of pay), new coworkers, new boss, etc., etc. When I think about it I start to panic, but I’m trying to reframe my internal words to positive–I’ll have new opportunities for personal and career growth that I haven’t had in a long time, I’ll be able to meet new people, gain new friends, be a different part of town and experience new things, if I commute the whole way I may be able to take the time to listen to more books on tape than I used to/or read, etc.
I have also been panicking about my financial situation (the first three months were at less than 50% take home, and it’s just this month that I received my first full work insurance cheque), all of my household bills were waaaayyy behind and I was starting to be very concerned about losing my home. The other day I received a call from the company that holds my mortgage, it seems the bank I deal with contacted them to let them know about my financial situation and dealing with the loan and mortgage insurance being denied. The company offered me what works out to an approximate 5 month reprieve on my mortgage payments to help me get back on my feet. The gratitude and relief I felt was overwhelming and I cried for many hours afterwards…
So…here’s where I’m at today. Still scared, still on the edge of panic, but taking deep breaths to calm down. When I wake up in the morning I feel like I’m free-falling (I don’t know what to do first). I try to keep myself busy. I’m trying to keep optimistic about the future. I’m making small plans here and there to meet with friends, learning to quilt, book club, working on crafts that I’m selling through a mommy’s website that a friend found for me, getting outside a bit (not enough yet), and going to my appointments.
I know that I’m slowly healing. I also know I have no idea what the future holds, and I never will. I’m working on realizing that I can only think about today and the choices that I’m making today (positive and negative) will affect my future. I’m working on “trusting the process”, in this I’m thinking the Divine process–God’s got a plan for me, I’m sure of it.
And taking a LOT of deep breaths…