Saturday, May 04, 2013
I'll never forget that day, no matter where life takes me.
It's been burned into my brain this far. I'm not likely to every forget it now.
It's the day when I completely shut down. I was a single mother, with a 2 1/2 year old boy, and a newborn daughter. On our way home from my morning fitness class something had changed.
I spent so much of the past few months tired. Tired and angry. It seemed to be all I knew anymore. Anger. Or sleep.
As we left the Y, and walked towards the bus stop, my son darted out across the street. He never did that. When he did anything dangerous, I'd react. Immediately. Seeing as all I had was anger and exhaustion, I fully expected that my reaction would have been to get angry with him. He knew better.
Let me say one thing up front. I was NEVER angry with my kids. They were the only reason I kept getting up in the morning. They needed me. But I just didn't know what was wrong. All I knew was that the only emotion I felt anymore was anger.
Then my son did this. My reaction? NOTHING. Nothing at all. In a daze, I just took him by the hand and we kept going.
I had an appointment with my worker that afternoon. I told her what had happened. And that I didn't even react. Hours later and I was still not responsive to what had happened.
Right then and there she had me admit myself to the hospital. I was severely depressed. It had gotten so bad that I was completely shutting down and couldn't stop it.
Within a few hours, my babies were put into foster care - I had no one who could take them for me. Who knew how long I'd be gone for. It took me 3 days before I started to cry. It finally hit me what had happened. 3 days later.
That day changed my life. I would spend most of the next 16 years fighting depression. In and out of different types of therapies. Different therapists. I even had a few other hospital stays. This first one was the longest though. I was there for about 3 weeks.
They spent years medicating me. It never helped. I kept praying for the "magic pill" that would fix this.
I could function. I was a very high functioning depressive. I not only raised my kids alone, I also finished University. Many of my friends had no idea how sad I really was. I was a pro at hiding it.
It was a long hard battle to fight my way out of it. But I don't regret it. Not one minute of it. It made me who I am today. It opened my eyes to just how valuable mental health workers are.
And how overworked they are also. I had my share of mental health workers who gave up on me. They even tried to make me feel like I wasn't trying to get better. I guess they were kind of right. I didn't have any fight left in me to fight it off anymore. I asked them for strength and help to fight it off for me, because I just couldn't anymore.
Many of these workers made a difference in my life. I honestly can't even tell you one single name of them anymore. Part of the illness I guess. The swiss cheese memory. I forget many many things from those years.
But I can not forget that date. That single date has been burned in.
May the Fourth be with you.