There were brief moments, tiny myopic moments, seconds that I could see my reality. In these moments of lucidity, I became scared. I was frightened at what I was becoming and how fast my body and brain were transforming. Fortunately (or unfortunately) these moments of clarity were scarce because my body was failing me so rapidly, my cognizance was minimal.
I was healthy. Off medication for a few years. Actively working out at least four times a week. I was confident, loved how I looked and felt, a rare time frame in my life where I wasn’t self-loathing and highly pessimistic. It was a euphoric high that I never imagined I would plummet out of. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.
The severe Anxiety hit first. I couldn’t sleep and I tried, I tried so hard. Listening to my Therapist, I got up, left my bedroom, and went downstairs to watch TV. I thought watching TV in the dark with the comfort of my cat lying in the crook of my body on the loveseat would do the trick. I would be able to return to my bed and the act of slumber.
But, the sounds came next. My foster son would cough, my daughter would cough and it would echo through the house. A neighbor’s car alarm would go off. The heat, even the sound of the damn heat turning on would shatter any hopes of sleep. Most nights, I gave up around 3am and just cried quietly.
It didn’t end there though. The mornings brought me Panic Attacks. I would be short of breath and my heart would be beating so fast that it felt as if I just finished a marathon in record time. Nausea would riddle my body and I would run to the bathroom dry-heaving.
Then, I started to become delusional, spewing forth ridiculous ideas that my children would be taken away from me (which in the end our foster son was removed from our house), that my in-laws would take me to court to obtain sole custody of my daughter, that I was going to die. These thoughts were constantly in my head and I couldn’t keep them there. They came out of my mouth easily and I believed every one of them.
Finally, Depression and Grief set in, a split second after our foster son was removed. I was experiencing a death not only at losing this little boy who I still think about every day, but at losing myself. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for those damn moments of sanity.
Ugh, they constantly reminded me of what I once was, so healthy and vibrant, and showed me what I had become. I felt defeated. I didn’t understand how all of this happened. I didn’t want to go on, the fight was so hard. I feared how much worse I would become; how much worse my family’s lives would be. I was so scared, so scared that this episode of Major Depressive Disorder and Severe Generalized Anxiety would kill me. In fleeting moments, I wish it would have.
Through all this fear, when I was lucid enough, I knew I needed to get help. I started the hunt for a new Psychiatrist. I made sure I kept up with Therapy. I asked for medication even though it was heartbreaking for me to go back on them. I even fought to be hospitalized again because I knew it would help me. I wasn’t going to let my fear kill me. I couldn’t let my daughter lose her mother at such a young age. I couldn’t let my husband lose his wife. I couldn’t let my parents lose a child. I fought for them.
It was a long rough journey, so bad, that I believe that the next episode will probably kill me. I’ve taken precautions though. This time I will never go off my antidepressant. I will continue to look for the signs, to seek out my fear. I will be more mindful of my body and listen to it instead of fighting it. Most importantly, I will remind myself that I have defeated Depression and Anxiety before and that looking at my track record, I am likely to win again.
Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of entering myself into the hospital. Taking advice from several people (Therapist, family & friends) I do not dwell on how bad I was anymore. When I think of that time, I acknowledge how far I fell, how bad I became and then, then I think about how far I have come. I am healthy again, still medicated, still in therapy and still kicking ass.