My Mental Health Journey
I felt compelled to write this blog post from all of the feedback I got from my Halloween 2018 post with people asking for mental health advice and just about my journey with it. I feel like there’s a stigma to talking about mental health - but keeping quiet only makes the issue worse. I hope I can help someone who is suffering with feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and just sadness. And I hope I can give them faith that one day they will feel better, too.
When people find out I suffer from anxiety and depression they are usually shocked and tell me that they never would have guessed. They will say I always seem so happy and they couldn’t picture me having any mental illnesses.
Sadly, I feel like that is way too many people. So many people who suffer with a mental illness are people that you wouldn’t expect to.
When I was growing up I remember being depressed. It was never diagnosed because I didn’t go see a therapist - but I know that I was.
I had some issues stemming from things that happened as I was growing up. Also, big life changes just shifted my entire world during my teenage years. On top of going through all of the normal “high school/teenage” drama, I was also experiencing things that no teenager should have to. Which I would go into detail but I know some people would not be okay with me mentioning a story and not giving them the opportunity to tell their side.
The depression and anxiety were crippling at times. And I remember feeling like I couldn’t talk to anybody about the way I felt. I just felt so alone.
Once I met my husband, I finally had someone I could really talk to. Someone who would love me no matter what. He helped me through my depression and anxiety - not that it went away, but it did get a little better. He was my safety net and my rock when I needed someone.
My faith also helped me so I could know that I had God there for me when I was alone.
And just when I started doing better, another huge life change happened. Right after dealing with stressful wedding planning and moving three times in a few months, I discovered I was pregnant.
Of course I was shocked and excited - but I had no idea what was in store.
My pregnancy was horrific. I suffered from a few issues (a couple of them being Hyperemesis Gravidarum and an Irritable Uterus). And when my nausea hit at first I thought it would be normal morning sickness but I was not expecting it to be the way it was.
I remember laying down on the couch, crying from the nausea, just starving and all I wanted was a sip of water. I was so dehydrated and just so terribly sick. I wanted to die. I asked God why He would make me be sick. I wondered why I was it wasn’t someone else who was feeling this way.
Which is not a healthy way of thinking but that was how I felt in the moment. It didn’t help that we moved over an hour away from our families so nobody could come over to help. I felt the weight of all of the housework and preparing for the baby, all while being sick.
So needless to say, during my pregnancy my depression came back full swing. But I kept going because I knew I needed to for my baby girl.
I figured after she was born and once I felt better physically, I wouldn’t be as depressed.
At first, I was extremely happy. I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to get postpartum depression because I was feeling so good.
Which, again, was far from the truth. Eventually my depression and anxiety came back full swing. I was in a constant state of anxiety (even when nothing was happening) and I was suicidal most of the time. I kept telling myself I had to be here for Izzy. I couldn’t hurt myself because she depended on me. But finally, after months of feeling this way I went to see a therapist.
At first, seeing the therapist was a scary thing. The first few sessions I just sobbed the entire time. She helped me discover why I feel the way I do and gave me helpful tips and tools for when I am feeling a certain way.
After a few months of seeing the therapist I realized that therapy alone could not get rid of all my issues even though I was feeling a little bit better. I tried every natural remedy I could think of, but none of them were working. So I decided to make an appointment with a Psychiatrist.
My psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar 2 which is essentially just the depressive side of bipolar. He prescribed me 50 mg of Zoloft since I was still breastfeeding.
The first six weeks on the medication I was so exhausted all of the time. I could barely stay awake during the day. But once I got used to the medicine I did start to feel a little better - but the tired side effect still lingered. My psychiatrist also wanted to put me on a mood stabilizer in addition to my antidepressant so I could regulate my moods.
After seeing this particular psychiatrist for a few months, I grew to not feel comfortable seeing him. I found him and his office staff a little rude and very pushy, so I decided to seek out a new psychiatrist.
I eventually found one, and she believed that I just suffered with severe depression and anxiety and that the only thing we needed to do was up my dosage of my medication to 100 mg daily. I just started taking that a few weeks ago and I am already feeling better! Which is honestly a relief because I worried that I would never find something that would work. It isn’t working completely and I am having some side effects so I may have to go off of it, but for now I am happy!
I hate the idea of medication and would love to one day be off of it completely - but for now this is where I am at. I recently started getting motivation back to do the things I love: like drawing, writing (of, course), calligraphy, crochet, painting, and just so much more! Which is a HUGE win for me!
I hope to continue doing mental health updates and giving people out there hope that they, too will eventually get better. It’s important to not that I am not 100% better and I am not happy all of the time, but it is getting better than it was before and that is all that matters!