Welcome to my world. The destination is not nearly as exciting as the journey. Follow me on my journey to see where it takes us. It won't always be funny, but it will always be real.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Mental Illness and Me
I suffer from Mental Illness. Whew, I said it. The most difficult admission I'll ever have to do. Gone are the days of hiding behind closed doors and not admitting that I am a 'victim' of Mental Illness. I can remember growing up and visiting a 'Sanitarium' that was filled with people suffering from different mental diseases. Being frightened beyond measure and not wanting to ever grow up to be 'like that'.
Surprise, surprise! Here I am almost 45 and have been dealing with Depression for most of my life. I can remember the first time I tried to take my own life. I was 14, almost through my first year of high school and had everything in front of me. Still, deep inside my soul there was a fear that I would never be 'good enough'. That I could never 'stand up' to the dreams people had put in place for me.
I never had a lot of friends. Partly, because I would never let anyone get close enough to me and partly because I suffered from such paranoia and anxiety that I could never believe anyone truly wanted to be my friend.
I stared down a bottle of vodka, then a second and chased that down with 20 'Tylenol' tablets. I thought that my death would end my troubles and that no one would ever miss me. Needless to say, that attempt failed.
Through my teenage years, suicide attempts were as frequent as the seasons. From pills, to knives to alcohol. I tried it all. Never succeeding to take my own life. Something always barred my attempts. All the while, no one really knew what inner turmoil was inside me. A few feeble attempts at Psychotherapy, but I was unwilling to admit I had a problem.
By the time I hit 20, my suicide attempts had totalled 12 and I was deep into a manic state. I would have days and weeks of euphoria and the energy of 100. Those would quickly be followed up by months of endless tears, fits of rage and disgust and falling deep into an abyss of ignorance and avoidance.
My depression was likely the catalyst to two failed marriages, endless relationships and a habit of 'gypsy' like moving from one place to another. I moved to flee the problems that my depression was presenting. I thought that if I left, everything would be great. No one would know my past and my history of depression and I could be like everyone else in the world. Wow! Was I wrong.
At almost 45, I've finally come to terms with my Mental Illness. I accept that I have manic periods of euphoria and depression. I accept that I have a temperament that isn't always conducive to friendships and relationships. I understand that I shouldn't be ashamed to admit I am one of millions who suffer daily from depression.
I still struggle day-to-day with wanting to be part of the 'outside' world. There are days that I wish I was alone in my own little universe with no one around. I have to look in the mirror every day and reassure myself that I'm 'normal' and that I can make a difference in my community.
Yes, I still periodically have moments of wanting to 'die'. Especially when my Fibromyalgia is flaring. The pain I suffer from every day, doesn't make coping with my depression any better. Those days are the worst for me. I will sit and cry for hours, wishing for death to come. Wanting nothing more than to escape the world of pain and anguish that I am in.
Medications have improved greatly over the years and I think I've tried a large portion of them over the last 31 years. I am and likely always will be on medication to help control my Mental Illness. I also know that talking things out with a Therapist is of great benefit to me and my family.
If you know someone who suffers from Mental Illness pass this on. Who knows maybe my story will help someone else get the help they need.