My Story is Important. Your Story is Important.
Part 1 of 2 I have had depression and anxiety issues since I was a teenager, including a suicide attempt when I was 16. I was not understood. I was not taken seriously. I was told I was seeking attention. I was bullied, including being told that the world would be a better place if I weren’t in it.
I had manic episodes in college, though at the time I didn’t know that’s what they were. I would engage in risky behavior. I put myself in sexual situations and struggled to find my way out. I had major depressive issues where I would stop eating. No one recognized my behavior as unusual for me. No one tried to help. I was ignored and made to feel that I wasn’t important enough to engage with. I was on the cusp of figuring out my future and I simply couldn’t see myself as a part of it.
As an adult, I did what I was supposed to do. I got a job. I moved into an apartment. I married my boyfriend of three years. We moved into a house. I had kids.However, as I was having children, I seemed to get more and more out of control. With each kid I had, I progressively had a harder and harder time with depression. My first child had health issues, so when I was upset and crying it was seen and viewed as normal. I was told it was baby blues. When I was in the hospital after having my second, very healthy, child, a nurse was doing her job and informing me about issues such as PPD. My mother was in the room and I was told, “We are strong women, we don’t have those issues.” As soon as she left the room, I burst into tears and wondered what was wrong with me that I didn’t seem as excited as I should be since I now had a very healthy child I was going to be able to leave the hospital with. I was diagnosed with PPD, but without support from home, I didn’t do anything about it, except survive. When I was pregnant with my third child, my doctor recognized that I was having hormonal fluctuations that were not normal. During my pregnancy she told me that it would be a good idea if I did not have any further children. She was on maternity leave when I actually give birth to my third and was horrified to learn upon her return that the covering doctor did not follow up with my about PPD and learned I was imbalanced enough to have PPS. The doctor pushed me to get on some antidepressants and things looked better for awhile.
During a standard yearly appointment with my OB/GYN, I was expressing manic thoughts of depression, overwhelming anxiety, the inability to control my thoughts, and my doctor sat there and listened. She then suggested she walk me across the parking lot to the ED to be checked into the hospital. She was concerned that I was going to harm myself or my children. This was a wake up call.
I started getting some help. I went to my family doctor and she began to prescribe a series of anti depressants, which all worked for a time. We would increase dosages. We would try new medications, and combinations of medications. My family doctor reached a point where she was uncomfortable with my mental health care and set me an appointment with a psychiatrist. I was placed through a battery of physical and mental tests and came away with a bipolar diagnosis. I was finally placed on the proper set of medications. However, as mental health care works in our country, I struggled to find a new psychiatrist when mine stopped practicing and it took another crisis to get back into treatment.
Fast forward several years…October 2019, I have been married for 19 years and my children are 17, 15, and 13. I am in a very dark place. I am having destructive thoughts. I know that my family is going to be better without me. They would be able to live life without me holding them back. All the kids are old enough to be self sufficient and they just don’t need me. The family could use my life insurance pay out far more than they could use me. I was no longer necessary in my family unit. I knew these thoughts were out of control and not rational. I also knew there was nothing I could do about that.
In addition to all of my destructive thoughts, I was having physical medical problems. I was having menstrual cycles every 15-16 days. My hormones were once again out of control. In an effort to stretch outlay cycles, my new gyn places me on a low dose birth control for two weeks out of the month. The thought was if I could stretch out my cycles, my hormones would have time to plateau and I wouldn’t always be all over the place. My iron levels would also have time to return to normal. And the medication did all of that. In the three months I was on the low dose birth control, my cycles stretched out, my hormones settled and my iron levels returned to something close to normal. What I was unaware of until much later, is that the birth control interacted with my main mental