Well… I have to say… I have been an extremely slow learner when it comes to taking the responsibility of learning what my mental illness was all about. I’m talking about 35 years SLOW…. LOL
All my life… I have simply accepted that I suffered with Severe Chronic Depression… Many years later… I was re-assessed in a psychiatric ward… and was given a further diagnosis of Dysthymia.
I am not sure why I did not ask questions or do my own research… Maybe I was just too sick to bother or care. I think part of that answer is that I was in such a deep and dark pit… that I truly did not have the energy for anything extra except trying to survive.
A year ago… I had what I am going to call a “controlled” nervous breakdown… When I say that… I mean… I was not hospitalized… my meds were not changed… I did not tell anyone that I was spiralling down a black hole… I just shut down… I completely shut down… and stopped participating in life.
I had one friend who I confided in… someone I would email on a daily basis… Someone who was in the same dark place as me… Fast forward to a year later… I can see the beauty was that we carried each other through a very terrible time. We sort of kept each other going… making sure that each of us was safe. It was like being in the desert and only having one glass of water… Somehow we just knew what to do to make sure the other got what they needed. I am very grateful to this friend… She is my best friend… and has been for the last 10 years…
Anyways… I have learned so much in this last year… Because I was in a place that I had never been before ( I had never completely shut down on life before )… I really did not know what to do to get out… For months… I just stayed there in the dark… and I woke up each morning… counting the hours until I could simply go back to sleep. One day ran into the other… and this lasted almost 9 months… I am not sure what it is that changed… But I remember simply not being able to take it anymore… I knew something had to change… That is when I guess you can say… I came to the end of myself… I finally said ENOUGH… I was so tired of being sad… so tired of hurting all the time…. I was simply SICK and TIRED of being SICK and TIRED.
From that point on… things for me began to change… and they began to change quickly… I took the time to look up the definition of Chronic Depression and Dysthymia… and I finally understood what it meant… It was like the lights being turned back on… It gave me a starting point to work with… and from that I began to understand that there were REAL and RELEVANT reasons WHY I was not coping with life… I suddenly wasn’t this awful FREAK anymore… I was legitimately someone who was ill…. with an invisible disease that others could not see. Oh the relief I felt…
After this… came the courage to slowly look at my life… to look at all of it… at least all the parts I could remember… I came to see that many parts of my life are gone… as I cannot remember a great many things… I think that is a gift actually… I don’t try to force memories… and to be quite honest… I really don’t want to know… I don’t want to remember… because I know it was NOT GOOD.
What was left was the knowledge that due to my traumatic childhood… I was unable to develop normal and meaningful relationships with people in the world.
This was another lightbulb moment for me… I knew that if I was going to live the rest of my life OUT of my STUPID PIT… I was going to have to face and deal with the relationships I had with my mother and father… This was the KEY to all my other problems. Those two were the hardest and once I dealt with those… I truly believed I would be set FREE.
In the last three months… I am happy to report that I have done just that… I have FACED and ACCEPTED the trauma of my life… and I have FACED and ACCEPTED both my parents… This was perhaps easier for me to do because both of them are deceased… I did not have to face them head on… but I was able to put them both at REST where they belong.
At this point… I would simply like to ENCOURAGE anyone who is reading this to take an honest and full look into your own mental illness… Understanding what you have is IMPORTANT because it is the KEY to learning ACCEPTANCE… You can’t change it… I am still sick… but because I understand the terms of my illness… I am better able to understand what that means for me…. And that means that I am better equipped to fight the battle that lies ahead.
~ Momma Bear