May 4, 2017

Mental health month, so I thought I would write about my personal experience.
Last year we decided to watch the football documentaries on Netflix. They were talking about concussions and the long term issues that come from them. It was then that I understood and started connecting my story together. During my kid yrs I remember two intense, literally blinding, concussions and one that wasn't as intense, but was still a pretty bad head injury.
I also endured whip lash a few too many times.
You don't have to play football to mess up your brain.

It's hard to recall when exactly my depression or the morbid thoughts began. My friends and I would always laugh off the morbid so it didn't seem like such a bad thing during my high school yrs.
Going back further though... I almost lost my mom to pneumonia, we actually did but she was resuscitated. I didn't know how to emotionally deal with all that being between 7 &9. So I became angry and rebellious in my heart. I was also apart of other people's lives that died or were severely injured... Suicides, accidental suicides, a witness to horrific car accidents, ect ect That also heightened my fears of death, sickness, loss of control, that's a lot bottled up inside because I didn't know how to release it which became depression and suicidal scenarios. Every time I got in a car I would run what ifs thru my head. It got worse during my first pregnancy by the end of it that postpartum depression hit hard with a vengeance! Right before I gave birth I started bawling, I cried for a week over everything. You'd just look at me and I'd lose it. I was a huge mess, but I was also afraid to say anything because at the time they were throwing anti depressants in high doses at everyone with out thinking things thru. I didn't want that, I told myself I was strong enough and didn't need a doctor's help. Praise God he protected me and my children!
The morbid thoughts got worse, and depression got worse, but I continued to push it down inside. I learned to pretend there was nothing wrong. Second pregnancy and I wanted to throw my children up against walls. Every time I got in a car I thought about the what if scenarios. But this time it involved my children. 
Things did calm down. After my third baby in 2003, I had pretty much managed some control.
I'm a believer and I know despite my actions and behavior the Lord was protecting me and my family. It took many yrs to feel some what normal, well what I thought was normal. But the suicidal thoughts were still there and the depression was still there. I called it seasonal depression.
Anxiety attacks stepped in. It actually started near the end of college '98/'99 (school ended in May and I had my first baby that Nov.) I'd have one maybe once a year then they started to increase after 9/11, by 2014 I was literally dealing with it 24/7, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and severe depression. My body was shutting down, I spent most of that yr in bed. I put on a happy face as best as I could but I was exhausted. Being an introvert doesn't help either.
My husband was extremely worried about me and 2015 was my turning point, I finally went to a doctor. I wasn't fully honest about the severity of my depression. So we took care of my non existing thyroid, my seasonal depression and my chronic pain issues that yr.
I was finally out of bed!! I felt alive!! I lost 60 lbs! My chronic pain issues, I shared what that was in other blog posts, my depression was milder, the anxiety calmed down as well. It didn't all magically disappear, but it was manageable. At this point I still hadn't brought up anti depressants.

2016, I made it thru winter with high levels of vitamin D and my happy light. My thyroid balanced out. I still had a few anxiety attacks but I had my little drug for those moments to shut it down. I hated having to take lorazepam. I only took it when I absolutely had to.
But then summer came and the depression, although in my eyes mild from the yrs before, didn't go away... I was unable to hide the inside any more, the moment my daughter's softball coach pointed out that something was wrong and we needed to talk, I knew I wasn't ok. Our meeting was the best thing! I know the Lord crossed our paths just for this. Her words were like daggers to my heart, but they were true. I finally learned I'm not ok and it's ok. It's ok too have bad days, it's ok to get help. That next week I finally talked to my doctor. I didn't tell her the severity of my suicidal thoughts, which were 24/7, but I was so used to it it seemed normal to me in a way... My mind hadn't been clear in decades, talk about a million voices in my head! So noisy ALL THE TIME!
I started a mild anti depressant, 5mg then worked up to 10mg. 
PRAISE GOD! The voices stopped, the depression stopped, I could breath, I could enjoy life, conversations, people, I started really venturing outside my safe place at home in my chair. I was on it for a very short time. But it kick started something good. I actually pursued and got a job in a coffee shop I absolutely love!! I hadn't had a real job since '99! So you could say I ended 2016 with a triumphant bang.
Oh, also found out I had Scoliosis and have a wonderful Osteopath/manipulation doctor.

This yr, I've made it thru a horrible winter, got a little bummed out at times, but found ways to change things up. The anxiety popped up a little bit, but I realized my scoliosis pain is a trigger. And knowing the triggers I can put the anxiety to rest in minutes.
No morbid/suicidal thoughts still. I actually have a lot of days where my head is clear and calm. Even during crazy rushes at work I'm able to keep chilled. People-ing is still exhausting, but that's an introvert thing and I don't know that I'll ever know how to change that. Haha

I've learned that I may always have mental health issues. The anxiety, depression, pain. But it's not who I am. It doesn't control me and it's ok to not be ok and it's ok to ask for help and I'm not alone. I've just got a glitch in my brain from accidents. Things may never magically go away, but I've got the hat of tricks to choose from so to speak to take care of them.
People care people love you, be honest with yourself, be open.
It's ok. 💜

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