Another old and lost post I was able to get back using the Google Cache feature.
I originally wrote this on November 5, 2011
In March of 2010, I came out of a severe depressive cycle. I am on disability for several different mental health issues: major depressive disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, I have been diagnosed with ADHD (non-hyper) and my anxiety can trigger agoraphobia. But, that March — something clicked inside me and my entire world changed.
I came out of that cycle better than I have ever felt in memory. Summer came and I was gifted with many opportunities to deal with people and situations from my past, so that I could almost say that I was at peace with most of it. Finally. Something that I hadn’t felt since my nervous breakdown in the late 90’s. I got to talk with *my past* directly and discuss a lot of old pain, lies were acknowledged, apologies were made to me by some and it was all a gift.
I didn’t handle it all in a way that I could be proud of, but I was hit with a lot of things at once and instead of falling into the big black hole — it was all making me better, stronger and dare I say it.… happier. *smiles* So, in the cases where I screwed up… I have tried to forgive myself and hope that one day I can have their forgiveness too.
The school year started for my children and I threw myself full force into everything (volunteer-wise) that I could. This was typical of my behavior anytime that I go into that *normal* cycle. I stuff my life with as much LIFE as I possibly can. This time though, I stayed steady. I was so euphoric, that I thought I could do anything. I volunteered for so many things at my children’s school and even got involved on a county level.
Finding words to express just how happy I was to find myself in March 2011 in the longest *well* cycle I had ever experienced since the early 90’s. I was thrilled beyond belief that it had been a year and I was still going strong. I came to the conclusion that maybe… just maybe — I was well. That I would be able to go back to work. I toyed with the idea that perhaps I was in peri-menopause and that the hormonal flux had fixed my brain chemistry.
Two more months and I saw it coming. The end of May this year, I felt emotionally strapped to the tracks as I watched the train of darkness get closer and closer.
I hung on, just barely, until the last day of school. I fought so hard that within a week of the kids being home for summer break, I broke out in a strange rash that began on my chin, eventually rose to my cheeks and went down the entire length of my body. I was in misery. I did all the right things. I got back on meds right away (Zoloft and Xanax) and started with a therapist. The more I thrashed to be free of the train tracks, the tighter the ropes became until the train of depression crashed into me.
This depressive cycle was different. There are no words to describe the sorrow I felt… the anger, the shame, the betrayal — that I was wrong. I wasn’t better. I had a nice run, but I was still the same old Melissa — the screwed up one who couldn’t keep commitments no matter how good her intent was and the one who disappointed everyone around her for being too weak to fight it off. (Most of that was mostly in my paranoid imagination, to be honest.)
I did carry a great amount of fear. I admit that I was ashamed of myself. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband, children, parents, siblings, or friends. I didn’t want the PTA to know or the county volunteer boards or the moms I was just becoming friends with… I have lost friends in the past who (understandably) weren’t interested in putting up with a friendship that disappeared for weeks at a time because I withdraw and try not to burden anyone when I get that bad.
The stress, the guilt and the shame not only produced the all-over body rash that came and went without notice, but it also triggered early onset Lichen Sclerosus, brought down my immune system to an all-time low and I got the pleasure of experiencing a bout of Community Acquired MRSA, a type of staph infection. I wound up in the hospital and then at home on an IV with a home health nurse coming twice a day.
And I became even more embarrassed and ashamed as I stepped down from the boards, I stepped down from all the volunteer work I had signed for and handed off home room mom responsibilities to those who are better capable than I at this time. The rashes wouldn’t go away, so after being tested for everything under the sun and with the MRSA cured, it was determined that I was bringing it on myself. That by holding everything emotional in and trying to push it all down, out of sight, my body screamed that it had enough.
So here I am. Instead of fighting myself and what comes naturally to my mind and body, I am fighting against the shame and embarrassment. In the end, the depression, the anxiety and all the rest — they are just part of me. They are not all of me.
It’s time I stood up and loved myself for who I am while making sure that my children get the right message about mental health issues. It is time to start accepting myself — the good and the bad — and celebrating it all.
There was no way to for me to write this any differently. I know it is long and I truly appreciate it if you got this far. So, even if you have followed me from site to site — I think you will see in such raw personal honesty, that this place will be different. Most posts will be much lighter in tone than this one, but there had to be a beginning and for now — this is mine. I hope that you will continue on with me in this journey as we learn together to accept and celebrate all the little bits and pieces of who we are inside.
xoxo ~ Melissa