Monday, July 27, 2020

Mental health update

I might as well been a pastors kid growing up. We were in church enough times per week to qualify me as a pastors kid. I went to youth group with the actual pastors kids and attended the same church for years. It was part of my being...part of who I was. I didn't really have a life or a social life outside of church. Everything I was taught at home and at church matched and it presented me with what I thought was a pretty steady life. I didn't know any different. I took on all that I was taught at church as gold and because my personality is such that I have a very black or white thinking...everything I learned and absorbed was truth.

One of the things I learned from Christianity is the principle to "always choose joy." This is not a bad principle. We should always look for the good in things, to always try and be positive. But it went further for me. I felt that as a Christian if I were not happy all the time then I wasn't putting Jesus first and I wasn't "casting all my cares on him," well enough. I always wanted to be the best christian and I never wanted to be seen as week so I always presented myself as happy. I wanted those around me to be happy and I didnt want to put a burden on anyone so I just created my personality to be spunky and always smiled despite what I was feeling inside. I felt that religion looked down on depression or sadness and as Christians we should be able to conquer our downward moods with Jesus and prayer and Bible reading. So my life became a series of stories of me never really knowing how I felt inside. It didnt matter how I felt because I just had to be happy. Thats what Christians did. In fact I even felt that depression was not really a real thing. I thought that people that claimed to be depressed were just maybe being lazy and that they just needed to choose joy and trust in Jesus. In fact, I avoided people that were sad. I didnt know how to handle them. What they said they were experiencing didnt make sense to me. If we were Christians then we had an unlimited supply of joy and we just needed to tap into it. This was a very judgmental way of thinking for me but I did not think that way intentionally, I was just taught to think this way through the preaching at church and the personal relationships I had with christian mentors. Mental illness, to me, was made up. 

Fast forward to 2019. I was married to my third husband and in year six of our marriage I started having bouts of vertigo. I felt like my body was very heavy. If I stood up I would feel very unbalanced and my head would feel like it was falling forward and my body felt like it was sinking into the ground. I also started having feelings as if maybe I had a deadly illness and contemplated what it would be like if I didnt exist. As soon as I had the feelings of "not existing" I realized that I had a problem. I chalked it up to being in a bad environment and moved to Arizona. 

Unfortunately because I did not understand mental illness and essentially thought it didnt exist I did not take the appropriate steps to treat it, its back in full force. 

Nobody ever told me that depression was real. And nobody told me that your depression could start showing up as physical symptoms that are quite debilitating. 

Life has a way of teaching you lessons. I never meant to be judgmental towards people but I was. I was never mean to anyone but I do remember telling people that they just need to "trust Jesus" or choose to be happy. I told people that being happy was a decision and they just needed to decide to be happy. NOW I KNOW THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. You can not tell someone who is in the depths of depression to CHOOSE to be happy. It doesn't work like that. I am extremely saddend that I became such an insensitive Bible thumper christian. I am so sad that I wasn't taught that sometimes as humans we get sad and we don't have to be happy all the time. Im grieving for all the people that feel like I feel right now. There is now way, in my current state, that I can snap my fingers and "feel happy!" My depression has taken over my body and I have no control. I have never in my life felt like I had no hope, no energy, and no motivation. The worst symptom is the feeling of sinking into the ground and having my head feel wobbly all the time. This is absolutely my body presenting psychosomatic symptoms and I am shocked that because I didnt know or recognize it that it has gone this far. 

Its hard to say this right now but I have so much empathy and compassion for those with depression...and I could have never said that before in my previous religious way of thinking. I understand how real depression is now and I understand that it isn't anything anyone makes up but I also do know that I am capable of pulling myself out of this. Its not easy but here are the steps I am taking to get healthy again. 

I avoided medication for months. The doctor would prescribe them to me and I would fill the prescription and never take them. About a week ago when my symptoms were at there worst and I could barely work I decided to go ahead and start taking Zoloft. I am on day five of this pill. 

I also started a regimen of supplements. I am taking B12, Vitamin D, Fish oil, biotin, and magnesium. I can not tell you how these supplements with the zoloft have helped. Yesterday morning for a split second, from somewhere deep deep inside of me I felt what felt like a little bit of excitement or euphoria. It lasted for just a second and It almost brought me to tears because I remembered that feeling and I missed it. I want it back all the time. 

If I had any advise for anyone going through trama. I have had a lifetime of trauma. There have been no breaks for me, three divorces, adoption, name it. If you go through anything like this please get support. Do not ignore your body, it will talk to you and your body knows best. Its ok to be sad but make sure you do not ignore how you feel. 

I am super grateful for anyone who reads this blog. I look ever day to see if I have any viewers. Somehow it makes me not feel so alone to know that others are out there interested in my story. I love you all!