Dear little planets with little people,
A while ago I said that there has been a turn in my health that I wasn’t quite ready to explain. Well, if the suspense has been killing you (as I’m sure it hasn’t) ache no longer.
As many know I suffer from Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. That’s quite a bit for one little brain to take. For the most part, my mental health has always taken a back seat due to the 12 physical diagnoses that I already combat. However, I have battled the mental ailments as well, unaware that the whole time I was losing and only getting worse.
I grew up in a very abusive home and therefore was unable to fully express myself or to ask for help, because every time I did, it lead to screaming, punishment, and ultimately my regret. The few times I was so overwhelmed that I could not hide my panic attacks or stop them from taking me over entirely, I was met with threats of having my family call the police on me or being screamed at to “shut up.” It was far from pleasant, and I more often than not would just run away from home to cry either in a parking lot, while driving aimlessly, or at a friend’s house.
Now that I am living in a far safer environment I thought for certain my mental conditions would improve immensely. I was terribly wrong. As it turns out, suppressing them for 25 years was not exactly healthy. Surprise! After many horrible and dramatic long distance fights with my family, having my grandfather pass away and my physical health declining much to my dismay, I erupted. My panic, anxiety, chest pains have all worsened as my composure has fallen away to reveal a very unwell and scared girl.
This is a very large part of why I cannot handle making videos anymore, at least for the time being, though I desperately want to get back to it. It’s also half of why I ended up in the ER two weekends ago. Every little activity lately is terribly stressful, whether it is working at my fairly simple job or just trying to not freak out from the pangs in my chest that come and go. I am altogether overwhelmed with panic and it is terrifying. While I have been like this most of my life, I have also been very talented at putting up a fairly normal front. But now, because I simply no longer have the ability or energy, I cannot.
I’ve been feeling more sick. I’ve been crying and breaking down at work. I constantly feel hopeless and more close to an out of order robot rather than a human.
BUT. THERE IS GOOD NEWS!…Kinda.
After one of my last especially horrific breakdowns I ended up being put into contact with a behavioral health center at one of the hospitals here in St. Louis that doesn’t require insurance. I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am to have accidentally found this place. After an extensive assessment I was admitted into the program. Now I have a psychiatrist and a social worker. For the first time in my life, I have real mental help, and it finally has given me some hope that though I am very sick right now I most certainly will not be forever.
Just yesterday I was given my very first long term anxiety medication called Lexipro. It’s a tiny little white pill, but in my experience, the tiniest pills are the most intense. Aside from the anxiety I have regarding just about everything, I have also had negative experiences with all kinds of drugs. I’ve been given quite a few strange medications in my life for various different issues, and while some have benefited me greatly, others have made me hallucinate, break out in blisters, temporarily lose control of my hands and so on. These side affects aren’t charming to say the least.
Sooooooooo hopefully it isn’t surprising that yesterday as I sat on my couch with the tiny white pill in my hand, I was having major anxiety issues about whether I really wanted to take it or not. That’s right, my anxiety pill gave me anxiety. Talk about ironic. My boyfriend, who despite sincerely trying to help doesn’t, tried to reason with me by saying, “If a doctor prescribed it to you it’s safe.” Oh, if only that were true. While we’d like to think doctors are capable of always prescribing the perfect remedies for every issue, they don’t, and it’s not always their fault. There’s no possible way to figure out how every person will react to every drug or treatment, and unfortunately, the best treatments are generally discovered by trial and error. If anything, I was at least thankful that my psych told me to contact him if the drug makes me feel unwell. So far, it mostly makes me feel sleepy and nauseous. My brain is still spinning out of control, and everything feels scary and big, but hopefully with time and a tremendous deal of help, I’ll be on track to getting better.
As the psychiatrist gets to know me better, he also has to unwrap the clusterfuck that is my family history. While we haven’t talked about it much yet, I have been thinking about it a great deal, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m about 90% sure my grandmother also has severe anxiety disorder and depression. Considering she too was abused, suffered through events I cannot comprehend and lived through World War II which tore apart her country, that isn’t shocking. What is shocking is that unlike me, she was never expressive about how she felt, aside from the fact that she was constantly overcome with worry about everything and anything. Back then, I assumed she was just a worrier as most grandmothers are. Now, as I dive into my defunct family tree, I realize that she did not just worry as a grandmother; she had the same illnesses plaguing her mind as I do now, and was never able to get help. Now, at 92 years old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, she is living in a home and finally getting the proper attention she has needed long before her Alzheimer’s ever set in, and I’m at least thankful for that.
The fact that my grandmother has lived 92 years with a mind similar to my own has left me awestruck. 26 years in my opinion is long enough to drive anyone insane when living with severe depression and anxiety without proper care. I’m even more astounded when I remember that her brother committed suicide in his 60’s, and we can almost be sure he suffered from these illnesses as well since there is more evidence coming to surface about the fact that depression and anxiety disorders can be genetically linked.
The fact that I no longer have health insurance or a way to get it is one major subject fueling my constant fear. However my social worker is actively searching to find alternate ways of getting help, because while it’s wonderful that I am now receiving mental health help, I’m still in dire need of physical help. But one thing at a time, right?
Lastly and slightly off topic, I would like to note that I just watched The Little Prince on Netflix and it was absolutely beautiful and delightful in every way. I was enamored with it from the start and remained so through the whole thing. It’s enchanting, sweet, meaningful and magical, so if you like beautiful movies, it is surely one to watch.