My Most Recent Bout With Depression Nearly Ended It All
I have had different levels of depression over the years however this most recent was one for the history books.
August 31, 2017 I was caught attempting suicide (I will spare the details). My partner got me to the emergency department’s Health Crisis Intervention Team at our local hospital.
After hours of assessments by doctors, the Psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression and signed me off work. I was in need of a regular Psychiatrist but there was a 9 month waiting list! (which I got on). The next day I realized it was September 1st and as everyone was dealing with their back to school children, I was recovering from a suicide attempt.
Little did I know, that was only the start. My depression spiraled out of control and anxiety set in. I was put on short term disability. I didn’t know I was in depression that serious. But I did know I wasn’t in control of my thoughts or actions and that is scary.
My anxiety that set in was so bad I had difficulties going out in public. I urinated myself without control or notice. I had to carry around 2 pairs of pants to get to the doctors office.
The insurance Company made me see one of their Psychiatrists out of Ottawa to confirm my diagnosis of Bipolar I with Depression and Anxiety. His report was that not only should everyone leave me alone in terms of back to work negotiations, but I was very seriously ill. And, he said I appeared very disheveled. How rude!
The first life change was people around me. Suddenly I wasn’t left alone. Not that it was a bad thing but it’s hard to cry all the time when there are people constantly there. I would often walk through the cemetery where I could cry and people wouldn’t ask what’s wrong (because I didn’t know what was wrong anyway!).
Next was the volume of medication. I was already on a lot of medication for bipolar and depression, but now anxiety, depression pumped up and bladder control. I was on so much medication that I got the shakes like someone on MS. So they had to give me medication for that too. But with the medications was what I called the body slams. Each increase in the dosages hit me and made me sick and tired. I wasn’t able to play hockey much that year and I can remember attempting to play a game in January. I had the body slams from a recent increase. I played with a giant garbage pail beside me. In the end, i came off crying after a period and a half anyway. I just couldn’t do it.
I spent nearly a year going through the increases in medication doses because I found myself in the ER an additional three times for suicide prevention. Sometimes my attempts were more elaborate and others were quicker and easier. Thank goodness none were successful.
My hobbies changed – to more relaxing / soothing activities. Here I was used to playing hokey and dirt biking, to now reading and my neighbour taught me to loom knit toques. So I occupied my time.
Sharp objects were kept from me. When I asked for a new knife block for Christmas well, that didn’t go over very well.
I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up on my so called road to recovery. I had standing weekly appointment with my doctor and we had an agreement that if he felt at all that I was going to harm myself it would be straight back to the hospital.
It can be a little lonely in depression as well. First of all the illness is predispositioned to isolate yourself, but (and maybe its just me) that the visits, phone calls and emails from colleagues, some friends and even some family members becomes less frequent once they find out what it is that you have.
I attended 8 weeks at our local hospital’s Mental Health Outpatient Program where we went through a number of treatments and coping skills. That seemed to work for a while. It also gave me access to a lot of community programs like CAREA, CMHA, COPE.
Through Psychotherapy work within the program, we did learn that I have three triggers likely to throw me into depression a little easier:
• I never fully recovered from seeing Ralph (my stepfather) pass two years prior
• Not being able to have children seemed to be a large stressor
• The fact that I was sexually assaulted as a teen and never really addressed it contributed to my depression and anxiety
I continue to work on these everyday. A year later I’m not doing awesome, but I’m doing ok.
Depression – Let’s talk about it because it’s scary.