Tag: Mental Health Awareness

I Will Not Break – Mental Health

Get to know yourself. Decide to live your best life as the person you are. People laugh, but I’m 47, married, 2 kids, and as of today, a g-ma. I love my pink hair and I get so many compliments from people of all ages. It has boosted my confidence. I’ll continue to be me!

I’ve suffered from some sort of depression for a very long time, at least 20 years. Most of those years I functioned at a high rate. I took care of three kids–one of who had physical and mental challenges–I worked full time, I went to back to school and became a nurse, I worked in Intensive Care Units… I excelled.

Our son passed away in 2003 and my control over my mental health spiraled. I’m not going to repeat all of this because I’ve written it in my other posts. My husband and I separated shortly after DJ left us. It is unimaginably hard to be strong and need a shoulder to cry on also. Our daughters suffered the most. They had two parents who basically abandoned them. We are so thankful that we both have parents who love unconditionally and were always there for our girls. This is only a fact, absolutely not an excuse.

In 2006, my husband and I found our way back to each other and have been married for 26 years in November. Yes, our family lived in one house again but it took a couple of years to truly become a family again. My oldest spent most of her teenage years hurting and blamed me because I was the one who moved out. Our youngest, well, we’re still trying to figure out how all the traumas and tragedies affected her. She’s 20 and finding her way.

In 2015, I experienced what I would later call a “mental break.” Hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, insomnia, phobias–they all descended on me suddenly. I spent a week in the hospital and another week at a mental health facility. These episodes occurred sporadically for the next four years when we finally found the culprit. UTIs! Peeps, if you think you have a urinary tract infection, go to a doctor immediately.

Now, do I necessarily put all my faith into this development? No, of course not. Did you read about the paranoia? However, I think I’ve only had one episode this year and I had a UTI, so… I am now a frequent flyer at my doctor’s because if I suspect a UTI, even just a little bit, I am there. I don’t even care if they think I’m crazy. I am, it’s been diagnosed and verified, so I have nothing to lose.

Yes, I said it and I’ll say it again, I have formally been diagnosed with Bipolar Depression w/psychosis, insomnia, and PTSD. We’ve spent years trying to get my meds right and I currently think they are balanced and I feel wonderful! Which brings me to the point of this post. With all I’ve been through in the past 17 years…

I AM NOT GOING TO BREAK! I WILL NOT SHATTER. I WILL LIVE MY LIFE.

There are people in my life that need to hear these words. I’m a bit fragile, but give me a little time and I will put my head on straight and fight my way back to an even keel.

In October of 2019, I accompanied my parents and my youngest daughter on my first vacation since 2015. We went to see my sister and her wife. They are great people to stay with because they are vacation planners. Everyday we went somewhere and did something fun. I went to my first Dia de los Muertos parade. This is a tradition I fell in love with long ago after reading a book that included this celebration of life. (Now, my motif contains a variety of sugar skulls and other themed decor.)

Unfortunately, directly after this adventure my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital twice. This was pre-COVID, so family members were allowed to be with her whenever possible. Since my husband and sister-in-law work, I spent a great amount of time with her. Time I treasure. Time I will never regret. She passed in December of 2019.

I was able to be a shoulder for my husband during this time, though we both grieved. Our daughters grieved the loss of not only their grandmother but of a lady who helped raise them as if they were her own. We all held each other together. This loss resides in many hearts.

Since then, I have been able to deal with other surprises, good or bad. I’ve learned that if I need to sleep a bit, I go do it. If my lupus, RA, or fibromyalgia flares, I know what treatments work the best and do them. I rarely have a day when I can’t get out of bed, but my back acted up last week and I didn’t feel guilty about it. I take my medicines as directed, and for the most part, I’m able to live my life… well, with the exception of COVID because none of us are living our best lives at the moment.

I cannot stress how much taking the time to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, because when you own your weaknesses you can make them strengths. Crazy, I know. But absolutely my truth.

I’m far from finished with the work it took to get to today. There will be more work tomorrow and everyday after that. Is there a chance I may have a relapse, absolutely. Now I know that my family and doctors are here to help and have been my people all this time. (If I should relapse, I hope I remember this. This seems to be something I have bad hallucinations about.)

In the meantime, be whoever you are. Be a 47 year-old, almost grandmother and color your hair pink. You might be surprised at the compliments you get.