Friday, April 17, 2009

everything has changed

I had a life-altering event happen to me on Easter Sunday. I'm not a religious person by any means (I consider myself agnostic), and mostly the date was a coincidence, but its just ironic to me that it happened on the (celebrated) day of Christ's resurrection.

Monday morning I transformed into a brand new person.

I'm always nervous about revealing too much of my personal life on this blog, but a big reason (primarily just a rationalization/justification) was because I couldn't be honest with myself. So how could I write anything of substance about myself without being honest with myself? I couldn't. So, my only option of living a fulfilling, joyous and free life starts with an end. An end to lying to myself and hiding myself from others who love and care for me.

::Big Breath::

So, here goes.

I have been battling with Dysthymia and GAD for the past 3 years after 2 years with Major Depression. The week of April 5th was a slippery slope to the bottom, and Sunday I fell to the very pit of the hole. It was either ending my life or getting serious help. Even though I was scared as hell, I told Matt that he needed to take me to the hospital immediately. I was brought into the ER, and they placed me on a 72 hour hold in the mental health unit.

Sunday night was the worst. Being in that empty hospital room, with no TV, no personal telephone, and all my possessions taken away, and being completely alone and locked up behind closed doors. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stop crying, and I heard chilling yells and screams from a different part of the ward that echoed within the depths of me. I was shaking, having cyclic cold and hot sweats, not being able to distinguish the sweat from the tears on my face. I had an all night panic attack, which perhaps isn't that notable considering that I had been pretty much having a continuous panic attack since Saturday morning.

In the morning, the nurse came in to talk to me for quite some time. She almost instantaneously made me feel better, and told me that this branch in the unit was for high-functioning people (with a few exceptions) with intense Depression and/or Anxiety and/or drug addicts who had threatened or attempted suicide; people just like me. The real "crazies" were in a completely separate part of that floor. Soon after the Psychiatrist came in to get my life story and get me on the right medications that will actually work. I've gone through 4 different anti-depressants within the past 5 years, and I was never prescribed any anti-anxiety medications even though I insisted. I think I'm finally on the right ones.

The most important part of that inpatient program was the group setting and the group leaders/facilitators. They had groups every hour that you were highly recommended to attend and they covered many aspects of what we deal with and how we can cope. You got to share your experiences with others, and resonate with other peoples stories. A big part of depression is isolation and feeling worthless, which I'm really good at, and that makes it all the more convincing to think that you're all alone and don't deserve help. Hearing those stories brought a sense of peace, at least in knowing that so many people struggle with all these things as well, and that many people are unfortunately worse off than I am.

Depression and Anxiety are the common colds of mental illnesses.

I was there for four days, and was discharged yesterday with a brand new outlook and perspective on my life. The sun never shown brighter or felt warmer, the wind never felt as refreshing, and an Iced Decaf Soy Caramel Macchiatto never tasted sweeter. ;) I can and will live pain free. I do not have to resign myself to pain and hurt. Although I am not responsible for my illness, I am responsible for my treatment.

Finally letting go and asking for help was the most important and best thing I could have ever done to better myself and my life.


So, here's to living a fulfilling, joyous and free life.




As always, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and words.

_____________

Matthew Scherfenberg.

12 comments:

Stephen Haynes said...

OMG! Brooke, I think I know you well yet know you so little that all of this has totally escaped notice. I wish I could do something to have lifted part of this burden from you in the past. I guess it does explain a few things, but there's much pain there that I wish I could have done something about.

You know, I hope, that I'm here for support, a shoulder, a refuge, a bottle of wine (can you drink with the new meds), or whatever. I'm just an old codger who happens to love his young Brooke, and I want you well.

Shadowscapestudio said...

Well...Welcome.
I have been battling depression for years. No one pays attention, and why should they.
You have my phone number, and if you can't find it, it is 218 832-3884.
I know enough that I can't help other than to be a sounding board. But you can bounce stuff off of me any time you want. 24/7.
You have taken the biggest step. The little steps are just as important.
Dave

Jonathan Herbert said...

My heart goes out to you, Brooke.

Capt Stu Beans said...

good for you Brooke.

I can only imagine what your pictures will look like with this new clarity.

Mockingbird Girl said...

Brooke- This is the 1st time I'm reading your blog. I've battled GAD, depression & Bipolar II for a while now. I wish you the very best of luck in your healing journey.

Girlmanac said...

Dear Brooke,
I am so sorry to hear about this...you are very strong. I want you to know that I was also in the hospital last summer, and if you ever want to talk about it, please shoot me an email.

Much love,
Kate

YİĞİT YAVUZ said...

I am terribliy sorry to read that such a lovely girl is fighting with depression. What can I say except that I wish that you find some love, trust and peace in this world of yours.

Please hold on to life.

brooke lynne said...

Thank you all so dearly for sending your best wishes. They are truly appreciated.

Much love and peace to you all.

.mosa said...

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Dave Rudin said...

I apologize for taking so long to respond to this posting, Brooke. I was sorry to read about your problems, but I think asking for help was the best thing to do, rather than suffer in silence.

Several years ago, I was returning home on a flight from Europe with a very bad head cold, which caused me a great deal of pain and anguish while the flight was coming in to land. I thought I might look foolish asking for help, but the alternative was to actually BE foolish and not ask for help. By the time they connected me to the oxygen cylinder, I was about half unconscious and was really seeing stars.

In that situation, I needed help and was glad I asked for it. I'm glad you did the same - and just as I survived, I'm sure you will, too.

Remember what I wrote before: come to New York during opera season and I'll be glad to take you to the Met. Hearing opera through speakers cannot compare to hearing it live.

MichaelV. said...

Hi Brooke, no one deserves to be left to suffer. Glad you asked for help at last. I've been on anxiety medication after my stroke and they've helped. My heart goes out to you and my best wishes as well.
M

Tia said...

Thank you for sharing your story. So many blogs are edited down to nothing, and people only talk about the good stuff, not what's really going on. When people are actually brave & honest like you have been, it lets others know they aren't alone in dealing with things like this.