You can read Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 here.
I was numb. I was exhausted, always fighting to keep my eyes open. I was gaining weight rapidly and all of this frustrated me. The medication that I was put on in the hospital that ultimately saved my life had many unpleasant side effects.
I literally felt nothing. I was put on an anti-psychotic which numbed me from feeling. It was designed to knock you out and I was nearly on a full dose of it to stabilize me. I also mentally struggled with the weight gain. Nothing fit. I had gained 40 lbs in 3 three weeks… With a weight gain that fast I was devastated. I had to wait nearly four weeks after being released from the hospital to see the psychiatrist. In the meantime life was still really hard. The only improvement made was that I no longer wanted to end my life and I was no longer being haunted by hallucinations.
I was anxious to see the psychiatrist. I needed something to change. When I finally got in I was discouraged with the patience that would be required to try the new medication. It would be four months to work up to a dose that may be able to help me. If it didn’t we’d be starting all over trying another medication. In addition he put me on an anxiety medication and a pill to stop my weight gain, thank goodness. I was pounds away from 200 lbs and being an active person as well as a long distance runner the extra weight was extremely uncomfortable.
I had to stay on the medication that the hospital put me on until my new medication was a high enough dose. I then would come off it to see how the new medication was working. So for the next 3.5 months I fought the exhaustion. The weighted feeling it created in my legs.
I was dedicated to my self care and a routine to help myself mentally in the meantime. I wanted to get better so I did everything in my power to do so. I woke up early to do a strict morning routine of a gratitude journal, affirmations, meditation, and a workout. I then had coffee and cleaned the kitchen and family room. Having a clean main section of the house was important to me. If it was dirty my anxiety would get out of control and made the clutter in my mind worse.
I struggled to stop moving. The memory of the hospital stay haunted me. I had separation anxiety from my husband. Every time he left the house I was worried he wouldn’t return. Logically I knew we had a great marriage and he’d never abandon me but emotionally my mind ran wild and struggled since he left me at the hospital.
I was unable to be a mom. Luckily Trevor, my husband, was working from home but when he did leave we had to have someone come over to help with the kids. I couldn’t cope with the daily tasks of being a mother. I got overwhelmed changing diapers, getting snacks, and dealing with the whining and fighting. I had no desire or energy to play with them but I also couldn’t take them out. The mom guilt was strong.
The four months till my medication was built up enough drug on. When we finally reached it and weaned off my hospital medication I was disappointed and discourage to find the new medication wasn’t working for me. We upped it a few more times, as well as my anxiety meds but still I struggled. I felt frustrated and wondered why it had to be so hard to heal.
In the meantime my PTSD had hit hard. I was having panic attacks that would last 4+ hours, often in the middle of the night. I couldn’t fall asleep unless Trevor was touching me and I could’t stay asleep. The nightmares of the hospital would wake me and I’d be up convinced I was still in there. I couldn’t get away from the feeling of being trapped.
I would cry a lot. I couldn’t stop moving or doing because if I did all I could think about was the hospital. I journaled a lot to try and not dump it on Trevor all day long but it didn’t help. He became overwhelmed after months of carrying the load as well. We were at a loss. I was doing therapy weekly and EMDR. I couldn’t do EMDR fast enough, yet the mood dip after took so much out of me and made me question if I was doing the right thing.
After continuing to up my new medication till we couldn’t anymore it was decided we would add another medication in hopes the combination would help me. I’d also been on sleeping medication and a nightmare medication for a month at this point.
I still felt trapped and started to wonder why the price to save my life had to be so great. I had been through many hard things in life. Some of them very traumatic yet the hospital stay trumped all of them. As the PTSD set in hard I didn’t know how I was going to face it and I thought it would be better to just not face it. Going through it once was hard enough I didn’t think I could do it twice.
We upped my therapy to twice week and continued EMDR in hopes to find some relief but relief wouldn’t come for some time. It wasn’t till after I’d been on my new combination of medication for 5 weeks that we started to see improvement. Suddenly I started to feel more like myself. The pain in my chest from my depression lessoned and the tightness that made it hard to breath eased. Eventually they faded away and I actually felt happy and looked forward to things once again. I wasn’t completely better but I was grateful for this baby step forward no matter how long it lasted.
Healing is like a roller coster with plenty ups and downs and sometimes an unexpected turn that makes you feel like you could fly off the track. This is exactly how I feel. Things come up out of nowhere that make me feel like I’m falling off track. It makes me feel like I’m taking steps back but we take them head on and have a great support group to help us through. My medical team took a long time to put together but I couldn’t be more grateful for them. I owe my life to them as well as to Trevor of course for diligently keeping me safe at home.
Healing isn’t a destination but a journey and I’ll be on this journey for a long time. I hope through sharing it I can help someone else along the way. I hope my story gives them hope that you can come back no matter how deep you are. There is support and help out there and so many woman who have been through it who bravely share their stories in hopes of helping someone else through. If you are struggling and need someone who understands to get through it with you please reach out. So many would love to help you through, myself included.