I woke up a Sunday morning, crying for no reason. I called my cousin to let her know what I was feeling. I could not stop the sobbing. She explained to me everything will be okay. But I did not feel okay.
Later, on I was heading to the grocery store. While driving, I felt a huge knot in my chest. I could not breathe right. It felt like I was choking or having a heart attack. I immediately headed to the hospital with my kids. they laid me down on a bed and did an ekg. A test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart.
I was okay, the nurse told me. I was not having a heart attack. Vitals were okay. The doctor diagnosed me with a back ache from lifting my kids. Or doing a sudden lift.
They discharged me, and I went home. Relieved it wasn’t a major health issue.
Couple of weeks passed. Again I woke up crying. Feeling scared, alone a tremendous amount of sadness. I questioned myself WHY? I have a beautiful family. I have a supportive husband. I get to stay home and care for my children. My husband provides for all of us.
I called my husband at work. explaining to him, what I was feeling. “Jorge, I’m crying non stop.” I feel scared. He, asked “why?” I talked to him, how he wasn’t home often, you’re always working. You don’t dedicate time to your children. I don’t have a life I don’t have friends. Basically, just bashing him with all my thoughts.
Later on that night, I had a vibration feeling on my chest. A feeling of unstableness. I told Jorge when he arrived home that night from work. Sobbing with tears and telling him I could not control it.
He drove me to a local clinic. I explained to the doctor what I was feeling. He said “you have too much stress” “you have anxiety.”
I had never heard of anxiety! Again I went home that night with a prescription. I took a pill at night and I felt normal again. The vibration on my chest was gone. The sadness was gone.
The following weeks, I scheduled an appointment with my Obgyn. I thought maybe I was going through early menopause. Others suggested I probably had an over active thyroid.
I had tests done and I was cleared. I also had a physical done. They checked for every thing. I had nothing, I was healthy.
I felt lost and confused. What is it then!
There was a local clinic around my home. Exodus mental health hospital. My mother and husband accompanied me. I knew it I’m going crazy! I couldn’t believe I was in a waiting room for mental health. I thought everyone in there was going crazy just like me. It was my turn to see a psychiatrist. who told me I was depressed and had anxiety. I cried so much. Telling him how I felt. And that I could not control my emotions and feeling anxious, scared and worthless .
Once, Again I was prescribed medication. I went home confused. Depression and anxiety? What is that? I had no clue. Yes, I’ve been sad before and nervous. But it passed by quickly. Depression and anxiety are different.
I took the medication. It controlled my feelings. But the medication kept me awake all night. I could not sleep. All this while taking care of my two kids. I was a walking zombie. No emotions. The thing is in the beginning you take lots of medication trying to find which one works for you. Don’t give up.
Eventually my husband hired a lady to help me out with my kids and the house work. All I did was sleep. I remember her playing with my kids and feeding them. While I drifted in my bed. I felt useless and cried how I could not respond to my children’s needs. The worse feeling.
I started going out to distract myself. To relieve my symptoms. Thinking it was all due to stress from being home all the time and caring for two small children. Not having a social life. I was still on the medication from the free clinic. But I still felt the same. Alone, scared, worthless. Of course I feel that my lifestyle contributed to my illness from stress. Raising children is a whole 360 change.
Once, again I scheduled an appointment with my obgyn. A different one, a female. The first one I saw, was a man. I thought maybe since he’s a man he wouldn’t understand me.
I was in denial for a long time. I could not be depressed. I’m happy with my life.
During the appointment she said I was overweight. She said I was depressed and that I needed to see a psychiatrist. I went home crushed again. Refusing to be depressed and sad and anxious. It was something I couldn’t control. I thought I was loosing it. I was unaware of mental illness.
I made my research, to see a psychiatrist. I told myself I need more answers. I need to get to the bottom of this.
The appointment came and I took my husband. I wanted him to be present and listen to what the psychiatrist had to say. I wanted him to believe I was not making it up. Sadly we all were confused and ignorant about mental illness. The brain is an organ just like any other organ in our body. And it gets sick too.
Dr. Debrito, you have major depression and anxiety. You need medication. You need to exercise. Neurotransmitters, also known as chemical messengers. Chemicals imbalances, have been found to have an association with mental health issues. Scientists have hypothesized that neurotransmitter imbalances within the brain can cause psychiatric conditions, and therefore, medications can be used to target these imbalances and help improve disease states.
That was the day. Finally I accepted I was sick. My brain had chemical imbalances. It was not my fault. I didn’t cause it. And I surely was not going crazy.
He prescribed me my medication. And said it would take about about three weeks for it to take effect.
Those upcoming weeks were the worse. I began having suicidal thoughts. Which is a side effect of the antidepressants medication.
I was hopeless and scared. I never had been in a situation where I could think of throwing my self from the second floor of a mall. For months I feared going to the shopping mall. My thoughts were consuming me. I was terrified of thoughts that I had no control over. Sudden thoughts that I was dying.
Finally, my suicidal thoughts started drifting away. I was more calm and had no sighns of sadness or anxiety. The medication took its course. It was helping me with my depression and anxiety.
After so much suffering, confusion and seeing doctors after doctors. I finally could say I was feeling like Vicki. Till this day I still take my medication. I have had some episodes of depressed occasions. And now I know what to do. My psychiatrist has helped me a lot. And I am, forever thankful to him.
I now accept the fact that I suffer from mental illness. And that I am not alone.
According to studies about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And is a leading cause of disability.
I truly don’t wish this upon anyone. Mental illness is no joke. it definitely is the worse thing that has happened to me. I don’t complain because I am alive. And I fight every day to overcome this. I fight for my kids. They are the world to me and my strength. And for the mental illness that I suffer from has made me a stronger person.
Mental illness needs more awareness. I was ignorant from the beginning and in denial. Afraid of what people would say? Afraid of telling my family of my thoughts and them not believing me. Having people think I was making it up.
All that is behind. I have accepted my illness. And I’m here to fight as long as I have to. I cried writing this because i went through so much all because I was in denial and not knowledgeable of mental illness.
If you know someone, who suffers the same like me. Let them know that everything will be okay. We’re in this fight together. Support them and encourage them.
Thank you, for reading my painful truth. I know one of you will feel better after reading this. Spread mental illness awareness. Educate yourself. We are not alone. Seek help from professionals. Don’t let this possess you. You are worth it.
I am thankful for my husband and my mother. They have been there in my weakest and lonesome days. We truly have learned to live with it.
Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. I am only speaking about my personal experience. Please seek help if any symptoms occur.