Monday, August 24, 2015
Mental Illness - Depths of Despair
Parenting, though more often than not, a joy, runs a sword through your heart at different points in life. This year I felt the sword plunge into my chest a number of times. My body racked with sobs or numbed in helplessness or believe it or not, both at the same time.
The first time I took Madelle to the hospital was just three days after we lost a dear family friend, 16 years old, to cancer. The week was so surreal. A sweet angel left this earth and we were fighting to keep our angel with us. Madelle went to see her therapist. Before the session finished, I was directed to take Madelle to the emergency room due to suicidal thoughts. The day was beautiful and bright, but darkness seeped through everything. My baby wanted to die and my friend’s baby was dead. How do you wrap your head around all of that? I called my husband to meet us. While we waited, I cried. I prayed. I asked for all types of intercessory (from saints and angels) support, even from our newly deceased friend. I asked all of heaven to pray for Madelle, our family, and our friends.
Somehow we made it through that first visit. We were given options of sending her to a long term hospital or seeing a psychiatrist. We opted for the latter, but we feared more might be needed. Our days were filled with fear. We constantly lived in a state of worry, fear, and vigilance.
One night a huge panic attack swept Madelle to the brink. We were terrified. The weather was frigid cold and she laid out in the side yard. Her dad placed a blanket over her and we waited. For thirty some minutes, we prayed. I went through her entire room for the millionth time, looking for objects that would hurt her. As we were about to take her to the hospital via our car or an ambulance, she came back inside. I thanked God that day for text. One short message and many people were praying for her.
The second and last trip to the hospital was at night. As a family, we drove through town to the emergency room. I remember Madelle wanting to feel good. She really wanted to be admitted to Shodair. We didn’t want that. The therapist on call informed us of no beds. We could take her out of town. In the end, we took our baby back home. I don’t remember sleeping much that night. In fact, it might have been one of my nights sleeping in the living room by her bedroom.
With this last visit, we found out Madelle was hearing voices and seeing shadows. I feared the worst diagnosis. When he told me that she needed to go on an anti-psychotic, the fear on my face must have been glaring. He said that all of this was normal for complicated depression. His reassurance helped, but I didn’t breathe normally for another month or two. For the last couple of months, Madelle’s meds have been working. There are no more voices and shadows. We are still dealing with panic attacks and her disdain of social activities. She doesn’t like to leave the house. I worry about school, but as the song says, “One day at a time, Sweet Jesus.”