Monday, August 10, 2015
Mental Illness - A Diagnosis
Throughout my life, I have had bouts of depression. I have only been diagnosed once. The other times I battled through the dark times in silence. The journey each time was filled with loneliness. I wonder how many people do the same. I wonder why we remain silent. I watch the news about this political agenda and that agenda. Yes, I see a little bit about depression, anxiety, PTSD, and all the other illnesses, but people still remain silent. How do we get past this fear of talking about our illnesses? For the past seven months, I have remained silent.
My dear daughter has been to hell and back. Short of a few close friends and family members, I have remained in silence. Days of loneliness, anger, and fear have engulfed me. Of course, this is nothing compared to her struggles, but as a people, we should be able to alleviate the heartache. Or can we?
The other day I asked her if I could write about our story on my blog. She didn’t even hesitate. “Yes, people need to be aware. Let me show you something.” Grabbing my kindle, she pulled up a video from YouTube that was done by “Jacksgap” out of London. This young man with his British accent talked about opening dialog about mental illness and wanting to campaign. I was amazed by my twelve-year-old daughter’s commitment, along with his.
My beautiful daughter has been diagnosed with social anxiety and complicated depression. During the week, she sees her therapist. A psychiatrist monitors her progress once a month. She takes two different types of medication. At the moment, she only has a panic attack maybe once a week. Her thoughts of suicide are gone. Going to different social activities, even church, is a struggle. Sometimes we have to cancel. In the next week or two, we will be working with the school counselor to modify her schedule. The summer has been good, but we don’t know what the school year holds for us.
Her illness has caused many tears. For myself, my fear of losing her has lessened; however, I still worry. I marvel at her strength. I get tired of all the drama and appointments. There are days I am depressed. I went back to my therapist for a short time. I felt like the worst mother in the world, but I am controlling those negative thoughts a bit easier as we rest during the lazy days of sunlight. I dread this fall.
Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will share our story and thoughts I have had. I will also update on our progress. I am sure this fall will be a challenge. Mental illness should not be shunned or hidden in the closet. However, if I find it hard to talk about as a writer, how will we ever get past the stigma? Hopefully, our story will help others tell their story and not live in seclusion any longer.