Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Where Have I Been?

WHOO this is gonna be a hard post to write.

I'm sure some people have noticed I've gone missing from here, Facebook, and Twitter for over a week. At first I was bummed because no one asked about it, but then I realized that people just assumed that I was packing up for our impending move. I would just like to remind everyone that I blogged from my hospital bed while in labor, folks. I'm hardcore, and it takes something very bad to make me disappear for that long.

Unfortunately, something very bad did happen. Let's just say I had a little mental "break" and I found myself committed to a mental hospital. No, I'm not even joking.

That's my intake photo. They take a photo of you as you're being signed in and use it in all of your records. I had been crying for a very long time and my face is super swollen. It looks like I was having an allergic reaction or something. Not particularly flattering. In fact, I think this may be the most unflattering photo of me I've ever seen, and here I am posting it on the Internet.

I'm telling you, HARDCORE.

So what led to me being there? Well, I make no secret of the fact that I have OCD and also suffer from an anxiety disorder. Depression tends to roam hand in hand with anxiety as well. I went off my anxiety meds when we decided to start trying to have a baby, and after he was born I never resumed taking them. Now, to that baseline of mental illness let's add a year or so of pretty bad insomnia. This is not a good combo as it is, but on top of it, add the stress of the situation with the ex-bff, the miscarriage, the money struggles, and the problems in our marriage?

I was pretty much ripe for a collapse.

So, I ended up "voluntarily" (haha) being committed to a behavioral health facility. Actually, I was told that if I didn't go voluntarily they'd petition for me to go by force. There, I got to finally see a psychiatrist and got started back on anxiety meds. They also worked with me to find a solution for the insomnia. Apparently, Ambien isn't even strong enough to beat it alone! There was a lot of therapy, and a lot of rest over the eight days that I was there.

So why write about it? Well, I believe in being honest. This is me, and this is part of what makes me me. While some people might say that I should not be proud of having been to a mental institution, I would respond that I am not proud, but I am not ashamed either. It is what it is. No one is ashamed to be checked into a hospital for diabetes or heart problems. My problem just happens to be one that exists in my mind. It doesn't make it any less real.

The biggest thing about being there is that with the exception of a couple of people, after the initial day or two of being there, everyone seemed normal. Like, if I had met them in a class, or at the park, or at the grocery store, I never would have guessed that they suffered from the problems that they did. Yet there we all were, a bunch of normal people, laughing together, attending group therapy together, sharing our experiences with our mental illnesses.

It's so easy when you suffer from these types of problems to feel like you're the only person who does, that everyone else is normal. The truth of the matter is that most people just don't share their crazy because as a society, mental illness is stigmatized and people are ashamed. I'm sure that everyone who suffers from depression has at one time or another been told to "just snap out of it" already. It's like people think we enjoy being this way, like it's fun or something.

I'm doing better for now. I have appointments set up with a psychiatrist and a counselor. I'm taking my meds and finally sleeping. I'm trying to make it a point to get out of the house for a little bit each day, even if it is just to take the boy to the park next door. I just want to remind everyone who reads this that the old saying by Plato holds true - Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.



Blogger Danea Burleson said...

This post made m cry. I'm so sorry Sara. I wish I could be there for you and not stuck on this side of the computer. The not sleeping alone can change you and make all of this worse. I had no idea things were that bad and I am sorry that I didn't know and haven't been more of a friend.

I love you and I am so proud of you for being you! I just wish I could give you a big fat bear hug! And dude, that picture- totally needs one of those mustaches to sweeten it up...;)

11:22 PM  
Blogger Kellee said...

You don't know me but I read your blog often. I did wonder why you hadn't been blogging but then remembered you were getting ready to move.

There is no shame in seeking help when you need it. I appreciate that you are so honest and willing to share your experience. Both of my children have been hospitalized for mental health's hard. Life is hard.

I hope you continue to get good sleep (OMGoodness it's SO important!!!) and take your meds and feel better!

4:20 AM  
Blogger emily said...

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this. But want to tell you how absolutely wonderful it is that you are sharing your story. Mental illness is stigmitized in our society. By you talking about it you bring down one more wall. I work in the mental health field and I know that we are all the same. My "clients" are no different from me in so many ways. We all have "stuff" that we are left to deal with. I am sending good thoughts your way for wellness and recovery. :) It takes courage to put yourself out there. And courage is what will help you recover.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Sara! Thank you for sharing your experience on your blog. I hope you are feeling better and are on your way to a much happier place. You can bring Bubba over to play anytime you want to get out for a few minutes! :)

6:09 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

Be reassured, I wondered where you were! I'm glad you have a plan of attack and people that are helping you out.

Mental health absolutely gets undue stigma and there's an assumption that you're alone. Well, let me tell you, my family is one big mess (including me), and likes to joke about things like, "You're going to be a lawyer?!? You know, the last lawyer in our family shut himself in the attic and never came out." True story. Hang in there.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Sweet Simplicity said...

I'm so glad you were able to get a plan for feeling better. I love the Plato quote you used at the end--very true.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, thought you were just busy with the move. I wasn't expecting this blog post at all. It brings tears to my eyes. I don't know you personally, but, like many of your readers I'm sure, I'm a fan because I can relate to so many things you write about. You are most definitely not alone. Those of us with depression & anxiety are normal people; it's the ones with the perfect lives that are abnormal. Thank you for your honest view of something people usually try to hide. Keep going sister. You have a lot of people you don't even know backing you up.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

I am so sorry to hear about this recent turn of events, but am glad you are taking control of your life. You are such a beautiful woman, so talented and an inspiration to fellow bloggers. Thank you for writing and continuing to share your honest story!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

SO GLAD you're feeling better now. WOW - you are indeed HARDCORE for sharing. And I guess I just assumed you were packing or disconnected internet early? I'm glad you're ok.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Maggi said...

I thought many times about asking where you were but I thought, "Oh my gosh, leave her alone, she's packing up her apartment, jeez." So I didn't. I can relate to you in so many ways, now more than ever. I'll try to write you an email later, if that's okay. I'll just leave it at this: you're an inspiration (as always), and I'm glad you're back.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Yes, I too thought you were busy packing. I'm so sorry to hear you had to go through this. Thank you for sharing your story. We have mental illness in our family and I have dealt with bouts of GAD. But we never talk about it outside the family. I hope soon, there will be more recognition and education about mental illness.
Wishing you well and sending big hugs.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Muffy said...

I DID notice you were gone!!! I thought you were busy and didn't want to bother you!

Glad you got the help you need-- that is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you could possibly do.

Keep us updated on your progess-- it's never easy! Life can be so hard.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Muffy said...

Oh, one more thing: Glad you're back!!!!! WE MISSED YOU!!!!


12:45 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

Wow, Sara. I am so sorry to hear you've been struggling. I had noticed your presence online was a quiet one, but I assumed you were packing, moving, cleaning, etc. I'm sure the days or hours leading up to your stay were dark ones, and I hate to think of you feeling that way. I hope your time there was helpful and that you're on your way to a brighter place. It's courageous of you to take help from others and to let them in to your intimate thoughts. Thinking of you ...

2:21 PM  
Blogger kingsqueen said...

I was sorry to hear that you had not been well, but I'm glad that you got yourself some help. You are totally right that mental illness is stigmatized. My dad is bipolar and recently went 'round the bend himself. He spent almost a good month in the hospital. My mom was in denial that things were getting so bad until she was forced (literally) to admit him. Please take good care of yourself, and I'm glad to hear that you are getting better.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Marissa said...

I have so much respect for you for sharing this. I am so glad you went and got treatment!

SO glad you are back :) :)

3:47 PM  
Blogger Karen Jerread said...

So glad you are back and very proud of you for seeking the help and being brave enough to talk about it.

4:09 PM  
Blogger em said...

You are very strong and brave for sharing. So glad you are working to make things better.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Paula - Buenos Aires said...

I´m so sorry you had to go through such struggles. Wish I could find just the right words to convey love and comfort. {big hugs}

7:48 PM  
Blogger adorkbl said...

Thanks for sharing. Not enough people are frank enough to say what needs to be said. ((hugs))

5:09 PM  
Blogger Lauren Zabaneh said...

this post was amazing! I think your spirit and strength simply jumped off the screen as I read this. Hardcore, yes. Brave? absolutely! I have had my fair share of struggles with depression and therapy has helped me tremendously! It's so good to know you are not alone and you are bringing hope to others through your honesty. Hugs to you, dear!

6:33 AM  
Blogger BMT said...

Thank you for sharing.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh Sara, I'm so sorry for everything you've been through. I admire your strength to share with us ... I hope you know just how many lives you touch. Sending (((hugs))) your way.

7:34 PM  

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