'Nothing Felt As If It Was Going Right'
When you look at me you will see a successful woman, a mother and wife. I had a good childhood, went to university and had a professional career. I now have kids and an exceptionally supportive husband. I also have mental illness.
Sharing my story is important because the secrets you keep can affect your recovery.
It took me a while to crawl out of the pit of despair I was in and learn how to navigate the mental health care system. Now I want to help others who may be facing a similar struggle and put a face on mental illness.
It became very real for me following the birth of my youngest daughter. It was winter time and I thought what I was feeling was Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Confirmed by the doctor, I tried light treatment and medication. The medication was zapping my energy and slowing down my metabolism. Now looking back, I had been feeling irritable and down all the time even before this.
In my dark days, I even lost my ability to cook. I could not follow the steps necessary for a recipe and it was all too overwhelming for me to handle. Staying on the couch all day became my full time job.
Being a wife, mother and employee became too much a couple of years later and I had what I call a break down. I thought I was happy in my job and with my life but it all just seemed too much on that day. I experienced a feeling of being completely out of control. Nothing felt as if it was going right. The days following this saw me not even being able to get out of bed.
I was referred to Ontario Shores and visited the Prompt Clinic. My diagnosis was Bipolar Disorder 2. I started on my recovery journey then and it felt like all the puzzle pieces in my life were falling into place.
It was very difficult at first to hear this diagnosis and having those words attached to my life was hard to process. I was scared about medication and side effects and worried about weight gain. My fear didn’t last long as I remembered that I had tried to fix it all by myself in the past and that didn’t work. With the use of the right medication I saw a difference.
I started a personal fitness challenge with a goal to be active for 21 days. I lost 45 pounds in a short time and continue to move.
Being a writer and a journalist has made it so much easier for me to share my story and give others hope.
When I think back, my mental illness was the sound of my family having dinner without me. Now I am happy and on my journey of recovery with the support of my family and friends.