Mental Health Breakdown
During this article we are going to look at my mental health breakdown which needless to say is not an easy subject to talk about as it cost me nearly everything. The reason I have decided to share the store of my mental health breakdown is to show the reality of how mental health can change in a heart beat. Three out of four people will be effected by mental health at some time in their lifetime. Already lets get this over with
At the time my mental health decided to quick detour downhill I was a married father with a young infant at home. I was working in a group home for troubled teens which I did enjoy however I was constantly getting sick. Over the course of a couple of months I had developed shingles and dealt with numerous colds and flues. I have dealt with depression for the majority of my life however it began to take more and more control of my life to the point I could not ignore it any longer
I made an appointment with my doctor to look at my options in order to get my mental health back in control. In order to get to his office I needed to drive down a highway, halfway through the trip a semi truck was driving on the opposite side of the road and the only thing running through my mind was my life would be easier if I drove into that truck. Needless to say this thought caught me off guard.
I arrived at the doctor’s office and told him of the thoughts and feelings I was dealing with. By the end of the appointment I was put on an antidepressant Paxil and put on stress leave. I figured that I would be off work for a couple of weeks and the antidepressant would kick in. I was wrong, really wrong.
Turns out Paxil was a horrible drug for me and within weeks it had pushed me into a manic state. The depression I was dealing with hit a brand new level and the thoughts running through my head were scary to say the least. The doctor had put in a referal to a local psychiatrist and soon I would meet my first person in a white coat,
The psychiatrist office was in the local mental hospital and when I went in for my first appointment I was in bad shape. Between the suicidal ideation, the manic state and an anxiety level which was getting out of control. The psychiatrist did a risk assessment and I was deemed to be a risk to myself. I agreed to be signed into the psych ward.
The psych ward was an experience and a half. I began my stay on the closed ward in which the ward is locked down and the only time you were allowed to leave was when the security guard was present. Thankfully my stay on the locked ward was brief as my psychiatrist had me transferred down to the open ward. What came next was three months of experimentation as the psychiatrist tried to find a drug cocktail that would take care of my crazy brain. There was a lot of different medications tried ranging from antidepressants to antipsychotics to what felt like every drug under the sun.
A month or so in and the various drug cocktails were just not working so I was offered Electroconvulsive Therapy. At that moment I would have tried absolutely anything to get my brain under control and out of the psych ward. I ended up going for eight Electroconvulsive Therapy treatments before the psychiatrist deemed it was not working as hoped and I was proving to be a risk as it was taking me longer and longer to wake up.
Just before Christmas my brain was finally calming down and I signed myself out of the psych ward against doctor’s advice. Within weeks after my release from the mental hospital it soon became apparent I should never have left. Before long I was returning to self harm which I though I had left in the past and my moods were becoming more and more volatile.
My wife and my son would soon move out of our home. Over the next nine months my depression kept getting worse and worse. At my appointments with the psychiatrist I told him what he wanted to hear just to get out of there as quickly as I could. Eventually I would realize that I had to make a choice between living and dying.
I walked into my psychiatrist appointment and just pulled up my sleeves showing the very high number of cuts on my arms and told me about the war in my head. Within hours I was back on a psych ward but this time was at the local hospital.
The decision was made to take me off all of my medications and try an MAOI anti depressant which is really not used often anymore as the side effects can be deadly. Mix the wrong food or medication and your blood pressure drops drastically. I also tried Electroconvulsive Therapy again but after one treatment it was stopped as I quit breathing during the procedure
It was during this psych ward stay that I decided to write out my life story and while doing so I managed to figure out a couple of mental health diagnosis that I was dealing with. I was already diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder with psychotic features and severe generalized anxiety disorder. I ended up figuring out I was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. I gave the life story to my doctor and he confirmed the diagnosis.
Eventually I was able to start taking the MAOI antidepressant and slowly it began to work. After a month on this psych ward I signed myself out against doctor’s orders once again. I had my self harm addiction in check and I was in a much better place then the first time I had left the psych ward.
Over the next year I ended up needing a lot of dental work which would have caused havoc if I was on the MAOI so I stopped taking it in order to get the dental surgery. I ended up on a different anti depressant and an assortment of other meds.
I was also beginning to learn more and more about Borderline Personality Disorder and had started a blog which had a rather impressive following. Where I live there was no mental health therapists who specialized in Dialectial Behavior Therapy so I spent a lot of time researching and beginning to do the work on my own. Realizing that I had to go through every belief in my brain and the way I responded to certain emotions and situations.
Dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder is not easy and during the work on myself I came to a number of conclusions that pushed me into a deep depression. Back in the psych ward for the third time my medications were adjusted and I signed myself out against doctor’s order after a week. I have never been back
A year after my last psych ward stay I finally went back to work, not Social Work, and have continued to work on myself to the point my Borderline Personality Disorder is considered to be in remission. I still deal with depression, anxiety and to a lesser degree Post Traumatic Stress disorder but I have learned to managed my mental health disorders with the help of therapy and medications
So what set off my mental health breakdown in the first place? Well in the two years prior to that first doctors appointment I had lost my father and my grandfather and instead of dealing with the emotions I threw myself at my work. I had also graduated from College and got married then shortly after had a child. Needless to say my stress level was through the roof causing me to get sick and slowly lose the grasp of reality.