After my daughter was born in 2010, I began experiencing extreme anxiety, and debilitating panic attacks. I saw a doctor who misdiagnosed me with postpartum depression. I began taking SSRIs, and weaned off after a few months.
A few months later, the panic attacks returned, each time worse than before. I went off and on my meds over the next three years. I was in denial that I was dealing with a mental illness. I thought it was temporary. I thought it was a weakness. I felt like I was failing as a mother, wife and daughter. I wanted to beat it myself without the help of doctors, counselors or meds.
Last October (October 4, 2012) it all came to a head in my life. I had been battling severe anxiety for months, I was 5 weeks pregnant with our second child, and I was suicidal. My husband drove me to the ER and I admitted myself to the Behavioral Health unit where I stayed for a week.
I saw a wonderful psychiatrist who put me back on my medicine, had access to group therapy and social workers who guided me on the path to recovery.
This isn’t something you just “get over” and I know now that having a mental illness doesn’t make me a weak person. I think it makes me strong. Strong, because I was willing to admit that I needed help. And strong now because I can stand up for myself, encourage others struggling with something similar, and help educate others about the reality and validity of mental illness.
You are NOT alone in this fight. Never give up.
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When you become a member of NAMI, you become part of America's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness. And now you can join online