Hi my name is Jeff I had my first breakdown in high school. My teachers thought I was having a allergic reaction to something. It was nearly ten years later until my particular symptoms would be properly addressed. While in a mental hospital near Detroit, Michigan, I was diagnosed as schizoaffective. At the time I was around twenty eight years old and it has been a hard road to hoe ever since. One would think things would start to get better once my doctors understood what they were dealing with, but, that just wasn’t the case. The ongoing trial and error approach was terribly hard on my mind and my body. At one point I was prescribed over twenty pills a day. As a result, I gained tons of weight became more depressed and just wanted to sleep all the time. Looking back, I think my doctors were just putting a little bit of everything in the mix just to see what would happen. At the time I didn’t have insurance so I was using a county funded system for treatment. I now have private insurance and my level of care has go through the roof, but, not without its own short comings. My doctor is very hard to reach if I am having severe problems, and sometimes it can take days to hear back from him. I am sharing this too see how many other people out there that lost a large block of their life to this trial and error approach that many doctors tend to follow. I understand these doctors need a starting point but it seems to me that they don’t really look at us as people but more as reflections of symptoms.
I work at an Elementary school in an urban area, where most of my kids come from varying types of dysfunction. One day as I was working I realized that one of the few things that unites everyone is that in life everyone encounters personal tragedy: be it addiction, loss, mental illness or the like. Everyone at one point or potentially many points in their life has felt sorrow for some period of time. It is a universal experience and I say this not to minimize your own personal struggle at all.
I was having a discussion with some of my students and the topic switched to myself and one particularly shy kid said “Mr. Luke, you laugh all the time even when you should be mad at us and it makes me feel like everything will be ok” (paraphrased for brevity and coherence which a grade schooler sometimes lacks). What he said struck me as being very profound at this juncture in my life, as I am currently joyful and my own personal joy can be a small comfort to the people I encounter. I never realized that allowing someone to see joy as being an acceptable emotion could be so impactful. Especially since a lot of these kids come from backgrounds where they are treated like burdens or survival is the only thing on their mind.
I guess in conclusion I’d just like to stress if you are struggling look for joyful people to be around, it might not cure what ails you but they will let you borrow their light for a minute and that can be rejuvenating. My parents are one of the main reasons I’m ok because their joy gave me a respite in times when I wasn’t so stable. If you are in a position to be joyful I urge you to laugh freely, be compassionate, and have more empathy (because you have felt the pains of tragedy). If you are not that’s o.k., when it comes back pay it forward because you don’t want anyone else to hurt the way you have.
In May of 2010 I was diagnosed as bi-polar axis 2. I had suffered for years with severe depression but this was my 1st attempt to commit suicide. I have little to no support. My two children are afraid of me for no reason. I have never hurt them in any way. My two sisters also lack empathy. I’ve been told, “I just need to snap out of it” by one sister and that I need to get a grip. I very rarely see them. My younger daughter (29 years old) says I’m not the mother she had growing up. My other daughter (32 years old) says we’ve always had an “odd” relationship. I am compliant with my medicines, do home therapy with books and work sheets as well as seeing my therapist regularly. I finally got put on a new medicine that seems to be working but it’s been a long haul. This disorder has striped me of my life. I would love to see improved public education. All these mass killings are attributed to the killers mental illness. What families fail to see is that these killers weren’t taking medicines as prescribed and had signs that should have been acted on. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. don’t get treated like a leper. Maybe better education would help.
I’ve suffered with depression/anxiety since I was a teenager. It has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I’m now heading into my mid-40s. I take medication, see a doctor and therapist. All in hopes of one day actually realizing life is worth living. For right now, I’m taking it day by day. After 25+ years one can truly admit that the natural order is to fight for life. Otherwise, I wouldn’t still be here. Many of my friends and my entire family know of my mental disorders. Some would rather ignore it and others support me. However, it is interesting that when you have such extreme reactions to your illness, it brings about more anxiety. It’s such a nasty cycle. But one that I’ve been circling, so it’s best to keep a good pair of sneaks handy :)
My family used to tell me for over half of my life that I needed to stop eating and i was “fat”. I struggled with eating disorders for over a year. On April 15th of this year, I overdosed on around 60 aspirin. I was in Children’s Hospital for 2 days and then admitted to a psych hospital for 14 days. I was diagnosed with major depression, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosia. I went back in 2 weeks after I got out for severe self harm. They then added generalized anxiety order. I attempted suicide in the hospital and popped a blood vessel. I went home for a month after that and then returned for 4 suicide attempts in a two hour period because I was hearing voices. They added borderline personality traits and major depression with psychotic symptoms. I was sent to a placement home for up to 90 days.
Although they were horrible decisions, I wouldn’t take them back because they made me learn and I changed tremendously (for the better). If you notice yourself getting depressed, suicidal, or having any abnormal mental troubles, please please please tell someone so you can get help. Everyone has a purpose and you are apart of that everyone. people love you, as much as you think they don’t. Just because you use suicide to erase your pain, doesn’t mean the people’s around you is erased.
I wish good luck to all you beautiful souls. xo
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