I knew something wasn’t right. Several times in my life, I have felt “down”, but it had never been like this. Everything that happened seemed to feel 10 times worse than it was. Those racing thoughts all turned negative and nasty and mean and hurtful. I was on a downhill slope and picking up speed. I wasn’t to the suicidal point, but I didn’t care if I died and really hoped I did. As I drove the many miles required for my work, I started hoping one of the trees would jump out in the middle of the road.
But then, I began planning.
Whenever I have had down periods before, I always did a mental check to make sure I saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Each time, I saw a path clear to the other side. Eventually, the depression would pass and I could function again. But this time, I didn’t see anything. Pure black looking back at me. No path, no hope, nothing. The kind of nothing you can’t describe. And it scared me.
I finally told Melissa what was going on in my head. Had I gone to a hospital at that moment, they would have committed me as soon as I started answering their mental health questions. Being admitted would have broken me. Brett came in as I was talking with Melissa. I had to promise them I would check with my psychiatrist on Monday and even then, they were all over me all weekend.
Telling them I was in trouble was a huge relief. I felt lighter than I had in 2 months. For that entire weekend, I dropped off the face of the earth and hid in my man cave with every curtain drawn tight.
On Monday, I kept my promise and my psychiatrist immediately referred me to a facility for a mental health evaluation. After having the weekend and telling someone I needed help, I was in much better shape after having my psychiatrist talk with me, knowing I would be supported by my family, that they didn’t admit me.
Instead, I was placed in what they call the Partial Hospitalization program. Basically, it is like a reverse half-way house. I am in the facility from 9am until 3pm with others who are either fighting a major depressive episode or who are fighting with substance abuse issues. My days are filled with group and individual therapy sessions. I will be in this program for the next 6 weeks.
Upon my evaluation period, I have now had Bipolar Disorder II added to my OCD diagnosis.
The word hit me like a brick but made sense all at the same time. So many things explained, so many ups and downs in my head. Over the last probably 10 years, and looking back now, I can see that theses cycles of manic episodes and depressive cycles have swung wider and wider. Looking now, I can see that my manic periods are not necessarily extremely happy. Mine are when I am hyper-focused. Those periods where I can get more done in 2 hours than most people do in days.
I am working this program with everything that I have. I am not one that has always listened to doctors, but like I said, this time is different. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, and I can’t worry about that today. I have to learn to live in the moment. I am doing things like meditation and stretching and breathing exercises. I am working on workbooks of learning how to live with this new information.
This blog will be the story of my personal mental health journey. But it will also be the story of the mental health journey of our entire family. I hope that you will learn something along the way with me, that this will help someone deal with their own issues. So that nobody, no family, has to go through this as alone as we have. I hope you will walk with me on this, my Long Winding Path.