Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.
Sounds dramatic, but I was at the time.
For countless years, and at times even today, depression with its dark, unforgiving black clouds still hover over me. Eventually, I recovered from those darkest days.
Recalling the arduous years of major depression, I was housebound and felt isolated from the world. Blackness overpowered my life; dark and muddy, depression was unrelenting, and the massive hands took hold of me demanding each full minute of my day.
Days upon days were devoted to gazing out my living room window and enduring life in the house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway.
Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist developed into an enormous production; quizzing what to wear, panicky about riding the bus or mixing up route times, and what to review with my doctors.
I’m unsure of the author of the above infographic, but I thought it showed a few examples of some regrettable symptoms of C-PTSD.
For me, to this day I experience triggers and flashbacks! Recalling my childhood, should I spot a man who has dirty fingernails it will literally send me back fifty years with horrid memories. My abuser/neighbor used to work underneath the hood of his old car daily and always had dirty hands and filthy, greasy black fingernails. It makes me want to vomit recalling him placing his hands on me.
Where would you be if it weren’t for mental illness or depression?
In the mid-1990s, mental illness first tossed me into a life of bleak, depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs.
I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?
I felt guilty for my deteriorating attitude, the considerable burden I placed on my husband, absence and imperfection at work and primarily failing myself. The slightest bit of self-confidence achieved throughout the years coupled with the status at my current job dwindled now appearing threadbare. I was losing myself.
Depression focusses on the negatives.
For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As a well-paid accounting supervisor, enjoying my job and colleagues, I imagined a lengthy career with this company, but, unfortunately, due to the constant absences caused by the illness and hospitalizations, I had no alternative but to leave my position.
Government disability followed after a lengthy two-year wait. You discover swiftly how to become thrifty.
Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. I was able to afford fashionable apparel, household furniture or other articles on a whim without fussing over budgeting our money. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on an actual vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).
Luckily, I worked through some issues in therapy, medication was stabilizing my depressive moods, and I was capable of returning to the working world after nine years absent.
The job I accepted was a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working for nine years, it was a daunting, rocky road in the beginning. I was appreciative that this company gave me a chance at employment even with a spotty resume.
I survived six years with this company, only to find myself ill with depression and severe migraines, leaving me with no choice but to accept long-term disability. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.
I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.
I envisioned participation in the writing field in some capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.
It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, ghostwritten articles for other bloggers, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar, etc.
I also wouldn’t have this fantastic blog (since 2007) that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.
If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other invisible illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have researched.
I continue to struggle with depression on an odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s not unexpected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.
We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.
(edited and reposted)
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019
Ladies, go with your guts. The chest pain you may experience could be a heart attack and not indigestion, a panic attack or just in “your head”. Don’t be afraid to show your face in the emergency room just because you are a woman and the facts have shown that men usually suffer from heart attacks.
My chronic migraines strike daily, and I suffered a horrendous two weeks of these excruciating headaches, and measuring on the unintelligible doctor’s pain scale of 1-10 the pain was nothing short of 10+ each day.
However, migraines had nothing to do with what was to follow.
Seated on my recliner chair attempting to ease the throbbing migraine pain, I suddenly felt an unusual kind of aching; surrounding my chest area above my left boob. It wasn’t an intense or stabbing pain, but similar to somebody wrapping and pulling a massive bandage across my chest becoming more and more agonizing.
As my upper left arm and shoulder gradually began to feel terrible pain, it was now radiating down my left arm and behind my shoulder blades. Also, breathing was becoming difficult.
What the hell was this? I was puzzled.
I’m aware from health research that pain felt on the left side of the body can signal a heart attack, but as a healthy female, with no prior heart problems or family history of heart attacks, I was questioning the ‘heart attack’ theory. Besides, the pain wasn’t overly “painful” compared to my migraines. Continue reading “Women Have Heart Attacks Too!”
What a wonderful and compassionate idea. This would be very soothing for someone experiencing a treatment, and I’m sure it made their life a little less painful if only for a few moments.
The project began about four months ago and I don’t foresee an end in sight. The blue wire basket sits on the table by the pharmaceutical window at the cancer center. It holds painted rocks with inspirational saying written on them in paint pens. Some rocks have hearts and flowers drawn on them because I […]
My guest post today is from Mariah’s blog “Recluse“.
I remember the day I realized that I was in an abusive marriage. I called my mom, who lived 800 miles away blurting out my abuse and fear. I will also never forget how she responded. Mom expressed her opinions and words, and it was if blinders were removed from my eyes.
That was the day I recognized that my husband was violent and things weren’t about to change.
When I was in my first marriage, I was very young. I was 20 when we were married, and I had been with him since I was 17. Needless to say, I was hell-bent on making it work, because I was “an adult now” and that’s what “adults” did. They kept their promises, paid their bills and took care of their responsibilities. Except when they don’t things begin to change.
Soon after getting married, my ex-husband slowly started to show his true colors. Long story short, he was emotionally and verbally abusive, manipulated our finances, was addicted to pornography and video games, had drinking problems, and he had an affair outside of our marriage.
When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only. During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.
I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.
I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”. And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog. It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.
I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb
Yesterday, on “Hot off the Press” @Wordpress.com, they posted an article: “WordPressers Making a Splash”
We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.