My previous blogs have been pretty heavy. Sadly, so is our reality. In sharing such a dark topic, I decided to include some happier thoughts and photos in order to enlighten readers of the affects of mental health disorders and what it has robbed my daughter, myself and my family of.
Amanda’s depression has evolved, there have been various circumstances and traumatic events in her life that have exacerbated her symptoms.
My daughter is beautiful, compassionate, empathetic, friendly, generous, intuitive, passionate, sympathetic and courageous. She has a wonderful sense of humor and loves animals, music, dancing, amusement parks and football. She participated in volleyball, basketball, track, cheerleading and was on the homecoming court in high school. As I reflect, there were signs of social anxiety pretty early on, but I thought it was typical social pressure.
Amanda loves to make others laugh, she hates to see others feel sadness or pain. Likely, because she identifies with it. She is a good listener and a loyal friend.
Amanda had hopes and dreams of working with animals, she loved her job at the veterinary hospital and she had hoped to work with exotic animals one day.
Major Depressive Disorder is different from Depression. Most of us have experienced depression during a low point in our lives. When things turn around we come out of it. Clinical Depression is different, it is a constant and persistent state of hopelessness and is different for each individual. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain compounded by circumstances and life events.
I learned the word comordity as an occupational therapy assistant student. I remember crying in class because as I was learning how to work with mental health patients and I was recognizing even more of what was going on with my daughter. Comordity is the presence of 2 or more chronic illnesses at once. Such as depression and anxiety, or depression and substance abuse. Later, we would also learn about PTSD, Chronic Pain, Grief and Fibromyalgia. (Actually still learning).
Before Emberly passed away it seemed like there were more good days than bad. Life presented us with many challenges but she was stable enough to care for herself, work and at least manage somewhat of a normal life. Now however, it seems the bad days are more than the good. She requires assistance with basic life tasks such as laundry, dishes, cooking and even sometimes self care. We pray for good days and take advantage of them when they come.
Please do not judge anyone with chronic illness when those good days come. If they are blessed with a good day and able to smile or laugh or possibly do a little light housework, let them enjoy those moments. Please do not take it upon yourself to decide they are “fine” or “exaggerating”. Take it for it is, a good day. Let them have it. We have to do better as a society to break the stigma. We need to embrace people and show them compassion and understanding. We can not draw conclusions or form opinions on someone elses journey by comparing it to our own. We do not know where they have been or what they have been through.
Mental Illness is NOT a choice. Who would wake up and decide to be so sad and overwhelmed? Who would decide to have all of society judging and criticizing them daily? They are very aware they are depressed, they are aware of their dependence on others. Who would choose to spend so much time in the hospital answering questions over and over about your emotional and physical pain reliving it every single time!?
Mental Illness has stolen my daughter’s joy, her smile, her athleticism, hope in becoming a veterinary assistant, her independence. It has robbed her mother of sharing her blessings and proud moments like the ones I get to watch the rest of my friends share.
Depression and chronic pain go hand in hand, as the mental illness has gotten worse, so has her physical pain. I hate seeing her in pain, I hate not being able to stop it. I hate that doctor’s haven’t been able to regulate her medication because it took 14 years for someone to do a DNA study to determine her meds weren’t working! I hate that when we call various inpatient treatment centers unless she is having a psychotic episode she doesn’t qualify or her insurance won’t pay for services. Do you know what it costs to go to an inpatient treatment center? $10,000 per month and they require a 4 month commitment! So $40,000 out of pocket to get my daughter the help she needs and wants. This journey is not easy. I do not have the answers, but dear God I wish I did!
She is my daughter and I want what is best for her. Doesn’t every parent want that for their children?
The system is frustrating beyond belief. Mental Healthcare is poor. And society is cruel. She and many other people with mental illness need us all to do better! She is my daughter and I love her beyond words and I will continue to hold the lantern for her, and fight for her.
As always thanks for reading, be gentle, I’m not a professional, just a mom.
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4 thoughts on “What Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Chronic Pain and Grief stole”
Well written my friend. As I was reading I thought of the social isolation that comes with mental illness, depression and even grief. Friends may slowly drop out of one’s life. This too can be devastating to the person. It’s not like Amanda has disappeared. She is still beautiful and precious.
So true. And I’ve lost friends too. People have a real hard time sticking around through tough times. Sad
You and Amanda have always been amazing! I’ve watched her grow/ go through this as I’ve raised my own girls ( my oldest now 17) and struggled with extreme mental health issues, since I was a child that still aren’t fully supported by family even those who have witnessed hands on. I’ve fought alone for 37 years. And until my girls got old enough had no support system. You are an amazing mother! And she is an amazing woman! I ask her all the time “ what do I do ? “ lol. So strong. You guys inspire me , definitely 😊
Thanks for reading and being a friend to Amanda. It is a lonely journey. So many just don’t understand, I won’t ever stop fighting for her.