Saturday, August 6, 2011

Finding My Way Out: A Mental Health Rant

I've been sitting on this post for a little bit because I didn't want to seem too... I don't know, depressing? Angry? Negative? Crazy? Whatever it was, I was reminded by the many people who have thanked me for my honesty regarding depression why I need to post this.

You see, lately I've been riding one hell of a rollercoaster. Up, down, and all around. I've made some behavioral strides and explored all sorts of options. I've thought I was on the way up and out of this hole only to plunge deeper into the darkness just days, hours, or even minutes later. I know I need help on this journey. I need a hand or 5 to reach down into this hole over and over again to pull me out.
Photo credit: e_pics on Flickr
One of my problems is those people, places, things that I thought could be those hands look a lot more like those people standing near traffic lights waving their signs touting the best or biggest sale, good, or service "just around the corner". Everywhere I turn someone or something is trying to convince me they know the cause of my mental health crisis and If I follow their instructions and/or buy their product I'll be cured!

I have books and magazines lining my shelves that tout all sorts of varied herbs, supplements, or foods to balance my emotions.  I have 400 pages to read about how nothing besides homeopathy will cure me in the end. Or maybe its essential oils. There are cleanses and diets. Is the the imbalance in my gut bringing me down or is my body mourning the death of all those animals I eat? Exercise programs remind us that endorphins make us happy. Of course, my energy also needs to be rearranged and weekly massage can change your life (yes, I'd file bankruptcy and my kids would be left home alone because who has time and money for that!). And let's not forget those hormonal imbalances. Spiritual warriors claim prayer, yoga, and meditation are the one and only answer, and let's not forget the Bible. Most depressed people just need more Bible in their life, those years of famine and war really liven things up. Meanwhile my husband has Lyme disease which has led us to a slew of research where we learned anxiety and depresssion are key symptoms and often misdiagnosed.

What's that you say? Oh yea, that's why all those holistic, natural, or hippy dippy modalities don't work. They are all an expensive crap shoot. I need modern western medicine. Guess what... Counseling and psychiatrists are expensive. A thousand dollar deductible means that much is straight out of our pocket to start. Damn me for being so healthy we never meet out deductible. 

But wait there's more, our insurance offers 6-free counseling sessions. I called and qualified for those. I was told I'd hear from a therapist in 48 hours to schedule an appointment... two weeks ago. 
Meanwhile how do you choose a therapist to whom you will bare your soul ans entrust your mental health? Eeenie meeenie miney mo on the insurance website. If that doesn't work out, well then go pay another $150 out of pocket to try someone else. Not to mention that getting the energy and gumption up to do each of these things is enough to put you over the edge all by themselves. But, you must do them over and over again until someone can freaking help you. 
Oh but there are drugs. Drugs fix everything. Except the miracle drug is as hard as the perfect therapist to find a good match with and along the way you get to screw with your nervous and immune systems all while experiencing really great side effects like weight gain, low libido, heart palpitations, headaches, nausea, fatigue or more! Each drug claims to be the miracle cure in the same way all those natural methods do, and they are both crazy expensive exhausting, confusing, and depressing routes to explore.

Source: via Stacy on Pinterest

I know many of these approaches have merit and that it is all a very personal journey. For everything I mentioned I think I can tell a story of a person it saved and a person it could have destroyed whether by action or inaction. I know I have to figure my own way out, but battling mental illness requires more work and tenacity than many healthy people I know have. But I'm expected to do it between sobbing, raging, and forcing myself to get out of bed.

Well for tonight, I am putting away twitter and the blogs, Dr. Google and Blue Cross Blue Shield. I'm retiring the phone with all the possible doctors names programmed in and hiding the fish oil and progesterone cream. Tonight, I give up. But tomorrow morning, I'm lucky enough to wake up and try this again... a la Groundhog Day. I can only hope one of these days I might figure out something to change the cycle.


  1. (hugs) one of the side effects of my "childhood" was depression. I too tried all the cures modern medicine had to offer. None of it really worked. In the end I went the diet route combined with some hippy woowoo cures. So far so good. I'm always willing to lend an ear or shoulder.- Sarah D.

  2. I've always felt that the most frustrating part is being smart enough to know something isn't right yet feel so helpless to find the 'fix' which only adds to the frustration in a big fat viscous circle. Big hugs, Jamie. Ears and shoulders available here too. - Paula

  3. Love you, J. No matter *which* mom you are today.

  4. Jamie, I'm sending you strength. ((hugs))

  5. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wish I were state side!

  6. It's been a few years for me now since I've been in such a low state, but I can totally relate to this post. I could have written it myself. Like you, I ran, I prayed, I cried, I talked, I wrote-did everything natural to fight depression. The drugs were a nightmare-the side effects only made things worse. But God is good, and depression is a part of me that I learned to live with, cope with and survive. The greatest blessing? My family who love me right through the hard parts and bring me back, again and again, to be the joyful Christian that God has called me to be. The ups and downs of life can wreak havoc on our souls, but God will keep bringing us to His joy for which we have been created. His love is immeasurable. Thanks for sharing your journey. Your honesty does much good! God bless you.


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