I continued seeing my third psychiatrist into my mid 50’s. I remained in confusion as to why I was not getting better. But I kept looking outward. That was my problem. I didn’t want to look inward. I filed for divorce more than once, thinking that ‘we’ were my problem. I retracted my filing each time out of feeling that my marriage was most likely not my problem. If I really thought about Steve, I knew that what I really had for him was love and gratitude for everything he had put up with. For never giving up on me and for fulfilling my lifelong dream and much more. So I stayed.
Before doing such things as filing for a divorce, I had hit rock bottom and was so severely depressed that I did become concerned for my life. I couldn’t take going in and out of depression any more. It was exhausting. It was lonely. I felt helpless and hopeless, like I would never get better. This would be with me forever and as much as I loved my family I could not continue to suffer like this for the remainder of my life. I suddenly understood suicide. Why people chose it. To end suffering. If there’s no help, how could I live like this? I came close…but did not act out, I drove myself to a hospital emergency room instead.
The hospital did not have a psychiatric unit. I thought they did and because they did not, I was transferred to a mental hospital. I suddenly decided I wished I had not gone in. I had a feeling this would not be a good experience. Well, I was right. I entered and was stripped down to nothing like I was entering jail for them to make sure I had nothing dangerous on me. They put me on the floor with the most severe mental patients. I freaked out. I was scared to death. They were both young and older patients. Many patients would get angry and blow up and would have to be restrained. I felt like I was in the movie “one flew over the cuckoos nest”. You weren’t allowed to go in your room until bedtime but I was so upset and didn’t know what to do as other patients stood around in the halls fighting or screaming so I went to lay down in my room anyways. Soon after a difficult patient that I was rooming with came in our room and was very angry and getting more mad by the minute about something. I panicked but lay in my bed with my back to this young girl and before I knew it, she started hitting the room heater with something and screaming. I lay there shaking in fear and crying under my blanket not knowing what to do, than a fire started. I jumped up and ran out of the room and in the employees ran to restrain her and put out the fire. I was overwhelmed with sudden depression that I was there. (I thought, this place is not going to get me better.) Needless to say they realized I was on the wrong floor and moved me upstairs with the milder cases like myself. Honestly, it was like dying and going to heaven to move up there!
After my hospital experience I continued seeing my third psychiatrist but not for much longer. I could not take feeling bad all the time any more and the hospital stay got me nowhere. It was time to move on. I started my research for a new one and had great luck finding someone I felt very confident about after our initial session. He was younger into his new practice. I felt he would be up on the latest and I was right. I was excited to feel that I had finally found a good psychiatrist. I had started back up with therapy during the time I had filed for divorce. Steve and I went into counseling to help better understand each other. And to help Steve better understand me.
By this time in my life I was healing from the loss of my father, my mother and my step father. Losing all of them was a hard thing. But mostly the one that brought me into this world. My rock, my go-to for everything. The one my cord continued being attached to. I didn’t know what I would do without having her in my life any more. She had a pretty long life, but not long enough to me. And I knew she wished she’d had a few more years. It was a huge loss but most of her family was all there by her side to say goodbye while she passed. It was hard and I stayed back with sister Julie and my daughter Lindsay holding my moms hand, just staring at her face and holding her hand, not wanting to leave her. But yet, it was a beautiful send-off with us all there and I only hope I’m as lucky as she was to have my loved ones with me at the end. Not everyone has that privilege.
It took me about one full year of heavy grieving and a couple more to adjust completely to life without mom. She passed in December and by summer I would go out and do my chores outside with horses or mowing and I’d cry with deep emotion and I noticed every time I felt this deep emotion of loss, I would start seeing white feathers. It never failed, every time for the whole first year after she passed. So my symbol for my mother was a white feather and a few years later I decided to get my first tattoo of a feather on my inner wrist. I would never forget this symbol and carry my moms memory with me always. My mom and Clarence were very special people. I miss them each and every day. But life is an ever evolving circle. One is born, another dies. And as said by Ram Dass, “we are all just walking each other home.”
I was having success with my new psychiatrist. He gradually took me off some of my meds and adjusted what he needed. He did not feel I actually had BiPolar II as I did not fall under the description of it’s full symptoms. What I thought I was doing with the animals as being ‘manic’, he felt, was actually more of an obsessive/compulsive behavior within the illness of ADHD. And he diagnosed me at that time also with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. So he treated me with medication for those. I was beginning to experience more longer lengths of stable mood but yet still struggled in and out of depression. After a while I was able to get off my anxiety medication and no longer experienced that. I was so grateful for that. My anxiety would hit me out of nowhere when I suffered with it. It would cause me nausea and vomiting and this went on for several years but somehow it came to a stop. He continued treating me for the ADHD and depression. We were limited on what was available as a drug to treat me. We had luck with Abilify for the most part. The depression didn’t last as long, but I remained very emotionally sensitive all the time. A lot of changes were coming our way and I thought I was ready for these changes. But, I was not at all.