Life is a long journey: my depression, five years later (2nd part)
Today, I want to prove to you that there’s an after and that it can be beautiful and joyful.
I will tell you about the people who had helped me throughout my hospitalization and at the day centre, whether they were patients like me or people who are close to me. Not to mention the professionals who followed me and without whom recovery would not have been possible.
GOING BACK TO WORK
I consulted my family doctor during the following month. I really liked her; she had been there for my health since I was 13 years old, and she cared for my needs. With her approval, I went back to work 6 months after my maternity leave, which, in my case, was 6 months after my hospitalization. My work helped me figure out who I was again and accomplish myself professionally.
All this despite the fact that, at that time, I did not have a good relationship with my immediate supervisor. She just couldn’t understand my condition. The most challenging part of my return to work was realizing that not everyone is comfortable with mental illness. I could not but notice it…
PUTTING AN END TO A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
After all, I went through, before my son’s second birthday, I wanted to separate from my son’s father for the first time. With what I had experienced, I no longer saw myself in this relationship, which had become toxic to me. But I wasn’t well enough to live alone.
So a year of “back and forth” with him followed. I wasn’t able to leave and break my family apart (what I was thinking at the time) even though I wasn’t comfortable in my relationship. During that year, full of uncertainty with my son’s father, my mental health began to go wrong again.
I went through anxiety attacks. At one point, I even “decompensated.” I was in a state where anxiety had taken up all the space in my brain. I only remember this event briefly because it was so difficult to live physically and mentally.
This last crisis made me realize that I had to see a professional once again. So I consulted another psychologist. He gave me the tools I needed to get up and have the courage to leave my boyfriend to live the life I wanted finally.
FALLING IN LOVE AND BEING SUPPORTED BY THOSE AROUND ME
As you may know, if you have already read my previous articles, I then met my current spouse. I was still on medication. He accepted my condition even though it could be scary for him to date someone who has struggled with depression. But he saw the efforts I made and still wanted to be part of my journey. It felt right to invest myself in this new life with my son and new boyfriend.
After 3 years on antidepressants, I was way better. I had significantly reduced the amount of medication I was taking (with my doctor’s permission) throughout the months. I was only taking “a dose of comfort.” Then, my doctor and I decided to stop the medication after a little over 3 and a half years.
And now, 5 years later, I can say that I am well and 110% cured of my depression. With the love of my boyfriend, my son (and now my daughter), my parents and my friends, I was able to get through it.
Yes, there are times when old reflexes come up, and I feel guilty of all the flaws that exist. Otherwhere I stress about an event and am not able to see it in a positive way.
When it happens, it’s important to pause and remind yourself that it’s a phase that it will pass. It’s scary, but you can get out of it and regain a good quality of life.
THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Like any story that ends well, you need lots of good characters. Now let’s talk about the good people who have touched me throughout my journey.
DURING MY HOSPITALIZATION
PL: When I got to the psychiatric floor, I saw a guy in crisis in the corner of his room in the emergency room when I was there. I had developed a beautiful friendship with him. We shared our thoughts (and for me, it was something because I had never had a male confidant before), we played cards, we acted silly. I even helped him beat his agoraphobia by taking him to the shopping mall across from the hospital. I felt useful for someone. Until he knew I was leaving. He confined himself from the fear of being abandoned and locked himself in his room until my leave was signed. I didn’t know how to deal with his rejection, even if he was doing it to protect himself. I still remember today how I cried because he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. But after 3 weeks of hospitalization, he came to hug me just before I left. I knew at that moment that everything was going to be fine.
J: She was a young patient with a borderline personality disorder. I liked the artistic girl. She felt like a younger sister to me. It warms my soul when I see her on Facebook today, blossoming in her relationship with her girlfriend.
BA: My BFF, my half. While she had her 9-month-old baby at home, she took the time to come and see me every 2 days at most. She was there for me more than anyone else. She brought me good food—the hospital is not a five-star restaurant—she talked to me about what was going on outside, about the gossip at the job, and it made me feel less like an outsider. She also met my patient roommates, even though it can be scary when you’ve never been in a psychiatric hospital before. It was during my hospitalization that I knew she was my best friend. We would be “the one who was going to be there when the other needed it.” Friendship at first sight with a woman who has become one of the most important people in my life.
AT THE DAY CENTRE
B: She was a reserved girl with an artist’s soul inside her. She still gives me news today, and I’m always happy to hear from her.
A: A good friend I had made at the centre with whom I could open up daily… and who liked the same type of guys! LOL! She was my first recontact with psychiatry when she was admitted for a few days. Visiting her at the psychiatric hospital puts a lot of things in perspective. Thanks to her, I realized at that moment that I was healed from my traumatic event.
W: A special, energetic girl. One of the nicest people I have ever met — a mythical creature like the unicorns she likes so much.
E: A wise young student who was so mature for her age. She had an old soul. I’ve learned so much by her side!
L: She was a woman who had gone through a lot, but who had always come out of it with her head held high and brought joy to the centre every day. She was a true inspiration to me.
A: A young man so shy, so erased. I would have liked to take him under my wing and take care of him.
F: A music lover who had a disabled child. This guy moved me so much. I even had a little crush on him. It was innocent and platonic, but he had so much charisma that one could only be interested in him — a bum with a big heart.
And there were two gentlemen whose names I don’t remember. There was a music lover who was so erudite! I loved learning by his side! I could listen to him for hours. There was also the wise old man who didn’t say much in group meetings unless he felt that one of the women was being abused in some way at home. In that case, he would encourage us to stand up! A real feminist.
THE EXPERTS WHO HAVE HELPED ME
There was a psychiatrist who admitted me to the hospital. He believed me when I told him I was at the end of my rope. He told me that I was worth hearing and being cared for, and he thought it would be good to give me a 3-week stay in the hospital. A tough 3 weeks, but without it, I wouldn’t have been able to recover.
There was also the psychiatrist I consulted at the day centre. So pleasant, so reassuring. He taught me a lot about myself and my relationships. I felt supported in my efforts with him at my side.
I also owe a lot to the rest of the hospital and day centre staff. The paramedics who were able to put me at ease, the psychiatric nurses who listened to me even if they didn’t often understand what I was saying because I was crying too much, and the nurses and workers at the centre who were always good advisors.
One of the most important people in my journey was my 2nd psychologist, M. I found him with my Employee Assistance Program at work. I was lucky that he crossed my path. I immediately felt comfortable with him, even though I was always on guard with men. He spoke to me in metaphors, which meant a lot to me. He could grasp my entire being. He understood the ideas I had in mind, even if they were weird. He made me talk about the people I admired and how they could help me grow. He made me realize the toxicity of some of the relationships around me only by listening to me. One of the most rewarding people I’ ve ever met. And even today, when I doubt myself, I say to myself, “Well, what would my therapist say? “and it helps me to put it into perspective.
MY FRIENDS, PARENTS AND SON HAVE ALSO BEEN UNCONDITIONALLY SUPPORTIVE
My friends have also been unconditionally supportive throughout the years. Whether through their visits to the hospital or everywhere else, their little gestures or their calls and texts, I could see that I was important to someone when I no longer believed it.
My boyfriend, the father of my daughter, who is so perfect for me. A man who let a woman with a harsh background into his life and who helped me heal with all his love, support and patience.
My parents also supported me throughout my recovery. Yes, I hurt them a lot with my attempt, and I’ve always blamed myself for that. I am fortunate that they stayed by my side, consulted with me, supported me without judgment during my struggles and took care of my son. I owe them a lot. I have the best parents, period!
And finally, there is my son, the most important one. He was my reason for wanting to live. When I wanted to see him grow up, I finally wanted to heal. My angel, my little sweetheart, who has always been his mother’s protector, saved my life. Without him, I would not have been able to meet my boyfriend or give birth to his little sister. Without him, I couldn’t have written this whole story for you.
LIFE’S SHORT BUT IS A LONG JOURNEY
Even if life isn’t always easy, it will get better. You must believe it. It will get better if you’re going through harsh times. The light at the end of the tunnel is full of hope, waiting for you to grasp it.
Remember, there are resources if you need help. Feel to call 9-1-1 or the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566.
This post was translated from French to English by:
My name is Aimy and I am a second year-student in translation studies. I discover my truths through my passion for literature, arts and culture. I have a keen eye for beauty, a lust for life. For me, every day is a chance to acquire knowledge and create. As Einstein once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.”
Ève, forever in my early thirties, mom to a big boy Laurent and a cute little girl Magalie. I used to work in communications and slowly returning to my first love; writing. I love nights out with friends #mommytime, watching all my favourite Tv shows as well as Lady Gaga, comedy, and a good bottle of wine paired with delicious food!