Welp I somehow survived this bizarre murderous year and thus will turn 28 once we get a bit closer to midnight. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Also thanks for sticking around. It might be kind of silly but I’m grateful that my followers online have been patient and haven’t made a mass exodus during my hiatus. I’m starting to worm my way back into drawing and art so I’m ‘officially’ ending my hiatus with the end of this year.
Long story short I wasn’t responding to treatments for Bipolar Disorder, so after going over what we’d learned with my psychiatrist I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. (And the anxiety and depression disorders that come with it. Buy one get two free!!! D: ) I’m going to talk more in depth about this past this paragraph but 1) it’s going to be super long and probably depressing and 2) I will be talking frankly about the incredibly dark topic of suicide.
IF YOU ARE TRIGGERED OR OTHERWISE HARMED BY SUICIDE MENTIONS ABANDON SHIP NOW. (And if you’re someone who makes fun of trigger warnings… please go outside.) I do not want to cause anyone harm by talking about this without sufficient warning.
So the long version:
At the end of May I had a nervous breakdown. I let the pressure of convention prep get to me, and even though I was happy to do the work and it was going well I slowly succumbed to panic attacks. This was the culmination of years of struggling with anxiety and depression, but never to the point of being so severe. Not long after I began the (painful) journey of seeking help. It took me most of the summer to find a competent psychiatrist, after going through a severe reaction to an antidepressant a general practitioner prescribed and dealing with a psychiatrist who dumped me and all of his other patients abruptly and with no contact who could help any of us. Joy. (What I’m trying to say here is the US and many other countries have hugely insufficient providers and support systems for treating mental illnesses, and I got to experience that first-hand.)
The competent psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder, which while surprising fit the symptoms I was experiencing. I began treatment, but unfortunately I wasn’t responding to anything. My condition worsened over the next few months until September came. By then I had sunk into a deep depression, and was bedridden for most of the month. I physically could not muster the energy or will to get up. I lost weight because I could barely eat, couldn’t sleep, and experienced memory loss. At the end of the month I’d had more than I could take, and told my husband I was going to commit suicide. My month ended with an overnight stay at the emergency room so I could be kept from harming myself.
Weirdly enough the day after spending the night in the ER I was doing much better. The fog of depression lifted somewhat, allowing me to think more clearly. Which gave me enough time to meet with my psychiatrist, reevaluate my diagnosis, and go on an antidepressant. (Initially we were trying to avoid resorting to pharmaceuticals due to the side-effects and risks involved. Especially since 2 of the medications I had tried prior landed me in the ER.) Finally, thank God, I responded to treatment.
I’m on an antidepressant called Imipramine; it’s a tricyclic antidepressant (the generation before today’s more commonly prescribed SSRIs) so it works to correct a broad spectrum of biochemical issues to restore appropriate levels of serotonin in the system. In layman’s terms it’s like fixing the wiring in a car; my brain and central nervous system were unable to communicate properly, which leads to a slew of problems. I’m also in therapy, focusing on EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which will allow me to properly process what caused the PTSD in the first place and eventually be cured.
Unfortunately it’s not an easy process; balancing the Imipramine and my other medications properly is a delicate art. I’ve unfortunately already had one issue (my liver literally ate my medication) which caused a serious relapse into depression. During which I made an attempt on my own life, but my husband found me and stopped me before I hurt myself. I’m also experiencing episodes of dissociation, as well as what can only be described as PTSD episodes.
So what it boils down to in the end is I’m trying my best to recover, but it’s a dangerous and difficult period for me. In some ways, as grim as this sounds, I’ve accepted that I may not survive this. So I’m going to do my best to live a good life without regrets, and to get back to doing things (like art) that I enjoy. I’ve also resolved to spend more time speaking my mind and writing things like this instead of being afraid of what people think. If this does turn out to be the end of my life I want to make the most of it.
And because it feels necessary:
(They also have text chat if you need help but can’t make a phone call.)
Lets hold onto our butts and hope the new year is a bit more friendly than 2016.