Yet life changing and life sustaining…
We have experienced this first hand, with the initial rush of movement there is a lull… a necessary lull. First comes the massive (for some) realization that there is something Wrong (with a capital W). For us it was the concrete and stable plans for suicide or self harm becoming alarmingly loud in Ken’s mind, as well as his realization that he simply was not feeling Happy, not even little h happy about things. There was a lack of the life long roller coaster you and I experience of happiness, excitement, joy intermingled with sadness, anger, frustration etc.
Once the person who is suffering from a mental illness comes to this massive and life saving realization things happen quickly. Of course, I can only speak from our experience but I hope it is helpful… medication is prescribed, voluntary hospitalization is offered in case of necessity and doctor/therapist/psychiatrist appointments are quickly lined up. This is almost mind numbing in its speed. After all, the individual is admitting to thoughts and feelings that are highly detrimental and dangerous.
After this comes the medication. Ken explains it to me as a build up in his system. Amounts are determined by increase or decrease of a gradual nature and for him the thoughts are quickly quieted a little, but with it comes side effects… exhaustion, distracted thought… again a quick thing to start…
But this seems to be where the speed ends. The side effects to the medication that you gradually get used to, or diminish themselves all occur over time… The initial danger is over and the sigh of relief that comes with that but that is where the real work begins.
I know there is a saying – don’t sweat the small stuff… but I think that in the life of a family touched acutely by depression there is a new saying – celebrate the small stuff… so you all managed to get out the door to enjoy the sunshine! There is a great moment to smile and laugh. The number of naps and exhaustion level have decreased post med adjustment… well that is a great reason to take a movie night. Therapy has been gone to consecutively and found to be helpful… well that means it is time for a family walk or bubbles in the yard.
Note my idea of celebrations isn’t wine and caviar. That is fine and dandy if you can afford it, but really a celebration can be a smile, it can be reveling in the moment, taking a walk with the family, cuddling on the couch and rehashing the good stuff. There is something to be said about meditation and self realization. About taking a moment and making it stretch and giving it more relevancy.
Grand change that is swift and all encompassing are not part of the long term solution, I am afraid. Rather, this is a long haul… but it is such a life enriching, life changing and life ensuring procedure. And, if celebrated properly and shared and committed to it will change you, your family and those around you for the better.
The key is to not let go, well… there will be some bad, some sad, some angry that we can’t help but let go (in fact, it is the best choice) but the good, the lovely, the amazing, the romantic and silly… if we hold on tight to THESE moments then they will sustain us through the steps backwards, the momentary lapses and the internal rage over a process that simply cannot be rushed.
So basically, what I am trying to say is this… there isn’t this great fight towards a cure. Not for those who are not situational. Instead, it is a long marathon to becoming healthier, to becoming in control, to finding a way to manage the negative emotions and thoughts and be able to feel joy and peace. So it is not a sprint to the finish, there is no huge party at the end. Rather you are going across country… there are pot holes and cow patties but there is also beautiful scenery, friendship and a future… and all those things are worth celebrating. Every pot hole you survive, every dip in the emotions, every fall back that you recover from… EMBRACE IT! CELEBRATE IT!
And if you really feel like you can’t, well tell someone, tell me, tell a friend… tell ANYONE that you succeeded and if they are truly on board and truly understand they will help you see your success. They will teach you how to accept praise and cheer along with you. And as they teach and support you, throw a little love their was. Because really, we are all a little broken. And together we can ALL be a little better!!!
Once again… I want to say – no one is alone. I am here, my family is here… if you need me or someone else… reach out. Well done at getting this far and GO YOU as you run your own marathon the a healthier life!!! (Again, to read the other posts in this series on Depression and our family go HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.)