I wrote about the pandemic and the mental health crisis that people have faced,including myself,back in February. What I haven’t shared is the whole story of what I had gone through and the rabbit hole I went down that I have had to climb out of to feel any kind of better again. Tonight,that story is being shared.
So,after contracting COVID-19, I felt better physically after only 11 days. What happened after that was something I wasn’t expecting,and that was a severe case of depression. This wasn’t just feeling sad about not being able to visit friends or family or having anywhere to go or being isolated for over a year, it was all of that and more. It was anger that this had gone on for over a year and that nothing had changed or gotten better. I was also angry that I got sick and couldn’t get the vaccine sooner as a result while everyone else around me was getting it (which caused me to be jealous of those people). It was the frustration that I couldn’t do any of the things I loved doing before the pandemic. It was fear that things would never go back to normal ever again. It was delusion that the pandemic was being prolonged purposely to not let a good crisis go to waste as Rahm Emanuel (Barack Obama’s failed puppet mayor of Chicago and a terrible human being), once remarked.
It was also sadness that I felt on a daily basis and having only my job to go to being the only thing I had in life to do or even to look forward to. While I did the best I could to put on a happy face at work, I was dead inside. So much so that I was calling a suicide prevention hotline just about every night because of the emptiness I felt nearly all the time because all the good times for me felt pretty much over and with what looked to me like a never-ending pandemic ongoing, I absolutely did not want to be alive anymore. I never had a true plan on ending my life,but I really wanted to. I was beyond broken and void of just about any joy. I guess a year away from normalcy will do that to someone.
One day at work I had told a couple co-workers that I was happy I made it through the night. While I was purposely vague about what I said, I think they knew what I meant by that. One of my co-workers was deeply worried about saying that, asking if she should worry about me. I wasn’t sure what to say. I knew,however, that my days were numbered if I didn’t get any help for how I was feeling soon.
I emailed my therapist to let her know how I was doing. She called me later that day and I told her that I wasn’t doing so good anymore and that I needed some help. She asked if I would be interested in doing an intensive outpatient program (IOP, which I had done in the summer of 2018 with great success) and I said I would,but only if I could go in person since doing things virtually was (and still does) further isolate me from the outside world. So she referred me to a partial hospitalization program where I could go in person daily for treatment.
On Mar. 16 I was admitted to the program and stayed for over three weeks,graduating and discharging today. I have to say that this program was exactly what I needed in what was and has been a rotten time in my life. The staff there was wonderful, my fellow patients that were there with me were very nice and cordial and a couple even gave me great words of encouragement as they graduated. I will never forget this place and the care I received during the time I was there. While there were challenges during the time I was there,including my car breaking down and needing $1700 worth of repairs, my goals of feeling better, feeling like I still had a purpose in life,and that great things were to come were met.
For instance: I’ve started to advocate for myself more when I feel like I am not being treated right,and it’s so far working, so much so that I was able to get my medical provider and my doctor to agree to let me have the vaccine. So, I am getting my first dose of the vaccine a week from Wednesday. I am returning to work tomorrow. I have given contact lenses another try even though I had a mishap where I thought I lost one in my eye and ended up not having it in there once I reached the ophthalmologist’s office. I paid off my car over the weekend. I have gotten to see friends during the time I have been away and it’s been great.
Having said all that, there is a lot of healing left to go in terms of mending relationships with friends and family that have drifted away. There are some hard feelings I have had about a lot regarding what has happened during this time that I have yet to let go. I’m working on it, I just need some time.
Lastly,I just want to say that while it’s been a terrible and trying time, there is help out there for all of us and people who are willing to help. I think we also have a responsibility to help one another and to be there for one another. While we’re getting closer to the end of this sad time, we’re still not out of it mentally. Let’s get there together!