Surprisingly NOT my two attempts to end my life..
In the midst of a very unhealthy relationship for me, with my heart broken by the same man over and over again.. (why do we women put up with men who don’t value us?) I decided that I once again couldn’t cope with the depression and suicidal thoughts. This time however I was not looking for a fast track escape route from life altogether, I actually wanted help from professionals.
Having the deep seeded belief that I was broken, emotionally damaged and that something was seriously wrong with me I voluntarily checked myself into a private clinic for depression. Surely this is the place that had the answers to my misery..?
As soon as I arrived I didn’t feel comfortable. Here I am in a small facility that had maybe 12 patients and we were all being treated as mentally ill…? Not sure why I believed that it would be any different??!! But as my fellow inmates had actual physical signs of paranoia, anxiety, utter despair, and the like, I quickly realised that I actually was not as bad as I thought I was!
My emotional issues were will hidden. I had trained myself to function at a socially acceptable level. To look at me you would have thought I had it all going for me. This was not the case for my new friends.
I couldn’t cope with the group sessions as a result. So I didn’t go and just sat in my room either reading or staring at the four walls wondering what the hell I had got myself into.
I was given different anti-depressants than the one I had been on and immediately taken off all the natural supplements I was taking to support my physical and mental health. From experience I know that psychiatric medication should be a gradual increase/decrease to prevent adverse reactions. In addition, I was given nightly tablets that knocked me out cold for at least 10 hours. (I actually loved that part of it!)
But I just knew I didn’t belong there and so I asked one of the nurses if I could go home. I had voluntarily checked myself in, I had actually paid for the privilege of being there; surely, I was able to leave when I wanted…?
Apparently, that is not how things work in these private facilities. You actually forfeit your rights on check in. I was not free to leave unless a doctor gave me permission to leave. But the doctor is not in until Friday.. two days away! So I go back to my room and stare at the ceiling wondering what the hell I had got myself into!
Within an hour two paramedics appear at my door. “We are here to escort you to a public ward.” Say what?! Why am I being taken to a public ward? I have private health insurance and I have funded my share of the stay here. I am told to pack up my things quickly and am escorted, complete with my arms being held by each, to an ambulance waiting out the front. WTF??!!!
I sit in the ambulance and ask the paramedic what is going on? She produces a court order (!!!!!) that I am to be transferred to a public ward. Under the mental health act I am not able to discharge myself from a private clinic. Which I can understand is appropriate in some cases but I was no danger was I? I hadn’t packed my bags, showed any signs of physically leaving, threatened anyone; I was sulking in my room!
We arrive at the public hospital and I am left waiting in a room for two hours for a doctor. By the time he arrives I am visibly stressed an agitated. Of course! I am assessed and striped of all personal belongings and anything considered dangerous. For example; nail scissors, nail files, tweezers, belts.. They also take my phone and my wallet..
I am put in a room by myself and am immediately given medication. Take this it will calm your nerves they said.. Being the addict that I was I downed them without question. For the next three days… that is 3! I come in and out of a drug induced haze. I can remember very little but do remember my ex-husband coming to see me to tell me he can’t get me out and neither can my brother. The only way to be discharged is with parental consent!!!! I am 38 years old.. I had not told my parents how bad my depression was or that I had checked myself into a clinic for depression…
My mother is away on holiday. My father has to fly up from Melbourne to secure my release.
What could have happened to me if my parents were not alive?
What could have happened to me if I did not have people who cared enough to visit me in this psychiatric ward and see the situation I had got myself into to?
How is it that someone with depression and has no history of violence is drugged to a state of incoherence?
How is it possible to cure depression in such a clinical, foreign, drug induced, threatening environment?
How is all of the above even legal?
I walked away from this experience realising I was not only a very lucky girl and I was not nearly as bad as I thought I was. But also with a deep seeded fear of the medical profession and vowed to never turn to doctors for help with depression again.
My depression continued however and I go on to a second attempt on my life at the age of 41 (the first was at 35) interestingly this warranted only over an overnight stay in hospital, no change in medication, and I was discharged the very next day to the care of my ex-husband.
It takes me another 9 years before I declare myself fully recovered. Discovering bodybuilding at the age of 45 was the beginning to the end of my demons. I have written a book about my journey of beating depression which you can read more about here.
To say I have turned my life around is understatement! A journey that I am truly blessed to be given. And I am still young enough to be able to enjoy the rest of my life!
If you are suffering from depression please reach out for help but please make sure you inform loved ones and that it is the right help for you!