Disclaimer: The following article mentions the topic of suicide or other sensitive subjects, which may trigger negative thoughts and feelings for those currently suffering or still recovering from a mental or mood disorder. Reader discretion is advised.
I was born in 1954, and from the time I had my first menstrual cycle at the age of 13, I had hormonal issues. I’m also pretty sure I was born with ADHD, and when the hormones hit, the struggle started in earnest! My mood swings were unbearable, but my parents were entangled trying to help my older sister who struggled with epilepsy. The medical community, especially in very rural Arizona, didn’t have a clue about mental health issues. I was pretty much shoved to the side at 13 when the “Age of the Rage” started. I’ve learned since then that my parents did the best they could with their 4 children and our different problems.
I had my first child at age 19, and 3 more children over the next decade, each accompanied by increased postpartum depression. I was in a rocky, abusive marriage, and trying to manage my postpartum depression was challenging. I felt out of control and like I couldn’t manage my life anymore. Life became increasingly difficult, even after seeing a psychiatrist, trying medications, and being hospitalized. There seemed to be no answers. I attempted suicide and struggled with alcoholism. I was just trying to numb the pain and rage I felt.
The medical community in the 1980s didn’t have the insights that we have today. The darkness and struggle I went through were immense. It is a darkness there are no words for, and I suffered mostly in silence.
The road back from the black abyss was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I have been through thousands of hours of counseling, both in and out of both the medical and religious community. I also started on my quest for sobriety and faced many ups and downs. I am not afraid to say I suffered terribly from depression; I am not afraid to say that I am a recovering alcoholic.
I have been sober for 16+ years, which I finally achieved after letting some of the light back into my life. I also was able to stabilize my hormones, which has helped a lot. I don’t know that I would change a thing about what I went through. How can I know how bad things can get if I hadn’t “been there”? I am hoping I can share some of my wisdom and experience with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Each day is a new struggle in one way or another, but the journey never ends. We shouldn’t be alone, as there are so many who have fought this battle! I’m hopeful my story will help even one person out there.