As I have already blogged in Part Two, mental illness is in my family. My precious daughter struggled with psychosis and is mildly bipolar. She takes two medications that help her tremendously. As I also blogged in Part Three, I believe that mental illness can be genetic.
My mother's dad, whom I never knew, was an alcoholic from the time my mom was a little girl. He died from the affects when he was in his early 60s. My mom's sister, whom I loved so much for the short time that I knew her, was an alcoholic and drug abuser. My mom was diagnosed with depression and put on medication 20 years ago. My sister admits that she deals with depression every now and then. And as for myself, well, I know that I have depression.
I clearly remember the very first time that I was depressed. I was eight years old and we were camping in Oregon. I was having the time of my life when all of the sudden, I couldn't stop crying and wished that I was dead. I was only eight years old! I didn't feel that horrible feeling again until I started having PMS. It wasn't too bad until my hormones began to very abnormal.
By that time, I was in a church that taught that all mental illnesses were from Satan. So, not only did I deal with depression, I also had to deal with believing that I was an extrememly wicked woman. It was an awful time in my life and I felt all alone. It was too scary to tell anyone what I was going through. So, I hid it and tried to just live a "perfect" life.
When things began to go crazy with my daughter, I knew that it was time to admit the truth to myself. I too had a mental illness that was not my fault and was beyond my physical control. It was then that I began to take a small dose of medication. It did help, but also had side-efffects that I did not like at all. Within three years, I started to have more problems with my physical body. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and my medication was changed. It helped a little bit, but also had unpleasant side-effects. Then, two years ago, I began to experience more and more pain. I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That brought on different medications that almost made me crazy. I decided to take myself all medications except for my hormores.
It took six months for my body and brain to say, "HELP". I began to have mild panic attacks, lots of pain all over my body, and was exhausted. Back to the doctor who put me on a new regiment. Within a month I was feeling so much better. I no longer need to take medication for the depression because the drug for the fibromyalgia helps with both the physical pain and mental depression. I also take thyroid medicine and an antihypertension drug. However, the thing I think that has helped me the most with the fibromyalgia and depression, is eating a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise. I try to eat food as close to the way that God created it. That means fresh and whole. During the Christmas season I ate much more junk food and paid the consequences.
So, what is the truth and blessing? Well, the truth is that mental illness is a real illness and the blessing is that God can use it in your life to help you be a better person. All praise goes to the Lord for all that He has taught me through mental illness.
I still have more to write about mental illness, but just don't know what it will be yet. Stay tuned!