The scene -
I came home from a detox class at my local health food store an hour ago.
I still have on my Martha Stewart-like quilted jacket.
I'm on my couch covered in an afghan that I made for my mom in 1983.
It's my comfort blanket.
I take it to the dentist with me often, for reals.
The laptop is almost burning my legs, and the tears are about to burn my eyes.
If you only know how badly I really wanted to just sweep this under the rug - but I feel that I'm supposed to share this journey - this brokenness - lest anyone else is going through it and feels alone.
With a buildup like that - you may be disappointed by the time you finish reading this.
Similar to a movie that ends is a most ridiculous way after you've invested one and a half hours of your life into it!
Before I delve into it - I just wanted to thank you for all the lovely comments from my last post! I really am having the time of my life - being stretched in so many ways - using all of my talents, honing new ones, and learning to ask for help for the things I just can't figure out!
Aaron IS moving to Chicago in 21 days, and I'm totally fine with that, and I'm so happy for him!
Please check back in 22 days.
Many of you still here reading all of this drivel may remember that Effexor nightmare that I went through nearly two years ago. I never really shared the full horror of it.
I want to do that now.
I want to explain myself.
I want to, hopefully, be an arm reaching out to a drowning soul.
There is hope.
It's a very difficult journey for me to share with you, not only for the vulnerability it will take to share it, but for the sheer fact that I have had some serious memory loss because of it all, and it's almost physically draining to try to remember things. At this point, much, if not most of my life seems as if it were a dream - or that I've watched a movie of someone else's life.
I'm not sure when it all started - but it seems I've always had some issues with anxiety, racing thoughts, hypomania, ADHD and mild depression. Of course, I did my best to hide these things, especially the depression - because somewhere, somehow - I'd deemed depression a disease of the weak.
Life seemed a struggle for me. A struggle to finish things, a struggle to decide, a struggle to calm down. A struggle. I felt as if I were always fighting the good fight, starting over, changing my mind - over and over. And yet many times I got more done, and was more focused than anyone I knew.
It was quite exhausting.
This wasn't a daily struggle - it's not like I was always struggling - but it was just a common thread that tied my years together.
But - I was always pretty happy. I really was. I've always enjoyed life. I love learning. I love doing. I love people. I love love.
I can assure you that I am and always have been the very person that has been portrayed here on my blog.
I can assure my 'real life' friends that I am that person they know - I am not someone else behind closed doors.
I'm not an angry person, I'm not an argumentative person. There is peace in my home.
Anytime I sought help from Dr's, it was always the same answer - 'try this pill'.
So I did.
I tried Sarafem at one time - which was just Prozac renamed with flowers on the package for us gals to take a couple of weeks out of the month when we were hormonally out of sorts.
It seemed that it initially helped and then of course, I'd go off.
Fast forward to August of 2012.
I'm doing great - I've lost so much weight it's not funny - Aaron is grown, finishing high school and is readying himself to move to Chicago to go to Paul Mitchell.
I felt that life couldn't get much better - I was fit, happy, life was just great.
But - my ovaries hurt like crazy during ovulation.
I had off the charts anxiety right before my periods.
One or the other I could take - but not both...something had to be done...
Again, I went to the Dr, and wanted relief.
Birth control pills or antidepressants were the options given to me.
Oh how I wish I would have just come home and talked to friends first, or thought about it some - or researched something.
But I didn't.
In our 'quick fix' world, I took the pill.
I chose the Effexor because I feared the birth control pill would cause weight gain, and I'd never taken them before - but I felt that I didn't want my hormones played with.
So I chose my brain.
I started taking Effexor in late August of 2012.
It worked great -
but what I didn't realize is that by September of 2012, I was pretty much in a hypomanic state.
This is where it gets fuzzy you guys - I sort of don't remember the year 2013 and the first half of 2014. It's truly a blur. I almost feel that I will be telling falsehoods if I try to be detailed here.
I do remember that the Spring of 2013 was an especially hard time - I got a bad case of poison ivy, and had to take steroids. I believe it was sometime in there I got the shingles. I remember that summer stepping on a rusty nail and having to go get a tetanus shot, and it was during that Dr's visit they told me my blood pressure was high - and it was a side effect of the Effexor - so I decided to wean myself off the Effexor.
And you guys went through that with me - and I thank you for it.
The things that happened from May to November of 2013 are quite a blur - my brain was not right.
I was hypomanic or depressed. I was not myself, and it was frightening.
Withdrawal from Effexor has been likened to heroin withdrawal.
The after effects of taking Effexor have been equally as devastating. I fell into a serious depression and was suicidal.
I hit an all time low around Thanksgiving of 2013 and suffered a nervous breakdown.
Aaron tried his best to get me out of bed at times.
I was a ghost, I was completely empty inside.
Upon the insistence of my dear friend Gina, who would bring me Starbucks and let me cry - I went back to the Dr.
I finally stopped trying to be strong - I simply couldn't.
I cried freely and often.
I didn't bathe or dress.
I was broken.
My cousin drove up from Missouri to watch me so Glen could work.
For the first time in my life, I was truly worried about myself.
At the Dr's office I sat and cried for an hour and explained everything.
She sent me to a wonderful therapist who've I've been seeing on a monthly basis since.
She initially diagnosed me as Bipolar II.
Perhaps this comes as much of a shock to you as finding out Liberace was gay.
The diagnosis was as devastating to me as the symptoms of bipolar were.
I felt labeled, crazy, broken, and I would say things like 'I HAVE bipolar, I'M not bipolar'.
I felt that if anyone knew, they would shun me like a leper, or they would talk about me saying 'I knew it all along' - or just treat me differently.
And here I am announcing it on the world wide web.
Nice knowing you!
It's been a lllooonnggg, hard road - but I am well.
I've read about bipolar disorder until my eyeballs have fallen out.
I've taken webinars - the best one being 'Bipolar INorder' by Tom Wooten.
I'm not on any medication at all, and in fact I refuse to take anything, not even an allergy pill.
I'd have to be in some kind of pain to take even ibuprofen.
I've found out that my brain chemistry is so incredibly sensitive, that I cannot even have a cortisone shot without suffering a mood swing.
I'm not willing to take chances anymore.
I've set my mind on treating it naturally with nutrition, lifestyle changes, exercise and mindfulness. I've been very successful, although it hasn't been easy. I reach out now. My therapist tells me I'm a poster child, and in fact has just recently removed the 'label' of bipolar from me, taking the diagnosis down to Cyclothymic Disorder.
Hypomanic phase of cyclothymia
The highs (hypomania) of cyclothymia meet the same diagnostic definition of hypomania for type II bipolar disorder. Signs and symptoms may include:
- An exaggerated feeling of happiness or well-being (euphoria)
- Extreme optimism
- Inflated self-esteem
- Poor judgment
- Rapid speech
- Racing thoughts
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Being inconsiderate of others
- Excessive physical activity
- Risky behavior
- Spending sprees
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
- Increased sexual drive
- Decreased need for sleep
- Tendency to be easily distracted
- Inability to concentrate
Depressive phase of cyclothymia
Depressive episodes of cyclothymia may include a combination of these signs and symptoms:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Sleep problems
- Appetite problems
- Loss of interest in activities once considered enjoyable
- Decreased sex drive
- Problems concentrating
- Chronic pain without a known cause
But this I'll always know - I'm genetically prone to it.
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that genetics has loaded the gun, but my lifestyle will pull the trigger.
I have to be extremely careful with what I eat, my sleep schedule, monitoring stress, vitamin and mineral supplementation. I do Tapping, I pray, I meditate, I practice mindfulness and gratitude.
I have the most incredible support system known to man - Glenco, Aaron, my cousin Jim, my friends, my blog readers - I'm blessed beyond measure.
I'm well. I'm really well.
If you've gotten this far, thank you - you deserve a chicken picture.
You my friend are REAAL!! The REAL deal! You're never alone!! XxooReplyDelete
I know of what you speak....thank you Jayme.ReplyDelete
At least you know you are NEVER alone Jayme. Sorry you had to go through all that (and more I'm sure). I'm sure there will be others you help just by telling your story. Thank you for sharing. (((((((((HUGS))))))))))ReplyDelete
Oh, girl - hugs and much love to you from Ohio. There is power in knowing things about ourselves. There is power in taking control of our weaknesses -- and we all have them in some form or another. I am so glad you are better and thriving. You were greatly missed during that time, praise God that you found the light again! You are STRONG, Jayme. And you are greatly loved -- even by people who know you only through virtual friendship! Blessings to you, friend!ReplyDelete
As the first commenter said . . . YOU are the REAL DEAL . . .ReplyDelete
Add TEACHER to your list . . .
I am so happy for your HAPPY and WELL . . .
Talk about putting it all out there! You have no idea how much you have helped other people with your brutal honesty. We have a saying in recovery: We are only as sick as our secrets. By refusing to keep your problems secret, you are going to experience even more healing and wellness. So proud of you!!!!!!!!!!! <3ReplyDelete
Oh Jayme; so proud of you for sharing and even happier to hear how you coped with all of this and came out so strong. you are an amazing person. Thanks so much for sharing. Hugs!ReplyDelete
As I have told many people who have been depressed or diagnosed with bipolar, "if you found out you were hypothyroid or diabetic, you would not be ashamed so don't be ashamed of your illness, it's just another type of chemical imbalance"ReplyDelete
We lost a family member to suicide, my DIL's uncle killed himself, my friend's son killed himself and my nephews friend too. We cannot hang our heads in shame, we need to speak out and we need to embrace and do whatever we can to help those who are suffering.
A big hug to you. Thank you for telling your story.
What an amazing story, and well told. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes to you in the upcoming days when Aaron moves.ReplyDelete
Jayme, your honesty will help others, I've no doubt. Figuring out how to take good care of your own self is part of life's journey. Thanks for sharing your very personal story.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing. There is no shame in having weird brain chemistry. My family is full of it and it got me too. Keep on doing whatever works for you.ReplyDelete
We were driving home through Indiana this past weekend and I thought to myself I wonder what Jayme would do if I just knocked on the door to say Hi. You feel just like a friend even though we have never met. We all go through things others don't realize, and your honesty is amazing. I am happy that you are in a good place.ReplyDelete
Pam from Colorado here. You are brave and strong and a blessing to all that you encounter. We are all a bit broken, a bit damaged. No shame there. Take care of yourself. You are and have been a blessing to me.
It is all part of what makes you, you. You are so special. Gifted, Giving. And so much more. Hang on tight and ride the waves. We all love you and wish the best for you.ReplyDelete
Oh Jayme! I am so sorry for all you've gone through, and I'm grateful you have found ways to work with your body to be in a more healthy state.ReplyDelete
Hugs ~ Tracy
Jayme: I certainly appreciate your transparency. I believe that in sharing what you are going through with everyone and even the process of writing it out will help you tremendously. I'm glad to hear that you are going the natural route to wellness instead of drugs that doctors so freely hand out.ReplyDelete
For the record, and for what it is worth, your blog posts (even this one) sounds to me like someone who extremely in tune with herself and knows better than anyone what works for her. Many people don't even come close to knowing themselves that well.
I have no idea what Tapping is but if it helps continue doing it. And praying, and meditating, and also practicing mindfulness and gratitude.
Considering all that you have written that you go through daily, I am extremely impress with all you are involved in. The marshmallows alone would have done me in!
Jayme, That may have been a very hard post to write but it is also one that might just benefit even ONE person in a positive way. Maybe, just maybe, someone will see themselves in your written word here and seek help. My hubby suffers from terrible anxiety and fights depression-so I understand, to some extent, what you are going through-once that door closes tanother one opens to euphoria and extreme optimism. He is not medicated either-and cannot be for other reasons.ReplyDelete
God bless ya, girl. You have come so far! SO FAR! I am so proud of you. You could have denied that anything was wrong and continued along until something devastating happened--but you didn't--you sought help. Thank God you did!
Thanks for the chicken picture as a reward for reading. lol Ya still got your sense of humor! xo Diana
Miss Jayme- love and hugs to you today for sharing. I believe we are more kindred that even WE thought…I am on the "downside" right now- but with some self care and love will return- just as you have :)ReplyDelete
Bravo for having the courage to tell us your problems. Blessings to you Jayme.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry you had to go through this and that you thought you couldn't share. I'm glad you are on the path to wellness and sharing now. It truly can help someone else. It's so important that we are our own advocates and learn to listen to our own bodies. Traditional medicine has it's place but only as a last resort. Have you used any essential oils? I would saturate your mind with God's Word too and praise Him continually! :) Thanks for haring...we really never know what people are going through.ReplyDelete
You are so very brave. You are so right! Genetic is the gun, environment pulls the trigger! Thanks for sharing....your story is very encouragingReplyDelete
I'm so proud of you for sharing this. A friend of mine had something similar happen. I'm hoping to wean off my anti-depressant soon. I think it won't be easy, although my physical makeup is different it is still coming off of a substance. In my case, it has been very good for me, but I think it's time to come off. Like you, therapy and lifestyle changes and learning so much more than I did about God's care to me has helped. Hugs.ReplyDelete
This explains a lot. Why did you hold it in for so long? I have been on antidepressants and they do dull your senses. It took me a year to wean myself off of them. I am glad you are getting some real help now.
Hi Jayme, thank you for your wonderful honesty and willingness to be vulnerable-that is a very powerful post. I'm so glad that you are in a good place right now and understand what the triggers are as well as the things that help so that you can be pro-active in your treatment. It's lovely to see how your marshmallow business is bringing you so much joy-that's so inspiring to me, as is so much of what you write..love to you on this beautiful Spring morning ( : Vicky xReplyDelete
You are and will be always respected. Our society needs spokespersons just like YOU! Always know that your blogger friends are some of your biggest supporters. WE LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Keep writing!ReplyDelete
It's hard hard work to get to a good place - part of it is acceptance of what is. I have an anxiety disorder that rears it's ugly head now and then. I know what I have to do to get through the cycle and a big part of that is taking care of myself - not just the myriad of animals and family and friends that I have always cared for. When I don't take care of myself, I fall into the rabbit hole. Have been through it enough times to figure it out... and good for you, having figured it out, accepted, and moved forward with life. :-)ReplyDelete
Checking back to your blog to read your personal reveal. I know in the past I had always made reference to the "M" period in our lives, but I had other feelings that this might be your reveal. I know a person that suffered in the same manner. Unfortunately for her, she ended up being hospitalized with a nervous breakdown and finally being diagnosed Bipolar. My daughter also has a friend that is of the same but didn't end up hospitalized. So brave of you to not enter into denial and finally accept help, recognize and find a proactive lifestyle. Life is challenging enough. Having an imbalance only adds to the heaviness/weights that keep one from living comfortably and joyfully. It also can so effect the emotional state of those who love you so. Jayme, I am so happy for you and your proactive steps. Please keep posting so I can get my dose of "Jayme", from hens, to bees, to road trips, to charming farmhouse doses of cozy, Glenco's endearing photo reveals, updates on Aaron.....We blog readers, all love you guys!ReplyDelete
I know I'm not the first "ME, TOO!" - but girrrlllll..... I've had 3 (4? 5?) different diagnoses (is that a word?)...all from different doctors....and each time I thought "Okay....well, at least I'm A and not B!"....and then a new diagnosis..."Well, at least I'm C and not D!"....and then after a particularly rough time of things....it clicked for me. Holy crap. I am ALL of those things....but so what. At least I'm not a serial killer or something. *superhugehugsatyou*ReplyDelete
Jayme, thank you for sharing! Though this was difficult to share I hope you also feel liberated by doing so. Even in this day and age we are still hesitant to share any mental health diagnosis for fear of judgement. This is your judgement free zone. Whenever we share our testimonies, trials and triumphs we are stronger and we help others to be strong in facing their giants. Kudos to you for listening to your own voice and embracing a natural way to health, if we as people would only grasp onto the basics that whatever goes into our body has a huge effect on our well being. Sometimes it's the simple things that elude us. So glad to hear you are feeling so much better. Missed your voice, glad to see you shining again.ReplyDelete
PS, very cute chicken picture!ReplyDelete
I really think that we are all broken. We just need to love each other better. Thank you for loving me by telling your story. You are loved by so many!
Dearest Jayme you’re amaze balls!!! Not sure how I missed this all those years ago, I remember the ending effects of the meds but hadn’t seen this post. Thank you so very very very much for sharing all of you here! My own age and hormones have messed up my mind and my now teen daughter has struggles of her own… Everybody has a story but you share yours so beautifully! I am so glad that your recent posts show you feeling well. I wish you much peace and joy friend! (((Hugs))) LeslieReplyDelete