My depression is recurrent, and when it is untreated it comes complete with psychotic features – a component that is frightening, confusing and simply cruel to my family.
In that state, I have no idea how sick I really am, or even that I am sick at all – I’m in a world where 2+2 = 7. A place where those who are, in reality, trying to help me, seem themselves lost and out of touch with the truth.
I don’t know how many times I screamed at my wife, “I’m not sick!” or, “I’m not taking those drugs!” In my mind there was nothing wrong with me.
Everything was someone else’s fault or doing, and my perspective was so skewed, my judgment so clouded, I honestly believed I was OK.
I felt nothing, except anger – and my rage filled antics dominated my once peaceful home. No one knew when I would go off, or what would cause the next episode – and all of my rage and frustration was invalid and inappropriate, I was completely irrational.
My thoughts were random and disconnected, I couldn’t hold a coherent conversation – I couldn’t even follow a line of thought, my own or anyone else’s. My short term memory failed me constantly …
I was paranoid, anxious and delusional – and I thought I was fine. I didn’t understand that people who are actually fine don’t behave as I was behaving. People who are fine are in control of their emotions and behavior, and I was not.
I didn’t sleep, I couldn’t … and yet I don’t remember feeling tired.
I didn’t think I needed help – even when I was seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist I did it only to appease my wife and children.
Everyone around me knew something was terribly wrong, and yet I couldn’t see it.
And it is damn near impossible to convince someone who doesn’t realize they’re sick to seek help; the catch-22 of mental illness – the illness itself keeps us from treating it.
I was afraid of treatment, especially of being inpatient … irrationally terrified of the entire process. I clearly needed it, but there was no way on earth I was going to allow it to happen.
Looking back I don’t know how my wife tolerated me in that condition for as long as she did, but after two years she finally reached the end of her rope … she told me she would leave that day if I didn’t seek inpatient treatment, so that afternoon I checked myself into a mental health facility.
That was a year ago, and today I am well and happy again …
I don’t remember everything I said and did during the worst of my illness – and whereas I am thankful for that, I deeply regret how I know my family suffered because of it. I couldn’t help being sick, but I hate knowing what it did to my wife and children.