I have always felt that there is a stigma about mental illness, but I recently realized that there are many people suffering as I have been for years. Here is my story:

Helpless, hopeless, useless, worthless, sad, angry and lonely. That was how I had felt every single day for the past year. I was going to therapy every week, eating right, and reading inspirational self help books and nothing could take away those negative emotions. My psychiatrist had diagnosed me with anxiety, depression and OCD. She had been treating me with one antidepressant after another, each one making me feel worse than the one before. On November 11th I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. She told me that I had run out of pharmaceutical options to help me feel better. She indicated that I was going to need more intensive therapy. Thinking that I had exhausted all medication options threw me into a much deeper, darker place….a place that I had never been and was terrified of….a place where I no longer existed.

On November 16th my wife had to work so I was by myself that day. I was doing okay that day so I decided to go pick up a few things from the store. I had been in the store for about two minutes when this huge, overwhelming sense of panic hit me. I just wanted to run! I took a few deep breaths and was able to grab the few items that I needed. I jumped in my car and drove home as fast as possible. Once I got home that dark, dark place took control and I curled up on our living room floor and started to cry uncontrollably. I no longer wanted to live in this world, I mean what was the point if I couldn’t even go get bread without having a major anxiety attack. I scraped myself up off of the floor and into the kitchen where I pulled out our knife drawer. I stood there staring at our knives, even picking one up and gently rubbing it across my wrist. I had been in contact with Denise throughout the day so she knew that I was in a bad place. Because she was two hours away, and felt that she couldn’t get to me fast enough, she called our beautiful neighbor, Allie.

Allie rang the doorbell as I was holding the knife to my wrist. She sat and talked with me for awhile. She told me about a local hospital that could help me. At that moment I realized that I could no longer fight this by myself and needed to be hospitalized. I ended up spending eleven days in the hospital where I learned that my psychiatrist had misdiagnosed me. I actually have bipolar II (which I had never heard of) and the meds that I had been taking were actually making me worse. I thanked God every day that Allie recommended the hospital. I met some amazing people there that I now consider very good friends!

I learned some lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my LONG life! I am now full of hope that my life will be lived without the paralyzing anxiety and depression. I know that with God’s guidance, my doctors, family and friends, I can manage my condition with confidence. My advice is to NOT give up!! TALK!! If you don’t like what a doctor is saying, go to someone else! I did and I am so very thankful!

Story submitted by a human named Ryanne.

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