My last post drew quite a bit of attention from many friends who I had not tried to contact from the depths of the depression I was in. As a matter of fact, the day after I wrote the post I was on the phone with loving friends from early in the morning until 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. This talk therapy alone helped the depression shadow that had plagued me for weeks to start to dispel. My doctor had also tweeked my anti-depressant dose, raising it slightly. That finally kicked in. The love of friends and the art of psychiatry triumphed over a bleak month in my life and helped restore peace. If you read the comments from the last post, you will experience the love that healed me.
So many people with bipolar disorder, or other mental disorders live in loneliness. Their illness isolates them from others, Their silence and shame keeps them from connecting, making friends, developing intimacy, building family. I know my life is a miracle, my family a miracle and my friends a blessing. They told me my first bipolar episode, which was very severe, first mania, then depression was brought on by post-partum — even though my son was nine months old. I didn’t believe them. My denial helped when I was able to go off medicines and have my third child who is now 29 years old. My miracle baby, my Abby.
Again so many people with serious mental illness can never go off their medications long enough to have a child. It never happened again. When I went manic immediately following Abby’s birth and kept it to myself for two weeks, though I slept not one wink because I was afraid of being separated from her and sent to the hospital…I believed my original doctors. Ah yes, it could have been triggered post-partum! I was never separated from Abby thanks to a new and fantastic psychiatrist I had for 20 years — and my husband who loved, reassured and cared for me.
My dear husband took all the night feedings from that day on as Abby went on the bottle and her momma slept through the night long before the rest of the new family! Support systems mean everything to all of us I’m sure, but especially to those of us with mental illness.
So I thank all of my wonderful friends who called, wrote comments, and otherwise responded to my last post. It reminded me again of the richness in my life and the many blessings that I have. I want to say thank you to a few of them by putting some pictures below:
“A (wo)man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
@copyright Libby Baker Sweiger
Also published with permission in Regional blog: The Howie Blog