Friday, January 14, 2011

No Playland at the Beach

Roller coasters have a jolting, sudden start; then peaks & valleys until they coast to an end - usually with much anticipation and relief. My friend has been on a roller coaster that she didn't choose to ride. This has been her life with an illness for the last 7 months.

No single specific thing has prevented me from writing about this illness. Rather, it's been because of unspoken rules. The belief that she will be considered something less. She's battling a form of mental illness and it has wielded it's wrath mightily. The way I feel justified in posting about her now is this - she has from DAY ONE claimed that there should be no secrets about this. She hoped not to feel ashamed because she had not done this to herself - the illness found her. Unfortunately the illness hasn't left either.

Shall I go into the whole long history or just make mention of the fact that this lovely woman is suffering?
In the start I bought her a journal. My idea was that writing her thoughts could possibly help her. And even further I insisted that when all was said and done that maybe her journal could become a book and she could help other victims. She never once agreed on this point! Ya never know though!! So, does her beautiful pink
Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake booklet sit on her nightstand empty? Probably does and maybe then the story is left for me to tell.....

The people that know her will realize of whom I speaking, and all others shan't because I won't name her. Evidently we have a prejudice toward people with mental difficulties. I don't wish to harm her further. Still - No Secrets!

At the start of summer evidence pointed at the very least to anxiety and the exaggerated need to make merry and leave life behind. There had been a traumatic event in her family life last Fall.  Calendar pages turned and along the months her body still couldn't cope with the trauma. Mix this with mid-life hormones and general life obstacles and the cocktail was starting to become deadly. She is highly educated and well aware; she knew to seek medical attention when she was so depressed that daily life was a chore.

My friend's diagnosis is PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with a side of depression and a big dose of anxiety. Of course medicinal therapy was the first route. The roller coaster had left the platform. Her symptoms increased. She was told to wait it out until the drugs could take effect. There was a break with reality. A nervous breakdown is the outdated term. The list of details so lengthy I won't go there.

Hospitalizations became commonplace; Medical Units that only her husband could visit. The light at the end of the tunnel kept receding. Our friendship and that of her entire core group was threatened. She asked me to be the messenger of a goodbye note. Frequently, she planned escapes and mentioned her want to live a different existence - either on the streets - or not at all! One evening when she called I knew she was not in the home where she had been placed. After calling her husband, myself and my kind hubby got clothed and headed out to search for her in a city miles away from here. The police located her.

Still more situations and treatment. Some changes began to happen. In the last month I have actually had hope. Her life is not completely her old one, yet much improved to it's worst. Then I spoke with her a few days ago. Her voice was different; not the clear lilting one. Today she says "I've gone backward a few steps". Says I -"but.. you're not having those thoughts again, right?" I cannot fathom that to be true!

To have someone you love be taken to the depths of despair truly hurts. I can only love her and wait for her roller coaster to climb to the top again. From there I'd like to ride along beside her. Smooth coasting. A train of cars behind us filled with smiling faces and arms waving.

1 comment:

  1. When I read this about myself I cried by eyes out. I have suffered deeply. The silver lining is having loving friends like Shar and Joey & many others. They also understand PTSD and wish me full recovery. The fun is returning and the abundant picnic will resume. Let's picnic. Let's play at the beach and dance. luv terrired