Crisis line – Hello Crisis Line, who am I speaking to?
Me – (through tears) Hi, I’m Rebecca
Crisis line – I’m so glad you called me Rebecca, can you tell me what’s up?
This is the beginning of the best phone call I have ever made in my life. I couldn’t make myself feel better anymore. I was thinking about how I NOW understood why people committed suicide. Up till then I never fully understood it, but the thought kept going through my mind “I’ve just had enough of this” “I’ve just had enough of this” “I’ve just had enough of this”.
I’d had enough of feeling ‘bottom of the barrel’ low.
By that night I was in a respite home. Safe and in the right hands with an appointment the next day to see the Psychiatrist to review my medication. It was obvious my medication wasn’t working. I was given a sleeping tablet and I went to sleep soundly. I didn’t need to worry about my young children, and I didn’t have to attempt to show that I was going to be OK, because I was FAR from OK. My call to the mental health crisis team (CATT Team) was the beginning of me getting lower than I ever thought possible.
I spent some time in this respite home being cared for by beautifully spirited volunteers whose jobs were to be for me whatever I needed. They would sit and listen, and share their own stories or just give me space. I was shown so much love and respect there, and even though it was a very low time, I hold my memories of these ladies very high.
The decision was made that the medication I was on wasn’t working for me. I had been resisting going on Lithium, a medication that works very well for Bipolar, because I couldn’t breastfeed on it. So they (the doctors) began taking me off my meds. They needed to do a clear out first, then start completely new meds. This was to be done over a few weeks. One of the meds was Paroxetine, aka Aropax. I fell into the 15% who experience severe physical withdrawal from the drug. I was experiencing muscle spasms and what felt like electric shocks going up and down my arms and legs (this lasted 4 months). The only thing that helped was Diazepam (Valium), a benzo. They don’t hand this stuff out willy nilly, which proved problematic at times because this drug is often abused, especially by a person who has a history with drugs and alcohol and is mentally unhinged, like I was at the time. There were two different occasions I went spazo on professionals for withholding the diazepam, I don’t think they believed my withdrawals were as they were, and I don’t blame them either. Not my finest moments.
I didn’t get better, I got worse as the withdrawal went on. Not only physically, but mentally too. I got lower and lower. My psych nurse organised to move me out of respite and into a psych hospital.
I was implicitly petrified.
This section of my life would possibly be the lowest and hardest. We are so fortunate and blessed to have loving friends and family who rallied around to support me, but more so, support my husband to care for our young children while he attempted to work a full-time job and emotionally support his petrified wife. I was in hospital one hour drive away. Those phone calls must have been heartbreaking, because I truly believed I was in grave danger. I cried and begged for him to come to me, but he had everything else to hold together, it was a time full of despair. He knew I was safe and in the best place possible and he came to visit at any chance he could. He is one super special man, he had my back though it all and showed me true unconditional love.
I am forever grateful to those who helped us. In times like these you find out extremely fast who are the extra special ones.