It has been an incredible roller coaster ride since August 15th 2017. The fact that I agreed to make the trip from CT to TN proved to me that my life, as I knew it, was heading straight downhill and had been for quite some time. I knew deep down inside myself that I needed Brookhaven as much as Brookhaven needed me. Kind of ironic?
I was SO incredibly depressed. I wasn't even close to being funny or finding something comical about the situation, which is something I can usually manage to do. There was absolutely NO humor to be found anywhere near me. It was what it was. Wanting to end my life back in December of 2016 was a huge sign, but no one noticed and/or I chose not to tell anyone just how badly I felt. After all, I'm a "fighter". But I was really losing this battle.
I spent too much time changing medications - however, I knew deep down they were not stable. Taking Dr. Payne's recommendation after the reunion would have been the wisest choice. However, I took what I call "the long way" and just arrived at an acceptable destination a little off schedule.
The fact that my cognitive skills were so affected bothered me even more. The issue around not being able to taste ANY food made it 100x's worse to even want to eat and/or drink. However, somewhere down that slippery dark slope I was losing hope. The hope that the depression would start to dissipate, eating and drinking would become normal again - it all seemed out of my grasp.
When we changed from the lithium to the depakote it was ALMOST as if a dim light bulb went off in my head. Then the lightbulb slowly started to brighten. I had many conversations with staff and still felt almost as if I was going nowhere. Having had the wonderful opportunities of a Poncho outing made up of one of the best judo lessons I'd ever had and then going out and buying a guitar were just what I needed to "kick start" my energy and desires to get back to "living a life worth living".
Amongst all of these positive things going on there were many negatives, of course. These negative aspects were NOT indicative of who I really was as a person. However, I chose to use these not-so-positive moments as learning experiences instead of punishing or guilting myself to death over them.
So while at Brookhaven I've experienced so many downs and yet the positive has started (in a big way) to shine through. I am getting back to the stronger part of myself that I always knew existed and I'm adding in the new and improved pieces I've picked up along this very painful journey. It was a journey well worth taking - priceless - actually. It has definitely been the best and worst of times.
Now it is time to move forward. I understand and expect there will be bumps along the way, but now I have a huge tool box full of wonderful skills to use and will continue to learn.
I want to take this opportunity to thank EVERY staff member here at Brookhaven Retreat - without your help, encouragement, support, kindness and the right amount of "tough love" I would not be who I am today. You all helped me more than you could ever possibly know. Thank you so much for all that you have done to guide me along this rough and tumble journey. Every single one of you holds a special place in my heart and I will NEVER ever forget you.
My wish for you is to be productive and have positive lives. one of my favorite "t-shirt" companies (and we all know how I love t-shirts!) is "Life is Good" ... no matter what life can be good - it's our choice to make the correct decisions to make it that way.