Hi! My name is Mycah and I’d like to share my story with you, to tell you a little about my journey. I hope it will inspire and encourage you to never give up, to rise above the waves and let God help draw you out of the deep waters of depression, whatever the source may be.
From a young age, I have struggled with anxiety and depression, though I didn’t know what it was called until much later in life. I couldn’t explain these periods of nervousness and deep sadness and didn’t know what caused them or how to make them go away, but simply learned to cope.
At age 17 I fell in love, was engaged at 18 and married to the man of my dreams at 20. We were married in Russia, where I had grown up in a missionary family, and 6 months later he and I moved to the U.S. Shortly thereafter, I received some devastating family news, that my parents’ ministry in Russia ended abruptly and with a fair degree of humiliation. Again, I plummeted into a period of deep depression, plagued by suicidal thoughts. Desperate, I sought help. Medication made me feel sick. Counseling helped…..for a while.
The first 4 years of our marriage were pretty great. We had our ups and downs, but we did everything together and loved each other passionately. Then we decided to have our first baby. Again, I experienced severe postpartum depression and blamed the strange distance I felt from my husband on myself, my massive weight gain, my floods of tears, my inability to “snap out of it.”
It wasn’t until after we’d had our 3rd child, many trials, and struggles later that I began to realize how dysfunctional and yes, even abusive my marriage had become. I ended up having a severe nervous breakdown, otherwise known as a psychotic break. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. But it was then, after a brain map, 2 doctors and a psych exam that I was finally properly diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
To receive this diagnosis was both a relief and a sentence of sorts. It was a relief to finally be able to explain the uncontrollable emotional ups and downs and that it wasn’t because of some character flaw, laziness, or stupidity, but because my body simply wasn’t producing enough of the right kinds of hormones and chemicals. It wasn’t my fault. But it was somewhat of a sentence because of the stigma associated with the word “bi-polar.” So many automatically assume you must be “crazy.”
“Oh….Bi-polar,” they say with a knowing nod and a look of sympathy for your husband or mother or whoever happens to be with you at the moment.
Several years later, I was also diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), which explained the frightening panic attacks I thought might kill me.
It’s been a long, long road to recovery, both from the disorders as well as from an abusive relationship that left me completely devastated. But I’m happy to say that with the help of a wonderful doctor, an amazing therapist, three of the most incredible pastors I’ve ever met and the support of friends and family, I am successfully holding down a full time job, raising 3 kids as a single mom, very involved in teaching Sunday School at my church, volunteering at my kids’ school, and writing a book.
I know this has been a long post and I don’t plan to write a book on every post. But I hope that you will see that living a full, happy, productive life, even after experiencing trauma, being diagnosed with “mental illness,” or whatever else may be causing you to drown in your own tears, is possible.
Don’t give up. Keep looking for answers. You are not alone.