My relationship with my OBGYN was what I call typical. I saw her once a year for a quick check-up, confirming that I was still on the “no babies” train and that I was still too young to have my tubes tied. However, this visit was one that literally changed my life and started me on the road to better my mental health.
I followed the normal protocol and sat waiting on the table in my paper gown for my doctor to see me. She knocked on the door and entered the room, her normally bubbly self, smiling from ear to ear. “Hello Sara! How are you today?” I burst into tears and could barely control my sobbing. I couldn’t find the words to summarize quickly the state of my life and frankly, how would anyone believe me? She placed her hand on my arm, and in a soothing calm voice said, “Oh honey, there are far too many good drugs out there to be feeling like this.” I proceeded to tell her that I had been trying to get help from my family doctor and he wouldn’t prescribe me anything other than advice to read self-help books or try yoga.
She advised me to go back to my family doctor and tell him the urgency of my situation and that I absolutely needed help. If he wouldn’t help me, I was to return to her and she would make sure I got the help I needed. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear that I was going to get help. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I blindly went through the motions of life and was on the verge of breaking down every day. Those shower sobs I mentioned earlier in my blog became more frequent. The weight on my chest never seemed to go away. I begged God to tell me what to do, for help, for anything, but I never seemed to get an answer.
The first drug I was prescribed was Prozac. I was warned that nightmares were a side effect. I was undeterred as I frequently experienced nightmares and had night terrors as a child, so I’m sure they couldn’t top what my mind had already been creating. I was also warned of the potential for suicidal thoughts. Yep, got it. Please just give me something!
I was totally unprepared for how that drug would affect my body. After a few weeks, I called my doctor and said that I just couldn’t cope with the side effects. The nightmares were off the charts scary and I was having thoughts that did not need to be there. I was terrified but luckily aware enough to realize that I did not want to drive into oncoming traffic or end my life with the gun on the end table.
I was determined to find an option that could help me, and finally my doctor was willing to see that I truly did need help. The drug that ended up bringing me peace was Celexa. We played with the dosage to find the right balance for my body and for the first time in a long time, I could breathe. My mind was not racing out of control and I could actually think! I didn’t feel drugged or foggy like I had with the other drugs. My highs and lows were minimized and it was like the curtains had been drawn back for me to see the whole picture. I was on a path to finding me!!
Ted and I continued through counseling and he played the part, convincing the therapist (and me) that he understood how having a relationship with Jolene was detrimental to our marriage. We started doing things as a couple again and while our finances weren’t great, things seemed to be looking up! We were released from therapy and deemed a success story! Oh how naïve.
Horses were my saving grace.
No matter how lost I seemed in life, I had the responsibility to show up each morning to care for the horses at the therapeutic center. The consistency of turnout schedules, the bright look on the horse’s faces when they saw you, and the physical aspect of just getting up out of bed because they are waiting for you, kept me going.
Pictured here are Belle (one of the driving horses at the therapeutic center) and Yoshi during a Pennsylvania winter in 2016.