Friday, March 18, 2016

The Post I Didn't Want to Write

I didn't want to write this post. I really didn't, and I'm worrying about pressing "publish" on it this time. I've written it several times over in the last few months. I just feel like I can't get back to regular diabetes blogging without letting this skeleton out of my closet.

I know this is a diabetes blog, but I have talked here about my depression before. (You can check the "labels" section in my sidebar.) I've always said that the easiest way to reduce stigma around something is to get people to talk openly about it. So I need to talk about some personal things now. I need people to understand. I'll be sharing this blog post with everyone I know online and in person, so excuse me if parts are a little vague. Feel free to shoot me a message if you have questions.

Some background: I have had depression for a long time. I'm 26 and at least half of my life has been covered by this dark cloud. The first time I had to see a counselor for depression, I was 13 years old. I fought against taking antidepressants until I was 19 and couldn't cope on my own anymore.

This past fall (2015) was a particularly bad one for some reason. My brain decided that it wasn't enough to just be depressed. I'd always had the occasional suicidal thought, but my brain needed to ramp things up. I couldn't stop thinking about killing myself. Everything became a plan to end it all. To top it all off, I'm usually attached to enough insulin to get that job done.

One morning was particularly bad for some reason, so I called into work and told them I wouldn't be in. Then I called my psychiatrist and told her what was going on. She told me I needed to come into her office, so that's exactly what I did.

I ended up spending time as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital. After the inpatient stay I transferred to an outpatient program where we (the patients) spent time working on things like mindfulness, reflection, and various ways to cope with out maladaptive behaviors, be they drinking, drugging, cutting, or just being flat out depressed. I met a lot of cool people and was working hard at this program, but I was not getting any better. I ended up needing to spend more time on the inpatient unit because I was still very suicidal and the staff felt it was in my best interest to not be at home. Additionally, my psychiatrist thought it was a good time for me to take a break from my pump because he was afraid I was going to use it to hurt myself. I did write about taking a brief pump break, but I don't really remember doing it. Why?

Electroconvulsive Therapy. ECT. Even in psych hospitals it carries a bit of taboo. I was mentally in a dark place with no options left. I'd tried many, many drug therapies to no avail. I'd spent weeks in treatment at a psych hospital. Nothing was helping me and I was constantly suicidal, so I agreed to undergo ECT treatment.

Over four weeks I had a total of 12 treatments. It didn't hurt and I don't remember much of it. The main side effect of ECT is memory loss around the time of treatments. I don't remember most of December or early January except that I was pumpless and hopeless, yet optimistic this treatment would work. Did it work for me? Mostly. The visceral need to be dead is gone, and that is a huge relief to me. ECT did pretty much nothing for my mood. I'm still working with doctors to find a good pharmaceutical aid for that one. I'm seeing a therapist. I know that eventually something has got to work. It has to, and I'm not giving up until I find what works for me.

Thank you for reading this far. It seriously has taken me months to decide to hit the "publish" button on this.


  1. Courtney, I am so sorry this happened to you. I to suffer from depression and was very close to going in-patient once. I started doing group therapy and did for about two years. Something finally broke through and yes I feel better.

    I have often wondered about ECT so I was very interested in your description. I wish you the very best and I know every one in the DOC will say the same. Take care

  2. Depression is a difficult burden to bear. I was admitted to the hospital for depression in my teens, and it wasn't fun, but in the end it helped. It's good to hear you found something that helped. Thank you for your honesty. Every little bit of talk about it helps reduce the stigma for us all.

  3. I'm sorry you've been feelign this way, but am glad you chose to hit "Publish" and not Delete. Sharing is so important, and for me it was the step forward I needed to recognize I couldn't battle my depression alone and needed peer-support. Sending you all the best vibes, and hoping some sunshine finds you to brighten the days.