The Loneliest Illness of All
| by Anonymous |
Born in 1921, our contributor lived most of her life in a world where no one spoke about their mental illnesses. There was certainly no place for a wife and mother to suffer from depression of any kind. This letter to herself was, to her family’s knowledge, the only time our contributor wrote about her struggle. Our hearts ache at the loneliness, shame and fear she lived with. We share these brave and vulnerable words with hope in our hearts that some will read this and feel less alone.
I am writing this from true experience. After undergoing at least a dozen electric shock treatments, a half dozen insulin shock and several hours of Sodium Pentathol injections (truth serum), I feel that I am qualified to describe the true feelings of a mental patient.
I felt cut off from the people around me, isolated, avoided as if I had a contagious disease. People understand kidney problems, heart attacks and cancer, but a mental problem is beyond their understanding. And I, a victim of this disease, find it too difficult to understand which puts a tremendous amount of guilt and shame on me. And an abundant amount of regret for what it did to my family.
My husband was always loving and kind to me and I had children that I adored. I was living the life that I always dreamed about. It was a burden lifted from my shoulders when I discovered my problem was an imbalance of fluid in my brain. Now that I am taking Prozac, prescribed by my doctor, I am living a normal, comfortable life. Most of the demons are gone. The remaining few I can deal with.
This story was received in the form of a handwritten letter and retyped so that our readers wouldn’t miss ANY of these brave words.