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Your are not alone in this fight

Spread the word! “You are not alone in this fight” when it comes to mental illness.

Our goal is to raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2012. Your donations help NAMI provide free education and support programs, publish reports and provide resources for people in need.

This year we’re asking you to share your story to inspire hope and break down stigma everywhere.

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Nancy's Story

I remember crying a lot as a child in grade school, and then junior high and high school, but never sought treatment.

I was diagnosed after my second child was born. I was 25 years old and the doctors thought it was a bad case of postpartum depression. I had 2 babies in 17 months and was living on a dairy farm with my husband. I started on an antidepressant and felt better for over 15 years. I would have bouts of crying and times when I just wanted to crawl in bed, but for the most, my antidepressant was helping.

When the kids were in school full time, I started working in town; being out with other people helped. As my kids reached high school, the depression worsened and I had a lot of anxiety about going to the events at the school. I felt like everyone was talking about me. I started avoiding events and was having trouble at work.

By this time, I was taking about seven different antidepressants, and I was suffering from drug resistant depression, I was going to the therapist once a week and seeing the psychiatrist every other week. Mostly all I did was lay in bed and cry; going to work was just about impossible.

I felt like everyone was talking about me. I started avoiding events and was having trouble at work.

In March 2011, my physiatrist put me on a medical leave. She wanted me to go to the hospital for in-patient treatment, but I would not go. I was off work for six weeks, and then tried going back to work again in late April. By the end of May, I was only working half days. I would go to work in the morning and come home at noon and crawl into bed and stay there until the next morning. Everyone was concerned and by this time my children were both in college. I went to both high school graduations, but can hardly remember being there. I worked part-time until September, and then I took another leave and checked into St. Mary’s hospital in Madison, Wis. One of my options was to have electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

I checked in to the hospital on a Monday. My first day at the hospital, was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I lay in the bed and cried. I was supposed to go to occupational therapy and they came and dragged me out of bed and made me go. When I met with the doctor on Monday afternoon he suggested ECT; they were having very good results with patients who also had drug resistant depression. ECT is not like you see in the movies, I watched video on the procedure and we decided it was my best option.

We would start with five treatments. The treatment would take place on Wednesday, then on Friday. If things went well, I would be able to go home Friday afternoon, and come back the next Monday, Wednesday and Friday as an outpatient.

On Wednesday morning, they woke me early and I was prepped for the procedure. I would go the surgery recovery room, I would be put to sleep and then they would do the ECT, I would then stay in recovery for 30-45 minutes and then return to my room.

By mid-October, I returned to work full time. My coworkers were amazed at the change; I was my old self again.

As they were prepping me for the procedure, a nursing student came in and asked if he could watch the procedure, I was fine with that. His name was Mike, the same as my husband. He watched the procedure and came back to my room with me, to check my vitals, and see how I was reacting to the treatment. I was so lucky to have him, he stayed and talked with me, and it helped relieve the tension I was feeling. I had a headache from the anesthesia, but hardly any other side effects.

Late on Wednesday, my Mom came to visit. She was amazed at the change after just one treatment. I was talking and laughing, something I had not done in a long, long time. My husband and daughter came to visit on Thursday, and they too could not believe the difference after just one treatment. On Friday, I had my second treatment. Things went great and I was able to go home Friday afternoon. I returned the next week for my 3 outpatient treatments.

By mid-October, I returned to work full time. My coworkers were amazed at the change; I was my old self again.

That was over one year ago. I am now only taking two antidepressants, seeing a therapist once every five weeks and the psychiatrist every three months. Had I known many years ago how successful the ECT was at helping me I would have done it years ago. Hind-sight is always 20/20.

I am a very lucky person, I still have my job. After all I went through, my employer stuck with me. I have now been with the same company 11 years. I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 25 years and have two wonderful children who will graduate from college in the spring of 2013. My daughter was married in June of 2012 and I was able to enjoy her wedding.


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