In this episode, I chat with Meghan about dealing with depression and anxiety. She believes it started when she was just 10 years old and bullied for her weight. Meghan was officially diagnosed with depression about 15 years ago and went through a ton of medications before she found the one that was right for her. A series of toxic relationships led her to have a huge mental breakdown. In turn, she lost her job and insurance. Her mom called a crisis team and after lots more trial and error, she was finally able to get the correct help she needed.*
Meghan’s story starts when she was just 10 years old in the 5th grade in a new school. She was immediately teased for her weight. She was the target of the same boy for the rest of her school career. Because of that, Meghan began to dread going to school, so much so that she was often “sick.” Once Meghan went to College, she learned what a real friend. She met people who were actually nice and that gave her faith that there were still good people out there and that it was possible to be yourself and not have people make fun of you.
Meghan talks about how she would not eat at school so that people wouldn’t think the reason she was a little heavier than them was because all she did was eat. She was active in sports, just like them. Meghan even had a little battle with bulimia.
About 15 years ago, Meghan was officially diagnosed with depression. She was put on medication right away. “It was trial and error.” She went through many, many medications before she found the one that actually worked for her. Meghan still tried to deal with things on her own. It took her quite a while before she saw a therapist. She wonders if she would have sought help earlier how different things would be.
There came a time when everyone around Meghan’s age started getting married and having kids. She felt like that was the next step in her life, as well, so she began dating more intently. “I craved the love everyone else was getting.” This led to a couple bad relationships. One in particular, the guy she thought she was going to make things work with, led her to stop taking her meds because she could no longer afford to pay for them. Meghan’s boyfriend had a job, but was not getting paid, so she paid all the bills and gave him money for his own play and there was none left for her medication. There were many red flags that Meghan did see, but she just chose to overlook them. She felt stuck. The relationship affected her so much that she ended up losing her job, which in turn led her to lose her apartment and then the relationship.
All of these things led to a major breakdown. She contemplated taking her life. Meghan told herself she could either drive into that river or get her crap together, but this was it. Fortunately, she chose to get her life in order and not drive into the river. Meghan credits her nieces for saving her life that day because she knew she didn’t want their moms to have to tell them why their aunt Meghan was no longer with them.
Meghan’s mom called a crisis team because she knew Meghan needed more help than they could offer. The team came in and told her what was going to happen. Meghan became seeing a therapist for the first time in her life. She went once a week. Unfortunately, since Meghan had lost her job, her insurance was also gone. She could not afford to see the therapist anymore. She had to wait for three months before she was able to qualify for the State medical program. Meghan also filed bankruptcy because she had literally no money. Her mom was paying her bills and giving her money for the things she needed.
When she was able to qualify for State medical insurance, she was able to get into a treatment program at the hospital. There she did group and individual counseling. They also had classes and a psychiatrist to get them on the right meds. During that time, she learned that she had a long QT interval in her heart. The doctor was unsure if it was genetics or her meds inducing it. Meghan had to do some EKG tests and they learned the meds were causing a prolonged interval every time the dosage was upped, therefore, she had to switch meds and switch meds and switch meds again to find what worked for her. Meghan felt like the rug had been pulled from underneath her at that time. She was back to square one.
Meghan received a referral from her doctor to see a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The specialist there gave her some options – one being to get a defibrillator so that she wouldn’t have to worry whether it was the meds or genetics that were causing the problem. She could be on any med that worked for her and if it caused her heart to stop, the defibrillator would kick start her heart again. That was a tough decision for Meghan because the voices were telling her she wasn’t worth it.
Listen to the full episode to hear all the details.
*Please note: this is the guest’s story. Their story is how they perceive it. It is not my judgement or responsibility to determine whether or not this story and the things said are true. Please be open minded when listening to/reading these stories.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR THIS EPISODE:
-Speak up for yourself. Be your own advocate. If something is wrong and you need help, say something.
-Don’t give up on your meds. Keep trying until you find what works for you.
-Find someone or something that you WANT to live for.
LINKS TO THINGS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
-Meghan’s favorite book: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
-Meghan’s song recommendation: In Hell, I’ll Be in Good Company by The Dead South (listen on the Hard Knocks guest list on Spotify)
-My ending song recommendation: The Sun Will Rise by Kelly Clarkson (listen on the Hard Knocks playlist on Spotify)
“Sometimes it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence.”
If you have your own story to tell, please email me or click the “Share Your Story” tab at the top of the page.