Stigma Fighters: Ann Roselle

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Stigma Fighters: Ann Roselle

Mania.
Depression.

Love. Hate. My children were born and my heart was full. My family was complete. The dreams of my husband and I were fulfilled. Snuggling with sweet baby smell. The house exuded hope and promise of new life. Nighttime came along with no sleep, confusing rage, tiny voices squalling in hunger and an inexplicably angry mother. One who cried. One who imagined the help was out to steal the children. One who couldn’t parent. One who couldn’t love.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In bed, lying still, pillow covering my face. Blinds closed, door shut, unable to communicate. There is nothing but darkness to envelop me. Going through the motions, giving the bare minimum necessary to survive. Medication and therapy designed to lift me and help me escape do nothing. Thoughts of suicide offer relief to a body and mind wracked with pain. My family afraid to leave me for fear of what they’ll find.

The hospital offers relief, security and a chance to break free of darkness. Initially I refuse help, attempt suicide and don’t participate. We have a breakthrough when I finally hear the words “it’s not your fault”. I accept the help in hopes of returning to my family: my husband and three sweet boys. ECT jolts the blackness away, one treatment at a time. I return home optimistic, energetic and ready to engage with life.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I take my medication and I participate in therapy. My mood lifts up and up and up and up. I socialize more frequently because I am now the life of the party. I join the gym to maintain the steady weight loss since the depression lifted. I stop sleeping, because sleep is for the weak. I stop eating because I am a life force that doesn’t require frivolous things such as food. I max credit cards, I betray my family, I argue with everyone for no one has intelligence on the same plane as I. I am a woman, empowered and emboldened to live an extraordinary life. The mortals I am forced to suffer daily are holding me back. My therapist tells me I am surly, difficult and incapable of being helped. I am released from care, left to fend for myself.

I attempt suicide for the second time trying to escape the mess I caused. I make suicidal gestures and then attempt a third time in the ensuing months. Three more hospitalizations in a total of six months occur. We hear the term “bipolar disorder” finally and get a definitive diagnosis. We realize I have been sick, very sick. I was sick for a very long time.

Down, and then up. Up, then down. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Hospitalizations are followed by intensive outpatient support, which is followed by support groups that are followed by routine weekly, and then biweekly then monthly care visits. One realizes wellness is an option. That life is indeed, an option.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Trusts were broken, and confidences lost. The aftershocks rumbled deep through the ground we left standing on. In the settling dust, in the days of therapy, in the medication now taken faithfully, in the leveling moods, I learned to slowly be reliable. To speak the truth. To show up. To share how I feel. To accept that others have valid feelings. To know that it will be okay.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I write. I speak out. I educate. I use my voice now where other cannot or feel they cannot. It is the only tool we have to show others what has happened to our brains and that we are fine. That our disease is manageable. That for the once terrible action that occurred in our brain betraying us with a chemical imbalance and becoming disordered, there is an equally amazing and opposite reaction in the journey to maintain equilibrium and good health.

Mania. Depression. Illness. Wellness. Sickness. Health.

I am a wife, mother, friend, confidante, nurse practitioner, writer, and teacher. I am wise, kind, honest, compassionate, beautiful, smart and loving.

Mania.
Depression.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

From my depths of despair and disdain, there is hope, love and bravery.

By | 2015-10-02T12:36:11+00:00 October 2nd, 2015|Categories: Stigma Fighters|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Dyane Leshin-Harwood October 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    AWESOME submission, Ann! I’m so proud to be your friend, and I can say that you really are a Stigma Fighter in every fiber of your being.

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