Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Melzoom: I Will Never Make Those Mistakes Again

posted by Beyond Blue

When my parents divorced, I was nine years old. My mother and I moved from a very remote area to suburban Detroit where she had grown up. We lived with my grandparents for a year before moving into our own house. At a time when my mother was weakest, she also was back in an environment that brought back adolescent insecurities: in a family of doctors, she had decided to go into teaching. My mother expects a lot from herself and those around her. She shows her love for me by believing I can meet those expectations. And while I was very nurtured and supported by my grandparents in the traditional sense, my mom began to adopt the verbally abusive and compulsive behaviors that I am certain contributed to my mental state.
I went through high school involved in everything: track, swimming, cheerleading, President of the Spirit Committee, Secretary of the Italian Club, supporting lead in school plays and musicals, playing violin in the orchestra. I never thought about it then that it was a lot. I maintained a very high GPA. Outwardly, I was just a very active teenager. At home I was sleeping 3-5 hours a night and beginning a very horrible eating disorder. Everything felt so out of control.
I went off to university and maintained the same pace, getting involved in student groups and plunging into my studies as well as becoming what my friends lovingly called “Party Princess Barbie”.
My grades were fabulous. My friends were fabulous. I was starving myself. I already was feeling like I needed help…some kind of something…when I was sexually assaulted in my own room by a boy who was a central person in my new group of friends. I felt like the guest star girl in some 90210 episode. I didn’t tell anyone. Who would believe me?
And so began the anxiety that I still deal with today. I couldn’t sleep unless every light (including a flashlight) was on and all my drawers were open so I could make sure nothing was hiding. Afraid I would develop a fear of sex, I adopted the mentality that I should just “get back on the horse”. There are a lot of terms people may use about a girl like that. I choose ‘sexually indiscriminate.’
I met my husband 18 months later. I started seeing a nutritionist, and things got better with the eating. The OCD and agoraphobia got worse, but I had no idea what it was. My husband just thought I was quirky–having to sleep with the lights on or not sleeping at all. By my student-teaching year, it was just a way of life.


That year, after being accused by the principal of smoking pot with my students and being “a Satanist”, the anger mutated to paranoia and then turned to panic. I had no idea what was happening. I just wanted it to stop and sleep. That was my first active suicide attempt. Two weeks in the hospital and a month in PHP.
My husband (boyfriend at the time) was wonderful. We got engaged a few months later. I started working at a financial services firm. Two years went by without incident. I was in therapy, on meds. We got married and moved to Ohio. Away from my family, friends, and doctors I knew, I became despondent and isolated. My doctors kept increasing my meds until one day my husband came home to his wife bleeding all over the bathroom floor. That attempt put me into the hospital again.
It was a lot of work to get back from that place. My husband got a new job and it began to control his life. We moved back to Michigan. Despite the problems in my marriage, my recovery was going really well until last summer.
The panic returned, the disorienting depressive episodes, I couldn’t focus or think or sleep. I couldn’t leave the house. Somehow, I managed to sing in my cousin’s wedding and that night went to my mother’s and took an entire bottle of Klonopin. I began to write a letter to my best friend and something was triggered–I knew I had done something I didn’t want to and managed to stumble downstairs and mumble incoherently to my mother that I needed to go to the ER.
I woke up at 5 AM the next day with my husband holding my hand and being told that I almost didn’t make it through the night. Another couple weeks in the hospital and PHP. My husband and I made it through this rough time together. It was a lot of work on both our parts. My biggest mistakes had been not taking meds like I should and not following up with my doctors and therapist. I will never make those mistakes again.
To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.



  • Susan

    In reading this.. i was shaking my head in agreement many times.. there are some similarities.. and some not so much.
    I was already depressed as an adolescent.. but I was in nothing.. I attempted suicide a few times in high school.. there was only one time anyone knew about. Had eating disorders.. anorexia.. bulimia.
    In college.. date rape I told no one about. I jumped into a physically and mentally abusive marriage.. had two children… then during the divorce.. I was OCD about having to have everything just so … went down to 92 pounds..
    I pulled out of that with the help of meds and therapy ..
    Then last year.. my son completed suicide.. and I went back on medication.
    I know if I dont stay on the medication.. I wont be able to get through this. Every day is a challenge for me..
    Your blog entry spoke to me today .. I need to go pick up my refill.
    Thank you.
    Many blessings and prayers sent your way.
    Susan

  • valerie

    Therese, I’m sure you’re speaking to so many people with similar experiences. Many things you’ve said are familiar to me. See, we’re not ABNORMAL after all. We’re not “the only ones.”
    All these experiences and illness happen to more people. We never need to feel alone. Unfortunately, somebody somewhere is suffering right along side us.
    Thanks again for being YOU and for sharing some very personal parts of your life.
    God Bless you. Love Valerie

  • Roz

    You sound like a highly intelligent and talented person, someone from whom a lot was expected no matter what, and you delivered, no matter what.
    Only problem was that to satisfy the people around you (your mother) that performance required you to tune out a major part of yourself, your inner feelings.
    From what you said in your letter, your life is going along, something challenging happens, and then almost out of the clear blue you have a breakdown and do something very self destructive. Increasing your medication didn’t really help. That’s rough, and anyone empathetic reading your letter would feel sympathetic and scared for you as well.
    Please know that everybody goes through tough times, times that require introspective reflexion. I know I’ve had to do much more than most. Don’t fight it, take it as an opportunity to tune into your own heart and soul, and learn to accept your self as you are right now, no matter what.
    Best wishes always.

  • Anonymous

    Melzoom,
    It’s wonderful that you’re willing to share your story ad nothing short of miracylous that you’re here to do so. How blessed you were to find a man who could and DID stand by youeven through something so awful as the suicide of your son. My heart aches for you in terms of that devastation and yet rejoices for you that you’ve learned to never again lave tourself any more vulnerable due to quitting meds and/or other treatments.
    In my case it was my father who was the abusive one, both emotionally and physically as you say your mother was. Then as an adult I married a man who was ready and willing to take on that role even though he treated me like a princess when we were dating. They say that every girl subconsciously marries her father; I was SO SURE I had avoided that trap. In retrospect there were red flags that my subconcious choose not to pick up on or to excuse with rationalizations.It has taken me untold years of therapy and medications to even approach the place where you are living and even more years to undo the additional damage my ex caused. I’ve come to believe that those of us who were emotionally damaged in childhood become so “comfortable”with that abuse(IKNOW that sounds weird, but hear me out) that we often CAN’T form really loving relationships with members of the opposite sex. I congratulate you for getting to a place where you WERE able to find and marry a man who would treat you right as well as support you in your recovery struggles. I know first hand that that’s a struggle within itself. I pray that you can hold on to your determination to never repeat the mistakes you made earlier in your recovery.You’ve MORE than “paid your dues” and deserve to be where you are now.No one really “deserves” to be mistreated, I know, but once we’ve established a familiarality with that role, it’s all too easy to settle in and accept it as our lot in life, all the time wondering why we can’t seem to find happiness.Kudos for “reaking the cycle” and best wishes from another “Michigander”

  • Melzoom

    I wanted to thank you all for your comments–and add a little update, since my story ends about a year ago. I’ve been stable on my meds and without a major depressive episode in about 10 months–and two minor downturns lasting less than two weeks each. My husband and I are wonderfully happy and all the hard work we’ve put into our marriage has paid off. I still have my ups and downs, but finally found a medication that works and a team of psychiatric professionals that listen and respond proactively and have helped my husband and me develop a continued wellness plan that we both feel comfortable participating in.
    I wish all of you the best on your road to recovery and balance.

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