Anna Marie: Second Fiddle

Anna Marie

When I was 30 years old, I had a severe nervous breakdown. Afterwards, during our medication reviews my doctors would say, “Quit thinking those crazy thoughts,” or “If you can cope with your emotions, you can control your emotions.” I stayed with that doctor for 27 years with no counseling, just medication reviews and reading self-help books from the library.

In 1997, my husband, Larry, retired. We came from a suburb of Detroit, 218 miles away, to live in Houghton Lake. At the time, my biggest fear was that I would not be near my doctor. I still kept my six-month visits. A while later, I became very afraid and my body shook with fear. When I called the doctor, he said, “It’s not mental, it’s physical.”

Several days later, I knew something was wrong mentally, and called Community Mental Health. I enrolled as a patient and was told to call the Hotline. The lady there was very helpful as she told me to read a book, take a bath, anything that would help to calm me before my scheduled visit.

The new doctor asked what happened before my nervous breakdown 27 years ago. I was silent. I wouldn’t speak. I was afraid to tell him something I had kept to myself all those years. When he said, “If you don’t tell me, I can’t help you,” I began to tell him what he wanted to know. We talked a little longer and he prescribed medication. The next three days were hell. I felt searing pain going through me from the pelvic area up to the neck.

On the fourth day, as we were having breakfast, I suddenly smiled. Larry said, “I haven’t seen you smile like that at the kitchen table in 27 years.” Soon the medication made me feel I was becoming a normal person in that I didn’t feel so depressed or scared. I began to be more sure of myself. I still go for mental health counseling every three months, and the effects of that and the medicine are good. the doctor is encouraging and the nurse very helpful. Though there are times when I feel the depression, I fight it, knowing the next day, or even the next hour, I will feel better.