Leslie: My Story


In 1995 I found myself not being able to sleep most nights. I lost interest in life at home and things I enjoyed. I had to force myself to play with my two-year-old son and desperately waiting for him to take his nap. I began to have suicidal thoughts daily; this hadn’t been a problem since my teen years. I didn’t understand what depression was.

In the fall I had my son in to the doctor and saw a poster on the symptoms of depression. I had all except two of them! I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor. He asked me why I hadn’t come in sooner, and assured me I would get better. I began taking a medication and educating myself, my family, friends, and co-workers about my illness.

Change didn’t happen quickly and I began a long, frustrating journey of new medications, side effects (weight gain, dry mouth, sleepy), hospitalizations, memory loss, tears, and loneliness.

Due to the hope my doctor had given me at the onset of my illness and that I was able to manage my affairs reasonably well, others offered support and hope as well. Attending a support group and always trying to work and try new activities were all part of my recovery, even during the darkest days. Life was hard due to the fact that medications just weren’t working.

After a particularly hard summer my psychiatrist talked to me again about an older medication with many food and medication interactions. It would totally change my diet and it did totally change me. Within days I was feeling great! Smiling, laughing, energized! I had a new outlook on life, a future!

My psychiatrist became my “knight in shining armor,” as he went out on a limb to do what none of the other psychiatrists would do.

I went out and looked for work as a career and landed a great job. I became involved with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and became a Recovery Council Representative for Michigan. I look forward to continuing my education and involvement in the Recovery Movement across the nation. Helping consumers in a variety of ways. I hope to one day work full time and not depend on disability or other benefits to provide for me – to once again be totally independent.