Marsha’s Story

MarshaI was diagnosed with severe depression recurrent and an eating disorder when I was about 18. With the depression came suicidal thoughts that I lived with pretty much 24/7 for almost 20 years. I spent the majority of my waking moments trying to figure out a way to end my life or just escape for awhile because I hated life so much. Obviously I was never successful in any of my attempts, which I am very thankful for these days. Over those 20 years I had two psychiatrists and several therapists, but none of these were successful in helping me to change how I thought or felt about life. I spent a lot of money on different kinds of pills that could be bought over the counter. For several years I had to go to 3 East sometimes three times a day to get my meds because I could not be trusted with them. This was not always an easy task for my therapist or the nurses because I didn’t always turn the meds over to the staff of 3 East like I was supposed to because I had plans to take them in the next couple of days. When I didn’t go to get my meds, my therapist was called and I ended up taking them to 3 East anyway. I spent the majority of my life on 3 East (or so it felt sometimes). I was hospitalized when I was about 20 years old for the eating disorder, which at the time was anorexia. I was inpatient for about 30 days, but the program did not work for me at all. Over the years I went from anorexia, to binge eating, to bulimia.

I had grown up in a Lutheran church where I also attended the school and graduated there in 8th grade, got confirmed there, helped with Sunday School and Bible School, and sang in the choir. They eventually formed a bible study group that was also a support group; however, the worse the depression and eating disorder got, the more I felt like I was being pushed out the door. After this experience I swore I would never step into a church again. Then I became friends with someone who also dealt with depression and she asked me several times over a few months to go to church with her and I finally took her up on that. That was just one thing that helped me to start changing my life. I found people who cared about me and my life. There was one time when I felt like there was no hope and there was nothing anyone could say that would change my mind about life. I had lost hope. I called one of the Senior Pastor’s and talked to her about what was going on. I am not sure she changed my mind about anything, but I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time, if ever.

I also started working with Disabilities Alliance and through them got connected with LifeWorks. LifeWorks brought my meds to me twice a day-morning and night. I spent about 2 – 3 hours a week talking to one of the staff members in different situations. I was finally able to confide in someone without feeling like I was being judged. With the support of her and the rest of the team and my new friends from church, I made two changes that literally changed my life forever. I was tired of being depressed, suicidal, not wanting to be around anyone, wanting to sit in the dark and just be alone, binging and purging, and life itself. I started making phone calls to find a psychiatrist in Ames. I spent a lot of time trying to find someone who would be willing to take me on as a patient. I was turned down by six or seven different places because I was too depressed and/or suicidal, because of the insurance I had, because of the way I had left my previous psychiatrist. I finally found someone who was willing to give me a chance. I then asked if there was anyone in the clinic who could help me with my eating disorder and that is how I found my therapist. I believe the only reason that I found my doctor and therapist was because God was watching over me.

My support staff person from LifeWorks went with me to see my new doctor. We were both very impressed with him because, although he was running about 1 ½ hours late, he took his time with us and my one hour appointment was almost two hours. Both my new doctor and therapist laid everything out on the table. They would not put up with any games. I would take my medicine as prescribed. I would do the assignments when asked. That was in August and September of 2006. I was hospitalized once at Iowa Lutheran in November and then again in March of 2007 in Ames. Those were my last hospitalizations. My suicidal thoughts started to slowly go away. My therapist pushed me hard sometimes and sometimes I hated her for it, but now I know she was doing her job so that she could help me get better. My therapist retired in August of 2010 and I am confident that she gave me the tools I need to move forward in my life without having to have a therapist. My doctor and I are discussing whether or not I want to just let my family physician prescribe my medications because I am doing well and my medications have not changed for a very long time now. I see my psychiatrist every three months now, but I think I would be ok to just go ahead and let my family physician prescribe my meds.

It has been at least a couple of years since I have had any suicidal thoughts. I am very actively involved in my church. I have a good job and can handle working a lot of hours. I volunteer at a Christian school whenever I get chance. I have more friends than I could ever have imagined. I graduated in December of 2009 with my Bachelors in Elementary Education. I am now going for my second bachelor’s in Elementary Education so that I can get my teaching license/certificate. When I am done with school and have a teaching job, I would like to continue to pursue my Master’s Degree in Distance Learning.

My favorite hobby is scrapbooking. I am currently working on the trip that I took June 26 – July 3, 2010. There were fifteen of us who went on a cruise to Alaska. This is my first vacation since high school. The experience was awesome and one I will never forget.

There are so many people who helped me change my life around including my therapist and doctor, LifeWorks, New Covenant Christian Church, and my friends. I could not have made all these changes without the help and support of everyone. Life is good!

Date Written: October 8, 2010