Finding my way through Menier's disease and Depression
It began the day I started kindergarten. I felt different from everyone. I didn’t learn the same way and became sad a lot. My teacher just played it up as acting babyfied. This stigma followed me through to first grade. But I also had a lot stacked against me. My teacher had my brother Duane a couple years before me and held high expectations because Duane made straight A’s. So I just quit trying altogether. Of course I failed first grade that year. My new teacher new my dad, at the time he worked for Culligan water and delivered tanks to her house.
Then I started second grade. To this point in school I had no friends. Most of second grade I started thinking of ways to die. But I never said anything. Then in third grade we moved to a new school being used for Elementary school. I would go to school and the kids just bullied me constantly. Then comes the really hard times, my dad lost his job and we had no money, no insurance and no food. I always got hand me down clothes from my cousin. Then one time this kid said he was going to kick my butt. I tried to tell my teacher, but he just ignored me. So every day I would cry or act like I was sick to avoid school altogether. Sometimes when it was raining my dad would drive me to the bus stop at the end of the driveway because it was a long way. He would sit with me until the bus came. Somehow I made it through Elementary school by secluding myself from everything.
In middle school things got extensively worse. I went to another new school, where I was not only hated by people but by teachers as well. I wasn’t doing well at all, so they tested me for learning disabled classes. This is where things got a little better because I met my two best friends Kerry and Bertha. We found strength in being with each other. Somehow we made it through 8th grade and into high school. Like all relationships they have ups and downs. The hardest for me was when they started dating and I had no one.
During senior year, we had to decide what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher or first grade teacher and wanted to attend California University of Pa. There was an OVR counselor named Judy that I had spoken with. She gave me no hope at all. Her words were “You’ll never make through college”
I looked at her and said “You just watch me!”
In December of 1993, my brother started dating Jill and she had a precious little girl named Brittanny. Brittanny started daycare in the fall of 1994 at WCCC. She really thrived at everything. Brittanny was like my little sister because she was with me all of the time. It wasn’t always easy though, going to college was a challenge for me. My first semester, I got a “D” in one of my classes and became discouraged. I didn’t have much time to study because Brittanny wanted to play and I felt guilty about saying “no” because her mom didn’t spend much time with her.
My second semester, I worked really hard. I got tutors for everything and did much better. I passed with “B’s and C’s”. As time went on, it got easier for me. In my last semester, I not only did practicum class at WCCC, I also attended California University. I took 9 credits there. I also worked 2 jobs and had a relationship. I graduated from WCCC in 1998 with a 4.0. My dad had also been in college with me at the time, transferred to California University to study Social Work in 1997. I started full time at California University in the fall of 1998. Since my dad had transferred there, we would ride together and be able to eat lunch together. This was the most time my dad had ever spent with me. (Dad was always tired and didn’t want to do anything when I was younger). I never told anyone how this made me feel. I struggled with not being good enough. I felt alone most of the time. Even though I had a couple of friends (or so I thought). I always felt ugly and fat. As time went on, my dad graduated in 2000. But I never felt that I had accomplished anything. My degree was just generalized and no certificate was obtained. I so badly wanted to teach, but without a certification nobody would hire me. So I worked in daycare s for most of the time. I was miserable and lonely. My boyfriend at the time was emotionally and verbally abusive. He made me feel worthless and ugly. I slipped into a depressive state, crying most of the time. It started affecting me both at work and at home. In December of 2000, he proposed to me. After that, he felt he owned everything; my car, my money, and anything I wanted, I had to go through him for approval.
As the time went on everything got worse. We set a wedding date for May 19, 2001. The only problem was we had no money for a house. We fought all of the time and it was my fault (or so I thought it was). Everything was stacked against us. The preacher, who was to marry us, was found dead in his yard 1 month before we were to be married.
My dad worked for the Housing Authority and said that we could get low income housing. But Don wouldn’t go for that, because he considered that to be a handout. So my parents offered to give us their camper to stay in until we could get something. Again, Don said “NO”. So we canceled the wedding again. I slipped further and further into a deep depression.
**]On July 25, 2003, my family’s life changed drastically. My dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. To this point we knew he was sick, because he would throw up after he ate. His doctor at the time, waited until late September to start treatment. My dad loved his job and refused to quit. So even during treatment he would go to work. In December 2003, they did a pet-scan to check for the cancer. The doctor said that there were only a few “hot spots”. I became ecstatic because I was sure he would pull through. We even talked about having a party. But something happened between January and November 2004. He got worse and worse day by day. They tried several treatments, but nothing seemed to work. My family was my support group at the time, although I would not have been here if it weren’t for my niece Brittanny. My boyfriend as I said before was verbally and emotionally abusive and it got worse. He was very supportive through everything. He would tell me to “get over it”. He’s in a better place. I was so alone. I started going with Don to his church, but something wasn’t right about it. So I always said it was a “Cult” church. The women were only allowed to wear dresses, and they had to give the money they had to their husbands.
My parents kept telling me to find someone new, but I was afraid. Don was so controlling and always made me feel inferior compared to him. On November 5, 2004 my dad decided to have a stint put in his liver. Before they took him down for the surgery, he told me “I’m proud of you”. I never knew he was until he told me. I was so depressed that all I could say was “why” They came and took him to surgery around 7:00pm. I kissed him on the head and said “I love you daddy. I’ll be here when you get back”.
I called and told Don I wouldn’t be home that night. He wasn’t happy and made it clear to me that he wasn’t. Mom and I waited and around 9:30pm they brought him back to his room. He was talking to us and kept saying I’ll be fine you can go home. Something inside me said “No Don’t leave” I looked at my mom and said “No let’s stay”. So we did. Something you may not understand about my dad, he wasn’t the kind of person to complain about pain, but he sure did on this night. So we called the nurse to come look at his incision. She said “it will stop bleeding”. So they gave him pain medication, and more pain medication. He slipped into a state where his eyes were closed, but he was talking. I was just sitting with him holding his hand. I whispered “its ok daddy, if you have to go. I’ll be alright” I went to sit by my mom. Around 10:15pm, I noticed his breathing wasn’t good at all. I sent my mom to get the nurse and by the time she came back he had passed away.
We began making calls. I phoned Don, but all he could say was “I didn’t even get to say goodbye”. He did however come down the next day to be with me, but only because my brother Duane called and asked him to. He constantly needled me about returning to work. After burying my on Wednesday November 10, 2004, things just truly went downhill. That Friday when Don came down we decided to go to the movies, and we took Brittanny with us. Don kept harassing me about going to work because “how were we going to get a house.” That night my niece saved my life. I never told her this. If she hadn’t been there to get me into the house, I would have taken my care out and killed myself. I never told anyone what plans I had that night. He had this hold on me that I couldn’t break. I tried to break up with him, but he never got the message. I knew deep down that we’d never get married. I’d make comments when people would say “when’s the wedding?” I’d say “oh , 2000 never” As time went on, Don got more obsessed with building a house on land that was almost right next to his parents. The only problem was I would be secluded from my family, especially in the winter.
On January 1, 2006, my sister in law Jill found out she had lung cancer. We didn’t know how much time she had left. So my mom and brother went down in the summertime. When they returned, my contract ended as a pre-k teacher and my short time with the temp agency ended in September. My mom and I went down to North Carolina to be with my brother and his family. We stayed for about 1 month and that made Don very angry. He would call or talk to me when I called him, but made no effort to comfort me in any way. Jill died in October2006. When I returned home, Don was verbally aggressive. Telling me to grow up and move on. He would tell me that I was nobody, and that I had to tell him what, when and how I was doing things.
In 2007, my brother Darrell and my nephew Darrell moved in with us. My niece Brittanny had moved to Florida with her aunt. I had planned to take Little Darrell to chucke cheese and golfing for his birthday. I made sure to tell Don that we were doing this Friday night when he came down. He called me Thursday evening and said “I won’t be down, we’re pouring the floor” I said “don’t bother to come down anymore!” We got into a huge fight over this and I hung up on him.
The next day, I went to a party for one of my relatives. While I was there, he called me. Again, I told him not to call me I was busy. Later that evening, he called again. This time, in the background I heard his mother say “everyone wants to know where Denise is. She should be here helping it’s her house” I flipped out, and started yelling “I didn’t ask you to build me a house, and I’ve told you this before.” “Don’t call me again” So I went for about 5 days without calling or seeing him. Then on the 5th day (Thursday), he called. My mom answered the phone and told him that he was not welcome here, don’t come down, and don’t call, because I didn’t want to talk to him. The truth was, I could talk but he just wouldn’t listen to me. The only thing he said was “when can I get my ring back?” He gave me the ring for a Christmas present in 2000, but the truth was I didn’t care; it made me feel like I was worthless and couldn’t think for myself. So I packed everything of his up in a box and put it on the back porch. That night I heard him getting the stuff off the porch. But by the time I got out there, he was gone. My friend at the time (or so I thought) turned her back on me. I was alone again. So I finally freed myself from him and his abuse in 2007. I tried dating again shortly after that, but I felt ugly and worthless. I met a guy for lunch one time that had the most beautiful blue eyes. He was so nice and very easy to talk to. But I couldn’t see that he was truly a gentleman and I broke our next date. I was still in a deep depression and couldn’t see what guys really saw when they looked at me. I got a job with head start in August 2007, as a home base instructor in Brownsville, Pa. I sent him a letter and told him I no longer worked for the day care in Latrobe, and that I was possibly moving to North Carolina to help Darrell. I didn’t move though. A few months later, while shopping I saw his mom and dad. They acted nicely towards me, but really I knew what they thought. As I walked away I felt a sadness come over me. I cried every night for months, because I felt alone. My depression affected my job in a big way. In 2008, I accepted a lower paying position as a teacher’s aide. I finished most of the year, but then the teacher moved out of state. I was bumped up as head teacher. I really enjoyed this. When they posted the job, I applied for it. They denied me because I didn’t have the “skills”. I became extremely angry and the next day I was told I was back to being an aide, because I had to go to a meeting about my “attitude”. I went to the meeting, and got told that my “attitude” wasn’t professional. I didn’t think my attitude was bad, and I told them the truth of how I felt. I threw my tag at them and said “I don’t need you people. I don’t have to take this.” I left, knowing I wouldn’t have a job any longer. That was May 2009. In June, 2009 I got a new job working with autistic teens. It was 4 days a week, 10 hours a night. At first, I didn’t know how to handle them, but I learned quickly. I liked my job, but not the hours. The last time I talked to my grandma Dorothy, she told me that someone would quit daylight, and I would be able to get that position. I don’t know how she knew that, but the week she died, I got a daylight position from 2-10pm. I loved my job, aside from being head-butted and bitten. I made friends with several staff I worked with.
In 2011, I decided to get in shape, so I got a membership for the Aerobic Center at Lynch field. Plus I did Weight watchers. I had lost about 10 pounds between January and March. But on April 1st, I got sick with a severe sinus infection. Unfortunately, I never got better. I was off work for about a week, and decided to go back to work on a Wednesday. I drove myself to work without knowing exactly how I got there. I was at work for about 1hour, and my supervisor told me to go home. So I called my mom. She and my brother Duane came to get me. Mom dropped me off at home and had asked me what I wanted to eat. I told her chicken noodle soup from Eat n Park. While she went to get that, I fell asleep. I had gone to my doctor (at the time), and all he could say was “you are pasty white.” Mom said “so you really have no idea what’s wrong with her, do you?” He said “No” I then went to an ENT doctor. He did tests and all he said was “we have to call in the big guns. I’m sending you to Pittsburgh”. So we went to UPMC EYE and Ear clinic. They did several different tests. The doctor told me that I had Meniere’s disease. I asked him “What’s that?” He said “look it up on the internet.” So I did. I found out that it’s an imbalance in pressure between your ears. (Gives new meaning to it’s all in your head). They tried therapy, and medications, but nothing seemed to help. I couldn’t work, so I went on Fmla. It was hard to deal with. I had no way of going anywhere without being driven. I was dizzy and very unstable. In fact, the first 6 months, I would get up long enough to eat and take my pills, and go back to bed. In July 2011, we went to North Carolina to visit my brother Darrell, my niece Brittanny and my nephew Darrell. I got to see my Niece for a short time on the fourth of July. She brought her to precious babies Kayleigh and Carson. We stayed for a week. When I returned home, I had to give up my job because I couldn’t drive. That was one of the hardest things for me. Then my oldest brother Walt, moved in. That wasn’t too bad. But being that I couldn’t drive and he had not car, I told him he could use my car. In late September, early October, Darrell called and said he was moving back to PA. In October 2011, I moved out of my room and into my mom’s room, this was so that my brother and nephew could move in. That was hard, because we had my nephew every day, and he had some challenging behaviors at the time. I secluded myself from everything. It got harder and harder because of constant bickering between Darrell and Darrell Jr. On February4, 2012 I got an e-mail from some of Brittanny’s friends trying to reach her dad. So I called Darrell and he called a friend of hers. As it turned out she had been murdered. My brother Walt and I were at the gym at the time. Darrell called Walt and said that we needed to come straight home. I didn’t know anything until Walt came out of the showers. He told me what happened. I screamed so loudly, that people just stared at me. I also had an asthma attack.
So when we got home, my mom said that Darrell had gone to get Darrell Jr from Scout camp. So I attempted to contact Brittanny’s husband Steven. Once I talked to him, he basically told me that she had gone to the apartment to collect money for someone, but while she was there 2 men broke into the apartment demanding stuff in the safe. When she refused, one of them shot her in the abdomen. She went out to the front yard yelling for help, but no one would come. By the time the ambulance got there, she had bled to death.
My family went down to North Carolina the next day to make arrangements. We finally got to see her on Friday. I couldn’t stop crying. I had told her when she was young “I will never let anything happen to you, or let anyone hurt you.” I felt so responsible, and guilty that I hadn’t kept my promise. I basically wanted to just end my own life. I tried to help my nephew by talking with him and trying to do things with him, but he was so depressed that he would take his anger out by yelling and hitting everyone. When we were in the hotel room he wanted to jump out of the window.
After we said our good byes to Britt, Kayleigh and Carson, we headed back home. After a short time, I was able to get into therapy at chestnut ridge. I met the therapist and we clicked right away, but after only a few months, she decided to move and so I got another therapist. She was nice, but I just became stuck and couldn’t move forward. So I changed to Kreinbrook psychological services. I met with the therapist, but she didn’t seem to want to help me. So I changed to another therapist and we clicked, but I was having trouble with the Psych. Doctor. I had to change completely. I moved onto Family Behavioral Resources, and for the first time in quite a while, I was feeling really happy. Then I had a major setback. First, my new therapist had to retire due to health reasons and I had to start with a brand new therapist. This time, I became really depressed. We just didn’t seem to click and I knew that she was not the right person for me to see. In the meantime though, my brother had gotten into trouble with drinking and driving and got picked up. So we bailed him out. Then with in a months’ time, we had to bail him out again. But this time he totaled his van.
I started with my third therapist shortly after this happened. This time I felt as though I had found someone who would help me with my self-esteem, and depression. I am feeling stronger day by day. Oh yes, the depression and Meniere’s disease are always there, and it is quite a struggle sometimes. But I have learned to cope better with both issues.[
Finding my way through Menier's disease and Depression
My long journey through Menier's disease and depression. How I found my support groups and where I am now.
- ISBN: 9781311869425
- Author: Brighteyes2009
- Published: 2016-04-02 02:05:06
- Words: 3821