After a recent bipolar diagnosis, a man fought with suicidal thoughts during the Covid-19 quarantine.
Along with Covid-19 cases, mental health problems are also rising everywhere in the U.S. including depression and anxiety. According to an April survey managed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of adults in the U.S., spoke up that their mental health was affected negatively due to anxiety and tension.
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and author of two books interviewed this guy named, Raul, who is a 44-year-old husband and father in Virginia. He shared his experience and how he handled his bipolar disorder throughout this hard time.
Here goes the story of Raul, as told to Charlotte.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO WORRY HIS WIFE
Raul wasn’t certain specifically when his depression commenced, because he never spoke about it to anyone particularly. He said he’d probably had it his entire life, but just didn’t get diagnosed earlier.
Raul is a business owner and like every good husband and father, his wife and kids have always been his utmost priority. And of course, the constant thoughts of providing the best to his family often gathered up in his head, worrying him about the future. But his depression was something, he didn’t want to share with his wife because that would worry her. He wanted to be a strong person for his family so he kept it to himself for a long time.
A couple of years before, Raul had an opportunity to sell his business and invest in a partnership. He thought that would probably be a very greater business so he decided to use the opportunity and that’s when things began going down gradually. He sold his home and moved to Virginia with his wife and kids. They were far from their family, just to make a better future.
SUICIDAL THOUGHTS LEAD TO A DIAGNOSIS
Raul started working harder than before when he realized that the said opportunity wasn’t that good as he thought.
“I decided that if I just worked hard enough, I could make it work. That was my mistake, I think,” He said.
Unfortunately, his business kept going down, bringing more and more stress to him. He didn’t tell his wife or anyone that he was so upset with himself and his life. The thought that whatever he did to provide his family, didn’t work, made him to think lowly of himself.
But one day, he just broke down and, on his way, back home he called his wife telling her that he is gonna put a bullet in his head. “I’m going to blow my brains out.” That’s what he said on the call.
“I really was going to do it. I was done. I was so tired of the struggle. I just had to drive home and get my gun first.” He told.
Luckily, his wife took him straight to the hospital, once he reached home. Turned out that his wife had kept an eye on him since the day the moved to Virginia. She noticed the change in his behavior and got worried about his mental health. She recognized the symptoms of depression in Raul, that he himself didn’t notice. According to his wife, he had lost his weight, he couldn’t sleep, he discontinued going to the gym, he quit calling his family, he was always puzzled, and was much more irritable at home, notably at the kids. So, she was more than ready when Raul broke down.
After spending the weekend in the hospital, Raul was diagnosed with a severe depressive episode and bipolar II disorder which meant that while he was depressed, he sometimes had unusual manic episodes as well. The doctors put him on medicine, an antidepressant, and a mood stabilizer, and his therapies started.
COVID-19 AND RISING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS
Raul was slowly recovering from his still weak mental health when he had to completely shut his business down because the governor set the state under a stay-at-home order. That’s when everything came back as it never faded. He lost his weight again and started having sleeping problems as well.
Suicidal thoughts started riling up in his head so much once again that when his doctor prescribed him sleeping pills, rather than taking one to sleep he started thinking how many would he need to sleep forever. But thankfully, his wife took those pills away when she came to know Raul’s suicidal thoughts. She already transferred his guns to a relative’s house and kept a strict eye on him for the next few days. Not leaving him alone at all.
PRIORITIZATION OF MENTAL HEALTH DURING QUARANTINE
Raul’s wife made sure that he took his antidepressant and mood pills regularly. She took him to stroll outside. Made sure he took showers, ate food properly, slept well, laughed, prayed, and talked. Raul started phone sessions with his therapist as well.
Everything, slowly but finally, was working and Raul was starting to feel better. Even though they were still not stable financially, but Raul was getting aware of the fact that he can’t control everything, so he stopped worrying. Things were getting better with the passing time. Slowly but surely.
COVID-19; AN INDIRECT BLESSING
This whole fiasco made Raul think that maybe, this was a sign for him to discontinue the current business. So, he and his family concluded that once the quarantine ends, they will sell this house and move back with their extended family for a while until things got figured out. It may be tough but Raul is willing to do this.
“If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have told you that quarantine and the coronavirus were the worst things that ever happened to me. Now, I think it’s been a blessing and I’m not sure that I want it to end quite yet. It has allowed me to push pause on my life, take care of myself, and really figure out what I want. It’s shown me that I need a lot less than I thought I did,” Raul stated.
We all are going through a difficult time. But it’s more difficult for those who are experiencing mental health issues. Keep a check on your friends and family members, and make sure that they are doing fine. And if you notice them showing any of the depression symptoms, then do take them to the therapist. If they aren’t willing to visit one, then give your time to them, make them believe that you are here for them and they can share everything with you. Make them let things out instead of keeping them all to themselves.