First, you need to hear how I got to where I was and a background of my life.
I had my son at 23-years-old and we were inseparable; I took him everywhere. He reached all his milestones. He was speaking at an early age and people commented often about how smart he was. He was my pride and joy. He made me want more out of life, more for us. So, I went back to school and graduated. Less than a year later, I was hired with the city as an EMS dispatcher. I was ecstatic, life for us was going to change.
I was scheduled to start training in January, but December came and my whole life changed one morning at breakfast. It was then that my sweet little boy had his first seizure and continued to seize 30 time that day. He was hospitalized for two weeks and we were discharged just in time for Christmas. Everything finally seemed to get better and the prescribed medication were controlling his seizures.
The day of training for my new job came and I was excited. After all, my son was doing well so now I could focus on starting this new chapter. Well, that didn’t last long because his seizures started again and we were back at Sick Kids. Picture this, I was living at Sick Kids and travelling back and forth to training while my son stayed in the hospital. You’re probably wondering why I continued to go to training. It’s because I thought I could do it all. And I also had a lot of family helping. Fortunately, I eventually was given the opportunity to start the job training later, but I truly felt like this wasn’t going to last either because the seizures didn’t stop. This lasted for 10 years and still counting.
In those 10 years we were on three different medications, given a diagnosis of a moderate intellectual disability and scheduled a brain surgery. Did I still I have my job? Yes, I pushed through the exhaustion, the sadness, and the grief over the health of my little boy.
I started to become hypervigilant and didn’t have restful sleep, waking up at a drop of a pin. If I heard the sound of a train, my thoughts would go into, “What if my kids were hit by a train?” Then if someone wouldn’t call me and I would think, “OMG, they were in a car accident!” When my kids went swimming, I might think, “What if they slip and fall and cut their head open?” These thoughts bombarded my mind everyday, all day.
I always thought I was keeping it together, until one day I was at a red light, and even though I was stopped, I decided to proceed even though the light was still red. I’m not sure what possessed me to go but I knew in that moment I needed help. My sleep was deprived from checking on my child to make sure he was breathing every night; my thoughts were poisoned with “what if’s” and I couldn’t work anymore.
I slipped into a depression with a very convincing mask; outside of my house I tried to be fun and outgoing, and made it appear as if everything was okay. It was exhausting pretending that I was okay. I remember one day sitting with a table of about ten friends for a birthday. Everyone was talking and laughing, multiple conversations were going on, and I felt so disconnected. It was as if I was watching everything from outside of my body. I had put on this facade for such a long time, and in that moment I feared I was going to crack, and that the mask was going to fall off and reveal what a mess I really was.
Every day I thought to myself that it’s going to get better, but it never did. I finally came to the realization that I needed someone to help me, and that I couldn’t fix myself.