Dr: Ok Mrs Johnston which is better one or two
Vickey: I can’t tell
Dr: Ok, how about now..one or two
Vickey: I cannot tell
Dr: (frustrated) let’s try this..one or two
Vickey: I cannot tell
Dr: It has to be one or the other..(clearly exasperated)
Vickey: but I honestly I cannot tell..
Dr: let me look behind your eye…oh we need to get you to a specialist immediately…
I had just had my eyes checked the Friday before this, but all of a sudden I could not see clearly. I thought I was given the wrong prescription. That is why I went to the eye Dr. again. As the Dr looked at the optic nerve he saw that there was some kind of pressure against my optic nerve. That was why I could not see. From there i was sent to the eye specialist immediately. I have learned since then that when your dr’s seem to hurry about, panic and do things immediately, no matter how professional they try to seem, it really causes you to panic as well. I was so terrified. The eye specialist looked at me and said he thought it was something called pseudotumor ceribri.
Pseudotumor ceribri, that is a condition that causes your body to overproduce spinal fluid and puts pressure on the optic nerve thus causing you to loose vision. “BUT,” he said, “it could be something far worse. There could be a mass in your brain.” They could not be for sure without further tests. I would have to go see a neurologist ASAP. I was shocked. I thought it was something minor and now I had to see a neurologist. A neurologist?! I was just going to get a simple glass prescription changed…what was going on? The neurologist said he could not tell what was going on. I would have to have an MRI.
I remember at the MRI that i was so sad because she asked me for my wedding ring. I could not have any metal in the room during the MRI. i had to take off my wedding ring for the first since we married. I remember telling her, “But i never wanted to take it off.” I looked up at Bobby with tears in my eyes. She looked at me with compassion and took my ring and asked if i would like for her to play Christian music for the duration of the test. “I would like that.” I said.
After the tests we had to wait for the test results for several days. And so we waited. Waiting for test results that i thought could show a mass was so hard for me. It gave me time to worry about all the”what if’s”. Thankfully the tests did not show a mass of any kind. Now I had to have a spinal tap. Those test results showed elevated signs of spinal fluid. As it turned out I did have psuedotumor cerebri, and not cancer after all. But i must tell you that the anxiety and panic attacks while i took and waited for test results were immeasurably. Before we knew for sure I was so afraid I was going to die. “I had just gotten married.” I thought. I would stare at Bobby’s face. I wanted to remember it because i thought it was the last time i would see his sweet precious face.
I confess I was not handling this with Christian grace. My depression came back. I was crying constantly. I had panic attacks. I could not eat. I could not sleep…and for the first time since I was a Christian everything went dark again spiritually. I could not think straight. I could not make decisions. It was so bad at times that Bobby literally had to put me to bed. As Bobby did all he could to care for me spiritually, physically and emotionally, he realized there was something far worse going on. He got me to the psychiatrist as soon as he could. The Dr. asked if I had been sleeping. We told him no. And after we told him of the other symptoms (and after seeing the condition I was in) He said I had clinical depression. He immediately put me on medication and had me join a therapy group that met everyday. There I learned about what depression was. I learned what the symptoms were. There i learned how other people with depression were treated. Sadly, I also began to see that they did not not have the love and support i had. They were treated so poorly by others. It really hurt to see the pain they went through all alone.
That was over twenty years ago, and sadly little has changed today, even in the church where we are supposed to find love, support and comfort. Tomorrow I am going to talk about what I learned about depression and how those around you just do not always get it….not even at the church.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:4-6