Letter: From someone who has attempted suicide, vote ‘yes’ for 1A
I, too, support voting “yes” for 1A in Eagle County. I understand just how difficult it is to get the care one needs when dealing with a severe mental health issue.
I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder while at Stanford during my undergraduate education. I really didn’t think much of it over the next 20 years, as I just popped my Prozac and secretly battled with anxiety and occasional depression.
However, six years ago, my adrenal glands and ovaries stopped working correctly and my body stopped producing all estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. I stopped sleeping literally overnight and started having hot flashes, severe night sweats and horrible panic attacks daily.
Doctors I went to in Vail said I was “depressed” and wouldn’t take my symptoms seriously. Forward to a year later, after surviving on just one to two hours of sleep a night for 10 months, fighting severe exhaustion, unimaginable depression and anxiety and slowly going crazy because all of the reproductive hormones in my body were literally at zero, I tried to throw myself out of a moving car while in the passenger seat.
I just wanted to make it all end. I was so tired and so sick of every doctor telling me it was all in “my head” while my body was slowly shutting down.
I was put on a 72-hour hold at the Vail Valley Medical Center (now Vail Health). I had two police officers standing outside my door for 13 hours and then was transferred to inpatient care in Denver at Highlands Behavioral Health — some of the only beds available currently in the state of Colorado. I was ultimately transferred to Menninger Clinic in Houston, where I spent 10 weeks slowly nursing myself back to health. Today, I am not only alive, but thriving and better than ever.
To say that Eagle County and Colorado in general lack the right care for mental health doesn’t even do the reality justice. People die and suffer slowly daily. It’s a real problem. I am one of the lucky few who find the care they need to not only survive but to just simply live a normal life. You can save lives by simply checking the right box. Vote “yes” for 1A.
Board member of The Johnson Depression Center at Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver