Cindy and her mom, Bonnie in 1973

Cindy and her mom, Bonnie, in 1973

My name is Cindy and I am walking for my kind, loving 62 year-old mother, Bonnie. She has suffered from moderate anxiety and depression for over 30 years. Up until 2008, a variety of medications kept her functional and able to lead a successful life, raising her two daughters along with my father and earning her Masters in Education teaching ESL. In the Spring of 2008, after several years of dealing with chronic pain from trigeminal nerve damage, Fibromyalgia, having to give up teaching and additional major life stressors, her medication completely stopped working and she became treatment resistant.

In June 2008, she attempted suicide by overdosing on sedative medications. She was hospitalized 3 times over the course of the summer – the last hospitalization lasting 2 months. She was suicidal, refused to eat and refused to get out of bed at the hospital. The staff at Providence St. Vincent’s was wonderful – everyone from our social worker, the nurses to the doctors were always there to help her as well as assist me during this time of crisis. She was diagnosed with Melancholic Depression (a subtype of Major Depression) – basically unable to find any interest, hope or joy in anything whatsoever.

When it became apparent that no medications or therapy attempts would work, our alternative to keep her alive was electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). After 10 treatments she was released from the hospital into my care. She was scared, had memory loss and was basically non-functional on most accounts. Although, she was eating and able to get out of bed which were huge improvements from the previous months. When the new prescriptions did not work to treat the major depression and anxiety that was resurfacing again she began to spiral downward, we needed to take her in for 7 more outpatient ECT treatments. Once stabilized again, an MAOI prescription was started as well as Lithium and we finally started to see some very slow improvements.

She continues to struggle with some depression, concentration issues and has lost major memories from the past 10-15 years from the depressive episode and ECT, but she’s continuing to make more and more improvements in getting her life back. She’s a wonderful grandmother, who now lives with us and is able to devote lots of love to her two precious granddaughters. We are so happy and thankful she is still here with us.

I am also walking as a tribute for my uncle Ron (my mom’s older brother), whom I do not remember as I was only a toddler when he died. He suffered from Bipolar Disorder during the 1960’s – early 1970’s. Unfortunately, he took his own life after dealing with the disorder for 10 years.