Burke mental health specialist Meghan Spivey sat down with KTRE recently to share her incredible and courageous story. Check out the story (and some pictures) on KTRE’s website, or watch the video below.
By Caroline Manning (KTRE- LUFKIN, TX)
Depression is an illness that can affect anyone, even the happiest of people.
“Growing up, I was pretty much everybody’s friend,” said Meghan Spivey, a mental health specialist at Burke. “I was always so, so happy, everyone always asked me if I had ever had a bad day in my life.”
Spivey has certainly seen some bad days in her life, especially one day in particular six years ago, when she got call that her best friend had died unexpectedly.
“That took a really a toll on me,” Spivey said.
However, that would only be the first traumatic loss Spivey would experience. Soon after her friend’s death, she found out she was pregnant.
“I was super excited, so super excited to be a mom,” Spivey said. “I actually went in for my 20-week routine checkup and my son had a birth defect called Anencephaly.”
Only effecting one in about 200,000 births in the U.S., Anencephaly causes major parts of the baby’s brain, scalp, and spine not to develop.
“I was one of those people that was like this will never happen to me in biology class and just turned the page,” Spivey said. “I’m not going to lie, I kind of lost it when I got the diagnosis.”
Through the support of her family, she carried little Eric to term. However, shortly after burying him, Spivey slipped into a deep depression.
“I’m an artist,” Spivey explained. “I tried to put all of my emotions into my art; my drawings, my clay work, my ceramic work. It just wasn’t enough.”
Spivey continued to keep her depression bottled up for years, but when her mother died in 2015, she came to her breaking point.
“I was hallucinating,” Spivey described. “I mean when you see your mother, who you know is gone because you’re looking at her ashes, peeking around the corner, telling you she loves you and misses you and that your son’s okay, there’s something wrong.”
Spivey knew she needed help and reached out to Burke, where she spent four days at their emergency crisis center.
“Just talking to the other clients when I was in there and realizing, ‘Oh wow, okay, you’re going through detox or depression or whatever,’ it really made my situation seem no so big.”
Through Burke and an Anencephaly support group, Spivey is in a much better place. She is now employed as a technician at the emergency crisis center at Burke, helping others deal with their demons, knowing exactly what they’re going through.
“People who were depressed like I was, just really need an ear, listening, knowing that somebody cares,” Spivey explained.
Spivey plans on becoming an art therapist, to teach others how to channel their depression into creating something beautiful.
She hopes her experience can help others get help.
“Don’t bottle it up, we can help you,” Spivey said. “Burke is here to help.”
For information on Burke’s health services, you can call 936-634-5010 or 1800-242-4556. If you know anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the emergency helpline at 1-866-392-8343 immediately.