My Story of Mental Illness

“Arise, shine [Yerushalayim], for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you.
Isaiah 60:1 (cJb)

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Click here to hear a brief summary of my story of mental illness.

Journey Through Darkness

I have struggled with mental illness for at least twenty-four years. The first episode of depression that I can trace occurred when I was nine or ten years old. My mother had stopped taking me to school for some unknown reason, and I

Then the truancy officer came to my house about ten days after my mom had stopped taking me to school, I admitted that she wouldn't take me for whatever reason, his partner distracted me while they looked to see if my mom had a record, and off she went to jail. Then came the onslaught of guilt, especially when she got out and told me how filthy and degrading her jail experience was. I'm not really sure when I first developed signs of Ptsd; it was at least twenty-two years ago. When I lived with the foster family, I used to have nightmares and flashbacks and hyperarousal type reactions (startle reactions, trigger avoidance, etc.), especially during my five months of therapy.

During the time that I lived with my father and stepmom, I didn't attend counseling; they didn't think I needed it. My mental illness symptoms came and went, and I'm sure some of that was normal teenage stuff, but it was complicated due to the fact that I wasn't receiving any mental health treatment, and I was still so very isolated. I didn't receive counseling and psychotropic medication until I was nineteen. That's when things came back with a bang! I started self-injuring regularly, and my mood plummeted big time. That was when I ran away from school without telling my parents that I was leaving the state. I just needed a place where I could belong, and I thought that was back with the former foster family. I stopped therapy, of course, and didn't get back into it until after the family had abandoned me and my mental illness signs got even worse.

I was self-injuring at an even more regular rate, dissociating when I did it, so I didn't know how badly I was hurting myself and my depression and Ptsd symptoms were constant. I knew I needed to get back into counseling. I did, and completed a nine-month program. At the end of it, I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to go into the mental health profession just like her. And that's exactly what I set out to do.

During my years of college studying psychology, I learned much about myself and how to help people like me. I studied for four-and-a-half years and had two semesters to go when I sustained the traumatic brain injury. I thought I had a handle on my mental illness, but that turned things around. My episodes of depression and PtSd got worse, and my first psychiatric hospitalization was four years ago. That was the first of eight psychiatric hospitalizations. at the present, I have been out of the psych hospital for seven months, and I have a great psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse and absolutely amazing case manager.


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