I’m in no way ashamed of having most likely inherited this condition any more than a cancer patient has with their condition. Someday people will see those who struggle against biochemical imbalances that manifest to suicide as a much more severe battle than almost any other illness.
Love has kept me alive, on some level, surviving. The kind words and warm hugs and genuine concern from people that love me has kept me holding on by a string all these years. I can imagine that without multiple interjections at just the right moment, I wouldn’t be here. But unfortunately, love from others hasn’t been a strong enough power to make me want to thrive. It wasn’t until I had tools that I could master and manipulate that I began to want to try a little bit harder to do more than survive. Before, I just stuck around for the people that love me, feeling obligated to stay alive to thank them for their unwavering love. I figured I didn’t want to disappoint them anymore, so I would try each day to continue. But now, I get up for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t love and live for my family and loved ones too. But for once, I live for me as well.
Stigma exists. Two out of three people who are affected by mental illness don’t seek help or treatment. The day I received treatment was the day I took my first step towards recovery. Although some days I tend to take a step back, I know I will wake up the next morning and take two steps forward.
On the bright side, although I continue to cycle through depression, mania and mixed states, for the last year I have been consistenly happier than I can ever remember and am very optimistic about what the future holds. I have rediscovered my spiritual beliefs, made significant positive improvement in family relations which have been horribly, but not irrevocably damaged.
This has been a classic American Tragedy and I hope my experiences educate, and, hopefully, help someone else who is struggling. Even If no one reads this, it has been very helpful to publicly acknowledge my condition and continue to move forward with my life.
On March 1st, our lives irrevocably changed. My work is to ensure that this change will not be in vain.
I support Bring Change 2 Mind, and hope that you will join me. Please share this opportunity with your community, and help to support an extraordinary cause – ending stigma! Treat yourself or someone special as we help raise money and awareness at the same time (10% of proceeds of items purchased from this link now through September 30th will go to Bring Change 2 Mind). Please spread the word.
Mental health disorders are truly hidden diseases at times because those of us with them become experts at placing them under a table where only a few know they exist. My daughter, during that time, was no different. We had known about the bullying taking place at her school, and had been advocates for her, but we had thought it was getting better when she stopped talking about it. We were wrong.
When experiencing suicidal thoughts for the first time I can recall feeling an overwhelming sense of shame, guilt and weakness. I was ashamed of myself for not bearing the strength to end such thoughts, and I felt guilty for the fact that, despite how loved and lucky I was in comparison to many, it clearly still was not enough for me.
There’s always more work to be done, more stories to share and mysteries to solve. I’m not willing to lose this weird, wonderful world to my genetic encoding and environmental influences. One brain in one-hundred works like this. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. To the contrary—wouldn’t those odds be considered unique?
Despite the fact that schizophrenia hides the truth from me just for sport, if my personal experience has taught me anything, it is this: we are all connected. Profoundly connected. We don’t have to live life alone. Ever. Desperation will tell us otherwise, but someone is always there. Volunteers, an EMT, or a trusted friend—someone will listen, someone will come. You are a gift that deserves to be cherished. Your light keeps others safe in the dark. Shine brightly, survivor. Shine brightly.
I can’t even say in public how I really feel at times, because sometimes I’m not ready to put my freedom in jeopardy. Why do people suffer in silence? Because we can’t be honest. And when we can it’s for one hour twice a week at max with a therapist, who we get showered and dressed up for and smile and say I’m fine. We might say we’re depressed, but we know the keywords to avoid the therapist from being legally obligated to institutionalize us.