Guest blogging today is my dear e-friend–MsEvaHoney. She and I have talked a lot about the importance of mental health, a subject that is very near and dear to our hearts. She’s been gracious enough to open up about her struggles with mental illness. I’m sure you’ll appreciate her story as much as I do…
Disclaimer: I am in no way a writer, sorry in advance for any grammatical and writing errors. I am just sharing my stories.
When I arrived at the psychiatric hospital on 8/12/11, I looked up at the brown building with wide and teary eyes. “How did I let it gets this far?” “It” meaning feeling so bad about myself that I attempted suicide on 3 separate occasions. The last attempt was the last straw. I needed help and finally had the courage ask for it.
I realized early on that I did not feel “normal”. I was molested by a friend’s father in kindergarten through first grade. I had no clue that the actions were wrong at the age of 5-6 but as I got older, it was wound that I acted on in unhealthy ways.
My mom was a stay at home wife and mother to five children and an alcoholic husband. My father was and still is an excellent provider. My siblings and I never went without shelter, food, or clothes. However, we went without emotional love and support. There were many school, Girl Scout and community events that we had one or no parents that came.
We all dealt with our home life differently. I was sad and felt like I was not good enough for my parents to care; I did not know it at the time but the wounds would follow me into adulthood. I had a need to always be accepted and loved and that sometimes led to dangerous situations.
At 19 I was a virgin. “The guy” I was seeing did not want the responsibility of taking my virginity, so I slept with a man I barely knew so I could sleep with “the guy”. In my 19 yr old head, this made sense. I did not realize that it would result in self destructive behaviors later in life. I became hyper sexual and an alcoholic. The results of these behaviors were my being sexually assaulted twice. I never reported either and only told one person at the time. I remained in an on again off again relationship with “the guy” for years. He was never emotionally available. With my need to be accepted, I persisted in a relationship with him. My thought was, “Who else will want an overweight, gapped tooth, short, dark skinned girl?”
I never dealt with any of these issues in healthy ways. I was put on medicine for depression but they did not work well. On July 13, I put a gun in my mouth but was too scared to pull the trigger. I began to take my prescription pills (more on that in a different post) and washing it down with lots of alcohol in hopes to not wake up. The pain had become too much.
My roommate saw the downward spiral and knew I needed help. She was my rock and took me to the hospital. She filled out my paperwork as I cried and shook uncontrollably. When it was time for me to go upstairs, she hugged me tightly and said she would visit every day.
I did my intake downstairs and proceeded to Unit II, the floor for higher functioning patients. Per the paperwork I signed, I had to stay at least 3 days. My shoes, purse and cell phone were taken and they performed a body search to check of scarring or any signs of recent injuries. It was not that bad except when took the underwire out of bra. For some reason it made it all real.
The days were filled with group therapy, social workers, psychiatrists; meds and food. One of the reasons I went was because I needed a correct diagnosis and a correct treatment. I wanted to know what was wrong with me. In the hospital I was diagnosed with major depression disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and dysthymia. I was put on new medication and between that and therapy and a new support group, I felt ready to go home after nine nights. I went to an intensive outpatient therapy group all day for 10 days. I have learned lots of new positive coping skills and how to set boundaries among lots of information to live a healthier life.
I was hesitant to expose myself in any way but I knew I had to. I wanted to let the scores of people who go through these feelings hopelessness to know that there is help. People take on this alone and you just can’t—you have to ask for help. HELP DOES NOT MAKE YOU WEAK!!!! It makes strong and smart. If you feel like you need help you probably do. If you know someone suffering from mental illness, use these resources (here and here, for starters) to get them the help they need and deserve.
At this moment I am 2 weeks out of treatment and though it is a battle, my asking for help saved my life. I just hope my story helps save some one else’s life.
Peace, Love & Mental Health,