Diana is from Colombia and she enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening music. Diana said, ‘I love cooking and baking. I recently discovered that passion of mine and hopefully I’ll be able to pursue higher education on that matter.” In five years, she hopes to be living by herself, successful and happy. Diana would also like the to be graduating or finishing studies in gastronomy. She was diagnosed with and still is battling depression, anxiety, PTSD. She believes her disorders were caused by various situations. Diana said, “My diseases were initially triggered by the need to be perfect or at least appease my mom and her image of who I should be. I guess I wanted to be the intelligent, talented, and kind daughter she wanted, but her expectation was too high and I could never get there as much as I tried. I just didn’t want to disappoint her.”

Not only that, but her family has economic issues and her parents had an unhealthy relationship with each other. Diana said, “Instead of divorcing they just made my brother and I suffer with their fighting until my dad would leave and then come back a few days later.” Sadly, her brother blamed her for not accepting and loving their father. Diana also said, “Basically, my parents unconsciously put my brother and I against each other by comparing us, and what not, so that affected me a lot.”  She is also and ambivert, but inclines more towards introversion. Due to this, it is difficult to make friends. Diana said, “My thoughts, actions and ideas were always different from my fellow classmates and they rejected me often.” Because of these problems, Diana developed self-esteem issues falling into an eating disorder. Her health became affected, suffering from migraines, and low brain oxygen.

Diana ended up receiving therapy once a week for a couple of months and was prescribed medication, but it just made her drowsy, so she stopped taking it. Eventually, she could not go to therapy because it could not be afforded. Diana used free online certified services and hotlines when she was feeling particularly blue. She also battled terrible symptoms, she said:

“Insomnia, eating disorders, cutting, I was suicidal, social withdrawal, fatigue, loss of interest, turned into a disorganized person, I took refuge in dark rooms, rejected any help, had nightmares, stopped going out, kept to myself, body pain (real and imagined), breathing difficulties, forgot everything and anything, loneliness, hopelessness, constant crying, I developed obsessive compulsive behavior too, I was defensive all the time, weight issues, I was easily irritable, and worthlessness.”

Diana stopped engaging in social outings due to being insecure and she cannot take the bus or walk down the street when she is having a bad day because she imagines her aggressor everywhere. She said, “My relationship with friends and family was a disaster, so I had to get new friends and fix family issues.” Diana also said, “I have trouble believing in what I am capable of and often sell myself out short or disaster like. I ended up being insecure and self-conscious.” In the past, she considered and attempted suicide a couple of times. She has also self-harmed, Diana said, “I did cut, and when that became noticeable I started damaging the surrounding area of my nails and made it constantly bleed, would purposely get bruises or swollen parts of my body that seemed because of falling or accidents, would burn myself with the straightener or curler, and would make myself sick.”

Diana didn’t have a turning point, she slowly got better. She said, “I didn’t feel determined to get rid of it; I just slowly realized little things. I still have breakdowns. Just yesterday I had one and up till now I have been experiencing a major low, but I guess it did get better.” She now tries to go out and maintain control. Diana said, “I guess it’s just a matter of knowing yourself and recognizing you’re just not okay. I may not tell my friends or family, but I go online and seek help from people who work for that and help me get better by just listening to my rants and then suggesting books or movies or sites for me to feel better. I may never get over it, but I learned how to live with it and accept it. Not being a conformist with it.” She also listens to songs that make her feel better and focuses one day at a time. Diana also had help from others she said, “I had help from certain people, whether they’re still here or not is not important because they were there when I needed it and that’s enough and I will forever be grateful. Some would let me call them and cry until I fell asleep, some would be silly and make me laugh, others would b*tch with me, it all depended on my moods and reactions. They were just there for me however it was and didn’t judge or ask unnecessary questions.”

Diana outlook in life has changed she said:

“I’m still lonely, I’m still depressed, I am still anxious and I still imagine my abuser is everywhere, but I can hold my head high now. I am not living in shame now. I can actually live free because I embrace my illnesses and know how to make them work for my advantage or just how to control it. I still have trouble with my future, but I know if I’ve made it this far I’ll make it further.”

This is her suggestion for those struggling with mental illnesses:

“Breathing techniques helps. Battling negative thoughts with positive ones works. As fot PTSD having someone who you feel safe with is good. Whenever I feel cornered I call my someone, meet them, Skype them or just make sure I get in contact with them so that I won’t feel so helpless and alone. Listening to instrumentals, classical music or instrument music is good for nightmares and insomnia too. During daytime blast the damn volume up and jump or dance around until you have no energy anymore. One of my long-term solutions is keeping a diary. Not a “dear diary” more like a record kind of diary. I usually take notes on my emotional and physical development. I have medical forms and even can make a video or a longer explanation for you or we could even Skype talk about it if you want me to. It’s actually a very good method to track your mental health and it also helps keep track of triggers and eventually you learn to avoid bad situations and it’s an easier, happier life. It also helps me keep track on school, life and finances.you can use it to have a peaceful state of mind.”

If you or anyone you know needs a safe place to vent out and recieve advice feel free to become a member of the Mental Illness Recovery Series Group on Facebook.

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