Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 36

This is story number 36 of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Anonymous became paranoid shutting everyone out of her life, but after asking for help she was able to control her mental illness. This is story:

Anonymous is from Kentucky, USA and she enjoys James Patterson books and all kinds of music except for country. She also loves writing, poetry and stories. Her goal is to attend college during spring. She said, “I’m still not sure what I’m going to major in, but I just want to get my basics over with first. I still have time to decide what I’m going to do with my life, so I’m trying not to rush it and feel pressured about it.” Anonymous hopes to be far away from where she is now and have a successful career.

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In 2011 she was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with Schizoaffective Disorder, which is schizophrenia with bipolar disorder. Her mental illness is due to genetics, she said, “My mother and her mother have bipolar disorder; my dad and his mom have depression and anxiety; and my father’s dad had schizophrenia.” Anonymous also believes that an abusive childhood may have also contributed to her mental disorders. She currently receives therapy once a week and is on medication.

She has dealt with terrible symptoms. Anonymous said, “[depression] It was a wave that crashed over me and kept me under.” She had mood swings most of the time. During manic episodes her thoughts would race so fast making it difficult for her to hang on single thought and her words would come out too fast be understood. Anonymous began seeing shadows that weren’t there. Then she would hear the shadows whisper her name, making her extremely paranoid that the shadows were out to hurt her. She said, “I was afraid of any shadow I saw after that, real or not. And I started hearing the whispers of my name more often, whether I was with a group of people or no one. They had me convinced that everyone was out to hurt me, so I shut myself away from my friends and family.”

This affected her daily life, anonymous lost interest in everything she enjoyed doing. She said, “I didn’t like to read anymore since it was too quiet. Any time I was alone, I’d get my phone and headphones and blare music as loud as it could go to shut the voices up. It was very hard to concentrate in school and at home. My parents were worried after noticing my depression, but I guess at first they just thought it was a phase.” Sadly, before anonymous told anyone about her disorder, she would constantly cut herself. Believing everyone hated her and was out to get her, she attempted suicide once, but thankfully failed in the attempt. She said, “The way my sisters cried and begged me to live when they found out I had tried to kill myself, I don’t care how much pain I’m going through, I’m never going to attempt suicide again. I can’t stand the thought of one of my sisters finding my dead body.” This affected her family, after finding out, the made an appointment for anonymous to see a therapist, but she only went once. No one brought up the subject again because they wanted to forget.

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This made her feel happy and sad, she said, “I was happy they were leaving me alone, but I was sad because deep down I did want help. I just wasn’t ready to admit it to myself at first. I felt trapped, desperate, paranoid, and lonely. I kept pushing people away because that’s what I thought would be easier for everyone.” The turning point for anonymous was when she finally told her parents what was going on in her head. It took time, lots of therapy and medication, but anonymous was able to improve her mental health. She said, “But I would have times where I thought I was better, stopped taking my meds, and had to repeat the cycle. I had to go to a crisis center once before high school. After starting high school, everything I had worked for crashed. The huge amount of people at school caused me to have panic attacks, the classes/teachers stressed me out so much, I ended up having to go back to the crisis center two months into my freshman year, and then they sent me to a psychiatric hospital after the doctor determined that the five days at the crisis center wasn’t enough. After speaking to my therapist and doctor, my parents pulled me out of public school and I was homeschooled for the rest of my high school years. If they hadn’t taken me out of public school when they did, I’m not sure if I’d still be here right now.”

The strategies she used to control her mental disorder was to take her medication and go to therapy. She started to read, write and listen to music again. Her loved ones helped her by giving her space and listening to her when she needed to talk. The lesson she learned from this ordeal is that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This is her advice for others struggling with similar situations:

“To anyone out there going through things like I did, I need to say that you’re not alone. Whether you know it or not, there are people that love you and want you to recover from what you’re going through. It’ll take time, a lot of patience, and some support, but you’ll come out of it a happier, stronger person. You can get through this, I promise.”

It makes me happy to read she was able to learn how to control her disorder. With help from her family she will be able to continue fighting her disorder. Help me make a difference by sharing your story.

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