This is the 58th story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Lyanne’s depression took complete control of her life, making her spiral down the wrong road, but with the help of others who have been through similar situations, she was able to turn her life around. This is her story:
Lyanne is from California, and she loves to dance, play instruments and enjoys drawing. Her goal is to be financially stable and be happy, but she has difficulties seeing her future. Lyanne said, “I don’t really like answering this question, because I never really know what life is going to be from here to then and I don’t like the idea of my life being set in stone.” Lyanne has always been depressed, but it worsened after being raped in college. She just started going to therapy and at the moment its mostly been about creating a safe space, accepting what happened and addressing her feelings. She said, “I haven’t been prescribed any medication yet. I’m also involved with several groups to help reach out to people on substance, depression and sexual abuse.”
Lyanne struggled with different symptoms, she said:
“I felt detachment from the people around me. A severe loss of interest in things that I use to enjoy and a sense of heaviness in even getting up for the day. I often thought about self-harming myself. When I was intimate with someone I would have these flashes of memories in my head and it would take me back to that certain event. It caused me to panic and have this urgency to escape. My chest would tighten and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe.”
As each day passed her life became more affected because she pretended like nothing had happened. Lyanne said, “I went on as if I had imagined that kind of thing could happen to me. But as much I refused to acknowledge what happened to me, I didn’t notice how I had become a victim of my circumstances.” She felt like she was being eaten alive, and was constantly tired. Lyanne hardly ate and slept very little. She kept reinforcing her negative behavior and wanted to end everything because she couldn’t understand what was happening to her.
Lyanne attempted suicide after drinking alcohol the whole day, her emotions took over so, she took a prescription bottle and drank all of the pills inside. Immediately Lyanne regretted her decision, but because she was intoxicated and took sleeping medications, it quickly took over and she fell back on her bed. Thankfully her roommate quickly found her, but Lyanne was foaming from her mouth and was unresponsive, so she called 911. The paramedics gave her charcoal to clean out her system.
Even after what had happened, Lyanne still did not acknowledge it. She kept on with her self-destructive tendencies and fell into toxic relationships, pushing everyone away because she felt that no one understood the severity of her emotions. This made her feel isolated, she said, “I felt like I was crazy because no one could understand what I was feeling. It was a combination of angry, sad, and desperate. I had spiraled downward so badly that life just didn’t seem important. I was desperate to not continue living with that pain I had been suppressing because of my inability to understand how to deal with it. I felt worthless, I felt that being raped dehumanized me, and I felt unworthy of love. That somehow I was tainted to be in a life of misery.”
The turning point for Lyanne was meeting a guy at a party. She thought it would be a meaningless fling, but it turned out to be more. She said, “He helped me acknowledge what I was going through. He understood my pain, but he didn’t attempt to ‘fix’ me nor did he attempt to ‘save’ me. He helped me understand that my emotions were rational and that my way of living wasn’t dealing with the pain, it was masking the pain.” She also said, “He didn’t run away from me. He accepted me in what I was, in who I was and he made me realize that I wasn’t a victim of circumstance. I was a victim of my own mind.” The strategies she used to gain control was to reach out for professional help and support groups that specialize in substance, self-harm and sexual abuse. This gave Lyanne hope because she met people that had gone through the same thing and felt the same way.
The lesson she learned, was that we can’t change what happens to us, but we can change our reaction to it and what we choose to take from it. She said, “I was so focused on the pain and the severity of it led me down a bad path. When I CHOSE to WANT a better life and actually strived to change it is when things turned around.” Lyanne became stronger after this experience. She said, “Being raped changes you. He took a part of me, a part of my life that I can’t alter or take back. And by my suicide he almost took my life. I wanted my life back.”
This is her advice for others struggling:
“Guys, there is NOTHING wrong with you. I know there are a lot of people out there that have this negative stigma of mental illnesses and disorders. There are people that think that you’re crazy, but honestly that doesn’t mean you are. The only person who’s opinions matter is yourself. Self-care is the most important thing out there. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish sometimes. YOU have to be your top priority. Understand everything is a process and the best step is the first step even if you have to ask for help.”
Lyanne had a difficult road ahead to recovery, but she was able to pull through. Although she hasn’t fully recovered, she has been able to get her life back on track. Help me make a difference by sharing your story. If you or anyone you know are struggling with mental Illness feel free to join the Mental Illness Recovery Series Facebook Group, to find support.