This is the 71st story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Laura struggled her whole life, and one day after seeing things through a different perspective became a fighter. This is her story:
Laura, grew up in a tiny rural town in New Brunswick, Canada. The things she loves in life are art and philosophy. Laura is health conscious, she said, “I eat a gluten free and vegetarian diet, and I am very passionate about eating clean and caring for your body. You would be surprised to know how bad food can affect your mind and mentality!” Laura also said, “After taking on a Buddhist perspective toward many things, “striving” or “goals” are words we are meant to remove from our vocabulary.” But 5 years from now she hopes to be manifesting a successful career in tattooing. She will continue her personal growth, to grow to embody love and compassion.
When Laura was younger, her unrelenting anger led her to believe that she was Bipolar Type II. A professional agreed with her, but at that point she was influenced by her own research and perception of herself. She said, “I was desperate to put a name on it, so that I could stop feeling like I was a wild, bad thing. If a doctor tells you you’re sick, then it isn’t any longer “wrong” to feel the weight of any mental illness.” When she was a little older, Laura had a breakdown that led to the emergency room, another doctor introduced her to Borderline Personality Disorder. She said, “I had heard of it once before, another doctor had mentioned it, but I had been too convinced that I knew best, but when I read the information he gave me, it felt like someone had put all of the symptoms and reactions I couldn’t explain to others into words, in a checklist in my hands.” She also said, “Borderline Personality Disorder means the people who have it react to negative stimulus with the part of their brain that uses impulse instead of logic.”
When she was younger the first symptoms she experienced was unreasonable irritation, self-loathing, overwhelming guilt, invalidation, dissociation, impulsivity, and months upon months of depression. As she got older, her impulsivity and dissociation led to making disastrous decisions. Laura said, “I didn’t feel like I was the one doing all the crazy messed up things that kept landing me in trouble, and once I’d realized what I’d done, I would be so overcome with guilt and shame and bad thoughts about myself, I would have to dissociate to cope with how much I hated myself.” She didn’t want to be herself, and this would circle right back to impulsivity. It was a vicious and exhausting cycle for Laura. She injured herself for many years, cutting or burning, hitting herself and when her blood would catch fire she couldn’t control it. She said, “I started hurting myself because I was depressed before anyone ever taught me what depression was, and I think there is just a natural curiosity for the link between physical and emotional pain.”
The way she treated herself affected every relationship she had at that time. Primarily her family, her parents especially, though her sister was always a very stable figure in her life. Like everything else, every relationship Laura affected was because of her own internal pain that made her feel weak, shameful, and undeserving of love. She said, “I hated myself for not being able to “love correctly” and that only amplified the problem.” When she was in her second year of University, she was living in a house with 5 girls who were like a family to Laura and she was in a relationship with a guy that she thought the world of. But as the cycle would have it, her new relationship started turning sour, fights provoked emotions that were always running way too high. She said, “One night a fight led to me impulsively punch a glass window in the home where I lived with my friends. As I was bleeding profusely and could see way too many of my internal structure, it felt as though I could feel everything I’d caused others to feel throughout my life. I believed at the time of the accident that it was going to kill me, and all I could do was apologize for my life.” After this incident Laura found Buddhism, which gave her a new respect on life and death.
Laura’s relationship grew worse until she was completely manipulated by him. She said, “I was so emotionally abused I couldn’t see what was happening. My friends began to resent me for not leaving him, and eventually, I was completely isolated in my home. No one would talk to me, the love of my only friends was gone, and the only person I had to turn to was my abusive boyfriend.” She stopped leaving her room, became paranoid, and was hurting herself again all the time, which her boyfriend only blamed her for. After many passive aggressive incidents Laura ended up at a tattoo shop, which gave her the confidence to finally leave. Laura said, “It only got worse when I did, and he started to threaten my life. I lived with a stranger and had no friends or family near to talk to. Laura was alone, and spent months like that. Eventually, the more time she spent alone, the clearer everything looked. She stopped being angry at the world, and started forgiving everyone that hurt her. She said, “This made me see the importance of forgiving myself. Once I learned how to let myself off the hook, everything else fell in line right behind it. I actually learned how to love myself, everything about myself, for the very first time in my life. I had spent twenty years hating myself, and once all of the noise from other people was gone, I could finally see myself, I knew I would dedicate the rest of my life to being happy and in love with every single day.”
This is Laura’s advice:
“This sounds harsh to say, but the only people who helped me were the people who hurt me. You have to find meaning, lessons in everything, every single little thing that happens to you! Coincidences and mistakes are lies you’ve been told about since you were born! Forget them, because everything is perfect. For me, the only thing I needed was to be by myself. So that I could get to know myself truly, without the influence of anyone else. Me and I are best friends now, and nobody can come between us, and that is a phenomenal feeling! The worst thing I’ve ever been through ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. Keep in mind that things are almost never what they seem.”
Laura is a resilient person and through her experience she was able to make a difference in her own life. Help me make a difference by sharing your story. 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.