Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 73

This is the 73rd story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Anonymous dealt with addiction and mental health problems, but with help from family and friends, she has come a long way. This is her story:

Anonymous is from Nashville, TN and is currently living in Newport Beach, CA. She has multiple interests such as, yoga, music, art, animals, being around friends and family, anything outdoors, watching movies, and learning. She is currently working in a drug and alcohol rehab center. She said, “I plan to go back to school this year and do something in healthcare or social services.” Anonymous was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression, anxiety, eating disorder, and alcoholism/drug addiction. She said, “I think I was born with all of these things, but the alcoholism/drug addiction didn’t present itself until later on in high school. I’ve always had an addictive personality that uses whatever it can to numb or escape whether it be exercise, drugs, sex, shopping, and so forth.”

Anonymous has received therapy and counseling for about seven years and has been on several medications. She said, “I went to treatment for my addiction in November of 2012 and have been sober ever since.” Unfortunately she has dealt with several symptoms throughout her life, such as feeling loss of hope, very low self-esteem, lack of motivation, feelings of panic and discomfort, unable to focus, and disassociation. Anonymous said, “I always felt defeated by all these problems. If it wasn’t depression keeping me from leaving my bed, it was anxiety keeping me from going outside. It seemed like it was always something. I have very little motivation to do anything and when I do have the motivation I can’t seem to stay focused. I feel anxiety in almost everything I do, especially social situations.”

She also experimented in self-harming herself throughout her teenage years. When her alcoholism and drug addiction was at its worst she wanted to die, but feared suicide. She said, “I just hoped maybe I’d eventually overdose and not wake up the next morning.” Her behavior affected her relationships with others, she constantly let her parents down, worried her siblings, and lost friends. Before anonymous went to rehab she always felt so alone. She said, “I was living for drugs and honestly convinced that I was only hurting myself. I wasn’t aware the impact my disease had on anyone else.” She also said, “I felt so indescribably miserable. I felt like I had no control over my life. I didn’t understand that I have a disease; I remember thinking “I’m so weak” every time I would try to regain some semblance of control over my life.”

Her turning point was going to treatment. For anonymous the past three and a half years have been full of ups and downs. She still struggles with mental illness today, but has gained confidence. She said, “I have overcome so many obstacles and I believe that if I keep fighting this will be another thing I will conquer.” She used different strategies to help maintain control, for instance: medication, spirituality, therapy, meditation, writing, reaching out for help and taking suggestions. Anonymous also loves helping others in any way she can. She said, “If anything good can come from all the bad stuff it’s carrying the message to other people in pain that there is a way to get better.”
Through her experience she has learned a great deal:

“I learned to keep taking the next indicated step. When life gets too scary or overwhelming, I do my best to take little steps at a time and remember to be gentle with myself. I don’t want to spend my life at war with myself. Self-pity has gotten me nowhere. I’ve learned to enjoy life in its purest form, rather than drowning my feelings and numbing my mind. I’ve learned to enjoy the little things much more and accept life on life’s terms.”

In order to prevent slipping back into her old behavior, she plans to keep herself honest and open to wherever her recovery takes her—even if it’s challenging or uncomfortable. She also plans to put her recovery and spirituality first. She said, “I am determined to constantly better myself and become a dignified recovered woman.”

This is her advice for people struggling through similar situations:

“I would suggest, first of all, to be honest with yourself. If you think you may have any kind of problem with depression, alcoholism, etc. seek help right away. There’s never any harm in trying different things that could potentially change your life for the better. Recovery is so worth it. Another thing I would suggest is to take suggestions from others. It’s uncomfortable and humbling, but it has saved me time and time again. Also, learn to separate yourself from your mental illness. If you struggle with the constant battle inside your head it doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less worthy of a beautiful life. Doing bad things or being mentally sick doesn’t make you a bad person.”

I am glad she is sober and is planning on help others in the future. 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.

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