Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 77

This is the 77th story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Molly has battled throughout her whole life with bipolar disorder, but with her strong will she has changed for the better. This is her story:

Molly is from Florida and will become an Air Force wife. She is a published author, she said, “My first novel was when I was 16. I’m currently working on my second one.” She also loves watching movies and reading books, anything that has to do with storytelling. Molly said, “My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, my favorite book series is The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward.” She has two cats and is fond of cooking and eating. Molly wants to have a successful and happy future, she would like to publish her second book, get married and start a family. Not only that, but would like to become a high school English teacher.

At first Molly was diagnosed with depression at the age of 11, but after having a manic episode where she stayed awake for 74 hours straight, her diagnose was changed to bi-polar when was around the age 14. She said, “I had more depression months, than manic periods. But more recently, I’ve balanced out, though a new struggle with anxiety has emerged.” Molly was put on medication and would go to therapy, but at first she struggled taking the medicine because she did not want to admit she was sick. And then there were years where she was off medication and didn’t talk to anyone. She said, “But, I’m taking my health more seriously now, and I’ve accepted that I have a chronic illness. I’m currently on a “mood-stabilizer” that also helps me sleep through the night.”

Molly dealt with different symptoms, such as sadness, tiredness, no motivation, no appetite, felt sluggish and was unmotivated. She said, “I didn’t enjoy anything really, just slept a lot. I tried to commit suicide four or five times while I was in High School. On the few, rare, occasions I had a manic period, I was quick to anger, had racing thoughts, couldn’t concentrate, was a little paranoid, and couldn’t sleep, very big appetite, and I really really want to spend money on frivolous things.”  Her anxiety makes her feel overwhelming panic episodes where all she can do is lie on the floor.

Molly’s daily life became a battle, she had to everyday tell herself this, “Okay, Molly, it’s time to get out of bed” and counted how many hours she’s slept to reinforce the idea that she has gotten enough. When something bad happens like she breaks a glass or something simple, she has to take a few breaths and just realize that it’s super fixable and not a big deal. Thankfully her fiancé is helpful and talks her through how they can both fix the problem. Another issue she deals with since the end of elementary school, is that she has to remind herself to eat because she never has an appetite.

Molly has thought about suicide a lot and got extremely close, four or five times in High School. The only self-harming she has done is bite her nails and the skin off her lips. She said, “When I wanted to die it’s because I wanted the darkness and the pain to end. But every time I wanted to do this, I thought of my family and my pets and I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to hurt anyone; I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know what it’s like to be hurt and depressed and abused and forgotten. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I’ve felt.”

Molly’s family understood her, she said, “My mom’s battled depression off and on all her life, her father’s mother was Bi-polar. And I recently found out that my dad’s sister is Bi-polar. So my family understood… that it was sort of my brain attacking itself and it wasn’t really me and I needed help, and wanted help.” The first time Molly tried to kill herself, was in the 9th grade, her mom was going away on a trip and the day before she left, her mother decided to leave her at her father’s house instead of her best friend. For some reason Molly felt that was the last straw and tried to kill herself. She laid a letter out, and her mother found her. Molly said, “All I remember is her getting angry. She still went on her trip, but she did leave me at my friend’s house instead of my dad’s.” She also said, “My mom still went on her trip to see her boyfriend, I felt that much more alone. I remember staying at my friend’s house, lying on her couch, unable to sleep for hours, just wishing she’d come check up on me.” Because of this she felt trapped, even though her depression doesn’t make her feel at all. She said, “I’m so used to the depression that I just sort of go “oh, okay” and go about my day.”

The turning point for Molly to control her mental disorder was when her fiancé was laid off and they were forced to move out of their first apartment together. She said, “I remember feeling unsafe in my own skin. I called my dad while he was at work and asked if he could come over for the weekend. I told him what I was feeling. After he said yes, I called my friend to watch my cats. And then I went into work to tell my boss – I told him the truth, that I was suicidal and needed to be around family.” By doing all of this she felt like I wanted to live and wanted to get better. Molly contacted her doctor, got meds, started eating better, and regulated her sleep. Around the same time she began writing her new book, which has always been a tool for her survival.

Her strategy to continue her recovery is to remind herself of why she wants to live. She said, “Every day I try to give myself a reason of why I have a good and happy life. Sometimes it’s my kitties, sometimes it’s a really good movie. Sometimes it’s because I want to publish another book and I find such accomplishments in writing. Sometimes it’s because I want to have kids. And with taking those few minutes to note even just one good thing, I can get up and keep going.”

Molly also said:

“There is beauty all around us, there are reason to feel happiness everywhere. I smile when I see my ivy plant on my desk, and I love the smell of the incense I burn. It’s hard, it’s really hard to find the light in the dark, but that’s all you need. Just to stare at that light, no matter how small, and know that there’s hope. There’s always hope. There’s always a reason to keep trying. Even if it’s that you want to find the love of your life, or adopt three dogs, or have a rose garden, or eat at the world’s oldest restaurant, or memorize every line of Harry Potter. There’s always a reason to keep going.”

Her family and friends have helped by giving her a safe place. Molly said, “A place to go when I don’t want to be myself. Where for a few hours or a few days I can just sort of be on holiday from life. Where I can eat and sleep and enjoy my time with people I like. They don’t judge, they don’t force me to talk, but they’re there.” Molly learned that her strongest attribute is her will. She said, “I may feel small, I may feel broken, but I’m not. I’m still me, I’m still a person who was gifted life, who has the ability to help others. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I’ve felt.”

Even her outlook in life has also changed. Molly doesn’t know a life without darkness, her parents divorced, had terrible health as a child, been is two abusive relationship, and much more. But through all that darkness, she has decided to focus on the light. She said, “I know that life can be very beautiful and that happiness is all around it. I make a point to surround myself with good things, to make my home a safe and happy place. And I work… I work very hard, every moment that I’m awake, to do something about my state of existence. I fight every single day, every single way, to make sure that I get the happiness I want and need and deserve.”

This is her advice for those suffering with mental illness:

“Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself. But the most important thing is accepting that there’s a problem. It sucks and it hurts and you’re going to be angry… maybe for all your life, but that’s okay. Your health and safety and happiness is what matters. Do everything in your power to make your life exactly want you want it to be, exactly what you need it to be. Don’t be afraid to change everything… keep going, keep fighting, until you find your safe haven.”

Molly would also like to share this:

“I hope that this helps people know that they are not alone. If I could reach out an hug every single person who’s hurting I would. “Be the change you want to see in the world” even if it’s just your own little bubble. Make those changes, fight for your happiness. And above all, be there for those who need you.”

Molly is a fighter, she hasn’t fully recovered, but with her determination for a happy life. She will get to where she wants to be. 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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