Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 84

Martha is currently living in Ciudad de México (Mexico City). She considers herself as reading addict (science fiction, real science) and loves to write fanfiction. Martha is fond of progressive rock mainly and OST classics. Even though she doesn’t have a favorite plate, she loves to cook. Martha is trekkie, enjoys mystery movies, and laughs at horror movies. Martha tries not to think about future goals, she said:

 “Let me explain; the last time I thought in that way, was before the big earthquake in September 19, 1985. I’m a survivor. In one minute, I lost dreams, house, plans, everything. I learned then that there’s Doesn’t exist a good plan, a goal or a ‘future vision’ and the best you can do, is prepare for life, just like you prepare for a mountain expedition; with the best of your resources and in all your capacities. But conditions in an expedition could change, from better to worst…to better again.”

Martha was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with bipolar type I and anxiety. She also received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  She doesn’t know what caused her mental illnesses, but her doctor suspect it could have been caused by a medical reason. Martha said, “I was supposed to be born on a Wednesday, but wasn’t till Saturday, my mom suffered from previous placenta and a very serious hemorrhage. It is assumed that I had fetal distress and lack of oxygen. Doctors said I should have cerebral palsy or more lesions.”

Sadly, Martha had to battle serious bipolar symptoms. During the lower cycle of her bipolar disorder, she had four suicidal attempts and in the high cycle, she changed her kitchen completely. She said, “Yes, the entire kitchen, as in take out from the walls the shelves, racks, doors, fridge and stove and oven, disarmed it all and put it every piece, in perfect order.” This has affected her life, but her family loves her so much that they don’t give up. Martha said, “They don’t deserve to suffer my illness, but most of the times, all we can do is laugh after one of my locuras (crazy moments).”

Unfortunately this is what Marth thinks about every day:

“I think that suicide is the best of solutions for them. Every day, I cope with the thought that my daughter, her dad, and even my kittens, need someone better.”

Her most serious suicide attempts was when she took 95 pills of fenobarbital and a half liter of whisky. Martha was in a coma for 72 hours. She said, “In México, to attempt suicide is a crime (attempted first-degree murder), so if you ‘fail’, you go to jail. Unless someone takes care of you. In my case, my dad and one of my bros signed, a document for me to receive psychiatric treatment.” She was interned for 3 months in a clinic.

This has affected her relationship with others. Many people fear Martha, making it difficult for her to have a decent job. She is a chef, a writer and a motorcycle mechanic, but she has to lie, about her mental illness. She said, “I lost my last work for this cause. So, I work by myself in a bakery and catering.” She sells her cooked goods in the street. She also has few friends because she hates pity from others. She said, “As a BP, I lost my right to be angry, for real reasons.” And because of this she feels sad mostly. Martha also said, “Therapy taught me to get out of my mental closets. Let me explain; I’m lesbian, mother, writer, and an activist. My family, employers and friends know this. And even though it’s ‘Martha against the world’. I have a very lovely family, and a few, but very real friends.”

Her turning point was when she was interned in the psychiatric clinic after failing to commit suicide. Martha could not see her daughter, so she felt guilt. Not only that, but her family would call her everyday, so she did not want to disappoint them. She said, “I cooperated with doctors and took medication. Also, I prepared my healing in the same way as a mountain expedition; I ran at the hospital garden to exercise. Meditated and wrote a lot.” Her doctor, brother, daughter, best friends, ex-husband, and parents helped Martha along the way. The lesson she learned from this ordeal is ‘Vivir, mata’ (to live, kills). This means to live in all possible ways before you die, but her only regret is that she feels like her daughter deserves a better mother.

Even Martha’s outlook in life changed. She said, “I laugh so much more.” She also said, “But EVERYONE who have told me ‘I love you’, had broken me into pieces. For example, my two sisters don’t speak to me. They both fear me a lot. Ironically, my first sister, pay all the initial medical care that I had. But she tries not to speak to me. Not even in Christmas.” Even though Martha feels like suicide is a solution, she tries not to allow her mental disorder burden her.

This is her advice those battling mental illness:

“Seek help and professional advisement. RIGHT NOW. Your psych doesn’t help you? Change them. Your meds cannot help you? Try others. DON’T STOP EVER. Many people depend on you. If someone doesn’t love you or understand you, LEAVE THEM BEHIND. It sounds rude, but is for the best. My bro and I have an anecdote that we both learned very young:

Once upon a time, a pair of climbers, in Aconcagua, lost their expedition. One of them was very sick, with mal de montaña and the other one was forced to abandon him. The abandoned one, conserved the backpack with the food. The first one run to base camp, without backpack, believing that all cargo leaving behind, he will move faster. But a blizzard started to fall. And in the midtime, the abandoned one crawls as he could to the base camp. They met halfway to camp base and thanks to the food, both save their lives. The moral of a fable? Sometimes, something that you have to abandon, can save your 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.

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