Blaire is from Kentucky and she enjoys learning Spanish, ASL, watching One Tree Hill, and riding horses. Her goal is to become a Mounted Police Officer. Blaire still battles with mental illness, she said, “I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am currently still dealing with it from day-to- day.” She believes her disorder was caused by different situations. Blaire said, “Aside from anxiety running in my family, a large fistfight broke out in front of me pulling me into the situation. This was all while I was at a school function. This event threw me into a whirlwind of problems.” She was diagnosed by a mental health professional and was put on medication, and therapy. At first the medication dosage didn’t work, and therapy was too stressful for Blaire.
She felt stressed out in public. She said, “I constantly have an uneasy feeling when going in public or to large events with a lot of people where another fight could break out at any second. At night, I lost many hours of sleep worrying about the next day and what was going to come with it.” This ended up affecting her daily life, because Blaire would feel sick, and her stomach would get irritated. Not only that, but she could not sleep in someone was in her room. She felt having to take her medication was a big responsibility and was unable to return to her school for the rest of the year.
Thankfully Blaire didn’t attempt suicide, but did fear the side effects, her medication might have given her. Her PTSD affects how she perceives others, for instance she said, “Because of the yelling during the fight, now when I hear loud voices I begin to go into panic mode. Slight changes in tone of voice can make me think someone is angry with me and send me into a full-blown panic attack.” Her parents both dealt with the situation differently, she said, “My mother and I had trouble together. She would try to force me to get over things faster and my dad would take the time to try and understand my thoughts without any pressure.” Blaire felt trapped, angry, sad and desperate because she had difficulties expressing her thoughts. She said, “It made me feel like I was an alien who nobody could understand.”
What helped Blaire to gain control over her life, is her service dog Jazz. She said, “She has gotten me out of the house, back into the car, in school, and into more public places.” The strategies she uses in her journey through recovery is to distract herself when she is anxious and her dog helps by altering Blaire when she is about to have a panic attack. She also has conversations about different things other than her reality to distract herself.
Blaire is trying to figure out what lesson she has learned from this ordeal and this is her advice for others struggling through similar situations:
“It isn’t the end of the world and you aren’t alone!”
Blaire is a strong young lady, who still has a lot to learn about her mental illness. But thankfully she has come a long way from where she used 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.