I’m not Just Surviving, I’m living with Hope

        Good afternoon readers, I hope this entry finds you fighting to keep going. Because I truly believe with all my heart every precious life has such Value in this world, and I want to offer you as much encouragement as I possibly can, and reassure you that you are never alone in this struggle. Before I go on in my blog discussing the topics that I feel are truly important to get out in the open that helps us live healthy lives and managing our disorder to the best of our ability, before I go on I need to share my story of Hope, from where I was to where that journey has led me.

       Have you ever been in awe of something?  I’m in Awe of what God has brought me through, this journey has had its share of deep valleys and mountain top experiences, but I can say, none of this was in vain. It’s given my painful past a Voice to speak and, confidence to share my story, knowing that it will help someone somewhere.

     I think of life like the oceans waves at times. The Ocean is beautiful, strong and a force to be reckoned with. Life is very much the same way. Like the oceans tides that turn so quickly, when the water is peaceful and tranquil, and then a storm gathers overhead, and those ocean waves are now powerful and strong, and can take you under. Very much in the same way life is like that. You’re going along in life and then it hits the depression, the storm, the tears rain down like the rain that falls upon the earth.  All of a sudden you feel like you’re in the eye of the storm.

    That’s how my life became; it went from a storybook childhood surrounded by loving parents and friends to turbulent teen years, not because I lost that support, but something inside of me changed. Depression reared it ugly head at age 13,I started to self injure, trying to numb the pain on the inside. The bullying in school did not help the situation at all. I was in a downward spiral and I was going down fast. I was desperately trying to grasp onto something to hold myself up. But I was losing the battle so I thought.

      My self esteem plummeted, and I didn’t even love myself anymore. I didn’t feel worthy of anyone’s love. All I wanted was to isolate from the cold world out there. I felt like a failure, to myself and all those whom I loved so dearly. I punished myself with self harm, what started as every now and then became a every day ordeal, it was like I woke one day and I didn’t even know who I was when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the girl staring back at me. Such shame followed me wherever I went. I became really good at playing the card all was ok, hidden under the silent tears I cried and my deep anguish.

      I was crumbling inside the ground beneath me was breaking and I felt like I was going down with it. The dark cloud just got darker; I went through the emotions, with the painted smile on my face. The self hard became more frequent, I wrote my pain on my body, I just couldn’t find the words to express my hopelessness. I felt for a time that the razor was my only friend. I was so afraid of opening up and being rejected or not understood, I just kept it all tucked away deep inside, only for it to turn on me.

   At the age of 16 I was raped by someone I didn’t know, this only made a bad situation worse. I became a shell of the person I once was, well, what was left of me after the depression had a hold of me for so long. It was at the age of 16, I tried to take my life for the first time. This would be the first of many times. I started therapy to help me come to terms with the pain, I started to have sever flashbacks of that horrible day, I loved over time and time again in my thoughts and my  nightmares. It was also during this time I had my first hospitalization in a psych ward. Never in million years did I ever picture myself being in such a place. A place I couldn’t leave, where the doors locked behind me. That was the first one, 8 more would follow.

     At the age of 19 I was finally diagnosed with bipolar. That was also the year that don and I got married, he had been by my side since I was 16, he understood me and loved me no matter what. During that first year of marriage, was when 7 of those hospitalizations would take place. I was so unstable; I was up to taking 24 pills a day for my bipolar. I was so scared that would be my life. There were many times I just didn’t want to live this life of pain anymore, but by Gods grace I survived all those suicide attempts.

    My depression got so severe, my team of doctors finally came to my husband don and said its time we try electric shock therapy, which was a very scary thought, but we were at our wits end and needed to do all we could to fight for my sanity. Would it work? We were running out of options. We went ahead and went through with it. It helped some for awhile almost felt like I never had the trace of bipolar, but it was short lived. But what I could not see was this was the beginning of the end.

   I finally got through that with God’s help and of course my hubbies ongoing support and unconditional love. My therapist helped me start process of college and work, and finally was able to get off most of my medication with my doctor’s approval and learning to find healthy coping skills and dealing with e issues at hand and how to cope with stress. I found a reason, actually many reasons to fight this and to live my life to the fullest.

     I even became director 2 certified in Early Childhood education and was able to work as a teacher for a couple of years, I’ve been stable to over 10 years. I understand, what’s it’s like to live a life trying to hold on. Fighting for a reason, Learning to love yourself. I know what it’s like to not be able to get out of bed, and cry until you feel like there just aren’t any more tears left. But I also know what it feels like to be on the other side. I self injured for over 12 years and I’ve been FREE of that for over a decade.

     I found my purpose, my reasons to live and to fight the good fight. I’ve been dealing with other physical health issues of chronic painful disease, but it just gives me all the more motivation to reach out to others who are hurting, whether it be because of mental illness or because of chronic illness, I understand, and I’m not letting my pain go to waste, I’m using it to reach the hurting hearts out there.

    I didn’t know back in those dark days that I would be where I’m today .I’m living proof that those with mental illness can live healthy lives and be over comers, and rise above. Dreams can come True, and there is always Hope out there, no matter how bleak things appear at times. Over the years I’ve loved writing, I kept a journal for years, to walk me through those painful times and help me come to terms, and now seeing that I’m sharing my story here on this blog is unbelievable. We all can be a voice of Hope. Your story matters, and remember don’t focus on how far you have yet to go, look back and say WOW look at how far I’ve already come, all that I’ve got through. Your story is far from being over.

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