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I’d like to share with you guys my experiences with anxiety. I’ve had this condition since I was a little girl. I can’t really remember a time when I did not struggle with panic attacks and uncomfortable feelings. When I was younger, I had no appreciation for my condition whatsoever. I hated every second of it. I felt constrained and was being held back from things that I wanted to do but couldn’t bring myself to do them due to these attacks. I was in constant fear of when and where my next panic attack would strike. It was debilitating to me in every way possible. I questioned God almost every day, why why WHY me?? Why is this happening? Why can’t I be normal? Why do I feel like this? Am I dying? Am I an alien? WTF IS GOING ON?! I had no answers, which was extremely frustrating to me. Doctors gave me reasons, therapists gave me ways to cope, prescription pills gave me some relief, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted a definite answer as to why I had to deal with this and when it would go away.
I was diagnosed with schitzophrenia at 18. It later morphed into schitzoaffective or bipolar. I’m still not sure which one. I am now 56. I take the best drug I’ve ever been on. I feel like a normal person. I have been married 24 yrs and have 2 children in college. I am one of the lucky ones. My parents never gave up on me and neither did my husband. Now that my children are grown I wonder what is my purpose in life. I don’t earn a paycheck but I feel I have a lot to offer. I have been institutionalized 5 times. Once in a state institution because my parents could not afford my care. I have been going to group support meetings at my local NAMI but would somehow like to be an advocate to say that I have been there, I understand…and never give up hope because you never know what is in store for you.
I’m so inspired and delighted about the increasing awareness and advocacy for mental health. I just read the NAMI Advocate and that’s how I heard about this site. This is great. I have my own story and am happy to say that my darkest hours are behind me….back in 08 that is. I do wish resources…
Today I have decided to share my story with you all. I began suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts in my mid-teen years. This also included self-harm. I had been in therapy for years and lived with a parent in the mental health field. Nobody knew. I finally spoke up, continued therapy and was put on antidepressants. I am thankful every day that I sought help.
I am now 27 years old and have been off of the medication for many years. Knowing that this is something I will have to deal with my whole life, I still seek counseling in my most trying of times. In my 20s I have experienced a close family member’s mental health issues (drug addiction and depression), the suicide of another close family member, the suicide of an old friend, and the repercussions of all of the above. I refuse to let my own depression define me. I have made a choice to take on a career for myself in the mental health profession. I hope that I can help save and/or change lives…even if it is just one.
My hopes for those who need help…seek help. It is not an easy conversation by any means, but there are resources out there. Use them. Your loved ones would much rather you come to them for help than to attend your funeral. Every life matters, yours and mine.
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