I lost my mother when I was 8 months pregnant. She was struggling with mental illness her entire life. I fought for her but she lost the battle. Only after her death did I find that I also had the same illness she lived with, bipolar disorder. I took action. I sought help. I didn’t want her death to be meaningless, misunderstood, and I surely didn’t want my son I suffer like I did growing up. I started talk therapy, then saw a psychiatrist, was properly diagnosed and medicated. I was hesitant to try the meds but reminded myself that it was worth a shot, my son was worth it. I’m glad I did because I have been in control of my life again and capable of maintaining things I was once unable to do. There is pride in seeking help. Pride in knowing yourself and knowing how much strength it takes to face your problems head on. You are NOT alone.
As a young woman who has struggled with a mental disorder since a preteen, I have always hoped to see the day when people could openly discuss mental illness free of judgement and stigma. On the surface, I seem to be a “normal, happy” person, who completed school and has a decently successful career. However, I keep my illness hidden to keep from falling behind. So many times I have wanted to discuss with my boss or HR rep how my illness affects my performance and ideal accommodations that would make me a more productive employee. However, I haven’t, for fear of appearing “weak,” “unstable,” or “unable to handle pressure.” NONE of these describe me. If anything, this struggle has proved the opposite. I am STRONG and CAPABLE of handling the pressure of my harshest, meanest critic: myself. I hope that one day, people will not see my illness as something that makes me weak, but something that reflects how strong I truly am to come this far during this lifetime struggle.
After a long abusive relationship God answered my prayer and matched me up with the one I knew I will stay with for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, he has hereditary depression and a dysfunctional family. At first he presented as well-adjusted despite the turmoil of his childhood. Within 6 months the “head problems” starting showing; drinking, drugging, depressed moods; but he also opened up and told me things that happened in his life that were making him feel depressed and ‘self-medicate’ the hurt away. And his only grandmother died; they were very close.
Hello, my name is Hannah Darvas, a 19 year old with a huge passion for life, but also a recovered bulimic. I not only had bulimia for 5 years; I was bulimia. It took away everything, destroyed friendships, ruined all happiness and striped me of the wonderful qualities that made me, me. For so long I’d resigned my life to bulimia. Lost hope and began to believe that bulimia would be my future too. Bulimia was a compulsive liar. My life was all supported by foundations made of lies. They were strong. Complex. To cope with loneliness created by my eating disorder, I would time after time return to my only friend; bulimia. Bulimia didn’t visit alone either, it came hand in hand with depths of depression that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, as well as a devastating self harm addiction.
You find yourself sobbing uncontrollably screaming “I’m not crazy” repeatedly. You don’t understand why you are screaming. You don’t understand why you’re saying those words. You don’t even remember what you’ve been doing for most the day but it doesn’t matter. None of that matters. What matters is that voice inside your head. That is how I spent the last few hours before my hospitalization in my first year of university.
Hi, my name is IZ. Two years ago I was hospitalized for a brief psychotic episode. From then I was diagnosed with Schizophreniform Disorder and now I’m under consideration for Schizophrenia. I let myself be defined by my mental illness for the past two years. It has strained my relationships with friends and family, left me with almost no career prospects and destroyed my old personality.
However, what I still have left is determination. Determination to be successful, to follow my dreams and to prove to the world that people with schizophrenia can live lives worth living. Two years after my first episode, I have grown in ways I would never have imagined. I have questioned my future life decisions after seeing mothers with schizophrenia try to explain to their children their actions. I have met people who may need to live their entire lives in mental hospitals and wondered if that was my future. Through all that, I am still in university and still planning to graduate. I am reaching out to tell people not to give up and that they are not alone. If I am still standing, you can as well.
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