I took some time when working on some updates with my Facebook account a couple of weeks ago. My desire is to embrace my warts, scars and struggles. We all have them. Those opportunities have put me on a better path going forward for my life. Sometimes if you touch something hot and get burned you learn not to touch, right? Some paths turn out to be a one way road and you are going the wrong direction. And some chapters are experiences were you really learn and grow as a person in spite of the emotional response to the outcome you experience.
A new chapter in my life. I am about 3.5-4 years of being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. That is good and bad. It is a struggle. But I am a fighter so I battle and most of the time win.
I use my experiences to talk openly about mental health and illness advocacy. I am a suicide survivor.
I have been married and divorced 3 times. I wish I had been in recovery sooner but here I am. I, unfortunately, made a habit of setting fire to relationships as my own defense mechanism which many times were catastrophizing and paranoia.
I am a former competitive powerlifter where I think my mind was really breaking before my body. I have many injuries but still love “the Iron” as Rollins will support.
I am a Christian where my faith is based on the Bible. I also read the Stoics which helps make some sense for my own struggles too.
I am doing my best to learn more about myself, grow, and serve others.
“Frog In A Blender”
“Mental illness. What comes to your mind, pardon the pun, when you read the words mental illness? I know some people just rush to the quick verbiage of a “crazy person.” And I’m okay with using those descriptors because this particular writing isn’t about what’s accurate or appropriate and description is much as the trueness of your thoughts. I also not naive and I realized several years ago that the mentally ill will continue to be a marginalized group that is misunderstood by the general populace and greatly ignored. The mentally ill tend to be part of the dredges of society. A unique cast system of broken individuals not seen valuable.
After I was diagnosed my heart broke in several pieces. You knew something was wrong with yourself You felt these different thoughts, urges, sensations, and sometimes confusion, and yet as if a paralytic trying to will their legs to move, you yourself or unable to act or think in a normal way.
You know it’s funny as I reflect on a lot of the different relationships throughout my life of coworkers, colleagues, clients, business associates, friends, & lovers. All the while I never felt okay. I felt like I was doing my best to keep a deep dark secret. Who I am must not be found out.
It’s funny, living years with the mind of someone with borderline personality disorder, you think I wouldn’t be nearly so ignorant to what people would think in regards to my behaviors. And yet I felt like I was able to sort of fool people. That I too could be normal. I wasn’t fooling anyone. As the cliche goes I was only fooling myself.
One thing for sure, an individual that struggles with something like borderline personality disorder has his work cut out for himself BUT so do the loved ones who also experience that diagnosis as witnesses. In some ways, it feels like collateral damage and your personal shame grows exponentially because in the normal stable moments of your thought process you’d never want anyone to be harmed with what you struggle with. But that’s not how it works.
So, of course, a lot of people would think with my own life I would use my diagnosis as an enabling tool. That I too am just a victim of something outside of my control. My divorces, broken relationships, personal debts, suicide attempts are things that happened to me.
Man! I would love that excuse! I’d take it and run with it if that was possible. However, my actions are still on me. Even the unknowns in my life are my responsibility to uncover and understand.”
(Excerpt from book)
I am not some hero for a fallen and forgotten people but I am here. I really feel like I am awake after 25+ years. I am excited to face life head on. AND IT BETTER BE READY BECAUSE I AM!
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
If you have an emergency, please call 911.
If you or someone you love is in need of suicide prevention support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org or you can also text TALK to 741741.
For local support, please call the UNI Crisis Line at 801-587-3000. Find additional resources at https://liveonutah.org/.
1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
In hindsight, I can now see the signs of generalized anxiety very clearly before my first full blown panic attack. I was 21 and seizing every opportunity that came my way: college, new friends, traveling. I loved it all.
In 2010, I spent my Spring Break in Cancun with friends when halfway through our trip, I was pushed off a rocky pier by a wave. Now I’ve always been a worrier, but seeing my life flash before my eyes as I tried to swim to shore must have triggered something. I was in a foreign country. My foot swelled up. I didn’t know how to get help. I thought I’d wait until I got home to go to an American doctor but our flight got cancelled and we got stuck in a remote part of Mexico where few people spoke English. Eventually we got back to school safely but after that I became extremely anxious around traveling.
The next year during Spring Break I traveled to a little island in the Caribbean with my family. I was shaking on the little boat that took us from island to island, convinced it was going to sink and we were going to drown. With this sense of impending doom, I shook and didn’t sleep well and ate little on that trip. I was so relieved when it was finally time to fly home. About an hour into my drive back to school, as my radio died and clouds began to roll in across the horizon, my heart started beating very quickly and my throat went dry, I started gasping for air, afraid my throat was closing and sped to the nearest exit.
Over the next several months I dealt with extremely uncomfortable and terrifying sensations when traveling by car. I had no clue what was going on and I had no idea what to tell people. Even the thought of getting into the car began to cause me excessive worry and physical sensations. As they got worse, I began to think I had a serious illness—maybe throat cancer—and started visiting my doctor, who told me it was just stress. I was given some medication—which I was terrified to use—and that was about it. I thought I was going crazy, I thought I was dying and had no one I could talk to that understood. It got so bad that at one point I started a new job and had difficulty driving to work. I couldn’t get there without having a panic attack. I stopped eating and sleeping. I began to feel hopeless and depressed.
I went to doctor after doctor who began to use the words “anxiety” and “panic disorder.” We discussed anti-anxiety medications and I sought help from many psychologists as well as psychiatrists. I went through many doctors and medications before I found what works for me. I also began educating myself on these disorders, on what goes on in the brain during these times of misinterpreted fear. I determined my triggers. I began to meet other people like me. I found an amazing program that gave me a support group as well as techniques to work with my disorder, rather than against it. I still experience anxiety and panic attacks but now they are less frequent and less debilitating. I’ve gotten married, moved out, bought my first home, adopted two dogs, started a new job and traveled across the country- all with this anxiety disorder by my side. And of course, my husband, who has been supportive of me from the very start of all this. I literally met him while this disorder was manifesting and while, like me, he didn’t initially understand it, he never wavered in his support.
I found NAMI through my company who is strongly focused on the mental health of their employees and I am so thankful to have come across it! Mental illness is a serious epidemic in our country and our policy leaders need to address it as such. I had difficulty finding treatment because it was not something my parents were willing to discuss with me. Even if they were, they still have no clue what it means to have a panic disorder. My primary doctor shrugged me off and I felt ashamed and embarrassed, as if I’d done something wrong. Once I was able to accept my illness and move forward with treatment, it became very difficult to afford. I pay $65 for each one hour session with my psychologist and $65 with the psychiatrist just to check in. If I had no insurance, that cost would jump to $150 per each session. That’s a lot of money for a broke college student!
Now that I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on my own disorder, I see how far our society has to go in addressing this issue. We need funding to conduct more extensive research on neurological disorders, more affordable care, less discrimination and more awareness
I’m persevering because I recognize that I am just as entitled to receiving help as anyone with a physical illness. I have a right to live a happy and healthy life and I’ve taken it into my own hands to see that I get there. There are so many people struggling to live with mental illness that are not as self-aware or educated as me and I want to work to change that. Improving your mental health is a unique journey for each of us and treatment should be treated as such.
If we come together we can make this happen. I truly believe that.
Depression can be more than just feeling down. It can alter the way you exist with a false reality.
Project Semicolon is a faith-based movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire. Stay Strong; Love Endlessly; Change Lives