- Posted May 11, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Going public with mental illness
The Return of Being Human
They say in life that difficult roads leads to beautiful destinations. And, taking the road less traveled has been all the difference.
I grew up in a home where domestic violence was a common act throughout my childhood. And, the apathetic and volatile upbringing would prove to add to my mental illness. I remember the constant-longing for affection from my parents, but it was rarely shown.
As I grew up in high-school, I excelled at sports and was a good student. I remembered that making the varsity football and basketball teams as a freshman, made me proud of my accomplishments. I began to realize that a "brighter future" laid ahead for me.
But, one day, I was beaten up by some of the varsity players. I felt the betrayal of my brothers that would haunt me for the next 20 years. Yet, I met my former spouse and had three beautiful children with her as I left school to begin working to support my children.
And, the "emotional pain" of my upbringing and betrayal came back to haunt me as I became violent towards my former spouse for a couple of years. Yet, one day, I remember I "snapped-out-of-psychosis" and I have never since touched anyone throughout my life. My divorced happened in 1995. And, for years, the deep guilt and shame riddled me.
But, In 1998, I was first hospitalized at San Antonio State Hospital after the state-regulated psychiatrist witnessed that I was in psychosis at my first appointment of my long-decades of living and dealing with mental illness. I was completely scared at my first hospitalization because of the movies I had seen in the past of mental institutions and patients.
In my first years of hospitalizations and appointments, the suicidal thoughts riddled my whole-mind because of the guilt and shame of my actions, as well as the shame and humiliation of and by the sexual manipulation of my gay uncle while I was married. I never told a soul out of embarrassment of both tragic events, although, throughout my life I have had 14 negative life-changing events.
In the first years of my mental illness histories, I was diagnosed with everything "in the book" from Major Depression to Bi-Polar Disorder to Schizophrenia. I was constantly confused and mortified of what I would find out about myself. And, not having the support of my immediate family and friends left me alone and miserable.
In 1999 on my birthday, I had my first suicide attempt by driving head on into a cement pillar and after that failed, I tried to drive into a ravine, but ended up in a field. I was so filled with rage and disappointment that I walked to my house in an utter disgust. The next day, I was asked to leave my father's house of which began my constant phases of homelessness.
Throughout the next ten years, the dark torrid waters of the ocean violently shook my foundation. I was so alone and dissolute that I tried two more times to end my life. All attempts had failed. I felt that I could even finished the job, what else could I do.
But, in 2009, my last attempt of suicide failed once again as I jumped off a bridge into the water. The jump wasn't going to kill me, but the swim would. And, I almost drowned.
However, a magical thing happened after that. I finally realized that I was in denial of my mental illness. But, I was so deep into my illness that the doctor ordered Electro Convulsive Therapy to break me out of it. I remembered that I woke up in two sessions of it in a pool of feces. I questioned if this was the right course. I thought it was another failed attempt to save me.
But, after that I felt a breath-of-air fill my soul. I started to comply with the doctors orders, and medication management. I eventually started Dialectical Behavior Therapy for nearly two years, complied with my medication, excercised when I could, dieted when my budget allowed it and, volunteered for charities and helping others on the streets. If I was to meet a complete stranger, then they wouldn't notice that I have a mental illness.
I live a normal life now (although mentally ill patients are pretty normal) as I have two websites and novels, and have some friends that accept me for who I am. My father now supports me. I can feel the caring and devotion of them all. And, I'm making the right choices in my career and life.
I look forward to the new horizons that are coming. I appreciate the stars, moon, and sun once again like I used too. Mental illness can deplete the senses during "active illness", as well as "drain the life-out-of-someone". It's an ongoing fight to stay alive.
But, this medical illness is genetic in nature, and it can also be heighten by social, enviromental, and childhood history. We don't get to pick out our parents, but it doesn't mean we have to act like them.
Mental Illness is like the dark and deep waters of an ocean where every creature of the ocean can deter the life out of a reality, and the only life-saving action is, either, throwing of a life-preserver or picking up the sinking patient in a life-boat. It's a desloate place sometimes where no one is in sight.
Yet, suicide attempts and violence in a mental patient are a "rush of impluses" when engaging in destructive behavior. And, recovery can heal it. Change the enviorment and factors of the cards-that-have-been-dealt, and the world for the mental patient can dramatically change and improve the quality of life for them.
Patience, empathy, and sincerity are the "Cardinal Virtues" for the friends and family of mentally ill patients. It's not going to happen overnight.
I still have my bad days and relapse sometimes, but the healing of the emotional scars are almost complete. My overcoming of the obstacle of denial has made all the difference. The road is still hard, but I can dream once again.
And, the beauty of life is that although, I was taken into another reality for nearly two decades, I have returned to the original place where I left off before it all began. I have a second chance to relive all my dreams and hopes.
And of course, fears. As I can cry when it is appropriate once again.