I never know how to start these things. Whenever I am asked to share my story or if someone asks, ‘What is your core story?’ I never know what to say. Maybe I just never know where to start. I never know how long these things are supposed to be. Do I start at my childhood or the part when I hit my breaking point?
I guess I’ll start here. It’s been exactly one month and one week since I have been released from the Behavioral Health Center at Flagstaff Medical. One month and one week of being sober. One month and one week of trying to actually be happy with who I am.
In the hospital, I had to come to terms with my mental health. I had to share my story.
A lot of you are probably wondering how I ended up there. The perfect kid. The girl who excelled at everything, school, sports, living on her own. From the outside, I seemed like I had everything together, my whole life planned out at the solid age of 21. But what people didn’t know was that I hated myself, I thought about ending my life all the time. I remember from as early as I could remember I would cry every night in the shower because I hated how I looked and what I had to live through every day. Frankly, I didn’t know how much more I could take.
My father was a rager. He was controlling and abusive. He would yell and scream in my face for hours for the smallest things. I remember every basketball game if I even missed a shot or if I even made one turnover, it was just going to be him yelling and screaming in my face the entire ride home, with him saying things like he was embarrassed to even be my father. He would body shame me constantly, always asking why I couldn’t be more like my sister or why couldn’t I look like her. My entire life I walked in fear, afraid when the next time my father was going to ignite.
Now we can talk about my long list of ex’s. My high school sweetheart was the guy everyone looked up to. The guy everyone wanted to be or be with. Well, I got lucky and ended up with him. Only to find out that he was controlling, lazy, and insecure. And well, that how most of the rest of my exes were, just complete a**hats, as my therapist likes to call it.
I bounced from relationship to relationship trying to find someone to fix me, trying to find someone who could love me so maybe I loved myself. I thought I found it. For the first time in my life, I fell in love. He was everything I thought I needed and wanted. And he told me he loved me. But these new feelings made me crazy. He was all I thought about and I couldn’t live without him. Panic set in, my mind wouldn’t stop which led to me worry I was going to lose him. I turned to drugs. The only thing that helped slow my mind down. The only thing that would help me sleep if he wasn’t with me.
But the fun didn’t last long. I took too much and I sat there, while everyone else was watching the movie, in a complete PTSD flashback. I saw it all. The abuse, the rape, it was all I could see. From that day forward I became extremely depressed. I was able to forget about those past events for a while, almost as if it didn’t happen. But on that trip, I relived it all. I thought about it every night and I relived it every night. I turned to drugs again just so I didn’t feel so unhappy.
Then I had to go back to college. I was no longer able to see the man that changed my world every day. And fear set in, because just like everyone else no one stays for too long. But this time I wanted him to stay. I wanted him to stay forever. The thought of him forgetting about me, the thought of him realizing maybe he isn’t really in love with me circled in my head for weeks. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take reliving my trauma and I couldn’t take the pressure of someone loving me. I remember sitting down in my bathroom crying, knowing that I have lost control. I lost control of using drugs, I lost control of my thoughts. I just wanted to get out of my head.
I am forever grateful that my friend was with me that morning. She took me to the hospital and I was checked in to the Behavioral Health Center. For the first time, I had to share everything. I had to open up to finally see what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety, along with bipolar disorder, and PTSD. I went to everything. I went to all the group therapies, I talked to all the doctors. I thought I was gonna walk out of there having everything. But again my world was shattered when I called him and he told me that I needed to do this journey to recovery alone. I cried a lot. The man who said he loved me, that he wanted me to stay, that he wanted to help me weeks before, is now telling me he can’t deal with me anymore.
But maybe he was right. I needed this on my own. Maybe I needed to get my heart broken so I could pick up the pieces myself. Find out how strong I really am. I did. I found my new strengths. I found my voice, which no one will ever silence again. I found that I have the ability to help others going through the same thing. I found a stronger bond with my family. I found out who my real friends are, the ones that I will have forever and grow old with. I’m not saying I’m 100% happy. But I’m working towards getting there. Recovery is not just one free ride and is not straight up. It’s a rollercoaster. Some days are good and I feel like I have everything figured out. Then the next I’m back at feeling like the world is out to get me and maybe next I’ll get over my past.
But I do know this. I know that I am the only person that can fix me. Loving myself and being kind to my body is truly the only way to accept who I am. I do know I am meant to do something in this world. I know I have the power to help people. I know I can be the voice for those who have not found theirs yet. We all deserve happiness and love. No one ever deserves to feel alone and that darkness shadows over them all the time. Life is hard, we all have different experiences and we all have a different story. So I express to you. Treat people with kindness.