If you want to understand mental illness without living it watch the movie A Beautiful Mind. It portrays the life of a man living with schizophrenia. He learns to live a productive life in spite of his illness. At first, it overtakes him, but then he learns how to cope and begins to truly live. Living with a mental illness is hard, but with the right treatment plan I believe one can live a fulfilling, peaceful, and productive life. I say this because I am a miracle of mental illness. I was diagnosed in 2012 with Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) I was hospitalized after I experienced a psychotic breakdown. When skeptics or people in general hear that word they may automatically be afraid or think a person is “crazy” or violent. That is not true. Sometimes it means that they have suffered in silence trying to bear the weight of the world they were never meant to bear. In my experience, I was withdrawn into feelings of worthlessness and defeat. I also felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was desperate for my family to know that I loved them even though I didn’t realize I couldn’t even love myself at the time. I thought I was supposed to go on a fast like Jesus did for 40 days and that would make me closer to God. My perception of God was grossly distorted. I thought He was sitting in Heaven with a gavel in hand pounding it down at me every time I screwed up. I was full of fear. During this time, I not only neglected to eat but I thought I didn’t need to drink much either. I was dwindling away and became very thin. I vaguely remember my husband (my angel/best friend/ love of my life trying to make me drink juice so I would get some kind of nutrition in my body. That whole experience was hell on earth for me. I had grandiose “spiritual/religious” thoughts, but at the same time thoughts of suicide and how people would be better off without me here. I remember watching Obama give a speech one night on television and I thought he was talking about me. I had extreme paranoia. I thought I could perform miracles. I also thought if I went to sleep that I would die and I had thoughts of hell. Therefore, I tried with all my might to stay awake. Which brought on what I know now was severe hallucinations. I lived across the street from people that had roosters and they crowed all the time. Or did they? I thought they were crowing at me telling me I was having a wake up call. And maybe I was because my body was wasting away. I would attempt to eat food and it felt like it would turn to gravel in my mouth. Some religious songs would freak me out and put fear in me. I felt severely unworthy of my husband and family to the point that I tried to change my identity and run away. People in my life at the time would look at me with concern. I remember their faces. Sometimes I would just get in the car spontaneously and disappear for hours. I was told this by my family and to be honest I don’t really remember or even know how I was able to drive. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night. One day I managed to drive my car to a local shelter and I gave them the keys to my car. I reached out that day and asked for help because I knew in my heart despite all of this I really didn’t want to leave my family. I signed myself into a hospital in Atlanta and even though it was the worst and darkest memories of my life it also led me to the biggest place of healing I have had. The memories I am sharing with you are like debris from that storm, but a rainbow followed it. After all of it, I am here to say…I am VERY much ALIVE!!! I have been on medication since then and my life has changed in such a positive way. It has been a process and continues to be. Unless one experiences it or watches a family member suffer and be changed by meds you have no clue. When your brain is lacking chemicals it is weak and cannot function properly. Medication can give it the help and strength it needs. Which brings me to this…after I went through that whole experience…for a long time even the memories of that would freak me out and haunt me. I have had fear in the back of my mind that the nightmare would come back. I sometimes find myself thinking what if my meds quit working, what if I have to go to the hospital again? What if I have suicidal thoughts that become beyond my control? I would even turn off or avoid songs that reminded me of that experience. But yesterday while I was running I felt like I had some type of breakthrough. I was listening to a song that used to make me feel tormented and I SMILED!! I think I may have been internally laughing, too. I realized I won’t live in fear about what happened to me or what might happen to me. I believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason. That part of my journey was like being refined by the fire. It has left me with a few lessons learned and since I have survived that mental torture it has made me who I am today. It has helped build the foundation of strength I have in my heart and Spirit. It has shown me the very Hand of God in ALL of it. His love, His kindness, and His compassion towards me not the harsh judgment I thought He had for me. It has taught me I have to take my meds, keep Drs. appointments, practice self-care, fill my mind with positive things and speak positive words to myself, meditate, pray and learn compassion for my failures. My failures and flaws aren’t final; they are tools to build on and embrace. They are to help me learn to depend on God and my Savior Jesus to help me rise from the ashes. They are to share with others to help them understand they are not alone. They are a gift. Everyone is fighting their own battles and living out their own journey. Some people have their own illnesses; such as: cancer, diabetes, strokes, paralytic, dementia, emphysema, Alzheimer’s etc, etc. Seeing other people LIVE and not allow their illnesses to hold them back inspires me to embrace mine even more!! Mine is Bipolar Disorder and MDD but IT DOES NOT DEFINE ME!!! I am a child of God that has been rescued many times. I can look back now and celebrate my victories. They spur me forward with a fire of HOPE knowing that somehow with God’s help whatever comes my way victory will be my outcome. In the right timing ALL things will work out for my good because of God’s good plan for my life. That is my peace. If you have any thoughts of Suicide or experience hallucinations or tormented thoughts please reach out to someone!! You are here on purpose. You deserve to live and be happy.
Roman 8:28 And we know that God works ALL things out for the good for those who love Him and are called for His purposes.
Jeremiah 28:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord. “plans to prosper you and NOT TO HARM YOU to give you hope and a future.”
Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident in this that He who began a good work in me WILL COMPLETE it until the day of Christ Jesus.