Here is my daughter Madison's story!
On this page, I want to share with you all my own story about living with a mental disorder. My story has shaped who I am today and who I hope to be in the future. No longer do I allow myself to feel ashamed and guilty for having a mental health disorder. But I know others who still can't come to terms with their own feelings of shame because of the many, many stigmas that surround mental health as a whole and then the other stigmas on individual mental health disorders.
My diagnosis is that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Clinical Depression. It was also theorized that I might also suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder but the results were undecided. So, it was determined that I might not suffer from the full disorder but I do suffer from many of the traits associated with this disorder. This, herein, lies one of the problems faced in mental health. While researchers and psychiatrists have come a long way to understanding the workings of mental health and it's many disorders. They still do not have the necessary knowledge to fully determine the cause of each, the interplay between the different disorders, or a more permanent treatment option that will end the challenges we face with mental health illnesses.
I have known for years that something was different about myself. The problem was I thought it was due to my inability to react the same way as others did and not that it might be a problem in the workings of my brain. I believed it to all be about my behaviour, so I would watch and observe those around me so I could mimic their way of handling life. I would follow their social cues even when my heart would pound so fiercely that I thought it would burst and my hands would shake as I leaned in to accept a hug. I would follow every behaviour they portrayed and hide the ones that I knew would not be accepted.
My evasiveness could only go so far though, and some of my more noticeable rules and rituals were eventually brought to light and called my quirks. And we would laugh as I would do these things that barely helped contain the anxiety within me.
Then, in the summer of 2015 a severe panic attack surprised me while I was on the phone with my sisters leading them to become concerned enough to make our mom come home immediately, but I had my anxiety contained once again by the time she arrived. So, it was again back to hiding and evading their questions as to what happened. My mom took my word that it was a one-time thing and she helped me eradicate the problem that caused the panic. She accommodated me and allowed me to believe that the threat was real which we had been doing my whole life. And with our knowledge now, we know that was the wrong thing to do for it allowed my OCD to grow and fester into all parts of my life.
So, in a span of months, I went from fighting it in secret - this unknown thing, to being diagnosed and forced to bring to light what I thought of as my shameful secret. A secret me that would be a burden and worthless to everyone around me. It took me awhile to come to terms with those feelings but I am here now. And I hope you will take the time to read about the whole story of my life with a mental illness.
Every week, I will add to my story - here and on Facebook. I will tell you all how I went from fighting to losing all hope entirely that I gave up, at least for awhile. But I am back fighting but not just for myself. I am going to fight for every person still in that lost stage that most people with mental health are forced to overcome. For together, we can stand stronger than alone.