I think it’s important to start with my parents. My mother was not diagnosed or treated for mental health but was seriously ill. Depression and anxiety along with uncontrolled rage were a part of daily life, my dad was an alcoholic who was often not at home. They raised six children who had all been touched by this. Some worse than others. My own trouble started in my teens when I found that drugs and alcohol soothed my demons. That soothing turned against me when I began to have rages every time alcohol entered my body. In the early 90s I decided to stop drinking.
That’s when the demons really started to attack me. A black curtain seemed to come down around me and my life. I went about my business like a robot, totally detached. The worst part was that I had 3 young children depending on me. On the bad days I would sleep for hours. When I had to go out I felt like the telephone polls were calling me to speed into them. At times my kids were in the car. One day I got a sharp pain in my head and I got scared. I asked my God to get me home and promised that I would call someone and get my act together. And I did. Four years of therapy and the correct medication saved my life for the first time.
Unfortunately mental illness and addiction need a lifetime plan. I didn’t have one and thought I could drink again. That lasted for about two years. That time I didn’t have thoughts of hurting myself but one night I wanted to die so much that I believed if I just closed my eyes life would end. It was so real. Sounds strange but I heard a loud voice in my head that said what are you doing. Do you want you kids to come home and find you dead. That was such a powerful moment. I called my therapist and he said that I first needed to stop drinking. I listened and joined a 12 step program the next day. My life was saved again. Addiction is also a mental illness. I haven’t felt the need to self medicate in almost 30 years. It hasn’t been easy.
So many things come along with these illnesses. My thinking is not always correct, coping is sometimes difficult.
I get overwhelmed easily so I tend to be careful of my surroundings. What saved my life was reaching out, to God, to a therapist, to a 12 step program. There is help. Reach out, let someone help. It’s okay. And please remember it’s a family illness. Nature and nature both play parts. Don’t be hard on yourself. Acceptance is the key to my Serenity.