This weekend was busy, per usual. Lots of friends and food. Which in my book, is always a good weekend. It was nice to have some time to hang out with favorites in the comfort of our own home.
And then yesterday was the 25th annual Walk for Hope to support Mental Health. This is a cause that I stand fully behind because I know first hand the devastation that mental illness brings about to those affected directly and their family/friends. I know because of the 34 years I have been alive...20 of them have been spent struggling to win against the disease. My own largest enemy was the one from within.
11 Years ago when my husband and I were engaged, he found out about the race and not telling me what we were doing, took me there that morning while he ran the race in my honor. Over the first eight years of our marriage, I somewhat had a hold of my illness(to the naked eye, anyways) but soon it came back with vengeance and I was unable to perform the most mundane of tasks and as I have delved into a little bit before on my blog, it got to the point that it almost took my life, or what was even left of the one I had.
And so, two years ago, I was readmitted for in patient care at the psychological unit. Some of you probably refer to it as the looney bin, the crazy house, an institution. Etc, etc. But due to the fact I had visited 11 previous ones, I simply knew them all too well for what they represented themselves to me as:Hell.
You may think you have an idea, but unless you have ever spent an extended time in a unit like one of these, you have no clue. And the amount of medicines they prescribe to you while trying to find just the right "mix" is a whole other story in and of itself.
One day I will write a 'girl interrupted post. All names and hospitals changed, but the stories I have to share will be like nothing you have ever even dreamt up. You should just know that one of them involves me calling 911...from the hospital. You can imagine how well that call went over. But in the end, I had to be removed by court order and 6 months after my release, that hospital made an appearance on 20/20 for being closed for mistreatment of patients. and this was voted in the top 5 facilities for mental health in the county. So there's that...
We laugh about it now. and the whole mayonnaise part of the equation. Yes, that's right, I called 911 about mayonnaise. You know you are now dying for the rest of the deets. One day, people. One day;)
But back tho the point, two years ago I made one of the most difficult and profound decisions of my life and I went back in the hospital to get help. I spent 10 days at Duke before being released back into the wilderness...not really, but the first few days out is a rather overwhelming transfer back into normalcy.
I joined a group therapy session for 2 hrs a week for 13 months and I was therapy for PTSD and bipolar for over 2 years. Extensive. Gut wrenching. heart breaking and some of the worst experiences of my life. And having finished the therapy for a few months now...
It will always be known as my miracle. My game changing decision. Getting the right treatment and therapy was so exhausting. I wanted to quit so many times, but I didn't. And I can never express my gratitude for the opportunity to partake in one of the top programs in the country.
Soon I hope to parlay my experiences, I just struggle with putting pen to paper(or I suppose finger to keyboard;) and I want it to be right...
But in the meantime, if someone you know or you yourself is struggling with any form of mental illness, there can be light at the end of the tunnel. and not only can you survive, you can thrive.
Thanks again to my friend Jean and members of the Triangle Patriots Fan Club who walked in the race yesterday. You make a difference, I am proof.
And today's post is dedicated to on Brandon Marshall(of the Chicago Bears). I have followed his story for a few years and while we are vastly different. His troubles played out in a large audience, I was lucky enough that my illness never involved drugs, violence or any trouble with the law. But we both had our lives drastically changed by DBT therapy and he and his wife started a foundation to support mental illness, in the game last week he wore green shoes to promote awareness for mental health(last week was mental health awareness week) and was fined by the league
He then agreed to match his fine by the league and donate it to the foundation. I can say only this...Kudos to you, sir. Kudos.
and I am at a point that I am full of the one thing that always evaded me...Hope.
If you want to read my more thorough posts about mental illness or PTSD, then read these submissions from last year.