(Taken from Tumblr Page)
Hello, my name is Pat, I am in my mid-twenties, and I am a Peer Support Specialist. I help run meetings for Young Adults in the Chicagoland Area who have mental disorders. I myself suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Depression.
I don’t exactly remember when it started, when the OCD started taking over my mind. I guess I have always had it; the obsessions, the compulsions, and the intense daydreaming. Some of it was east to spot; knocking on the bathroom door three times before going to bed, moving something because if I didn’t “something bad would happen.” However, there were deeper obsessions. One’s that I did not really face until last year.
On August 3, 2012, I tried to take my own life for a second time. Previously, I had been hospitalized four times (suicidal ideation, hurting myself) and had done numerous outpatient programs for mental health and alcohol abuse. I would get “better” for a bit, then fall back into my old patterns and behaviors. I was too scared to open up to anyone, to “manly” to ask for help, and everything my therapists and doctors said was “bullshit.”
After my suicide attempt, I again ended up inpatient after spending a sleepless night in the emergency room. In my mind, this situation was ‘normal,’ just me being me. I hadn’t even realized I had fallen into a pattern of ending up in the hospital every few months for the past two years.
My parents and friends decided that I needed further treatment… After being released from the hospital I went to the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas for two months. I was very much against this “2 months in hell” idea and it wasn’t until I got there, sat down with the doctor for the first time, that I realized it was my last chance. That was my rock bottom, I could either finally accept help or continue in my ways, which clearly weren’t working, and cost my parents a shit ton of money.
For the next two months, I opened up to everyone, made relationships with other patients that I never thought I could make with people. Emotional connection, I had never had that.
While at Menninger, they diagnosed me with OCD (which I knew), Borderline Personality Disorder (previously diagnosed as Bipolar II), and Depression. I worked my ass off, trying to get to the bottom of every single one of my problems. I hadn’t yet realized that I will always be working on myself, always be working on recovery. If I somehow managed to solve all my problems, I would achieve perfection; which is impossible, because I am human.
After Menninger, they had me go to a step-down program for another two months. I went to the OCD Clinic, which also happens to be in Houston. There, my therapy was even harder. It was a 7 day a week program and I lived at the clinic; which was this old house. I did therapy everyday, diving even deeper into my problems than I had at Menninger.
I learned even more at the Clinic, and when I finally returned home in December, after four months of straight treatment, I became depressed. I did not have the comfort of a mental health facility, I had to face life head on.
For the first month I stayed at my parents before moving back to my apartment. I attended DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) meetings. I found these meetings super helpful because I could really relate to people, something I found I could not do at AA meetings. I wanted to start my own meeting, one for people my age; to help others see that there is hope.
I got my Peer Support Specialist Training for DBSA in February and my Meeting Facilitator training awhile after that. I have met fantastic people, made connections that I cannot make with my friends that I have had for over ten years.
My old friends are still there for me, in fact, we have grown closer since I got back from Houston. I opened up to them, told them some of my “deep, dark secrets” and they didn’t push me away, they accepted me. I no longer felt disconnected and empty.
The difference between those relationships and the one’s I have formed by meeting others like me is that there is not only acceptance, but understanding. People who go through what you have gone/go through, have the same problems you have to a degree, get it. I go to therapy, I see a psychiatrist and I do what they say now. However, the most helpful thing is still knowing people like me. Not only having them help me but vice versa.
Mental Illness is hard, but it doesn’t have to consume your life. You are not alone. Reach out, ask for help, and you will be given it. But you need to want it, want recovery, because if you don’t do it for yourself; eventually you’ll stop trying. You are worth it and there is hope.