My illness and my recovery journey have been long lasting and what I would call a roller coaster. It all started when I lost my mom at age 14. Shortly after, I started hearing voices. These were angry, hurtful voices that told me I was worthless. I was scared to tell anyone about the voices because I feared that if I did, that I would be locked in a padded room for the rest of my life. So, I held the voices inside for 2 years, until I was finally able to confide in a teacher. I ended up on the psych ward and then I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 16.
Along the way have I battled with OCD, which involved washing my hands repeatedly and now I battle with extreme, debilitating anxiety. However, my recovery story is one of hope. I went from the darkest depths of despair and psychosis to my current self who is an accomplished, strong woman. It hasn't been an easy road, but I have learned along the way that having a support network is Vital, taking medication is important and working hard necessary. These are the only ways you are going to recover.
I have been blessed with some amazing friends and family that have supported me and helped me grow on my recovery journey. I have also found it important to diligently take my medication each day. This medication helps me deal with the voices that I hear and lessen the anxiety.
I have come across many tools and coping mechanisms that have made life bearable. I have also set up goals in my life so that I have things to work towards. My main goal in life is to be a support for teens and young adults because I went for 2 years suffering alone. I don't want anyone else to ever go through that. I am reaching a lot of my goals and a future goal is to become a Peer Support Worker. I credit my dad for being my main support, he has always been there for me so that I have been able to recover and function.
I also have utilized many coping mechanisms to help defeat my anxiety. The biggest one is giving my anxiety a name. Therefore, it separates me from the anxiety and I no longer have anxiety. I have this separate entity that likes to give me a hard time. Another coping mechanism I have is video games. I have a group of people that I play with and when I play with them, my anxiety goes away and I am able to relax. I also give the Whale House a lot of credit, because before I started attending as a member I had no friends. Through the Whale House I have met many people who are just like me, each struggling with their own illness, but not judging or condescending. I have made many new friends and we continue to be a support to each other both in and outside of the Whale House.
It is very important to develop strong coping mechanisms because they help immensely in the recovery process. I have been working hard on my coping mechanisms and developing them each day. This is important because I am better equipped to fight off the symptoms of my illness. That is key for anyone who is suffering from a mental illness.
There is always hope and if you work hard, recovery is to be expected. I have come a long way in my life and I know that many people are proud of me. I am going to keep pressing on, striving for my goals and live a happy, productive life. My recovery story will continue.