“I’ve been off medications for well over a year, and while I go back and forth in the wisdom of that decision, I have done incredible things for myself.”
I moved to Ithaca, New York when I was nine years old. After years and years in foster homes, different schools and countless new faces, I was ready to settle into this idea of ‘Home.’ The first ten years of my life are the most vivid and the most shaping.
I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a young teenager. Then came the crippling anxiety that creeped into paranoia, depression, dissociation and uncontrollable moods. I went without sleep for days at a time, but I had nightmares when I did rest. Self-harm and suicide attempts all led me to psychiatric centers.
Pity. I get a lot of pity when I share my story.
I used to think of my story as a sad one. Sometimes I still do. But pity didn’t make me stronger. What made me stronger was talking about my experiences and taking medications to balance the brain chemistry. When people called me crazy, I took that as an opportunity to stand up and talk about why I am the way I am, and that healing looks like many things.
I am proud to say that it’s been over two years since the last time I was admitted to a psychiatric center. I’ve been off medications for well over a year, and while I go back and forth in the wisdom of that decision, I have done incredible things for myself. I see a therapist every week.
I have a consistent job that I love. I built myself a stronger network of people I trust; family, friends, teachers and mentors. I have the support and guidance to ensure that I am safe, that I am valued, and that I am loved and for me, that is important in my healing journey.
I won’t pretend that everything is okay and that I am ‘healed’. In the past year, I have been dealing with my PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), a phobia and complete dissociations. It is scary work, but somehow, I see myself better off learning how to cope rather than letting fears and paranoia control me.
I am a glorious work-in-progress. This is a lifelong journey, and it appears like I need to deal with my obstacles. And today, right now, I am okay with that.