"In the span of 6 months, I lost my dad, was forced to move out of his house by family, and also ended a years-long relationship with my partner at the time. The pain that I felt was so deep that I spiraled into the deepest depression yet."
"I did not have an internal sense of self. It didn’t matter how much I accomplished or how many people I helped. I only measured positive outcomes by how others perceived and recognized me or my actions. The sooner we let go of labels, expectations, or the pain of past experiences, the sooner we will feel joy in our hearts."
"The first challenge was for me to acknowledge my own difficulty and accept that it was a struggle at all. I was so lost in perfectionism that, at first, I didn’t accept that I was struggling. Over time, I more openly sought out help and support from loved ones and friends."
"I realized the feeling of never being seen, never having someone at school ask or mention how not okay I was, and the sheer invisibility I felt had to be addressed. I went back for more EMDR and was able to resolve that pretty quickly as well. Because that was a more complex and subtle trauma, it took a few months longer, but definitely less than a year."
"Moments that should've been joyful or just neutral became shaded by this heaviness. Simple activities, like catching up with friends or working on a project, suddenly felt so draining. It was as if a constant cloud hovered, casting shadows on my usual upbeat self."
"Drugs and alcohol were common place and I was constantly moving around. That’s not to say that my parents were using in front of me, just that it was fairly obvious as to what was going on. Because of this, I actually grew up attending AA meetings and was introduced to “recovery” pretty early on. Even so, I would go on to spend 16 years in an alcohol and drug-induced nightmare that almost consumed my life. Irony at its finest."
"When I got home, I was burnt out and severely depressed. I couldn’t get out of bed for a long time. My fiance took me for walks, helped me bathe, and brought me bland foods. With the help of my psychiatrist and therapist, I was able to get on a course of therapy and medication that finally helped to bring me out of my major depressive episode. I wasn’t truly fully functional again until some time in 2011."
"What therapists would label as "mental health" issues—as I've aged and grown perspective in my life, I would have to disagree wholeheartedly. Unstable environments and adults that failed to protect me from predators were the sole contributors to my unstable years."
"I discovered that grieving, healing, and living aren't linear processes, but intertwined strands of our existence. Healing isn't about forgetting; it's about learning to live with loss, about embracing love and pain simultaneously."
"I met my future husband when I was 26 but I never felt truly connected to him. I felt just as invisible to him as I did to everyone else. When we decided we wanted to have children, by some miracle, I was able to abstain from drinking just before and during my pregnancy. I coped by being very controlling, a shopaholic, and a workaholic. The twins were born when I was 31 and postpartum depression led me back to the only solution I thought I had: drinking"