I struggled with insanity most of my life, dealing with overwhelming fears and depression and trying to avoid the panic and the screaming fits that often consumed me. As a teenager, my family was held captive by my tantrums and as I grew up I began to take it for granted that people would not like me. However, after being snubbed in high school, in college I found I was attractive to the opposite sex. I dated for a few years and then got married, mainly to get away from the overbearing rule of my mother. Unfortunately, I married the wrong man and within a year he slept with my best friend.
At that point in my life I began a swift descent back into depression. I had many nervous breakdowns. I longed for help, and I saw a psychiatrist in my early 20s. He prescribed tranquilizers to help me calm down. After my family and I moved away from the area where the doctor practiced, I made a big mistake, and began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. I moved from relationship to relationship, trying to find love but not really understanding what I was looking for, and certainly not able to give it.
I didn’t really find help until I was 50 years old and was married for the third time and had two daughters. A family counselor told me I should go into a mental health facility for three months. I was insulted, but I realized she was right.
While in the mental hospital my therapist and I discovered I had been sexually abused when I was 4 years old. I was shocked to find out that I had developed alternate personalities. My therapist and I found a second personality, then a third, and then more. No wonder I was getting upset and depressed: I had thirteen unidentified “alters” inside me. After years of treatment, mental health professionals found the correct diagnosis: dissociative identity disorder.
If you think you have a mental illness, don’t try to hide it. Try to find help.
As a child, my mind had not been able to handle the shame and pain of the abuse and it fractured into the multiple personalities of dissociative identity disorder. My inability to stay connected to real-time activities and conversations had caused me to fail in relationships, but now I have found lifetime connections. Since I understand myself, I can teach others to understand me.
One thing that helped me tremendously during my recovery is my belief in a higher power. I felt God leading me to mental health and peace in my heart. I also want to thank God for a sister who loved me no matter what I did or how I behaved. I have been in therapy now for many years and I have undergone a lot of healing. I receive counseling for my mental problems and medication to help me cope. I recommend contacting your local NAMI, not only for a recommendation to a good professional, but also for help finding low-cost state funded treatment centers. If you think you have a mental illness, don’t try to hide it. Try to find help.
Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.Donate today
Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.Share your story
Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.Join NAMI Today