I came from a very loving home and had a wonderful childhood. I was the last to be born of 4 children. Also, I was the youngest, and my siblings and parents spoiled me.
I cherished the attention of my parents and siblings. My brother always wanted a little brother since he grew up with two girls. He especially spoiled me. I remember him spending his allowance to buy me toys.
I was happy and loved.
When I got to kindergarten and grade school, I had a different experience. The other children bullied me and left me out. I was the last one picked in gym class, and the other children argued about not wanting me on their team.
I had a lazy eye and bifocals, making it impossible to play sports. Playing sports is what little boys did back then. I was left out again.
When I played Little League, I continued to get left back. I was tall for my age. I was a sixth grader still playing with third graders because of my athletic abilities. Eventually, I just gave up.
By the time I got into high school, I felt different from others and flawed. Others constantly harassed me because I spoke slowly and monotonely. Eventually, I shut down. I stopped talking to others unless I knew and trusted them.
These issues led to horrible social anxiety and low self-confidence.
When I went to college, a crowd who liked to party accepted me.
I would start partying too, often even alone.
One New Year’s Eve, I was at a party with friends of a friend. My friend went for a walk and got lost. I was far from home without a way back. There were no cell phones back then.
This group of people constantly harassed me. They told me they wanted to fight me. They told me my lost friend died.
Eventually, my friend returned after several hours, and we returned to his place.
My First Hospitalization
The next day, I woke up angry at the world and surprisingly confident. I kept on partying.
After a while, I began talking fast. I also started hearing the people I lived with talk to me while I was not near them. I delusionaly thought I had special abilities, but I was hallucinating.
Eventually, my parents forced me back into their home to take care of me. However, they were unable. One day, the police and an ambulance showed up at my door and escorted me to the emergency room.
Eventually, I ended up in an inpatient Psychiatric Unit in a hospital. I felt like I was there for a couple of months.
I came very close to ending up in a state hospital as my insurance stopped paying for services. The doctors told me I could leave as long as I stopped partying and stopped hearing voices.
I lied. You see, I planned to continue partying. I also was still hearing voices.
Eventually, I asked the voices, “What if you aren’t real?” Now, my medicine might have started to work. However, from that point on, I never heard voices again.
I started to get better but was ashamed and distraught over what happened. Eventually, I would end up for ten years or so battling terrible depression. I had difficulties holding down steady employment and would eventually end up on disability. I also went to the hospital several more times.
Throughout this time, I was seeing doctors and psychologists. None were able to help me.
I started recovering with peer support from a support group called GROW. There, I met many people my age who could relate to my experiences and show me how to heal.
I eventually found my niche and started working part-time as a Peer Specialist. I was doing well.
All this time, I thought I was battling major depression. Even though I was manic and hearing voices earlier, the doctors thought my partying caused it.
Come 2012, it was a long time since I partied. I also even quit smoking cigarettes and went to church regularly.
However, I realized something wasn’t right. I was super excited for life and slept about 3 hours a night. I once again was manic and was hospitalized for the last time.
Instead of being defeated, I learned a valuable lesson this time. I finally knew what I was battling with. When I looked back at my life, I saw cycles. I wasn’t depressed all the time. There were times when I was doing quite well.
When my depression became unbearable, I’d think I needed to stop all the progress I made in my life and go into the hospital. I was wrong. I just needed to continue until the depression lifted.
Nonetheless, it’s been 12 years since I’ve been in a hospital. I have been off of social security for almost 12 years as well. I always wanted to work full-time but never thought I could. My family, therapists, and the social security office tried to change my mind.
Thank God I had people who believed in me to back me up.
I found and married my perfect bride about six years ago. I became an instant dad as she already had a daughter.
I’ve been working as a peer support specialist. It’s so rewarding to use my life experience to support people. It gives a sense of purpose to all the difficulties in my life.
What Helped Me
There have been several things that helped me recover. First, I put my faith in Jesus Christ. Being able to trust in the goodness of God and seeing him work all things together for the good radically changed my life.
Secondly was a 12-step mutual self-help group called GROW. The loving support of others in my journey has been priceless.
Thirdly, there was a strange self-help technique called the Sedona Method. It teaches you to let go of difficult emotions by asking simple questions. I made a free course on the Sedona Method. Be sure to check it out.
What are my plans for the future? Well, I’d like to have my own business. For this reason, I created my blog. I am also coaching others along their journey.
If you got this far, thank you for reading. I do not write this recovery story to brag but to encourage others. Recovery is possible for everyone. You have your own story which can inspire others. Together, we can impact the entire world!