The Last Word on My Mental Illness

Mental IllnessContinued from…

Today’s guest blogger authorized and participated in writing our #write31days series “31 Glimpses in to the Unquiet Mind” back in October of 2015.  This final post serves as an update and an explanation for all that Sarah went through and why she chose to participate and authorize this series.  She gets the final word.

During October, many people asked why I was letting such personal things be written about me for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. The answer was simple. I wasn’t worried about the stories being too personal. I already posted so many strange pictures and status updates on Facebook and on other social media during my two bouts of mania that the October stories seemed to serve as an explanation to my strange behaviors.

But that was not the main reason I wanted this story told. Most of all, I want people to learn about mental illness through our (my family’s and friends’) experience, to show how real it is and how hard it is to deal with—especially when nobody knows what is going on.

I also wanted people to feel empowered to tell their own stories. The ability to share our stories and connect on a personal level is truly a gift. So many of us have gone through difficult, life-changing experiences that make us realize how important family is, and how important friends are.

When I was in the psych ward, I thought my family hated me and that they had done me wrong in the worst way. In the end, I knew they loved me and their love lead their actions. When I was depressed and wanted to find some kind of “death pill” online that would give me a painless end because I didn’t see any point in living anymore, it was my family that kept me going. I have never felt so much love as I felt during these last two years. I am so thankful for my friends and family who forgave me for my unexplainable actions and kept on loving me no matter what.

#mentalillnessI am currently studying at Walla Walla University, completing my Spanish major and getting teaching credentials for Spanish and art. Since I took a year off, I expect to graduate in 2018. With the exception of a few minor (and normal) ups and downs, my mood has stayed stable since my last manic episode in March of 2015 (and the inevitable month of hypomania that followed) thanks to the guidance of my ever-patient parents and family, the support of friends, consistently taking my medicine (a mood stabilizer called carbamazepine, which worked wonders after my first manic episode in Argentina), regular appointments with my psychiatrist and therapist, and a constant effort to maintain balance spiritually, physically, and mentally. I can’t wait to see what blessings and adventures this new year will bring.

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Inspired by your story, and by your family’s commitment to one another. Blessings as you persevere in your studies and in whatever God has planned for your next adventure!
    Michele Morin recently posted…The Gift of ListeningMy Profile

  • Natalie Jutzy

    Thank you Sarah, for your brave story. All the best to you and your family. Natalie Jutzy

  • Your poignant blog post really tugged at my heart Sarah on a personal level. I grew up with two family members who struggled with serious mental health issues for their entire lives. As the daughter and the sibling, my prayer is that we will begin to talk more openly as a society in ways we can help our loved ones who suffer from mental illness. I applaud you for sharing your story. I believe hearing your voice is very valuable as a way getting rid of some of the stigma. I wish you all the best in your adventures. I have a feeling that you are doing well!
    JoAnne Bennett recently posted…Outside the LinesMy Profile

  • Krista

    You’re not alone! I’m bipolar type two and my grandfather is type one. I have friends who are bipolar and friends who have spouses who are bipolar. It’s a miserable thing to deal with, but so worth it to live through; knowing what’s on the other side makes the healthy side so much sweeter. Always stay in your meds and never stop telling your story. God bless you and your family!

  • Don Strawn

    Perhaps if good meds were were available “back in the day.” so much of my life would have been more bearable over the last 45 years. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams in spite of my affliction, and it appears that I have pretty much outgrown it.
    I love your courage. Prayers always for you, my dear.
    Your Poppy Don

  • Jed

    I love that you are sharing your story. Although my story and struggles are much different, I’m learning to share them as well–and have been happily surprised with the results. It’s amazing how many compassionate people have let me know that they are keeping our family in their prayers. Others, who are hurting themselves, have let us know how meaningful our story is for them. I can only imagine that your story is connecting with and helping others, in many similar ways. Thank you for sharing it, and for the opportunity to link-up with others. Hoping your 2016 is off to an incredible start!
    Jed recently posted…An Open Letter to My Girls on Must Read BooksMy Profile

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  • Sarah, thank you for sharing your story. As a daughter and sister of two women who daily live with a mental illness, I know how much power there is in telling our stories. I too believe telling our stories will help break the stigma. As Brene Brown says “The bravest thing we will ever do is tell our stories.”

    Anita, thank you for loving your daughter and giving her the last word in your series. It was so great to hear from her directly. Blessings to all of you in this new year!
    Tara recently posted…Sunday Blessings 108My Profile

  • That is so awesome to hear and read! I read through that whole series in October. It was very touching to read and eye-opening to a situation that really does not get talked about! Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story! You are brave and you are strong! May God continue to use these words and your life to strengthen others in their living for Him! Thank you!

  • Happy New Year Sarah. You are such an overcomer. Thank you for sharing and for allowing your mom the opportunity to use her gift of writing to make a difference.e
    Messy Mom recently posted…NEXTMy Profile

  • Sarah, you are brave and you may never know how many people were helped by sharing your story. Thank you.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…2016 a new yearMy Profile

  • Sarah … your courage and brave heart are sure to continue to inspire many. Thank you for teaching us much about love and family, perseverance and challenge.

    I wish you well … you are sure to continue to leave an impact that will change lives …
    Linda Stoll recently posted…In Which I Don’t Have a One WordMy Profile

  • Ingrid

    Dear Sarah. I am so proud of you! By telling your story you are helping to steal some of the malicious mystery of mental illness, and reduce its stigma. Your family’s openness and willingness to share your story is truly a gift. May we all be so brave with our individual struggles! I believe the unmasking is key to gaining the upper hand.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story. I think it has been a big help to all who have read it. I am so glad everything is stable for you now and pray it may always be.
    Barbara H. recently posted…4 Reasons to Face the New Year Without FearMy Profile

  • Sarah, so very, very proud of you for your progress. You have been through much. What an inspiration you are. And, I hope you know how blessed you are to have an INCREDIBLE family who love and support you in such a way as your family does. So many people do not have this. I know because I have seen it. Never forget what a blessing this is. Thank you for our courage to share your story.
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  • Thank you so much for sharing your story Sarah. It has truly been an inspiration to read. God bless your future!
    Christy recently posted…How to write tough stuffMy Profile

  • Sarah, you are a brave young woman. It’s been an eye-opening privilege to read your story on your mom’s blog. Thanks for sharing this. May God continue to use these posts to raise awareness. Blessings as you press on into the future He has for you!
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…When You Want the Bible to Change Your LifeMy Profile