I am so excited to share this post with all of you! I finally get to begin telling the part of my story that explains how I went from having a mental illness and being trapped in an abusive environment to pursuing my dream as a full-time student at a reputable university.
After my discharge from my final hospital stay, I returned home, where I muddled through the next three or four months. I was not quite as dysfunctional as I had been before my hospital stay, but I was still very sick. The best thing about those months was that my parents finally allowed me to stay on a mostly regular regimen of medication. I attribute what followed to that fact.
In early January, things began to change. One night, I had a long talk with my younger sister. The fact that I talked with her for a while was a sign of improvement in itself, since I often became incapable of responding verbally when I was most ill. With hindsight, I can see that I must have been improving at some unexpressed level of my mind and brain during the months between my hospital stay and this conversation, but that night marked my first obvious, dramatic step towards recovery.
That night was the first time in years that I was able to acknowledge that I actually was a Christian. As I described in earlier posts, I was tormented for years with the thought that I was not saved, despite the fact that I had accepted the Christian faith as a child. When I talked with my sister that night, my brain evidenced its months-long healing by allowing me to at last acknowledge the beliefs I had held for so long.
My mind and brain continued to show marked improvement during the following year. After finding the psychological relief of resolving the question of my salvation, I began to act much more healthily. Although still tormented with irrational thoughts and patterns of thinking, I began to pursue the life I’d lost for so long with a vengeance. I began building friendships, socializing, reaching out of the prison I had known for years. I talked and moved and exercised. Every motion, every morning that I could get up and shower and get dressed was a small miracle to me. I was regaining existence itself.
I remember the nightmare-like quality of the years before. My mind is just now looking more honestly at some of the tortures of my internal state during all those years of mental illness. I cannot describe to you the horror of what I experienced or the desperation of the feeling of being trapped in such an experience, unable to break free, unable to get out. Now, I found that I was free, somehow, and I marveled at and relished every moment of this life restored.
Over the course of the next year, I healed. I found that I had several friends, and I began to grow more established in my social circles. I started to help with educating my younger siblings. I engaged in communal events and activities. I got my first cellphone in years.
The recovery did not stop with this period of natural healing. I still felt very trapped in obsession, and, in the January following that first, significant conversation, I began counseling with my current psychologist. That counseling has changed my life in the most real, fundamental sense possible.
I will share more about the wonderful recovery which I am still experiencing today in my next post. Until then, please feel free to share your thoughts on this post. I’d be especially interested to hear about any experiences you may have had with mental illness and recovery in your life or others’. I know that question is really personal, so please only share if you feel comfortable and safe doing so. Join in the conversation.
Hello all I’m very sorry I’ve been gone so long. I did not fully anticipate the stress I would undergo in transitioning to my university.
I am going to postpone my regular blog posts for one to two weeks in order to ease the remainder of that transition. In the meantime, I will be releasing personal updates to inform you about how I’m adjusting.
First, I have to say that I love my university! I am relishing every moment of academic and campus life. I love the constant interaction with new concepts, new environments, and new people. I am very happy.
I began classes last week, and I am genuinely interested in each of them. I am taking introductory courses in psychology and neuroscience, a basic statistics course, and a music appreciation course. I am really excited to have the majority of my coursework this semester in my major (three out of those four will be useful to me in my career). I also take a personal interest in the music appreciation course, since I love music and the professor is an excellent teacher.
I am starting, slowly but surely, to make a few connections with classmates and some of the individuals in my apartment complex. I have found that most of the people here are extremely caring and helpful, (or at the very least, reasonably polite). I frequently stop and ask total strangers for directions and find myself a couple of minutes later being walked across campus by a new-found acquaintance.
The faculty at the school are also exceptional. The students are frequently urged to take advantage of the faculty’s office hours to get help with classes, etc. I have already met one-on-one with two members of the faculty, for varying reasons, and they have been extraordinarily helpful.
I am continuing to explore volunteer and research opportunities in my field of interest (advocacy for those with mental illness and/or disabilities). While I am not certain what experience I will end up obtaining, I am already exploring a couple of possible options for both present and future experience.
Keep me in your thoughts, or, if you are so inclined, your prayers. I am still adjusting to this experience and am dealing with some stressful circumstances which I cannot discuss publicly, for other people’s confidentiality’s sake.
If you wish to contribute to my September funding, please visit my Donate page above or continue to check my Amazon wish list for updated practical needs. Thank you to each of you who are supporting my education and future.
Please feel free to comment with any questions or well-wishes you may have for me. I will answer as openly as possible, without compromising my safety or that of those connected to me.