Living With Mental Illness~My 3 Words…


People ask me a lot, what’s it like living with Mental illness? I can only tell you what it’s like for me, as I can not speak for others who suffer. As those who do suffer mental & emotional disorders, we all come from many different types, levels, & paths of this illness. For some it can be a disease that’s passed down from one genetic family generation to the next. Mental illness can come from brain conditions or injury’s from a traumatic experience like mine, or brain injury like how many of our Armed Forces came home with. Some are from sports head injury’s like we read about our sports stars today. Some can be disorders like PTSD, OCD, or ADD, or some are born with mental disabilities, maybe missing brain or body chemicals. Like I said, we all come from many circumstances.

Mental and emotional illness & disorders can touch anyone. Just like me. I spent the first 40 years of my life I thought, as a normal woman. Living and working each day like everyone else. But I always had these feelings in the back of my mind, that at times I didn’t “FEEL” like myself. I’d get depressed and hide in my room as a teenager. Like I didn’t belong or fit in anywhere. Then, these high feelings of endless energy, not much sleep, as I was always a fun, vivacious, out going person. But at 40 my life started to change. It was in that year I also became addicted to gambling. Video poker/Slot machines became my best friends.

At the same time, all my feelings of what happened to me as a little girl started to resurface, as I had stuffed them SO DEEP inside me that I hadn’t thought felt them for years. That all changed when my brother-in-law died in 1992 of cancer. You see, he was the ONLY one I told about what happened to me as a little girl. When my brother-in-law passed, all those feelings came back and I started using gambling to hide and mask those old wounds and pain to the point I became addicted to gambling.

My moods where like Dr. Jekyll & MR. Hyde. Than my mind went BLACK! Like it went void. I don’t remember driving myself home from the Casino, or remember calling my councilor, who was helping me with the grief of my brother-in-law, and my addiction. All I know is what I was told by the policeman who was standing by my hospital bed when I woke up, that I had tried to cut my wrists, as they were all bandaged, small cuts everywhere.

I actually tried to take my OWN LIFE! Needless to say, my Doctors and Mental clinical staff found I was suffering from “Bipolar 2 disorder with manic depression, Panic with Agoraphobia, OCD, and Anxiety. I was started on medications. It’s like watching Life outside that window happen without you in it….

MY 3 Words?…….FIGHT ~ STIGMA ~NOW!

It's Time to take action          NAMI Logo       Your are not alone in this fight

AUTHOR, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


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