As most of you know, earlier this year on February 20th, I was involved in an accident with myself. On this day I woke up like any other. Ready to bring on another day. I don't think I really explained myself until now, at this moment, because I have been stuck behind the stigma.
Tuesday, April 2nd
Now, I feel prepared and ready to speak out because I don't want anybody to feel the way I felt. Tomorrow marks my first counseling session and I feel the most excited I have ever felt in my entire life, almost reborn.
First, let's start with what got me here and why I felt I needed this.
Since taking the leap and entering this business venture, You Are Collective, with my partner, Rebecca, I've been researching mental illnesses and trying to spread as much truth as possible. While doing this, I caught myself self-diagnosing from PTSD to eating disorders - I was hooked on an anxiety-driven spiral into a world of darkness. Fueled by substances my body can't handle on a regular basis, I found myself buried in a hole with no escape, no future, no hope.
I used substances daily to try and cope with the pain from my anxiety. I'm not saying all substances are bad; some have very good benefits medically for different people. But for me, in my chemically imbalanced brain, it altered me by bringing out a different side where I found myself wanting to hang out on that side more than in reality.
I have an addictive personality and substances with any promise of serotonin-boosting qualities tend to drag me in. At some point in my life, I can say I've been addicted to smoking, gambling, alcohol, steroids, weed, even substances like caffeine, sugars, fast food... You would never expect these things unless I told you or you've witnessed it.* After the passing of a relative, I tried to use it to cope the day of his funeral. It sent me into a panic attack where I had to flush everything and throw anything that reminded me of it.
*I'd like to point out I haven't smoked a cigarette since March 13, Marijuana since March 18th (prior to this I hadn't touched it since my accident on Feb 20th)!
I was done.
I'm here now to live life and enjoy instead of standing on the sideliness in sadness watching myself fail at the game we call life. I truly have never felt better.
Now that you know a bit about my most recent struggles and personality... I want to talk more about the day it all changed for me... February 20th.
I woke up like every other day, in my head, wondering when the next time would be that I'd need a substance to cope with what I thought was a boring life. And consumed with what illness I would have that day.
(As a side note: I was self prescribing medications still in testing and research phases which I do not recommend to anyone without medical supervision)
I was the image of a broken person trying to fix himself without any medical or professional help. These medications pushed me into several panic attacks prior to my accident. I was on the verge of seeking help, but not ready to pull the trigger. Standing behind the stigma. Scared to ask anyone. It wasn't until the morning of the 20th when I had a panic attack and texted the Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone (Text CONNECT to 686868) because I just didn't know who to turn to. It was then I realized it was time to get help other than Google and WebMD. I figured I knew which substance/medication was to blame for feeling like this, but really it was a combination of everything that sent me spiraling. So that night I continued the use of marijuana- thinking it wasn't the problem, that it was only helping the situation.
After a session in the hot tub where my body was nice and warm, my heart rate accelerated from marijuana, my body lacking sufficient nutrients from lack of eating, I got into the hot shower and suddenly I felt a pain in my neck. A throbbing pain in the back of my neck. I became obsessed with the pain, rubbing it, wondering where it came from, feeling it pulse, it was a 7/10 on the pain scale. I wanted it to stop, I remember holding my head telling myself over and over
I wanted the pain to go away, I don't want to feel like this anymore.
All I remember is my eyes fading into a bright white light and that was it. It wasn't until I woke up outside my shower in Rebecca's lap to the sound of her screaming my name and my dog barking like I've never head before. I jumped up with so much adrenaline I didn't even know what had happened until I looked in the mirror and saw a huge checkmark sized gash split open in the middle of my forehead. The next few hours, even the next few days were blurry. I could remember my mind wanted to go back to sleep for good. I wasn't letting it this time. This time I realized it's my chance to make things right. As I looked at Rebecca it made me realized the reasons I have for living and why I want to be here as long as I can. The hospital visit was not encouraging - I don't do well in hopsitals as it is. But they were doing their jobs and at this point, it's not their job to fix me mentally. It's only ourselves who hold the strength over our minds to fix what is broken. The resources are there, even if they're difficult to find, it's just finding the strength to step out in front and take that mental leap into a stigma-free reality.
The words mentally sick or mental illness can drive this world mad, scared of judement. I've met many individuals over the past year who live with mental illness and are happily mentally fit. It's nothing to be afraid of no matter what you're diagnosed with. Just understand you're taking the step toward true happiness in your life. We've lost so many people to mental illness, I don't want to see anymore.
Now that I've taken you into a journey of how I felt... I'd like to continue to take you guys along with me on the Road to My Recovery. What I've been doing to support my mental health and what's out there for you as well. Be ready to follow along and never be afraid to ask for help or tell someone close you need help. Resources are out there, let's make use of them!