We love to share other's stories and experiences when it comes to depression, mental illness, sobriety, anxiety and so much more because sometimes we can get to that point where we feel we are alone. So many of us struggle in different ways but we are not alone in our challenges and the more we are aware the more we can help others. Sheri share's her experience of living with Bipolar Depression and anxiety if you would like to share your story with us please click HERE and let us know. It's about people helping people and together we can do this!
My life’s story about living with bipolar depression and anxiety.
So here we go, my name is Sheri and I am 32 years old. I was born and raised in Redding California.
I was always a quiet little girl. My parents have pictures of me and I would never smile. I always kept to myself never wanted to do the sleepover thing. I knew I was different. I knew I didn’t think like most kids did. I was always what seemed like I was sad. I saw my first therapist at 8 years old, 8! I obviously didn’t know what mental illness meant at that age. It was more just talking with someone who understood.
"Age does not discriminate against mental illness and finding someone who you can talk to and that understands can do a lot. Sometimes I have found at that age it does not fix or solve the problem because the child may not understand but it also instills for them that it is ok to talk to someone about your feelings. We hold them in sometimes too much and if we do not learn how to share them it can do more harm than good."
Home life was never really bad. My parents are still together to this day. But what I didn’t realize until I got older is my dad was a huge alcoholic. It didn’t have an effect on me until I was in seventh grade. At 12 years old is when hell started to become my life.
At a young age, suicide touched my life with the loss of my uncle, my dad's brother in law. At 8 no one understands what suicide is or why but it is something that can touch your life and change it. Mental illness is real and does happen to even those who do not think it can. It was my first funeral and it is an event that has carried with me for life. Then my uncle Gary was my best friend, we had an amazing relationship he was my favorite person ever. He died from cancer and I was broken. I had no one to talk to, my mom was way too sensitive to talk about it and I didn’t want to bother my poor grandma about it. I wish I would have. So this is also when I noticed my dads drinking more, every Friday night he would get shit faced. So my mom and I would go shopping or stay with my grandma until we knew it was safe to go home. The combination of my uncle passing and having a drunk for a dad back then I would literally lock myself in my room and just blast my music. I felt trapped in my own head. This was how my life was for a really long time. I just wanted some escape from my head all the random thoughts that would never end just something to make it all stop!
"Addiction is something I always touch on as a fellow addict in recovery that sometimes we have no idea who we affect. Our children and family can be the most important thing to us but because of our addiction, we can do so much damage without realizing it. When we have no one to talk to the effects can compound and not knowing how to express them can snowball into our later life. Always talk to your children the effects are huge and it opens up the line of communication."
That’s when I learned how to cut and scratch on myself, and I was free! The physical pain that I would inflict on myself made the mental pain go away even just for a few minutes it was amazing! So I became a cutter and it was an addiction. I hid it for years and years. Everything seemed to get better I felt better I just had this deep dark secret no one knew about. I started antidepressants for the first time and I finally felt better.
Around age 14 I started seeing this other doctor that seemed to use me as a pill tester is how it felt. He kept putting me on all these meds with these horrible side effects and I was like a walking zombie. Everything got worse again. I was totally unstable. I started smoking pot and having sex with literally anyone to just be able to feel again. It was horrible. And yes still cutting. I was 15 when I tried to kill myself for the first time. I took a bottle of Tylenol pm. I had a headache and just wanted to sleep forever. It didn’t work. I threw up and actually stayed awake the whole night. My parents have no clue even now until they read this and that’s okay!
I was 16 when I wrote a suicide note at school, a friend found it and told the teacher who told the principal and she called the cops. They took me to mental health and asked me a bunch of questions but sent me home. I left high school then and my mom homeschooled me the rest of the two years I had left. So many people have and had no idea I was like this. I used to write poetry, I used to be into photography those were ways of escape for me.
Let’s jump to age 18, I met a guy off the internet. He was 20 years older than me but he made me happy. He knew all of this about me. It was finally someone to talk to and he treated me so amazing. It was a way out it was an escape. In July of 2005, I found out I was pregnant. I had to stop all my medication. I was so sick from withdrawing from them. Pregnancy was hard but my mental state was actually ok. I had my daughter February 28, 2006. She was amazing. I did great without medication for two years. Then in 2008, I got pregnant with my son. Again the pregnancy was great.
Everything was great. He was born on October 13, 2008. No one told me about post postpartum depression. It was horrible. Everything set me off I was completely manic. Started cutting on myself started smoking pot again and got hooked on pain meds. (Still with the same guy) he put up with so much of my shit.
This is when the amazing anxiety decided to be apart of my life. I would never leave my house. I hated going anywhere. My panic was out of control. Finally, when I was 27 or 28 I went to the Dr. And let me just say it was the best decision I have ever made. She got me on the right combination of meds and I have been stable ever since!
"Never give up with doctor's, I am not saying it is a cure all but a lot of trial and error. Finding the right combination sometimes of medication and other treatment can help us stabilize and function how we want to and feel we should be. If you go to a doctor you have to be patience because it takes time and understanding that it may not be a quick fix no matter how bad we want one. Always make sure you have open communication with your doctor so you can track and monitor what works and doesn't so that you can find the right balance easier."
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My kids are amazing, my husband which is yes the same guy has supported me and stuck with me for the past 13 years and thank god cause without him I would probably not be here and that scares me. My parents have been a wonderful support and have helped me from a young age. Having support around you like this is so important not because it fixes any problems, it makes it easier to face them.
My bipolar is manageable these days. I have my ups and my downs but I am stable. My anxiety has its days as well. I can’t have a job cause it gets that bad. I still have my moments where I can’t leave my house or I need to stop and breathe. The cutting is always in the back of my head, it will never go away. But instead of cutting, I get tattoos or piercings, and that helps when I am overwhelmed.
It is a daily battle but it is okay to live with mental illness. It is okay to seek help and get on medication. It is a real life-threatening illness.
I am proof that there is life living with bipolar depression and anxiety.
I am now 32, my kids are now 12 and 9 and they are my everything. I am so thankful I didn’t give up.
Thank you so much for this chance to share my story. I know I probably left some stuff out. But this is and was my struggle to survive.
I want to personally thank Sheri for sharing her story with us because we never know who our words will reach. I urge you if you have a story that you want to share on your experiences click HERE and let us know, we would love to be able to share it for you. None of us are as alone as we feel sometimes and the support is out there if we reach out for it and sometimes that can be a struggle. Remember doctors and medical professionals can help us also and it is not weakness to ask for their help. The more we ask the more we can get in return, when we help each other we also help ourselves in so many ways.
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Special Thanks to Bonnie-Leigh Thornton for more info on pictures email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have amazing talent and thank you for your support!