by Shannon in New York
I have been struggling with mental illness since I was a child. At the age of seven, my mother and father separated. I started pulling chunks of hair out of my head. I would wake up with a pillow filled with hair or the way I saw it, shame. Shame has been my biggest M/O for relapse or suicidal thoughts.
My mother and father took me to a dermatologist where they diagnosed me with alopecia arietta. I lied and said the hair fell out. I held on to that secret until years later.
The abuse from other children was unbearable. They would rip my hat off and expose my bald head and my shame to the world. Trichotillomania was the last diagnosis for that, that one made sense, nearly ten years later. Sexual abuse came into play a year later, with more shame and more pain. I prayed and I found God – I found a secret friend.
At age 11, I became sexually active to escape myself. It was working. He cheated. He left like my dad. I felt like I was choking on my food with severe panic attacks. After two weeks of not eating, my mom found me a physician and I soon was able to eat, but then I stopped seeing her.
I graduated high school, turned 18 and once again started therapy on my own and was also prescribed medication. Unfortunately, I began drinking heavily, smoking crack and was in a destructive relationship -- once again back in the arms of shame.
I heard him on the phone. I heard her voice in my head[HC1] . I picked up the knife and, with two quick strikes to my wrist, it was there in plain sight. The misery and the pain in my head came to surface. All I wanted was another hit of crack – another way to numb the pain. At the hospital they stitched up my wrist. The next morning I was arrested for stealing from my boss, a woman I loved. This disease of the devil got me.
Four years ago, the sun was shining. It was an average spring day. I had been clean for a month and was with my same old boyfriend. We were visiting my aunt. She was upstairs. She just bought a new wardrobe and wanted me to see it. She was happy. She gave me her last $11 and told me to go get pizza. When we returned with the pizza, we yelled up upstairs for her to come down and eat, but she didn't come down. We ran up the stairs. The door was locked so we broke it down. I tried so hard to breathe my air into her mouth. I was jealous. It took me until today to admit that, life on life's terms is not easy and, at that moment, death seemed easy. I miss her very much. I still pull out my hair, but not as much. I'm sober from drugs and alcohol for seven months. It's one day at a time and I was just recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I attend intensive therapy five days a week, but subconsciously I'm rebelling against the program's rules and I'm on the verge of being discharged. I do believe God will provide. I will be ok one day at a time.