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December 9, 2018 by Stephanie Long

What I’ve learned so far: adventures on the road to healing

Friend of the Foundation, Stephanie Long, offers her story in solidarity and encouragement to others with lived experience of the mental health care system

 

My story begins when I was a teenager. I knew something wasn’t right with me because I would be extremely happy one day – euphoric like, then the next day I’d be extremely depressed and wouldn’t want to get out of bed and face people. I would often ask my mom why I’m like this and she’d brush it off that I was a moody teenager. I knew I was moody with my hormones being all over the place, but I felt this went beyond normal teenage angst.

As I got older, my anger, depression, and anxiety was getting worse and I started self medicating with alcohol because this would take my pain away for a while. My mom wouldn’t listen to me, that I wanted to see a doctor about my problems, because we don’t talk about mental health in my family. Ironically enough, it runs on both sides of my family, yet it’s a forbidden topic. I tried to talk to my grandma about it but she said I was exaggerating my issues.

By the time I was 16, and I could hardly stand to be in my own skin, and my mom and I were fighting daily- making it a very toxic situation, so I left home.

After I left, I went to see a psychiatrist and she diagnosed me with ADHD and depression, but I felt this was wrong and the medication made me feel weird. I still didn’t know how to cope with myself and continued to self medicate with alcohol. At this point I was just so out of control. Interestingly enough, I had two jobs and never missed a day of work through all this. I think back on it and wonder how I did hold a job.

At that point, I became anorexic because eating was the only thing in my life I could control. All I ate were grapes and drank. My friends tried to do an intervention on me, but I refused to go and said if they made me that I’d never be their friend again. So I continued my self destructive lifestyle. I also quit my medication because I felt it just wasn’t working. Two years had now passed since I’d talked to my mom because it really upset me that she wouldn’t listen to me about my mental health. I didn’t even know what was wrong with me mentally, but I knew something was wrong.

I somehow successfully made it through high school, but barely, because I never went to class. I also thought college wasn’t for me and was just going to work my way up in a company. I soon came to find out that opportunities to work your way up in a company are few and far between, yet I was still resisting college – I wanted my free time to be mine and not in a study book.

The time for a huge revelation to come crashing down on me was near, but you’ll have to wait for the next blog to find out what it is!

I’m open to talking with anyone who is going through a rough time and needs to talk and/or just wants someone who understands what they’re going through to listen. I can be reached at stephanie@time2talknow.com.


Stephanie Long graduated in 2011 with an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Washington and recently completed her master’s in communication and digital media. Stephanie has over 8 years of experience in all facets of marketing, working mostly for technology companies. In her spare time, she loves to shop online, read, write, and watch movies.

 

 

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