Thursday, August 26, 2021

Welcome to the Escape

     Welcome to Escaping the Stigma, my name is Brittany. I decided to start Escaping the Stigma after a close family member committed suicide. I also struggle with my own mental illness: Bipolar. This is my way to escape, open up, have a safe place for people to talk, and hopefully help others. Now for my story!

I was officially diagnosed with bipolar when I was 24 years old, but deep down, I think I always knew. The ups and the downs started in my teens. I became private and self loathing. I denied it. I was ashamed of it. I wouldn’t talk about it. I am a single mother to two beautiful little girls, how could I be bipolar and the mother they deserved? Then I had my first suicide attempt.

I remember taking all the pills and crying. I remember calling my Mom, crying and saying I was sorry. After that I don't remember much, I know I was taken to the hospital. It wasn’t until the next day, on my way to inpatient treatment, that I started remembering things. I remember being scared. Feeling alone. But, it helped. I felt good, better. I was taking the right medication, I was stabilizing. And I stayed stable and present, until Covid happened.

Being a frontline worker meant seeing my kids less, and unfortunately, I spiraled. I went off my medicine. And went manic. I blew through my money. Got rid of my dogs. Became paranoid, thought everyone was out to get me. Imagined things and thought they were real. Finally broke down, and asked for help. Started seeing the doctor again, started taking the medicine again. But what goes up must go down, and I fell into a deep depression.

I started cutting people off, the paranoia returned. All I wanted to do was sleep. I stopped cleaning, stopped taking care of myself. Started writing a goodbye letter to my kids. And then it happened. That moment of clarity. And I knew I needed more help. I called my doctor's office in tears. Explained what was going on, that I had a plan. Next thing I know, a family member is at my door, and back to inpatient I went. 

12 days. I spent 12 days inpatient, and let me tell you, it was the best thing for me. Of course I was nervous and scared, but the benefits of being in a safe space were exactly what I needed. Now getting back out was a bit of a struggle, I called it culture shock. But I never have regretted the decision of going in, it was what I needed. 

After getting out I continued seeing the doctor and my therapist until we found what worked for me. Other than some minor ups and downs, which come with bipolar, I was finally becoming stable. And realizing that I wanted to help people. I want the stigma of mental health gone. I want people to be able to talk openly about their struggles. Maybe if the stigma was gone I would have asked for help sooner. But I didn't know how to accomplish this goal. Until earlier this month, after a certain phone call.

It was a Monday evening, I had worked all day, and then picked up my girls for meet the teacher. We were pulling up to my mom's house when I received a phone call. During this phone call I learned that a close and dear family member had committed suicide earlier that day. I remember breaking down, I remember my mom pulling my kids out of the car. I remember feeling lost, and asking myself why? What could I have done? 

In that moment I realized what I needed to do. Create that safe place. Be open and honest about my struggles and maybe help someone accept their diagnosis. My goal is to end the stigma, help people, and share my story and what I’ve learned. I want people to be more comfortable talking about what is going on with them. I want “asking for help” to be a sign of courage not weakness. 

This is my story, these are my struggles and my high points. I hope my story gives you the courage to speak up. Help me end the stigma of mental health and suicide. Help me make the world a better place for everyone. We all deserve better.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or self harm please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 or chat with someone on their website:     

1 comment:

  1. Brittany, you are a truly brave woman. I understand everything you're going thru and I loved reading your story. I love that you shared your story for others. Please keep this going, you're doing amazing. If you ever need anything I'm here.
    Cassie Kyle


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