Tuesday, December 18, 2012

28 days of keeping it real 3.0

Once again, thanks to all of you that have shared your struggles with me, either publicly or privately. I so appreciate your willingness to open up and be vulnerable. At the moment, I am feeling quite vulnerable myself. Sharing my struggles with the world, is not something I would have really ever envisioned myself doing. Given that I judge myself for having mental illness, opening up to be potentially judged by all, feels quite prickly. Like a cat-hair sweater. 

But, as you may well know, you cannot change the behavior of others. You can only change your own. And here I am, in all my imperfect glory, over-sharing, with the hope that you will too. With me, with others, and perhaps most importantly, with yourself. For the children who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, and for our friends who have gone far too soon, mental illness must be addressed. And for me, that starts here.  

Today, I have the pleasure of having a guest blogger! Shane, an old friend (whom I recently re-connected with on FB), has also been significantly impacted by mental illness. And here is the first installment of Shane's story....

My name is Shane and I am proud of my old friend Marni to have the courage to not only open the discussion on mental illness but also share the challenges she has faced in her own life with it. So it has prompted me to share my own battle with depression. In 2003, I was in an accident fueled by alcohol and cocaine in which I fell over a railing of a second floor. I landed on a 45 degree angle, on my head, from approx 16 feet with my face and skull taking most of the impact. The fall resulted in a traumatic brain injury with too many broken bones to list. As well I damaged my optic nerves which has left me legally blind. I was in a coma for approx 6 weeks and had to have reconstructive surgery to rebuild my facial and skull. Luckily, the Creator was watching over me and I lived and am able to tell part of my story.
I tell you this because this accident eventually was one of factors which started me on my healing journey and also started my realization of my struggle with mental illness which I tried to bury with substances. I went into a severe depression upon release from the hospital and wished I didn't exist any longer. I refused medication and any mental health counselling, therapy, etc. Instead I turned back to substances and buried my pain. Eventually I agreed to take medication but mainly to control the seizures I was having and to manage the intense pain. I was also prescribed an SSRI. However, those led to Oxicontin and Percocet abuse.
Eventually I was able to get clean but now the pain I was burying was alive and stronger than ever. I continued taking my cocktail of anti-convulsants and anti-depressants, however, I was still in so much pain. Taking an anti-depressant felt like I was too weak to handle the world. I often fiddled with my medications or the doseages, and experienced crashes like you would see at a demolition derby. Seeing specialist after specialist. Psychologist, psychiatrists and trauma therapists, but to me they were all a bunch of idiots.
And now I shall have my tea. After all, I have quite a few more days to keep it real on this journey with Marni.

Thank you, Shane!
Virtual warm fuzzies,

PS Are you still wondering if I actually have a cat hair sweater?!


  1. Marni- Kitty is your cat hair sweater. Shane- Thanks for sharing this, it took tons of guts and I really respect you for sharing your story to help the rest of us face our stories.

  2. Ha! Indeed. Thanks for the comment- I will pass this on to Shane :)