I am sharing this video because of the misconception about what people feel mental illness is or isn’t. I am sharing my personal story. Yes, today I put a face on Mental Illness.
This article is in honor of the women who came before me and the ones after me.
I had blinders on. I wasn’t blinded by love just pure ignorance. My mother never whispered words of warning about the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, nor did I see the “proceed with caution sign”. I describe my experience with domestic violence, as being in the Twilight Zone, during that period of time nothing seemed real, it felt like it was staged. Although my wounds have healed, my heart is mended and my spirit restored; I think about the women who did not make it out and are still knee deep in the grips of the terror of domestic violence. My story is one of hope, desire and rebirth.
The Face in My Mirror
A Self Portrait
I woke up that morning as I did every morning, feeling like I had been drinking all night. My head was heavy and my mouth was dry. The bedroom was dark the blinds were closed and the drapes drawn. This atmosphere reflected my spirit. I carried myself to the bathroom as though I was a fat lady who weighed a thousand pounds. What was usually a short trip from my bedroom to the bathroom turned into an endless journey. Each step that I took towards my destination moved further and further away. When I reached the bathroom the cold tile sent chills up my spine. I was not aware that I had no slippers on my feet. I closed my eyes before turning on the light, a ritual that I performed every day.
I stood for a moment slowly opening my eyes to let the light in. I stared at myself in the mirror, searching for signs of life but there was only emptiness. I could no longer force a smile or even wash away the sadness that soured my soul. For year, I had worn a mask in public to hide the sadness I kept in my heart.
I glanced over at my dressing table where I sat to apply my make-up, just as a clown would sit down to his dressing table to paint the face that entertained the guests who have come to see the show. I thought to myself, not today, no more hiding, no more pretending.
I had to make a choice to come face to face with the truth about how corrupt I was living. At that moment, I began to feel an instant wave of relief wash over me. I made a long awaited decision, no more masquerade.
It was December 1, 1994, the day I hit rock bottom.
It also was the best day of my life.
It has been years … Since I decided not to dance with the devil anymore…I decided to face my fears, open my closet and let out all the skeletons, no more secrets.
What I did not know then. I know now.
“Divine time and order”. There were lessons to learn even though some of them came with a price.
It was 1988, I met a quiet, charming, handsome man who was drug free, hardworking and attracted to me. He said that he “wanted me to be his wife and mother of his children”. I said, “Yes” and good-bye to “Ms. Party Girl”, I led a clean life by stopping the drinking, and drugging and I settled into married life.
After setting into the role of “Mrs. Homemaker” not long after I found myself in an abusive situation. My husband turned from prince charming into a MONSTER. All my dreams of a happy forever after came crashing down, and I returned to booze and drugs for the next four years. I was desperate to hold on to what I thought was my only chance at a happy life.
On December 1, 1994, when I stood in that bathroom looking at myself in the mirror, I saw someone that I know did not recognize. I no longer desired to be a victim anymore. My first step on the road to well-being and enlightenment was to free myself from a relationship that only aided in me falling into a deep depression and lowering my self-esteem.
Once I accomplished securing my freedom I relocated and the real work began. I entered into the world of therapy, seeking to find out why my life had turned out the way it did. I honestly felt that all the trouble was due to me choosing men who were all wrong for me.
Seven sessions into therapy, I discovered that at the core of my problems was that I never experienced a true caring, loving and trusting relationship. Not even with my parents. After years of therapy and a lot of soul searching, I learned to love myself, accept myself, and to make peace with my past. I have learned the art of true forgiveness, unconditional love and acceptance.
My choices don’t make me a good or bad person, it’s what I do about the choices I make. I look to “ME” for happiness and rejoice in the happiness that others bring into my life. Now my life is filled with much joy and peace. To this end I have a very important message to share from Maya Angelou, she said “Once you heal yourself, help to heal others one person at a time”.
An excerpt from The Original Article “The face in My Mirror” Street News