Thomas, A Strength Born in Misery

I hit a very low point in my life while stationed in Korea. I was a livid being. Drinking to oblivion, abusing meds, gambling ect. I just didn't care anymore. I was trying to escape a pain I had no idea was existing in me.

When I first came to Cali, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and BPD. I knew something was wrong for years. Finding out, though a relief, opened up many more challenges in my life. It literally tore everything I knew apart. Family, work, and just life in general was an extremely hard time as I tried to adjust to many medication cocktails. I lost 37lbs and developed a heart problem. My denial and self hatred got the best of me when suicide was all I thought about.

I quit drug and alcohol abuse about a month before, so self-harm became a main tool to curb the suicidal thoughts until they went away for a while. Fast forward 5 months, a second friend of mine ended his life in July 2015. He put on the happy façade, just like me. It was a hard thing to come to terms with because I was hurting for his loss, but I was hurting even more knowing, first hand, the exact feelings he was going through.

I too had the ability to take my own life. Nothing is as scary as having that kind of power in your hands. My recovery officially started that month. I wanted to manage my illness to show others it is possible. I try to reach out as much as I can through art, fitness, positivity..whatever I can do.

If I help one person, I did my job in this life. I'm not ashamed that I have mental illness, I'm not ashamed of my scars. No one else should either. It got us to where we are at now. Yes I'm still in recovery. I no longer meet criteria for BPD, and a lot of my symptoms are now under my control, and I quit medication without significant relapse. The way I live will not match the stigma that society has put on mental illness, and I'll prove it. I've already proved to the military and, most of all, myself that I am worthy. I built myself from the ground up and I am thriving. My craving to live is strong. A Strength Born In Misery.