My days were dark for 30 plus years.
With a degree in secondary education, I was a teacher until I was diagnosed with anorexia. I was dying — even though I didn’t know it — and I didn’t care. My doctor told me I wasn’t going to die on his watch. This opened my eyes. I really did want to live.
My life was out of control. I was divorced, out of a job, out of a career. I was a goldfish in a turbulent ocean. I tried to go to school, hold a job. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do anything. I felt embarrassed, worthless, guilty, shamed, isolated and full of despair. I was very anxious. Molehills became mountains.
Mental illness is a biological brain disorder — parts misfire. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment. There are setbacks.
Medication is important — important daily. It is a trial-and-error process. It is important to know what you are taking and why. Finally, find a doctor you trust and who works for your best interest.
I have found I need structure. I have a regimented schedule. Routine is important. I have learned to say no. Sleep, nutrition and exercise are important. I have friends who support me. I distance myself from non-supporters.
My dream is to advocate for other consumers and to tell my story so others can see there is hope, and that recovery is possible. I am a certified peer support specialist at Bert Nash. I work with individuals as well as in the Decision Support Center at Bert Nash. I also am working on my recovery.
Whether we are at the top of the mountains, or in the depths of the oceans, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is an eternal flame. Hope should never perish. I want to keep the eternal flame lit. Telling my story is one way to accomplish this goal.
— Susan Murphy, Bert Nash Peer Support Services specialist