My name is Sarah. I am a mom to the raddest tiny human on planet earth, an artist, and a female who has survived and continues to conquer my battle with mental illness every day. My mental illness reared its ugly head in grade school, that’s when I first began being bullied. It continued in high school, however, I was now not only being bullied but dealing with the beginning of an eating disorder. I had developed bulimia; because I loved food to much too simply not eat. Once I graduated high school I left home and attended Ohio University; that’s where my love/hate relationship with alcohol began. I had finally found something that made me not only numb to all the pain I had been bottling up for years but turned me into the life of the party.
At Ohio University drinking was all I did; you could never drink too much and be looked at like you had a problem. This is because that’s all my group did and they did that to the extreme. Fast forward to July 2011, I had left OU and moved home, and that summer I received a high tier DUI. I called my brother to pick me up once I got to the police station; he then called my mom because he felt she should be the one to come get me. I was ordered by the court to spend 7 days in the Talbert House. Once released, I told my family I didn’t think I would want to drink again. That turned into I won’t drink and drive, and that turned into I will control my drinking. I started seeing a counselor and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and also informed I am a manic depressive. I started taking medication for both… or so I told my parents. Not drinking didn’t last long at all, it got worse.
Spring 2012, I woke up in a mental health hospital having no idea what was going on or how I ended up there. After a little bit of time I remembered I tried to end my life the night before with a deadly concoction of my anti-depressants and a bottle of Jack Daniels. All I remember is being so miserable, and in such a dark place nothing else mattered. I decided that night that I couldn’t bear to live any longer and I was no good to anyone else. Nurses and doctor’s kept coming in and out telling me bits and pieces of the night like how I had stopped breathing in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I was also informed that my roommate not only found me but sternal rubbed me over and over once she called the ambulance to try and keep me conscious. I was asked what my parent’s numbers were so they could be contacted and informed of what was going on… I panicked and refused to provide their information. I am still unsure to this day of how my parents were notified but my mom tells me she received a call on her cell phone and someone at UC said, “We have your daughter here and she is ready to be picked up.” My mom said, “ I have no idea what you’re talking about, or why you have my daughter.” They said, “She is in the psych unit on a 24 hour hold. She was brought in last night with an OD.” She asked what happened and they informed her I had taken my anti-depressants, other pills and alcohol. They had to pump my stomach, put me in 4 point restraints, and I was suicidal.
My mom called me and I told her don’t bother coming to get me that I had a ride home. My parents told me they would meet me at my house. I told them I did not need them to come over I was fine and I was not given an option and they would be there along with my brother. My mom tells me that day when they arrived she did not even recognize me. They had not seen me in at least two weeks because every time I made plans with them I came up with an excuse as to why I had to cancel. I was forced to move home, I went to counseling yet again and this time told my parents I would never drink again.
The drinking picked back up shortly after. It wasn’t until family vacation 2014 that my mom started to questions my drinking, I always assured her I was fine and to stop asking. At this point I was drinking so much that I was hiding bottles around the house and starting arguments with my boyfriend at the time to have an excuse to leave the house and drink. I always had a drink in my hand and never was I sober. I wrecked my car that summer and my boyfriend kicked me out when I called him from the back seat of a cop car. He simply couldn’t handle me anymore and dropped me off at my parent’s house. I don’t have any recollection of that night other than brief flashbacks.
A few days after I was dropped off at my parents I agreed to check myself into a rehabilitation center for addiction and mental health treatment. I completed the inpatient detox, as well as intensive outpatient counseling… even after all of that I wasn’t convinced I had a real problem or a mental illness. Three months sober and newly graduated from outpatient counseling, I found out I was 3 months pregnant. I had no choice but to get my business together and to remain sober. I finished my Bachelor’s Degree while I was pregnant, and made a decision to take my medication every day.
Today I am over 4 years sober, I own my first home, I have a good paying job, a dog, a new car, and as I stated at the beginning of my story I am a single parent raising the raddest little human on planet Earth. My mental illness has put me through the ringer but I have come out victorious and now appreciate every day I wake up. I put myself first, and know that mental illness is not something to be taken lightly. I have also learned I am not alone, nor will I ever be alone again, as well as live a full and normal life.