I Believe Fear Can Be Positive
I was fifteen years old when I received the first of many diagnoses and treatments. Manic-Depressive Disorder wasn’t trendy like it is now ,and people weren’t as knowledgeable or as open-minded about mental illness either. Most of my adolescent life was spent in state care. So at fifteen years old it was made official, I became a ward of the state, in other words, a foster kid. Because of my diagnoses I checked in and out of facilities till I was 21 years old. Each time I moved I was given a new cocktail of pills to add on to the ones I was already taking, and a new disorder. By the time I realized it I was 23 years old and on 13 different medications. My diagnoses now read: Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I remember glancing at my three inch thick file and thinking to myself, “This is it, I’m going to be useless for the rest of my life, my life is over.” When the medications began giving no relief to my symptoms I was given one last option, electroconvulsive treatment or shock treatment. My mind took me back to a memory I had long forgotten when I heard those dire words. While in a facility I had become friends with a middle-aged schoolteacher who had suffered from Major-Depression Disorder all her life. As we sat eating lunch together she told me, optimistically, the numbers and statistics her and her psychiatrist had went over ,and how she hurried to consent to the treatment which was to take place the very next morning. She left our conversation in such high hopes thinking, this was the answer to all her prayers. The next morning she received the treatment as planned and slept all day till dinner time. I watched her as she shuffled into the cafeteria still in pajamas, red-faced and glassy-eyed she slumped into the chair next to me, her mouth slightly open, and saliva running down her chin. I snapped back into reality as my psychiatrist handed me the consent forms to sign. I made the reluctant decision of refusing all treatment, and set out to live with all the pain and stress that comes with living without medication. Little by little I learned to cope with everyday life without pills and willed my spirit and mind to heal. Since that day I have never again been treated for any kind of psychological disorder. I believe that fear can be a motivational tool to overcome any obstacle, no matter how great.
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