04 Nov Stacey’s Recovery Story
“I don’t care what the doctor says! SOMETHING IS WRONG.”
That quote above is pretty much how I lived my life from the age of 16-27.
On April 21, 2001, I had my first panic attack and after that my life was never really the same. I went from being your average “live life to the fullest” teenager, to someone who was terrified to even leave her room.
It took about six months for my doctor to diagnose me with Panic Disorder, and for those six months I lived in constant fear of dying. Every chest pain was a heart attack, every headache a brain tumor. I was in and out of the Emergency room more than some of the doctors who worked there.
After the diagnosis, I was started on a medicine and slowly things started getting better. I was no longer the carefree girl I used to be, but I was starting to get some of myself back. I graduated High School, went to college and was ready to start my life, but in the summer of 2004 I was sexually assaulted by someone very close to me and just like that every ounce of progress I made completely disappeared.
I spent the next eight years stuck in a cycle of being terrified of dying to not really wanting to live anyway. I was convinced the assault was my fault, so I just bottled it up inside. I believed my Panic Attacks were just an annoyance to others, so I bottled all of that up as well. I started my long time habit of pushing away anyone who tried to get close to me, and perfected the art of hiding any kind of pain I was in… Until the day I couldn’t anymore.
July 13, 2012 is the day I will always remember as the day I completely lost any sliver of hope that I had. It’s also the first time I tried to take my own life. It’s like every single thing I had been holding in for years exploded out, and I just broke.
After two back to back hospital stays I FINALLY admitted that maybe I couldn’t do this on my own anymore.
With the help of an amazing clinical team, I started to face the demons of my past and I began to let people in again. All my family and friends I had spent years thinking I was a burden to, quickly rallied by my side, 100% ready to support me no matter what, and I realized that I had never truly been alone. I was surrounded this entire time by people who loved me and wanted nothing more than for me to be happy.
Each day of recovery was a baby step, and there were quite a few setbacks along the way, a major one being when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a year ago… I took that diagnosis kicking and screaming… But at the end of the day I accepted it.
There are still days where things seem overwhelming, but I continue to fight. The mischievous carefree girl I used to be slowly peaks her head out a little more each day. And that hope that I lost? I got it back.
I fought the hardest battle of my life, and I came out on top. I am living proof that recovery IS possible.