Life is Beautiful

I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder when I was very young and never felt like I belonged or was understood. I didn’t know how to fix the emptiness inside- I desperately wanted to be “normal” and accepted, but I also wanted to stand out. I had a loving and supportive family but I felt lonely all of the time. In college I turned to a lot of things to try and change the way people perceived me. I had taken my first drink a few years before, but I immersed myself in the party culture and constantly had a drink or drug to fit in. I changed the way I acted because I thought I felt like I would belong. And I did, for a while, until I wasn’t welcome at those parties anymore. But by then it didn’t matter, I felt okay with these combinations of substances numbing my mind. In a few years my life was pretty much destroyed but I was too delusional to pay attention. I dropped out of school twice and almost didn’t finish a third time. I lost many jobs. I alienated my family and friends. I entered into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. I got raped. I went to jail. I continued to self medicate. The drugs got stronger and stronger but it never felt like enough. By then I truly couldn’t live with or without any substance I could get my hands on, to make me feel okay. I was miserable, always having panic attacks. I wanted to die. And so one day I swallowed my pride enough to cut out pretty much everyone who was part of my lifestyle at that point. I reached out to someone I knew who turned their life around by getting sober. That was in 2014 and I haven’t had a drink or a drug since. For me the point of getting sober hasn’t been to make things easier. I still have really bad days, especially because I deal with a dual diagnosis. The point is I get stronger. I know that I don’t have to go back to where I was. All of the pain and suffering gives me purpose to help others, and it makes my life today especially beautiful.

Ana S.