A few weeks ago I had another mental health crisis and ended up in hospital yet again. It hit my hard as I am doing everything I can to stay well and get my life back on track, yet despite all my efforts at fighting, my brain still got overwhelmed and parts of me destabilised and chaos ensued. I spent just over a week on an acute ward, the art therapy helped me work through some turmoil, but overall the care I received was pretty bad. There is still such a lack of knowledge of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Raising awareness of DID and encouraging professionals to access training and resources is another battle for another day. Right now, I have to focus on my wellness.
I think mental illness doesn’t discriminate against mental strength and courage, resilience or any personal trait like that. I am not weak because my brain does what it does, chemicals get unbalanced, wires misfire, it does it because of past trauma that I survived. I am here because I am a fighter, a warrior, and so is every single person that battles with their mental health. I have to put this here because I always feel so ashamed of myself when I fall down with my mental health, like I failed, like somehow I am not enough, but the very opposite is true of us all.
We are all strong, because the human spirit has been made that way. We all have inner power and courage, we can all do the impossible and more some. We can all conquer anything thrown at us, because we are made of the good stuff. We grow, we develop more strategies, we unlearn unhelpful things and we learn what helps us to get up again. To see another day, to love, to be human, to show and accept compassion, to embrace this life, this earth, this time we have here to show the world it is OK to be knocked down and to get up again.
In 2012 I ran the London Marathon, of all my sporting achievements this is up there with one of my proudest. I have always loved sport, competing in it and helping to make a difference to the development of it. I just watched ‘Phoenix Rising’ on Netflix- wow what a documentary! If you need some inspiration be sure to watch this. A few years ago I put on 5 stone in less than a year because of the psychiatric medications I was put on and the sedentary nature of all the repeated psychiatric inpatient admissions I endured. I have been working my butt off to try and get my fitness and strength back and it is a huge battle when you are carrying an extra 25kg than you should be. I am determined to run my way back to myself, I will also continue to use cycling, the gym, swimming, everything it takes to get myself feeling physically strong again, because it is so important to me to be able to do the things I want to do without struggling with fatigue and low energy, or being out of breath chasing after my nephews.
I love the experience of putting myself through a challenge, stretching my limits of what I thought was possible and breaking boundaries I never dreamed I cross. This is the Tracey I was before mental illness, it is still who I really am despite the struggles and breakdowns and it is who will come up through the ashes again and again.
I wanted to write this today to say to you, you can rise again, you can come through whatever it is that you are going through, you can be the person you are truly inside, let yourself shine and do not be afraid of your light. Your light was meant to be put on the tallest hill for all to see, your light was never meant to be dimmed or snuffed out! Be bold for you again and let yourself soar and fly. You can go to the highest of highest and get out of the lowest of lows. You are enough. You are strong beyond your wildest imagination and you will win whatever challenge is put your way, because you are made of strongest stuff, the human spirit, the determined heart, the willing guts and the intelligent mind. You have got this!