My name is Liz. I am the owner of a blog called BecomingLiz.com. My website is dedicated to everything surrounding mental health and self-development. The stigma placed on the mentally ill is reflected everywhere in our world and it saddens me. There is a negative bias towards people with conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, and schizophrenia and this has permeated our schools, law enforcement agencies, our judicial systems, and our government. This injustice touches a personal cord as I, myself, am a mental health warrior. I am tired of being quieted by fear of judgement so I have decided to tell my story.
The concept of “becoming” started to take shape in my heart many years ago. At its core, becoming is a healing process. A method of stripping yourself of all your preconceived notions, false beliefs, unrealistic expectations, and feelings of self-loathing. As you begin to free your soul from these burdens, the foundation of who you are is strengthened. Traveling back to your roots and becoming who you were meant to be in the first place is essential for learning how to love yourself from the inside out. And, the “becoming” journey begins with telling your story and being proud of where you have been and who you are.
Throughout my childhood, teenage, and adult years I experienced a slow agonizing landslide into mental illness characterized by panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety, major depressive disorder, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and a suicide attempt.
I have suffered from panic attacks and bouts of depression since I was 6 years old. At the time, I had no way of knowing the extent of damage to my fragile psyche, but I continue to experience the effects to this day. As an adult, I’ve spent hours analyzing my childhood trying to understand why I experienced these paralyzing ailments at such a young age. Honestly, the possibilities are endless and, at least for me, not as complicated as one might think.
Thirty-five years later, I understand certain people’s predisposition towards depression and anxiety and the delicate balance between nature vs. nurture. The dysfunctional family environment I was exposed to, although not all intentional, compounded on my susceptibility towards an anxious mind. In turn the trauma of childhood panic compromised my ability to grow into a balanced stable minded adult. Let me explain.
By the time I was 7 years old, the seeds of anxiety and panic had sprouted and the roots of what I defined as my ‘demon’ grew out of control. In an attempt at survival, I became skilled at avoiding anything that precipitated fear. During the years that children are supposed to be exploring their sense of self, I was locked in a prison of terror. Most kids between the ages of 10 and 15 years old are beginning to emerge as mentally healthy independent human beings with a focus on maintaining a vibrant social life. I attempted to conform to these expectations of “normal childhood development”, but my tormented mind made it hard to focus on anything besides my survival. Instead of dreaming about who I was going to be when I grew up, I spent nights crying myself to sleep, terrified of the future and believing I was too stupid to ever accomplish anything.
Inevitably, these feelings of despair pushed me down a precarious path. Throughout my teenage and young adult years I teetered on the edge of insanity. My lack of self-worth was portrayed in many forms of self-destructive behavior, including casual unprotected sex, alcoholism, prescription medication addictions, and abusive relationships. I hit my rock bottom when I was 32. By this time, I had already been admitted to a psychiatric hospital twice, had more than one complete mental breakdown, had one suicide attempt, and had lost custody of my two children because of all of it.
It was in the depths of this hell, I discovered I was pregnant with my third child. This was the catalyst for my becoming journey. Standing at a crossroads with demons breathing fire down my back, I began to understand the seriousness of my situation. A choice and commitment to change had to start immediately or I would die. And, so I began a terrifying, tedious, and painfully slow climb up the sheer rock walls towards the light of healing.
Pulling myself from the pit of severe depression and anxiety has not been easy and definitely not without a multitude of slips and falls. But, one day at a time, I continue to tell and own my story. Expressing my thoughts through writing has been a powerful motivator in continuing my healing process. I have gained a sense of confidence I have always wished for. I have learned the importance of nurturing my body, mind, and soul. As I become familiar with who I am at the core of my being, my foundation becomes stronger and my boundaries clearer. My values, interests, passions, and goals continue to slide into focus while false beliefs and destructive thoughts have begun to fade into the background.
Just like my emotional transformation, my blog is in the growing stages. I am sprouting seeds of hope and inspiration by sharing my story to those who can relate to my experiences. I am spreading roots of strength, comfort, and support to those who are afraid to take the first step in confronting past trauma. With time, I hope the branches of my blog will provide a place of refuge to an entire community of people who are at all stages of their personal transformation. My focus, through the power of storytelling, is to instill courage and perseverance in those who have taken the first brave steps towards learning who they are and how they became who they were meant to be in the first place.
As you read through the posts on my site, you will find stories of fear, sadness, frustration, anger, desolation, and guilt. But, through the pain of my healing, there is an underlying strength. One of stubborn refusal to give in to my mental challenges. There are also controversial topics from personal choices and experiences that may trigger some and stir anger in others. However, this is the essence of storytelling and, in my experiences, often the stories people need to hear the most.
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