My name is Richard and I’m a person in long term recovery.
I grew up in Massachusetts in a house with active substance abuse. I have 5 siblings and have been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders: Bipolar II w/ psychotic features, Complex PTSD, GAD, and Major Depressive Disorder.
I am a survivor & thriver from childhood sexual abuse and satanic cult ritual abuse.
I was first entered into the legal system and diagnosed at age 16 with Major Depressive Disorder.
I have overcome many struggles up to this point and would like to focus on mental disorders.
My last illegal substance was 3/4/2002 and on 3/5/2003 I entered recovery.
I thought by addressing my substance abuse I could live a decent life.
My experience in recovery was good up to year 4 when everything broke down. During this time, I was in cognitive behavioral therapy recovering from the sexual and cult abuse. I started medication in 2004 for Bipolar II & Major Depressive Disorder.
I am treatment resistant which means conventional treatments for these disorders do not work for me. I have spent many years developing a recovery that works for me. Being in the “rooms” for 4 years helped me build a solid foundation to base my recovery on.
Going back to what it was like for me, I was struggling with MDD and growing up in an abusive home. Emotional abuse happened daily, there were arguments and lectures in the wee hours of the morning on how terrible us kids were and why we were the cause of our parents struggles. I left home at age 16 looking for a better life, but soon found out there was no better life for me, a reject from society. I lived where ever I could sometimes in public parks or sheds while perusing my addictions. It didn’t really matter what I abused as long as I didn’t have to deal with myself and life in general. I have lost everything and became destitute many times over.
My life was out of control and I hated myself for what I had become. I have attempted suicide many times and one landed me in an institution for over a month. I was not labeled the crazy one and my life changed forever. I lost most of my friends and family after that, but did have some that supported me and tried to help. Being stigmatized in my early 20s was a huge blow and led to further isolation. I stayed clean for a year while I was on medication, but soon went back to my old ways and came to the realization I was alone with no place to go and no one to talk to who understood. I ended up in 3 more institutions and was diagnosed in all 3. Bottom line is I could not stay clean unless I started taking care of my mental disorders.
In 2004, I started medications again and this time stuck to it. I developed a routine that I could live with. I joined online support groups, have a psychiatrist, and therapist which I use extensively in my recovery. I choose a life of recovery rather than being stigmatized by labels and repressed. Recovery for me is self-care, self-advocacy, I am not my diagnosis and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.
Today I am stable and able to live the life I always wanted. I help others navigate the mental health system and advocate for themselves, stand up for their rights to be treated properly and live a healthy productive life.
Richard J. NC-CPSS