Allison: My long road to recovery
I feel gratitude every day for my recovery. I owe so much to my parents who stood by me through my entire journey with mental illness. They supported me in every way imaginable and I would not be here without them. Without treatment and resources, I would not be where I am today.
I was first diagnosed with major depression at age 15, after a suicide attempt. I was hospitalized for three months in an Adolescent Psychiatric Unit. I spent the next 25 years dealing with major bouts of depression, anxiety, anger, and suicidal ideation. I became addicted to drugs and alcohol while trying to self-medicate. I’ve been hospitalized six times, attended a 30 day rehabilitation center, and lived in a couple of halfway houses. I used to pray for death every night and was disappointed when I awoke in the morning. I was self-injuring and taking handfuls of pills regularly.
After 25 years of living with crippling depression and trying many combinations of medication, I finally tried ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). This was a miracle treatment for me – my depression seemed to dissipate and I felt alive once again. I never thought I could have any kind of life except one in survival mode, but now I look forward to waking up each morning.
I sit on the Public Policy Committee and the Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council for NAMI Colorado, and I am also a presenter for the organization’s In Our Own Voice and Ending the Silence programs. I attend weekly support groups and am training to be a group facilitator. I do yoga on a regular basis and work out at the YMCA. I take my medication religiously along with seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist.
I feel gratitude every day for my recovery. I owe so much to my parents who stood by me through my entire journey with mental illness. They supported me in every way imaginable and I would not be here without them. Without treatment and resources, I would not be where I am today. My hope is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness and fight for more resources for those who are seeking treatment. I hope one day everyone is able to feel the way I do now!
— Allison Greenstein