I’m an addict — wrong, right or indifferent, I will always be an addict. Yet what makes me understand my addiction more is that I suffer with a mental health disorder called depression. Together they are better known as a dual diagnosis or, according to theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition DSM-5, they are now referred to as co-occurring disorders.
Since the untimely suicidal death of the actor Robin Williams, today many people with behavioral health issues such as anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia, addiction and other co-occurring related disorders are crying out and they are looking for answers. For many years I suffered and struggled alone. I longed for someone to hear me. I even long for death to take me away. See, truth be told, I am not the only one. There are so many people who suffer in silence just like myself with no one to understand the secret pains of trying to escape from being enslaved and in bondage. Once I accepted it was okay for me NOT to be okay, I took the necessary steps to begin my long road to recovery. I entered into psychiatric in-patient and outpatients wards and drug rehabilitation programs. I even gain insight from group therapy. That’s when I began to write and encourage myself that everything was going to be all right. Then I realized words can be powerful, careful put together they are pricelessand I began to write and ask myself why.
Mary, you are so beautiful, why you are using drugs? What happened in your life to make you an addict? What’s wrong, Mary? Can you tell me why you like getting high? Well, since you asked me what’s going on I will try to explain. I’m depressed, I’m hurting, I’m hearing voices, I’m lost, and I need to know — can someone help me before it’s too late? I find the only thing that keeps me in my right mind is having someone to let me know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling. Being depressed is like living in a black hole. There is no light in sight, just voices trying to point me the way out. Some good and some bad. So please, someone tell me or explain to me what’s really going on? Why do you see the outside of me, yet you fail to see what’s going on inside of me? All I want is help not to feel this way. All I want is a chance to be what the world calls normal. Yes, I’m an addict, but that’s not my story. — Chapter 1 Memoirs of an Addict: Fact or Fiction
I recall being asked a question in group counseling therapy: Can an addict ever be free? Or can a person with mental health disorders ever live a normal life? I was so sick into my co-occurring disorders, I could not truthfully answer the question. It took time for me to overcome my shame, and it took time to overcome the stigma to what others think about me.