Mental illness….. it’s been a lifelong battle of mine. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD. A result of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. Regardless of the diagnosis or label, I’ve struggled. My first suicide attempt was back in high school when I was around 16. I took a handful of Midol, Tylenol…. anything I could find in the bathroom. I remember I left the empty bottles under the edge of my bed, hoping my mom would see them in the morning. I awoke, alive, and miserable. Ears ringing and nauseous. Played it off as the flu. Felt horribly shameful and guilty.

Fast forward a few years. Attempted again, but this time almost succeeded. Landed in the hospital where my family would soon learn of my past.  That’s when I started therapy and would continue for the next 32 years.  I’ve been suicidal most of my life and sadly, attempted numerous times over the years. In and out of the hospital. Numerous different medications. The result is always the same. I have mental illness and unless I fight it everyday I will go backwards… where I never want to go again.

About 8 years ago, my son Taylor started showing signs of some mental illness. You can imagine the guilt and shame I felt knowing that I must have passed this horrible legacy onto him. My decision then was to fight! I was going to figure this out for him because as far as I knew, he wasn’t abused. I enlisted the help of many:  therapist, doctor, school, church. In two short years he went downhill quickly. I could not save him from his depression and I couldn’t figure it out . It broke my heart to see him so stricken and yet I understood.

On May 14th, 2013 he ended his life. My life, my purpose, my being, was changed forever that day.

Today… I still struggle but I have learned how to find peace and joy in my life. I remember to give grace to God everyday for my other son, Tanner. I am blessed beyond words and need to remember that. It’s not easy but it is a choice for me. I choose to live… for Taylor and for Tanner. Sharing my story isn’t easy for me as I remember my father words, “we don’t hang our dirty laundry out for everyone to see” but I do believe, by talking we can make a difference.  I promised Taylor I would continue the fight!!