Arlyn

Arlyn

My journey

My name is Arlyn. I won’t go into my whole story for personal reasons. I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder when I was young. Mental illness runs deep on my father’s side of the family. My illness manifested itself in many different forms. One of which was severe anorexia and bulimia, or bulimarexia, for which I attended inpatient therapy countless times starting at age 14. I was also a regular patient at hospitals and mental facilities. All of the inpatient, outpatient, various treatment by physicians, psychiatrists, counselors,etc. have all blended together by now. When I was 21, my father committed suicide, which I discovered, and developed PTSD on top of the bipolar,eating disorder, self-mutilation, substance abuse, etc. that I was already battling. I was struggling badly with these issues, and attempted suicide for the 5th time in ’03, only this time it almost worked. I ODed and ended up in a coma on life support and nearly died. I could barely move my finger, could not make noise or function. I have spent the last 11 years learning how to move and speak again. I am passionate about physical activity as that has helped me recover greatly. After a year in a wheelchair, I progressed to a walker for 4 years, then a cane for 3-4 years, and,as of recently, am walking on my own. As of Monday I am a student at NASM, working towards my CPT status. A key part of my personal progress has been working with NAMI,or the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are the top non-profit organization in the U.S. regarding mental illness.

One of the many areas and programs for which they do research for and create community based programs for is dual diagnosis. This involves substance abuse compounded with a mental illness, i.e. alcoholism/depression, etc. Any substance and illness may be substituted.

I am currently the head of a team for NAMIWalks. This is NAMI’s fundraiser for the year. All proceeds go to NAMI Virginia. I recently became a peer counselor with NAMI and have utilized many of their programs at no cost to me , because of donations and volunteer work. If you would like to help in any way you can at all, this is the link to my pagehttps://securewalks.nami.org/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?Referrer=%26Referrer%3dhttp%253a%252f%252fnamiwalks.org%252f&RegistrationID=2499223#&panel1-4

Mental: Like I have said, even I have given up before. Failure is no reason to stop trying.Things might not work out as planned, believe me, this is not what I had planned for.I fell, but my alternatives were to either stay down or brush myself off and get back up. Sometimes you just have to keep moving up, because the alternative, is,well…not good.

Physical: Mind over matter! Like I’ve already said, it can help to pump yourself up mentally, and that will translate to physical. Encourage yourself and have OTHERS encourage you. Accept peoples’ and your own accolades. Be proud of yourself for accomplishing a goal, even if it’s small, be proud!

Social: Stick with the winners. If you’re trying to stay positive, it definitely helps not to be in an environment detrimental to your well-being. And try to spread love, if it’s met with resistance over and over do not give up, but do not over-exert yourself.  I have been guilty of trying to save people. Some people are at a point where they do not want to hear it. But others very much want something different, and if you have something to offer, you can be that winner. It’s all symbiotic and cyclical .

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