The Gift of Desperation

Lisa M, was certain that after a lifetime of dealing with fear, anorexia, psychiatrists and addiction that there had to be a different way to live. She was presented with the gift of desperation and was ready to put in the work.

Read below to read her journey at The Cedars and courageous story of hope.

Life before recovery:

“I came to The Cedars at the age of 44 after a lifetime of addictions. My first addiction started at the age of 12 with a diet which progressed over time to anorexia, bulimia and obesity. At 14 I was given my first psychiatric diagnosis and prescribed an antidepressant. From then until I came into treatment I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Schizoid Personality Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Mood Disorder and Major Depression with Psychotic Features.

Over the last 30 years I have taken antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers, tranquillisers and sleeping tablets. At various times I would have ‘topped up’ with alcohol. I have also been given ECT on a few occasions, been in a lock up ward and had many admissions to various psychiatric wards. I tried to end my life many times. In 2006 I began self-harming and this became so severe in 2017 a surgeon treating my cuts told me I had 6 months to live if I continued as I was.

I knew after this that something had to change. My Mom suggested treatment for addiction issues, and although I didn’t believe I was an addict, I was ready and willing to try anything.

What Happened: 

I arrived at The Cedars so heavily medicated I barely remember the first 8 weeks. I felt frightened and overwhelmed but strangely secure knowing all I had to do was follow suggestions. I blindly did as I was told. It took 2 months to detox and after about 6 weeks I realised the hallucinations and suicidal thoughts had gone. It was hard because I suffered from excessive sweating and a sensation that I might pass out at any time. 

I also struggled to sleep. My concentration was very poor which meant it took me a lot longer than other patients to work through my steps. I knew I had to be willing to go to any lengths if I wanted to recover and be a proper Mom again. I could see in the staff the power of the program and with their support, encouragement, challenges and love, I not only worked through my steps in theory but was able to apply them after. 

‘Learning through doing’ helped me a lot when I left treatment. 

I began to realise that nothing external would ever fix me. Everything I had been searching for already lay within. I began to accept that I am intrinsically connected to everything around me and that feeling of being totally alone in the world disappeared. 

What It Is Like Now? 

After a lifetime trying to escape a nameless darkness I felt pursued me, I am slowly coming back to myself. I found acceptance around my past and realised that it has been a blessing because it has equipped me to help other people going through what I have been through. 

I can now hold my children and feel their breath against my neck and hearts beating next to mine. I have reconnected with life. I have found peace around the end of my marriage and opportunities have opened for me to begin working again in the area of mental health recovery. 

I now feel I have the tools to deal with life’s challenges.

I wake every morning full of hope and gratitude for what was, what is and what will be. I know at a very deep level that everything is exactly as it is meant to be. By going to meetings, connecting with my sponsor, helping others and doing my best to apply spiritual principles in everything I do, I know, one day at a time, I will be ok. 

After a lifetime of self-help books, religion, psychologists, psychiatrists and everything else I tried, I cannot thank The Cedars community enough for giving me back my life.”

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