Thursday 19 February 2015

Speak up, find your voice, by Billie Bond

Why is it so hard for people to speak their truth? Child sexual abuse is an epidemic in our country and we need to stop it. Mental Illness is Taboo. We need to educate the public. Stand up for something, even if it means standing alone.

I started my blog to find my voice. Speak up about what happened to me. My family didn't like it. Five sisters and their children have disowned me, all because I wanted to tell the truth. I don't think it is right that he got away with it. I believe telling my story is helping me go from the victim to the survivor.

It took me forty four years and a diagnosis of Bipolar II, PTSD, GAD, and Agoraphobia to be able to find out who I truly was. I love the new me. I have found a very compassionate, loving person under all that façade. I am no longer afraid to love and be loved. I have learned that I can be me. I don't have to fit into someone else's "Box" of what they believe I should be. I am just me. I don't need anyone's acceptance but my own. And you know what I have found? Acceptance and love.

It was a long, hard road to discovery. But so worth it. Were there times I wanted to give up and die? Yes of course. For a long time I felt very broken, unlovable, hopeless, and worthless. I felt like I was just a lot of trouble and misery for the people I love, that they would be better off without me. I self-medicated with sex, drugs, and alcohol for many years. I was very reckless and self-destructive.

I have wished for an illness people can see, like cancer. I don't really want to have cancer, but sometimes living with a mental illness is hard.

I am now medicated. When I was first diagnosed I read everything I could get my hands on. I needed to know that I was Ill, not crazy. I needed to find a way to stabilize myself. One of my therapists taught me in his office how to meditate. That has helped me more than anything else I have tried. When I take twenty minutes out of my day to meditate, it makes me feel grounded, stable, and more relaxed. I also practice deep breathing exercises. When I am stressed or feel a panic attack coming on, it really helps.

I am trying very hard to get into yoga. When I can afford it I want to take some classes. I have read that it is very good for people with mental illness. Everyone needs to do their own research, find the things that work best for you and then do them. Make them habits.

My favorite thing about the new me, I can be alone. I like being alone. I never could before. I could never sit in silence and think, or enjoy the peacefulness of it all. Then I would have to feel. I would have to think about things. Now I love it, I have nothing left to hide and it's empowering.

I hope by writing my book I can encourage other people to speak up. To know they are not alone. There are thousands, millions, maybe billions of us out there. People are afraid and judgmental about things they know nothing about. Let's all stand together, speak up, share our stories, and get rid of this stigma.

My book, And Then There Was One: A memoir of my survival of Childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and mental Illness is now available at Amazon and other booksellers.


Please feel free to contact me:

Thursday 5 February 2015

Rewriting the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Be aware of the stories we tell ourselves, especially those that begin "I'm not the kind of person who ..."

I'm not suggesting we ignore them all, some may still be valid. ("Marty, you're not the kind of person who attempts to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel." That one still works for me.) Most, though, are little more than strategies we've evolved to keep from expanding our horizons.

"Marty, you're not the sort of person who would do a charity zip-wire challenge from the Tyne Bridge."

"Marty, you're not the sort of person who strikes up conversations with strangers in coffee shops."

"Marty, you're so not the sort of person who writes a book about supporting someone with mental illness."

Well actually, it seems I am that sort of person, after all!

Let's listen to the stories we tell ourselves, and maybe we can rewrite a few of them.