I am a recovering addict that also happens to have mental illness that I deal with on a daily
basis. I can remember as a small child of about five years old having to go se a psychiatrist and I
was diagnosed with with PTSD at a very young age. I was not put on medications due to my age.
Just like with addiction there is a stigma towards people with mental health issues. I learned
pretty quick about the stigma and as such learned to keep my feelings and issues with my illness to
myself. I also learned at about eight years old that I could drown those feelings and issues with
alcohol. By the time I hit high school I discovered other drugs helped even better. During my early
adult years the doctors diagnosed and told me I was also Bipolar. Today i suffer more from the
depressive state than the manic state. Drugs helped me control my bipolar.
Then came Narcotics Anonymous and I wondered if I could stop using the drugs and control my
illnesses. It was not an easy road and every step I worked I had to to work on both my addiction
and my illnesses. I had to find other ways to keep my illnesses under control. I turned to my cats.
I discovered that when I let them they can be very calming and relaxing. They can also be little
clowns at times. Just the other day I had one of my cats jump into a five gallon bucket of water my
husband had paint brushes and rollers soaking in and now I have white paw prints all over my
kitchen floor. I also discovered I could use music to change how I feel. If I am heading for mania
I can listen to slow, sad music to being me down and if I am getting depressed I can listen to
Now that I am getting into my later years in life I have found that I can do craft work to help
keep my mind busy, to keep me from getting depressed. I have also learned that there are people who
understand what having a mental illness like that I can talk to, kind of like a sponsor except or
mental illness. I still see a doctor for my mental illness. She knows that I am in recovery and she
is very cautious with what medication she gives me making sure can’t and don’t abuse it. I have a
support group for my illness also. All this helps me stay healthy mentally.