Ordinary Heroes

Gill is back to remember some tough times and thank the people who helped her through them.

You’ve probably heard that “local heroes` segment on your local news report, the one that talks about the paralyzed drunk driving victim that goes around to schools around prom, or the local mother who gives Bible studies and a safe place for the neighborhood kids to come and hang out. I’d like to take a second to share with you one of my heroes. She maybe didn’t know it at the time, but her words saved my life.

How It Began

Like I told you in a blog about mental illness, I am bipolar and was not diagnosed until my mid twenties. I did show the signs (extreme moods, anxiety and depression) as early as my mid teens, but I along with many others did not recognize the seriousness of the issue until I was seventeen.

No Way Out

In 1994, I was fifteen, struggling in school, and bullied. One Friday evening in November, fed up with being called things like “retard,” I decided the only way to deal with the issue was to locate the defective section of my heart, pierce it with one of my dad’s steak knives and hope for a quick and painless demise. At the moment the knife was about to stab my chest, my then 13-year-old sister walked in, forced me to put it down, and told on me.

Words And Lifelines

In 1997 I was in a relatively mild but still traumatic bus crash. On that January afternoon the school bus I was riding in slid off the road and hit a snowbank. Although I wasn’t hurt physically, psychologically everything went swirly. Within six weeks my life had virtually fallen apart. I had lost interest in skiing and track, not to mention my grades had slid considerably. Adding insult to injury was the prospect of another year of “slow learning classes”. Again the abyss loomed with out any solution, or so I thought. I wrote my self-harming plans in a journal for 11th grade English class. At the end of the period the teacher pulled me to the side asking “is this how you really feel?” I admitted that I saw no other way out, and that getting some help might not be the worst idea.

Where Am I, Where Are You?

It’s been 20 years since I admitted needing help, and I am doing quite well. Medication, supportive friends, faith, and understanding have guided me. I do still have bad days, but the medicine, faith, and supports all around help considerably. I would also like to take a moment to thank the teacher who saved my life. Mrs. Hood, if you’re out there, thank you for helping me find my way out of the abyss, and getting me the help I needed all those years ago.

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