I’m taking a look into the lives of people who have recovered or are in recovery of mental health struggles and have struggled with self-harm or scars related to mental illness. Mental illness is mostly an invisible disability so it goes widely unnoticed except to the people it haunts who unfortunately can never take a break from it. Scars are a visual representation of some of the wars we go through as people suffering from mental illness. Not all scars need to be a product of self-harm. Some scars are from co-occupant disorders, suicide attempts, drug addiction, or other struggles people have. I want to take a minute to also appreciate the people who suffer from mental illness but do not have any visible scars. We see you, we support you, you are valid. 

Today we get to look into the story of Brianna who struggles from Type One BiPolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, and complex PTSD. Brianna struggled to feel safe in her childhood which contributed to her disorders today. I’m going to let Brianna tell her story from here. Warning; it’s a tear jerker! 


My name is Brianna and I am 22 years old. I struggle with severe type one bipolar disorder, complex PTSD, ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. I have battled most of my life with anxiety and depression.

Starting around age 5 when my parents divorced. I was raised with my mom who also has type one bipolar disorder and substance abuse disorder. Now, I also had my dad who is a great man and pretty much saved my life. I believe being around grown adults at a young age who had severe substance abuse disorder really contributed to my anxiety and personality disorder. I never felt safe. I would clench my jaw, bite my nails, pull out my hair, and punch myself.

Around age 16 that’s when the cutting started. At first it was just superficial cuts to relieve some of the rushing intrusive thoughts, numbness, or anger I felt. I believed I deserved to feel pain. I had this idea in my head that I was a mean, manipulative person. In 2018 I reached out and finally got help. I started off with therapy once a week and I saw a psychiatrist once a month. Two months into therapy I ended up in inpatient for the first time for cutting and suicidal thoughts. I was there for about 10 days in April of 2018. I got out and continued with my destructive behaviours. Drinking, cutting, sleeping around, spending money I didn’t have, and taking pills. Until one day I was finally fed up. I was going to end it. I was letting my illness control me. My brother and dad came home to me high on pills and with cuts on my arm. They took me to the ER which was another trip to inpatient. That was in July of 2018.

It is now February 2019 and I couldn’t be in a better place. I no longer self-harm. I don’t drink or abuse pills. I was fed up being a slave to my mental illness. I decided it is not going to have control of me anymore. I am here today because of therapy and inpatient. Sometimes you must reach the bottom before you decide to go up. I had to realize how much I am worth. I am a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a hard worker. I am loved. I am Brianna. I am not my invisible illness. 

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