My name is Christin Harper-Wright, and I have Schizoaffective Disorder, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, and Social Anxiety. Ever since I was a child I knew I was different from the other kids. I was so depressed and hurt with no real reason I could understand. I couldn’t enjoy the things most children do. Even going for ice cream seemed like an awful thing to have to do. Of course, my mother noticed this and had me begin seeing a therapist. The first therapist wasn’t bad. Though I don’t remember much of her or what we talked about. I remember her name and what she looked like.
Then a few years later, something even more difficult began to happen. I began to hear voices. The first time, I was laying in bed and the voice came through the register in my room. It was familiar. The voice of a family friend. I don’t know what she said, and I didn’t then either. The next morning I asked my mom what Edna (the family friend) had said. To my surprise she said that Edna hadn’t been there. How strange! I was positive that I had heard her voice. A few years later, shortly after we moved into our new apartment it began again. The voices returned, this time not so friendly and familiar. This time, they were low and deep. Raspy. There were many of them, almost like a crowd. I have no idea what they were saying, and for that I’m grateful. I told my child psychiatrist about this awful experience. (My 2nd psychiatrist by now.) I told her that there were “ghosts in my house that talk to me at night.” She claimed I was crazy.. Yeah, she literally said this to me. I was no more than nine years old. When is it ever okay for a psychiatrist to tell their patient they’re crazy?! I hated her after that. I don’t think I ever went back.
Four years later, after being sexually abused by my grandfather I was once again stuck stuck in therapy. I had some awful luck with these people. I was reluctant, but I caved. I told her all about the abuse. After of course, I made her promise not to tell anyone. But she lied. As soon as I finished telling her everything she simply said, “you know I have to tell the police all of this, right?”.. Wow. How I hated this woman. I had just trusted her with one of the worst thing I could. Shortly after that and everything that followed, I quit seeing her as well. No antidepressants ever worked. I was stuck in a living hell. I started cutting, a lot!
At 16 my life started to fall apart. I started doing drugs, drinking, and I quit school. Shortly after, I had my first suicide attempt. I couldn’t understand what was happening in my head and my life. I wanted it to end. I was sent to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital. I was released after a week and a half. At 17 I tried again, but it was all in vain. I told my mothers girlfriend at the time and she had me sleep in her room. I had been drinking all night and taking handfuls of Tramadol. She never told my mother. I’m not sure why. In retrospect, I wish she had.
Now here I am, 20 years old haunted by my past and plagued by the present. I’m the mother of the most beautiful, innocent angel. I can’t even enjoy it fully. I’m always paranoid. The people I love, I believe to be against me. That they want me to be locked away in a psych hospital. I hate my bathroom. I always think there’s someone hiding in my shower. Waiting, watching.. Wanting to kill me. I freeze when someone stands behind me. Afraid of what they might or will do. I can’t sleep at night. So I smoke weed. If I don’t smoke, I don’t sleep. I lash out when I’m in an extreme state of paranoia. I hit myself, rip out my hair, punch myself. I cry and scream. I don’t understand why I am the way I am. Every now and then I self medicate. I have a constant hallucination that there are bugs crawling on me and biting me. I slap at them and scratch the bites. They don’t go away. I’ve tried showering and scrubbing myself to make them go away. It never works. I have recently started writing all of this in a notebook. Trying to make sense of everything. Trying not to over analyze everything. I keep it on me at all times. I have never put this all out in the open before. I’ve kept most of it my secret. But this is me. There are some very serious dangers of letting a mental illness go untreated.
All I have ever wanted was to help people. Help them to be safer, happier.. For a while, that’s all I did. Help people with their problems no matter how big or small. Helping people made me happy. It was almost like an addiction. But as soon as I had no more problems to help with, I was faced with my own. I knew there would be a lot. I never expected it to be this bad. Even now, I’m not sure I can cope with this or deal with it because I don’t understand it. And I feel alone. Even though I know I’m not. This is the first tiny sense of comfort I have had in a very long time.
I wish I could give you a happy ending, one that says I’m in full recovery and I’m happier than ever. But I’m not. I’m still trying to figure things out. I’m still trying to understand. But I’m not giving up. I won’t. I want to be better. I want to get better to help others get better. I want to help people like me. I want to let them know they’re not alone, and that there is hope.
Christin enjoys drinking too much caffeine and eating pizza. She spends her time with her beautiful daughter, helping everyone she can. Her dream is to become a writer and help change the views of mental illness. Plus she really loves pizza.