The End of The Line (or, Was It?!)
Many years ago, I experienced an emotional train wreck that nearly destroyed my life. I have spent many years debriefing the circumstances that caused my whirlwind ride to hospitalization, so it is my great delight to begin sharing my thoughts with you concerning the process of emotional healing.
During my early 30’s, escalating emotional symptoms led to the diagnoses of chronic fatigue, depression, and major depression. Due to my failure to respond to treatments, I was later further diagnosed with bipolar disorder, PTSD, (post traumatic stress disorder) and DID (dissociative identity disorder).
I spent many years in crisis stabilization units, lock-down psych units, experienced frequent hospitalizations, and eventually became homeless due to the severity of my mental health symptoms and behaviors. I attempted suicide several times during those years, so as you can imagine, I am more than grateful to still be alive and able to share my story with you today!
By the grace and mercy of God, my life has finally been stabilized through the integrated process of psychotherapy, medication, peer support, and the wraparound services of subsidized housing, food assistance, medical care, and medical transportation.
The faith community has been largely missing from my recovery journey, and that is the reason I am choosing to share the story of my homeless “adventure” with you! I am a Bible believer, but it was during my nightmare of homelessness that I discovered that God REALLY IS not only a good father, He is MY good father, and I am jealous for His reputation as such.
(Please note: I am NOT a church basher; so DO NOT expect to hear raging stories of resentment from me!! I have worked through (most!) of that portion of my injuries, and I’m here to help solve problems, not create further complications.)
My peace of mind and ability to heal emotionally was deeply challenged by the tenets of the faith I learned in the church of my childhood. It took years for me to overcome the religious shaming that haunted my thinking about my value, self-worth, and self-esteem. Although my faith took a beating, I have finally come to terms with my personal faith in God, and I no longer allow the opinions of others to wreak havoc on the way I express my faith and spirituality.
I’m delighted to tell you that I am no longer homeless and am once again living independently in my own residence. My home is still a subsidized apartment, but I have come to view my home as the stable platform from which I can now work to complete my healing journey, and not as punishment for was often deemed as failed Christianity by those who (mis) judged my behavior during the years prior to my mental health diagnoses.
I am still working on my integration, but I have made tremendous progress, and feel empowered and equipped to face the next phase of my recovery with insight and knowledge that has taken many years to attain.
How My Blogging Journey Began
I am an artsy, crafty grandmother with a great passion for communication and technology. I have always loved to teach, so I was very excited to discover the power of web development and blogging in 2007, which is when I discovered Squidoo. I went on to become one of the Squidoo Giants, a member of the founding class of Squid Angels, a Squidoo Greeter, and contributor to the So Crafty Magazine.
I discovered the Stand Up For Mental Health Campaign on Healthy Place during the time I was writing on Squidoo, which is where I shared the first public disclosure of my diagnosis of DID.
Coming Out Of My Mental Health Closet, by Connie Walcott
I don’t remember what year it was when I shared the story, but I vividly remember how I felt about disclosing that information!! Since that time, I have continued my studies in web development, and have become an advanced webmaster, graphic designer, and network developer and administrator.
I have re-built my blog many times since I first shared my story with you, and that fact is a reflection of the fluctuating state of my emotions, finances, and the complex challenges that are part of my integration process.
Creating my web presence served as an invaluable recovery tool for me personally, but now, I would like to share the lessons I learned as a way to answer questions for others who are facing the rigors of recovering from DID.
I remember the terror I felt when medical providers shared my diagnosis with me, and how desperate I was for someone to talk to. My hope for my blog is that it will serve as a voice of hope for others who are searching for answers to the desperate questions we face when we first become aware of a fragmented identity.
I have found great healing by sharing my story with health care providers, but at this stage of my recovery, I am choosing to become more public in the expression of my experiences and opinions about mental health care, and particularly for those whose recovery is complicated by toxic religious experiences.
There is still great stigma attached to mental illness but DID is a particularly painful diagnosis to face when you surrounded by faith communities who cast judgments of demonization and failure to “just put your faith in Jesus.”
I am very grateful for the mental health service providers who have helped me engage the power of behavioral health care, and for the knowledge I have gleaned from articles and information from sites like Healthy Place and other mental health bloggers.
Our Journey Forward
My faith walk has been directly impacted by many voices in the faith community, so I will also be sharing insights from the knowledge I gleaned from those who not only spoke about the goodness of Father God, but actually demonstrated His love through their words and responses to my need for healthy relationships.
Once we get a little deeper into our conversation, I will introduce you to the art therapy tools I have created while I’ve been studying the details of “God’s word to “me!”
CONNIE’S WORKSHOP: Tougher Than Our ACEs – The Six-Step Journey To Mastering Our Maslow
As you can imagine, it will take many conversations for us to journey through my stories, so I appreciate this opportunity to share this introduction with you, and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.
With much love and many prayers for those who choose to read our work…
Connie, Clara, and the rest of our Armchair Adventure Team,
Collectively known as Connie’s House.