Meet Our Local Author and Clubhouse Correspondent
Taking My Life Back By Brittany Eldridge
I couldn't leave my house. I couldn't be alone. I felt like I was floating down an abandoned river with no one to save me, until I shared my story.
I've been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, Major Depression, PTSD, Agoraphobia, Anorexia and Panic Attacks. At one point, life felt like looking through a kaleidoscope. I became so isolated and afraid of leaving my little box. The uncertainty of the world made me fear everything.
The year of 2019, I brought myself to the mental health unit of Portsmouth, New Hampshire hospital because I'd let my hygiene decline and wasn’t able to leave bed due to depression. After my admission, I was placed on disability because I couldn't hold a job. Days passed and I felt like I was in a constant haze, not understanding what the meaning of my life was.
My anxiety became so bad that I removed myself from my home and moved in with my grandmother for a period of time. I couldn’t handle being alone. I was afraid I was going to die; my family was going to die and that there was nothing that I could do.
I'm not certain what triggered my death anxiety, but my cousin passed that year from heart complications. I watched him on life support at a Boston hospital.
Finding help for myself without insurance was a huge hurdle. No one would take me on as a client without it and I couldn't afford therapy on my own. Luckily, I met a person on a Facebook group who connected me with a therapist that was willing to take me on through a charity-based program.
By this point, simple tasks had become impossible — taking out the trash, doing the dishes, taking care of bills. My family watched my life become so shrunken by mental illness that I was struggling every day. I remember laying on my grandmother’s couch praying to God to just “take me.” Looking back, I didn't want to die, I just wanted the scrambled puzzle in my mind to go away.
Living with OCD, my mind is constantly moving at a 100 mph. It's exhausting. I find myself tired all the time, when there is more in my day that I'd like to achieve. I think OCD is something I've always struggled with, I just didn’t know what I was battling.
In my teen years, I had anorexia and was under my doctor’s watch. They told me that I'd lose my hair if I didn't start eating again. I struggled with abandonment issues because my father walked out of my life at a young age. I constantly felt unloved and neglected. Unfortunately, he struggles with his own mental illnesses as well. It’s apparent that environmental and biological factors have played a huge role in my journey.
Mental Illness takes the lives of so many people. I want to help make change, even if it’s small.
I recently found my passion for writing and creating my own online radio station about mental health. I've volunteered to take a speaker training course through the National Alliance of Mental Illness so I can share my story with others and provide information on how I survived.
Every day isn’t peachy but because I've found my passions, I feel excited to get up every morning instead of laying in bed. My radio station called Rise Above, can be found on Zeno. I want it to help people emerge from the dark tunnels that they're in.
My published books — Healing The Light Within Me, My Inner Child and Chasing Fireflies — can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Lulu.com. I’ve started making homemade candles with scents of aroma that have helped me ease anxiety in trying times. I had my first book signing at a local flower shop and sold six copies. There were so many people that could relate to parts of my story. I walked away that day with a warm heart.
When I was diagnosed with several mental diagnoses, I let them define me. I even remember saying to my grandmother, “My name is OCD." Now, by finding my passions, I’m starting to learn that they are a part of me but do not define me. My only goal in life right now, is to spread awareness and provide others hope through my pain. To let them know that there is light on the other side, even if they don’t see it right now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brittany is an author and radio host of her personal online radio station Rise Above. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two fish Thelma and Louise and her dog Meika. Her website is beldridge18.wixsite.com/healingthelight. You can contact her at email@example.com
Seacoast Pathways is a free, non-clinical mental health clubhouse for adults in Portsmouth, NH
For more information about the clubhouse call 603-812-9031 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org