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Jennifer’s Story

I think my problems started at age 3, when my father passed away. My mother said I almost had a mental breakdown, I quit talking, and was in my own little world. That only lasted a month or so, no counseling or anything. My father was a preacher, so my mother believed in prayer, and that God would help us through. For so many years later I’d wake up in night crying, so afraid that my mother was going to die, I didn’t want to leave her sight.

My mother soon remarried to an alcoholic and drug addict. He beat us and put us through hell mentally and physically. I wrote a poem about him, instead of going into detail–

I was beated and mistreated my childhood years,
I trembled with fright, I lived in fear.
Fear of a man I once called my dad,
Fear of the life I was forced to have.

I watched as my mother grew old too fast,
regretting the choices she’d made in her past.
She was stuck in a world so full of pain,
wanting and longing to be happy again.

I watched as he hurt her day after day,
with nowhere to run, with no getaway.
My mother she stayed and suffered SO much
he just didn’t care what was happening to us.

I’d sit by the door and plug my ears,
giving my all to hold back the tears.
I’d close my eyes and begin to pray,
“Lord please help us through one more day”

I was younger then, not sure how to feel,
I thought ” this isn’t my life, it can’t be real.”
Though as the years went by, I started to see,
the mental damage he caused my family and me.

My stepfather soon raped my best friend, and that’s where the marriage ended. And that’s when my behavioral problems began. I lived such a structured life for so long, my mother wanted to make up for that, so she was very, very lenient on us. I took that for granted. I lashed out at her, at teachers, at the law. I ended up with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. I spent from the time I was 15 until I turned 16 in a drug and alcohol teen home. We had family therapy twice a week, and group therapy three times a week. Individual therapy was once a week. That is also when I started Buspar. They told me that I’d need medication for the rest of my life. That I had a chemical imbalance.

Without that home, without that year of my life there’s no telling where I’d be today. That was the best thing my mother could have done for me! Though at the time I resented her for so, so long. The counseling helped me to get my feelings out in the open, helped me to see how important it is to be honest, and to not hold anger and sadness inside.

I left the home at age 16, got pregnant at 17, took myself off my medication when I was 17, gave birth to my love of my life at 18. My son was probably 2 years old when I noticed my anxiety getting worse. I’d have frequent attacks. I went through a year afraid to eat anything, thought for sure someone was trying to kill me. I refused to be put on medication, I didn’t want to depend of meds to make me happy. My anxiety seemed to just disappear, so I thought.

Within the past year, my boyfriend and I both lost our jobs, car broke down, got evicted from our home, and found out that my little boy has to have surgery. I woke up one morning feeling like the room was spinning, my head hurt so badly. The fears that I was dying came back, as I am writing this tears are falling because it is truly the worst feelings I’ve ever had. I’d look in the mirror and wonder why, or how I got as bad as I am. How can I live like this?

I would look at my child at my family and wonder how their life would be without me. I would wake up every morning and go to bed every night knowing that this is it, I’m dying. I thought I had every disease in the world. I went to doc after doc, had blood test after blood test. All said the same things — anxiety I needed medication and therapy, so I checked myself into a hospital where I started again on medication. This time I was put on Lexapro and Ativan. But one of the fears I have is of medications, of being allergic to them. So to this day I haven’t taken my Lexapro.

I just turned 27 years old, and my life is slowly getting better. I do take the Ativan three times a day. That helps tremendously. I finally came to realize that this is an illness, that I’m not crazy although at times I feel it. I realized that it is very important to find that support group. The kind that I have found on Psych Central.

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Jennifer’s Story

Personal Story

A personal story contribution is a story told by someone who is living with mental illness, a caregiver or family member, or a professional who treats mental illness. We believe in the importance of the patient's voice, and those most impacted by the effects of mental illness. These stories are a vital part of the mosaic that makes up the complexity of living with mental health concerns.

APA Reference
Story, P. (2020). Jennifer’s Story. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 12, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.