I think people started thinking I was crazy in elementary school. I was pretty unstable from the very first week of the school I moved to when I was adopted. I needed a bathroom buddy, because I was afraid of Bloody Mary coming through the toilet and murdering me. I know every kid was afraid of monsters, but I was paranoid and petrified of restrooms. I also had a desire to please people in elementary school, and didn’t really know how to make friends without begging them to be my friend. I repeated myself a lot, and my energy was unmatched. It didn’t help that when we hit middle school I became the class drama queen. I was an emotional roller coaster. In one class I would be sobbing hysterically, sometimes without reason, and by my next class I would be giggling and skipping the hallways. It didn’t help my case that some mean girls started making rumors about my behaviors around the people I was crushing on. I remember one girl started a rumor that I picked some guy’s gum out of the trash, which if you knew me at all, I have a small anxiety about things in people’s mouths and I don’t even really like sharing a drink with my husband. It also didn’t help my case that I was obsessive over these guys, and call them a dozen times a day (no, that’s not an exaggeration). It got to the point where I’d end up having conversations with their moms, which my head thought that meant they liked me back. *If you’re one of the people I had a crush on during middle/high school, please know the fact I did that makes me cringe, and I’m so sorry*

I knew I was crazy, too. Not because of my actions, or behaviors. But because from a young age my mind was set on suicide, even before I knew the word. I knew I was crazy because I couldn’t identify with my peers, and because my head “felt funny.” Something was wrong with me, and it was more apparent to me than anyone else.

Over the next few years, leading into my adult life I would be diagnosed, try different therapy options, and of course (like everyone else who’s been through the mental health system) on a crazy amount of different medications. I was ashamed. I remember thinking in high school someone would discover that I had to take pills to even survive the school day, and it made me sick to my stomach. I would beg doctors not to have to take the meds; which never worked. The last week of my senior year of high school I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. I was admitted Friday, and discharged Saturday. I remember telling my friends and then-boyfriend about it that Monday, telling them I was still suicidal, and planning. I was scared. They didn’t really care; and not in a “we won’t judge” kind of way, but in a “so what, you’re not important” way. I was heartbroken. I felt so unimportant, and even more suicidal. I felt like the medications just made me crazier.

The summer passed, and I went off to college. I stopped taking my medications and seeking help the second day of classes. I dropped out my first semester, and ended up shacking up with some guy when I was manic (becoming his “crazy girlfriend” on and off for the next 3 years). None of my choices mattered. It didn’t matter how much danger I was putting my life in, it didn’t matter who I pissed off, it didn’t matter who thought I was crazy.  I was planning to kill myself at the age of 20. 

I knew exactly how I would end it all, all that mattered was location (I moved back and forth between Salem, MA and Groton, CT during these years). If I was in Salem, I would drown myself in Collin’s Cove and if I was in Groton I would jump from the Gold Star Bridge. Drowning seemed like the way to go to me; I heard that there was a point you give up when drowning and you accept your fate, and that sounded like what happiness was to me. But of course, I was the crazy girl, and sometimes suicide attempts would happen without following through with my plan. I’d always wake up after attempts, alone, with a pounding headache from the pills I had just ingested. I tried talking to several doctors about this; they said they weren’t suicide attempts, because I didn’t take enough to be hospitalized. And of course, that’s not true, I was trying to end my life. But these shitty statements from not-so-great doctors made me feel that much more determined to go through with my plan.

Several months before my 21st birthday I moved back to Connecticut one last time. I had just ended the relationship with the person I was with in college; it was abusive on both ends, and after a traumatic event I was just crazy and washed up to him. I was a little discouraged that the bridge would be my method to go, because Collin’s Cove was my first choice in my suicide plan. But then, something crazy happened.

I started loving myself. I started to accept my diagnosis and stop calling myself crazy. I started to feel good about who I was, and although of course I still struggled with my thoughts, I thought I was a pretty cool person. I was a lot more than just a diagnosis.

I made it past 20. At 21 I brought my son, Jack into this world. I made a promise to him when he was born that I would change the world and make it a better place for him. So I started blogging about my life as “The Crazy Girl.” By 22, I became a name in the mental health community, and had even gone viral with my post When You’re In The Gray Area Of Being Suicidal. And now, here I am at 23, prepping for a book release and book tour.

I’m still learning. I still am in therapy, and taking medications, and sometimes it sucks. There are days I still feel insane, and I hate myself for my diagnosis. But what’s more important is that I’ve been able to give a voice to the Mental Warriors who can’t speak out. I’ve become an advocate for something I was once ashamed of, and now I wear that title proudly. So yes, I’m still The Crazy Girl; but I am so much more than a diagnosis and my mental illness.