Every day Scrolls of Hope has the honor of meeting many inspiring people of goodwill. Each going unnoticed because of their unassuming nature despite their extensive acts of kindness. With little or no expectations of anything in return, they carry out their lives in an everlasting state of love for humankind. These are individuals Scrolls of Hope recognizes for their life-changing effect on the world. Thank you to the silent heroes affecting our lives every day. The following article is authored by Stephanie Anne Allen.
Hope and Inspiration
My pen name is Stephanie Anne Allen. I am 39 years old and reside in Michigan USA. Currently, I am living a very happy life as a successful author. I have written 7 books on overcoming mental illness. One memoir and six self-help books. These are inspirational mental health recovery books. I have inspired hundreds of people, and I am constantly rewarded by readers with their beautiful comments on how much they have benefited from my books.
It hasn’t been an easy road, at all, for me the first 37 years of my life. I endured so much heartache and pain. I nearly didn’t make it through the many times I hit rock bottom. I wanted to give up and give in, and just end my life, so the pain would end. I went through so much turmoil and adversity. But somehow through a combination of hope, faith, courage, and strength, I was able to beat all the given odds and overcome it all!
The Roller Coaster Ride
I was first struck with clinical depression at age 14. I felt deep darkness in my heart. I felt hopelessness, helplessness, and extreme emptiness. I endured feelings of worthlessness, despair, and loneliness. I was suicidal constantly and attempted suicide several times.
At age 18, I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. There was mania, risky behaviors, excess energy, racing thoughts, impulsiveness, and insomnia. It was rapid cycling, so one day I could be excessively high and the next day extremely low. Up and down. Down and up. A total roller coaster.
At age 20, I was diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder. I had great difficulty making and keeping friends. I was not able to communicate effectively with others. I continued to cut myself with razor blades (that started at age 16).
Confusing Sex with Love
And I also began to burn myself with cigarettes. I felt like there was a huge empty hole inside me that needed to be filled with “love.” I thought that finding this love would be the only way for me to feel better. So, I sought it out only to get love confused with sex.
After college, I managed to find a job as a case manager for the mentally ill, and I also found love! But that wouldn’t last, due to my first major psychotic break! I was terminated from the job I loved, and the relationship I had was drastically ripped out of my heart and soul. It was during this time I suffered severe delusions of every kind and auditory hallucinations. I feared for my life every day, and I believed I was going to be raped and killed to teach me a lesson for my sexual orientation.
I was forced into a group home for 6 and a half years, and there I continued to fear for my life! I was released… A few years later, I was afflicted with another psychotic episode. This one, the delusions were even worse, and I also was now experiencing hallucinations of all 5 senses. This led to me committing a crime, in which I ended up in jail for 2 months and a state forensics center for 17 months.
The Key to My Recovery
I think I really began to gain a lot of insight while I was incarcerated. I learned that my delusions and hallucinations were not real and that I was suffering from psychosis, as a result of schizoaffective disorder. I came to an understanding of the illness. I sustained myself during that time with hope, faith, strength, and courage. Those were key in my recovery.
Once released, I sought purpose in my life. I thought of all the possibilities for my future. I found value and worth in writing. So, I combined my writing with my psychology education and real-life experience to produce a memoir! My Mental Madness Memoir was the title I gave it. After that, I produced six additional books. These inspirational self-help books offer hope, insight, and inspiration to those suffering from a variety of mental illnesses.
I have received so many wonderful comments regarding how I have inspired and helped others. There isn’t a day that goes by now that I do not receive at least one comment of gratitude. I have been called a “saint, hero, God-send, Earth Angel, inspiration, life-saver,” etc. I have been told I should become a therapist. I have even received several comments stating that I should turn My Mental Madness Memoir into a movie!
Finding Self Worth and Purpose
Life now is good as I continue to have a successful career, inspiring others. But I will never let my past be taken for granted. It was this awful, painful, and torturous past that led me to this future. Without all the adversity I suffered, I would not be who I am today. I turned the negative into positive. I used the pain to strengthen my character and transform me into a purposeful, worthwhile, and valuable human being. But I will never forget where I came from, because it taught me great lessons about love, hope, gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance, and even about the value of each and every human life.
We all have worth and purpose. You can push past your pain. You choose your attitude. Perhaps you cannot control some situations, but you can control how you respond to them. There is hope for anyone struggling with any mental illness. If I can overcome it, I know that you can too! Keep the faith! Keep focused! And keep moving forward!
-Stephanie Anne Allen
Stephanie Anne Allen is the author of My Mental Madness Memoir, How to Survive Depression, How to Survive Bipolar Disorder, How to Survive Schizophrenia, How to Survive Anxiety, How to Survive Borderline Personality Disorder, and How to Survive PTSD.