Living with Mental Illness: How the Mentally STRONG Method Changed My Life
By Tatiana Rainey –
My name is Tatiana and I whole-heartedly support, believe in and promote all that Mentally STRONG has to offer. This is my story of living with mental illness and how the Mentally STRONG Method changed my life! See, my journey with the Mentally STRONG Method actually started in June 2019. I came to Mentally STRONG with the following pre-diagnoses: depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an eating disorder, self-harming behaviors, alcoholism/substance abuse history and severe suicidal ideations. I have been in therapy since I was five years old and attended my first appointment at Mentally STRONG with the same expectations of the “therapy” I’ve known my whole life. I’ve tried every kind of therapy going up- EMDR, CBT, DBT, Talk therapy, etc. I felt defeated and was allowing my overwhelming list of diagnoses to debilitate and consume me. I expressed my main concerns for attending the Mentally STRONG clinic as severe nightmares, high depression & anxiety (nine-out-of-ten), symptoms of mania and impulsivity with needing work on severe past trauma. I, like many other people living with mental illness, hoped to leave my appointment “fixed” and with all the right answers. I was blind to the understanding of what a therapist role actually is. I misconceived that they try to fix you, tell you what to do and assume what’s best for me rather than remind me I’m not broken, support me in figuring out what to do and remember that only I know what is best for me. Once that became transparent, I realized why therapy always failed for me and why I never made progress. I also understood how different Mentally STRONG was.
There’s never an easy way, in my opinion, to open up about living with mental illness and discussing your past traumas and history besides just being transparent. Here’s a quick rundown of my major traumatic life events: I was sexually abused and held hostage as a child. I lost my hearing in my left ear randomly overnight. I practiced self-harm (cutting and burning). I had over 15 suicide attempts (typically I attempted by overdosing and ended up in the hospital or passed out in my classroom at school). I struggled with substance abuse problems and developed an eating disorder. I was gang raped in college, dealt with recovering from a domestic violence relationship with my son’s dad, and slept with substantially older men for money. I suffered from severe nightmares, high suicidal ideations, and ended up working in the porn industry with a toxic belief that my worth is determined on how I can perform sexually. (Dr. Bundukamara actually gave me insight on that thought process I struggle with.) Above are just a handful of the debilitating issues that hindered my treatment progress. After 20+ years of living with mental illness and trying to deal with it in therapy, I had no healthy coping skills or tools, and didn’t know how to manage or regulate my stressors issues. This is where the Mentally STRONG Method changed my life.
Desperate for change and relief, I agreed and committed to start counseling at the clinic instead of just medication management. The Mentally STRONG Method was introduced to me and I was floored. After living with mental illness for so long, how could this relatively simple formula change my life and provide me with so much clarity? Dr. Bundukamara explained The Mentally STRONG Method to me and I clung to it! It provided me with so much insight, clarity, growth and motivation to change. When I mastered creating thought maps, I took it upon myself to start mapping out the traumas/big events in my life and I achieved so much processing in about fifteen minutes. Seriously! I then began mastering how to create a personal vision and the power of choice, which provided me with realistic, manageable goals and hope for my future. Hope? This was not a feeling I was familiar with. I began changing my mindset, becoming aware of my triggers and negative thoughts and feelings empowered to create the life I wanted for myself.
I had such an immense amount of growth in such a short amount of time, I couldn’t believe I had just wasted 20 something years in “therapy” that was clearly not productive. Dr. B was able to help me get my meds managed and regulated, which truly gave me a chance to live the best possible life. I was 110% committed to my treatment, committed to taking my meds like I should and I was getting clinical relief and results. The old me who was living with mental illness truly thought I would have taken my life by the time I was 25 years old, but by using the Mentally STRONG Method I was hopeful about my future. My nightmares subsided, my suicidal ideations diminished, and my motivation was higher than ever.
I was experiencing an overwhelming amount of positivity, positive change, growth, and hope in my life, but then suddenly something frustrating happened. My mania and impulsivity crept back in. Soon the depression and anxiety became unmanageable and I started to lose hope, returning to those suicidal ideations. Something to be mindful of when living with mental illness is that setbacks can happen. We don’t know exactly what changed that led to my setback. I was actively participating in treatment and making incredible progress, but I slipped back into those old thought patterns and behaviors. Thankfully, because Dr. B had invested the time to teach me the tools that empowered me to have the control and power to create the life I wanted and saw for myself, it was only temporary. Before I knew it, I was back on track creating new personal visions for my future and seeing small successes. I think Dr. B would agree that she’s witnessed an unmatched amount of growth in myself in the last almost three years and she’s truly to thank for it.
Living with my mental illnesses before learning The Mentally STRONG Method was defeating, hopeless, paralyzing and draining. The Mentally STRONG Method gave me a chance at life, it taught me tools and skills to get control of myself and my diagnoses and have a genuine chance at a non-miserable life.
I am Mentally STRONG and just getting stronger. If you’re paralyzed by your life stress or living with mental illness, PLEASE invest in yourself and learn this method. You deserve of a happy, hopeful life! If you’re not in Colorado and not able to come to our clinic, we offer online courses to walk you through self-teaching yourself the method and start empowering yourself to live your best life. You deserve it and you are Mentally STRONG.