My Story

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“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope…or by using the challenge to find our inner strength..” – Dalai Lama

My name is Maria and this is my story:

Our story opens with me sobbing uncontrollably in nothing but a hospital gown, alone and terrified out of my mind. 

The hallway floor I’m sitting on is frigid but I don’t really notice. I’m working up to a massive panic attack. For the first time in my life, I’ve completely lost my freedom and it has destroyed me. 

I’m on hour 30 of a 72 hour involuntary hold in a psych ward. I’m seething with rage and fear having just come from my first interaction with a psychiatrist which was the opposite of therapeutic. 

But…at my lowest point, at my most broken, I discover something truly extraordinary. The thing about being so very destroyed is that you have nothing left to lose. Everything somehow becomes opaque, the rest of the world becomes a blur and finally, you can see the pure stuff of your soul oozing through the cracks.  

So, I rise up. 

I rise up. In a surreal moment I seem to leave my body, no longer the same person but a powerful new woman fighting for the girl crying in the hallway like no one has before. I demand to speak to a therapist. 

When I see that counselor I find my voice to tell her to shut up, shut up and listen to me instead of giving me the party line. We end up having an extremely productive discussion. I arrange for my diet to be catered to in the dining hall. In this place where I’m just a number I am my best and only advocate.

I leave still broken but with a commitment to provide comfort to myself and others going through this hell. I will never let the girl in the hallway be alone and powerless again. 

My name is Maria and this is my story. 

Believe it or not, stories have power.

Your story makes a huge difference in how you see and impact the world. That moment in the hospital was brutal, more harrowing than I would have wanted for an awakening but not nearly as brutal as it is for so many other people especially those coming from LGBTQ, Black, African American, Indigenous, Female and LatinX communities. Their voices go unheard and they are statistically more likely to be abused, ignored, and misdiagnosed while in care.

Our national awareness of mental health issues is tenuous at best and the system is woefully broken, especially in my state of Florida where our system ranks 50th (out of 50 states) in mental health care.

My mission is to advocate for all vulnerable people, to provide curated resources on this blog specific to mental health crises/situations, and continually push the conversation on mental wellness in this country.

I will not let my story end in the hospital, I will use it to help others to rise up.

Rise with me.

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19 thoughts on “My Story”

    1. Hi, thank you so much it’s a hard story to tell but I think it can help a lot of people! Yes, I’d love my story to be featured – let me know what you need to make it happen! Best, Maria

      1. I’m so grateful for your openness Maria. I will write up an intro for your story and format it for publishing on Friday. I’ll keep you up to date and let you know once it has been posted.

        All the best

      2. Hi, thank you so much!! Yes, I’d like to name it “Lucent en Tenebris: How I Learned to Shine in the Darkness”

        A little background- Lucent en Tenebris is the family motto meaning “they shine in the darkness”, it’s a phrase that’s always brought me strength and comfort.


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  2. So glad that you are sharing your story and becoming an advocate! We need a LOT of people power if we want to make some significant changes to the current mental health care system. Love your blog. So informative and inspiring.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your story the raw truth of what people with mental illness go through. It’s been 21 years since my hospitalization but to those of us who have experienced it those feelings and experiences feel like yesterday. Keep speaking and keep working to be the best you that you can be. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Let’s be the voices for change.

    1. Maria, thanks for sharing your personal story. My heart was crying for you in your pain in those moments. So proud to know you and being a fellow mental health advocate.

  5. I loved reading your story and look forward to more. I was a Mental Health nurse/manager for 15 years in the NHS and can empathise with your experience of admission. I saw far too many instances of poor practice by both Doctors and nurses and was sickened that we couldn’t get rid of them, despite carefully following HR policies. It was unbelievable what they got away with and sadly their Unions always managed to get them back to work.

    While I had my own breakdown some years ago, I was fortunate to have an excellent GP who helped me get treatment as an outpatient. I would have hated being a patient in my local Borough!

    1. Thanks as always for taking the time to read and comment!

      It’s disheartening to think of the poor practice on the part of the staff and system. I understand they’re people too just trying to cope but I guess there’s some expectation that they should be *better* since they’re in charge of other human beings’ fragile mental health.

      I strongly believe the system doesn’t let them be better tho and that’s sad. Too many people need so much help and there’s such short staffing it creates horrible situations where good doctors and nurses fall into apathy and basically give up.

      Sorry to hear you’ve also had a breakdown – hope you’re doing better now <3

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