Randy Bacon with 7 Billion Ones in partnership with National Alliance on Mental Illness Southwest Missouri (NAMI) are proud to announce a major, multifaceted portrait art exhibition, story and short film series:
— It Knows No Face —
Portraits of Suicide Survivors.
Learn more HERE
I grew up in a Christian home. I went to school, went to college, and I worked really, really hard. I took a lot of pride in my work ethic, received my master’s degree, and got into the business world—corporate America. I was married and had three children. Traveling and working about sixty hours a week; I was in that industry for about twenty years, and I was extremely successful. But what I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t facing the truth… I was just going through the motions. I was burying myself in work and kids, and wasn’t addressing my personal life. I thought that as long as I’m a good employee, a good mom, and I’m providing for the family; then all is good.
A lot of things happened in life, and I wound up getting a divorce after twenty years, which was extremely difficult. In February of 2017, I started a downward spiral that I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop it, because I felt like I had always been in control of me. I didn’t like how it felt. I knew I was struggling. I started to get criticism from people, and because I was a people-pleaser, I tried to do everything people wanted me to do.
I ended up going on medical leave from work, and my company was very supportive. I was so fortunate. But then when I started to go back to work, I was having panic attacks. After a trip to see my therapist and then the E.R due to my blood pressure being so high it was in stroke range, I was told to stay on medical leave which turned into over five weeks and that was just unacceptable to me. I told myself to pull it together. I realized at that time that regardless of how strong I think I am, and how much I can juggle, and how much I can do, this was out of my control. So I resigned from my position. I’m a single mom of three kids, but I was blessed for many years to have a good job, and I was in a decent position to do that.
So I hit a very deep, dark place. I would sleep for about twenty hours a day; and I don’t mean just laying in bed, I mean dead asleep. And that was not me. I had always gone from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. And now I couldn’t physically do what I wanted to do. As a person that’s very hard on myself, as a high achiever, I wasn’t accepting that very well. So I reached out to my physicians and my therapist and was put on antidepressants. There’s such a taboo on going on antidepressants; and honestly, what I found out is that I thought I was staying strong by doing it on my own and not asking for help. What was strong and courageous was for me reaching out for help. That is true strength and true courage. And the more I reached out, the more I found out that other people had gone through it, or were going through it. They had a mask on too, and eventually the circle of support was unbelievable. I’m in a support group of women just like me, and it’s such a liberating feeling, talking to them.
I’m going to pull through because I’m going to continue asking for help when I need it. I’m not going to try and do this on my own. I know I can’t. And that felt so good, to reach out for help. I encourage others to reach out, too. You probably will get some criticism, but turn the other way and shake it off. That’s not somebody that needs to be in your life right now. I had to purge the toxicity. Sometimes that can be tough but it’s necessary. I just want to be happy. I realized that I had lost myself. I want to find myself and find those things that bring me joy. I want to be able to sit out on the porch and paint and not stress out about having to do everything else that’s going on and be disappointed in myself because I’m not doing it perfectly. My hope for my future is accepting and embracing that I am who I am and I am good enough just the way I am.
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