Xerious "I Like Who I Am"

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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

Xerious’s Story:

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

When I was a kid I knew something was different about me. In school I was called the “bad kid”, the “troubled kid”, and was not liked by teachers. I knew my principals very well and they knew me. I didn’t want to be “bad” I wanted to be known as a good kid. I had a lot of friends but it was the adults that I had a hard time with. I wanted to control myself and my actions, but something inside of me would take over. When I was in fifth grade, my teacher asked my mom to take me to the doctor and do an ADHD test. We got the test for the teacher to fill out and one for my mom. When we went back to the pediatrician, she said that I was borderline ADHD and gave me medicine to help. At this same time my grandpa, whom I was very close to passed away suddenly and my parents divorced. My life was spinning out of control and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t help my family situation and I couldn’t help myself. I felt alone, like I didn’t belong anywhere. The medicine made it worse. I felt like I was out of control and I couldn’t stop. I would get so angry and want to destroy things or hurt someone or hurt myself. I just wanted it to stop. I knew how to be good. I knew what it was to be good, I just couldn’t seem to get there. About eight months after taking the ADHD medicine, my mom noticed that I wasn’t getting any better, in fact I was getting worse. What once was an hour or two of being out of control now was several hours. It was hard on everyone, including me. I have three siblings; one older brother, a younger brother and a little sister, who I was very close to. But my attitude and actions were pushing everyone away. After the divorce, my mom and siblings were all I had, and even though I wanted to spend quality time with them I couldn’t. I just couldn’t get my anger and impulses under control.

My mom took me to see a new counselor, and that was the day my life changed. I started the process of being properly diagnosed. It took a few months and the diagnosis came back bipolar. At first I was scared because I had a dream for my life to be a lawyer and own my own company one day. And I was worried that this diagnosis meant I couldn’t do that. I started on some medicine and it did take a few more months to work all that out. But then it happened. I started to feel like I was myself. I felt like I could control myself and my thoughts. I was beginning to have a better relationship with my family, friends and teachers. I started to understand what was appropriate and inappropriate. I started to like who I was. My family members are the first ones who saw the change. My outbursts were no longer several hours but maybe twenty or thirty minutes. One day I know I won’t even have those outbursts anymore. I now know that I am normal. Bipolar doesn’t make me abnormal, it is not my fault, I am not going to be ashamed of it or be defined by it. I am going to manage it. I am going to be the son, brother and attorney that I know I can be. My life is different today because of a group effort with counseling, medication and myself working on it every day. And you know what, I like who I am.

Brought to you in partnership with:

7Billion Ones, Annie Busch, NAMI Southwest Missouri, and Touchstone Counseling