Hi, nice to meet you! Allow me to introduce myself since we will hopefully be in this journey together. My name is Karina P.- Odell, and I’m 21 years old. (Now 24 years old.) I’ve been struggling with my mental health for nearly 5 years (8 years) so I’ve become all too familiar with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and bipolar 2. I’m also no stranger to obsessions and compulsions and can have an unhealthy need for perfection. My time in mental hospitals has also given me a view of other mental illnesses. Not by reading about them, but by becoming friends with sufferers of those illnesses.
I haven’t always been this emotionally unstable, impulsive, hopeless and empty person and I refuse to let those feelings define me! Every day I work on getting back to who I am even if I may struggle with certain things my whole life.
I am adventurous and curious about new things and I love and care extremely deeply. Traveling the world is a huge ambition and all forms of art feed my mind and spirit. My family means the world to me and I’m in love with my feisty and affectionate Yorkshire Terrier who is my baby blessing! I also love our family dog, a remarkably intelligent and loyal Jack Chi, (Jack Russel-Chihuahua) who is another miracle! Writing is my biggest passion, and it has literally saved my life. I feel that I have a responsibility to use my words to help others in any way I can.
I’m sure you’ve noticed my site title ‘I Will Not BE My Mental Illness’. It is perhaps the core of what I’m getting at and has tremendous significance for me. I don’t know about you, but my struggles left me feeling inhuman. My symptoms in addition to my experiences in the system of psychological healthcare left me believing that I was nothing more than the file containing my diagnoses. STOP RIGHT THERE! I will do EVERYTHING I can to help people overcome that feeling because I strongly believe this to be a shackle that prevents us from coming into our own! I see it as an essential aspect of the healing process and I promise to get to that in my upcoming writing. Here are my other goals:
- To share my journey as it happened as well as what I’m dealing with now, in order for you to feel less alone and have someone to relate to. Group can be scary so if you prefer, come with me and you’ll see that we’re not too different.
- To convey an accurate and truthful account of the depths of pain through to hope, self-discovery and a well established recovery/management of symptoms. You will not find traditional symptom lists nor psychobabble. I am straightforward and let’s face it…it’s often more helpful to hear from someone who’s actually been there. (I always appreciated that more.) I’ll also include the traps of relapse and how I try to prevent moving backwards along with getting back on track when it does happen. (We’re only human!)
- While my writing focuses on my personal struggles, my goal is not to make this about me. My personal journal simply ended up being a vehicle for me to share and provoke thought. In short, it’s about YOU, and what matters most is what you can find and take away from my journey that will help YOU with YOU’RE struggles, whatever they may be.
- To have an ongoing ‘My Take’ section which includes my personal realizations, thoughts and opinions that have helped me or continue to help me. I hope they can inspire you, help you ask new questions of yourself and give you a fresh perspective.
- To regularly post encouraging messages, motivational quotes and uplifting images.
- If you are concerned about a loved one or a friend, I pray that this journal will give you some idea of the inner workings and daily struggles of someone with mental illness(es) in order to increase your understanding. If you know barely anything about this and feel lost, it’s not your fault. Throughout the different parts of my journal and articles to come, you’ll also come to see what helps and doesn’t when speaking with an affected friend, loved one, etc. Hopefully this can help narrow the chasm that often occurs, because a solid line of trust and communication makes a huge difference!