Tonia’s Story

Woman in a black shirt with a wood and fabric background

My name is Tonia, and this is my story.

I always knew that I had something wrong with me, but I was not sure what it was. In 2008, I had my first relapse and I thought my world was over, but it wasn’t. I went to DHMC several times and even had ECT treatments, 28 to be exact. I wanted to learn all about my mental illness and ways to live with it. While I was in the hospital, I would go to all the groups, which was very helpful.

When I was 6 years old, I was abused by a family member. I didn’t tell my family about the abuse. It took me 35 years to finally tell my dad, and it didn’t go well. He said that I was lying. It was so hard for me to tell him, and the way he reacted was devastating to me.

I had a lot of romantic partners when I was young, thinking that maybe they would love and care about me. Was I wrong – it was just opposite. They didn’t really care. It took me many years to find true love, but now I have the one thing that I wanted the most and that was for someone to love me the right way.

Now I am working as a Peer Support Specialist at a mental health agency. I have been doing that for 3 years now, and I love it! Yes, I have had lots of bumps in the road, but I was able to overcome most of them. I still struggle every day, but not as much as before. There is a sun in my life now, and I am not going to let it go.

It is possible to have a great life even though you have a mental illness; we can still thrive in our lives. Keep an open mind, and things will work out. I just needed to let things go that I am not able to control and only control the things that I am able to control. I just want to let you all know it is possible to have the life you want; you just have to put your mind to it.