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Un-Silent Movement Forum Latest Articles

Dana’s Written Account of Her Struggle With Mental Illness

Written by Dana Jacoviello




It was not until I woke up from many years of what felt like sleep walking that I saw clearly. I do not think we realize how out of sink we can be going through life. Not truly awake to our surroundings, our environment, or our lives.


I now see how truly numb I was for a good portion of my life. I would say from the time of my first panic attack as a young child. I also saw a lot of violence and yelling as a child. Which is highly likely why I even began to have issues. My parents laughed at me. Mocked me. Made fun of me. Tried to scare me more when I already felt crazy. I think that was the last time remembering being or feeling normal. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder, depression, and mood disorder. Later on into adulthood, I would develop PTSD and somatic disorder.


I had no idea what to do with this information. I took the meds back then, without knowing any side effects. When I grew up, they did not tell you that information. They still probably do not. Weight gain, feeling like a zombie, tired, lost, and out of it. Disassociated from life. But it was going to fix me? I do not think it really did. Temporarily. But there is no fix with mental illnesses and disorders. You have to implement more than just medicine. But I was willing to try anything because I was drowning, and I was miserable. I could not take the pain in my heart and in my soul anymore.


Life was kicking my ass, and I had no idea where to begin to save myself. Except when with friends, playing sports, and to get away from the abuse I was enduring. As I got older, things just got worse. Into my teenage years. And just as things would go well and I was doing better, trauma response hits and follows you through life. It all does. No matter how fast you run and try to get away from it, you cannot. The damage is done.


My mistake was it turned into self bullying, self abuse, addiction, suicidal ideation, and anger. I was a swirling storm and full of self destruction and sabotage. Anybody or anything good in my life would dissipate. I did not know how to handle love, affection, or good things coming to me. Compliments. Support. Understanding. Compassion. Empathy. All these things people tried to give me in my life, I would push away. I had no trust for people in my life. I just knew they would all hurt me in the end. Like the adults around me growing up. That was my thought pattern. Overthinking and worrying into oblivion.


It was not going to be until years later before I moved back home to NYC that I realized just how dark my hole was that I was stuck in. I never realized how deep I was into darkness.. I had thought about giving up and not wanting to be here before. But not like that one night that truly awakened me. The night at any moment toying with suicidal ideation and holding a bullet and a gun in my hand. It was about ten minutes of staring and wrestling with horrific thoughts that I broke down and surrendered to God. What felt like hours, was a few short moments of weakness.


But it was not a weakness. It was strength. The faith I had to pull myself out of a drunken stupor and into seeing what I was actually doing. For the first time in a long time, I saw the mess I was. That was enough for me to awaken my mind. I knew what I had to do. I had to get on a healing journey before it was too late.


It would not be until after I moved back home to NYC before I began to learn self care and self love. I still was not that good at it, but I was willing to try. And I did well for a while. Until I spiraled again. Every so often triggers happen. More trauma happens. More bad things we have no control over. But once wen you’ve been fighting for so long, you become exhausted with life. You want to give up.


My grandmother always said never give up. In fact her memorial tattoo is on me, and under the feather with her initials, it says Never Give Up. And I have to look at that every so often.


I was happy for a while back home in NYC. After a while, things went bad again. I once again spiraled. I picked up old bad habits. Suicidal ideation. Was not taking care of myself at all. I was relying on numbing myself and creating fake joy for a few hours going out.


Now let’s skip a bit to the pandemic.That wall I was racing towards, I finally hit it. Flashbacks to my childhood came flooding back. I was that little hurt and angry girl again. That teen who pushed it all down and began to self sabotage and self destruct. I hated who I was once again, and who I was becoming. I began to go backwards.  Was filled with loss and grief. And so much I never dealt with. The pandemic forced me into a very alone space where God said, it is time now.


What I did not know is during that time I would be cyberbullied for a year, if not more. This did not help matters. In fact, it made them so much worse, because it just dragged me down into dark thoughts even more. I was not out of control with my mind. It was as if i was on a train with no breaks falling off the tracks. And I did eventually. And that impacted me, and those in my life.


But I also found out who had my back, who was real and who was fake. Who was authentic. Much truth came to the surface for so many of us. But I never saw it clearer in my life. I decided to make a huge change, with some help. A dream of mine for many years. Since I first visited, I have wanted to move to LA. And I did. So here I am.


I was so happy when I first got here, but I never fully dealt with the bullying. And that made me a very different human being. I say what I want now. I defend myself, because nobody else does. I find I am very different from how society is these days. What we have become is pretty sad, but the good news is…I am finally back on my healing journey.


I will get that joy back one day soon. Things will get better, because we have to believe that and have faith it will. I am doing so many things. I am self caring. Trying to self love. Do more things to implement into getting better. BUT, the truth is we live with this for life. Mental health disorders or illnesses are not curable. They are treated. In a variety of ways. We must learn to live with them and find ways to cope and heal, which is a lifelong journey.


Whether it be a plethora of things or a few, I am finding my way back to the light. Though those dark thoughts come and go. I struggle. I am on the right path, and I trust in God to have my back. Because that is the only place I ever felt I found unconditional love.


I stopped running from my past, and am dealing with it. We can’t outrun our past, but we can stop going back to it. Look ahead to the future and concentrate on the present moments. Life is short. I finally had to realize no matter what I do or where I go in life, it is all inside of me. It comes with me. It does not disappear miraculously. Ignoring the issues will not do any good, and it took me a long time to awaken myself to all these truths. Take accountability and face confrontation. I am learning, and you can too. It is not easy. I will not lie to anybody about that, but that is what drives me to help others and give back in the various ways that I do.


When you go through an awakening it is hell on earth. But the trip is worth it when you come out on the other end. No matter how many rounds life has punched me right in the face, I still haven’t heard that bell.


Keep going. You are not alone. And the world is a better place with you in it. We are all loved.

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Dana’s Story

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