My name is Samantha Rogers and I am the founder and president of NYTN (Not Your Typical Normal). I am also dual diagnosed with mental disorders and a recovering addict/alcoholic. This is my story. This is me. This is why I founded an organization to end the stigma of mental illness. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child and went to behavioral therapy and took medication from a very young age. Let me just say that kids are cruel. I was teased for having to be pulled out of class to take a pill. I couldn’t sit still, I picked at my nails and would talk so much and so fast. Nobody wanted to be my friend. I eventually hit Junior High where I started to show some other issues like mood instability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, feeling any emotion 10 times more intensely than someone else, and so doctors threw around Bipolar disorder but could never fully diagnose me just yet.
Around high school I got into smoking pot and got kicked out of one high school and on to the next (Thank God I somehow managed to graduate). I also got into gang related activity and felt that these people accepted me. Crazy bipolar Sam was a hero in that crowd (or so I thought). I dabbled with meth, cocaine and eventually became a full blown junkie and fell for heroin. I had obviously stopped any of the medication that helped and decided to try and self medicate. I ended up getting mixed in with people who did not care about me, but honestly I didn’t care about myself. I had a boyfriend at the time and thought I was in love until one night he was in a meth induced psychosis and threw punches at me. He ended up breaking my arm, stabbing me, suffocating me with a pillow and holding me hostage in a garage for 3 months. My mother and family thought I was dead. Nobody knew I was trapped.
Eventually I got ahold of a cell phone and called a friend to pick me up and take me to the hospital. My mother met me there and I found out that the boyfriend I thought I loved had raped me and gotten me pregnant. After I had my son I was depressed and had severe PTSD along with the symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming appearant, Although I didn’t use drugs again, I gave my son to my mother and did not go outside of my apartment for a year. I hardly ate and hadn’t seen the sun in a year. I was 82 pounds and unstable. Panicking at anything, crying hysterically, having flashbacks and mood swings. I went to a rehab to learn how to live life again.
I stayed at a sober living for 2 and a half years before moving back home. Of course I missed my son but I needed to recover. I needed to get well. I have many support groups now, I take medication to treat my bipolar disorder, anxiety and panic attack disorder and I see a therapist for my PTSD. I have stabiltiy in my life. I have strength. I work a steady job that I love and talk to so many amazing people about mental illness. I want to normalize it in society. It is such a common thing, I want it to be accepted not stigmatized. I created NYTN which stands for Not Your Typical Normal because I want to end the stigma of mental illness. I am not crazy or disabled…. I am someone with a mental illness who has succeeded. Who has recovered. I am my own normal, not your typical normal. My story is rather dark but my life today is so full of light. There is hope.