Letter to the editor: You’re not alone and there’s help out there

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I am writing this more so to share experience of a regular issue in my life and the lives of others: Mental health and its connection to substance abuse.

As an individual with a history of alcohol abuse, it has come to my attention that there seems to be little to no regard to what people like myself have experienced and how those experiences can affect us and how we cope. On my journey of recovery, I’ve come to learn a lot about how people in my life, particularly certain members of my family, have had a significant impact on how I used to cope with traumatic experiences and how that in turn affected my overall mental health and well-being.

We all suffer trauma of some kind and it affects everyone differently, but there’s a large number of people who’ve turned to drugs and alcohol as a means to drown out memories or numb themselves to the world around them (myself included), often leading to the destruction of oneself.

I’ve come to learn the importance of having a support system and how difficult it can be to find and maintain one. I say this simply because so many relationships have been lead to ruin because we often get caught in this vicious cycle of low self esteem or self loathing and hopelessness that we seek an escape, which only becomes more difficult as it amplifies these feelings and as our tolerances for our substance of choice becomes greater and requires more to achieve the desired effect.

It’s never an easy thing, to admit to having an addiction or to face one’s own demons, but to face the challenge, to face the person in the mirror, to seek support is a liberating feeling. Finding support groups, family and friends to encourage you and to engage in healthy coping mechanisms has changed my life for the better in a big way. And for those who may be struggling now, you’re not alone and there’s help out there.

Everyday more resources are becoming available and I encourage everyone out there struggling to take a chance, to find the support they need and deserve in order to achieve full happiness and fulfillment in life.

Jyles Wirta, Brush Prairie

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