“This is not the life I planned for. This was not supposed to happen. How am I the one paying the price for someone else’s life choices? I wasn’t even supposed to be there. I have lost everything; how am I even supposed to go on after this?’
These were the haunting questions that played on a replay loop, tormenting my mind for months after I returned home from 3 months of inpatient treatment for anorexia only to mentally crash again and spend the next several months in and out of psych wards as I struggled with suicide ideation and attempted suicide for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th times.
After my 4th suicide attempt, while still in the hospital, a very caring nurse stayed up all night with me and spoke life back into my very frail and broken spirit. It was this moment that I choose to start walking back towards the life I once knew….or at least some resemblance of the life I used to have. Leaning on my faith, my family, the few friends that were still around, therapy and my doctors, I actively chose health and recovery from the chaos cycle I had fallen into. I willed that horrible event to be the catalyst as a turning point in my life. This was roughly 13 years ago and I am just now finding my voice, my BRAVE, to share these stories in hopes of connecting with others… that maybe, just maybe they would resonate with someone and open up a conversation that would help encourage someone else to choose to fight for a brighter future; for recovery.
You see, I did not plan for a traumatic event to bring on PTSD. And I had no idea that PTSD would trigger memories of physical and sexual abuse I had suppressed for years. I could not control how my body responded by becoming physically ill eventually leading to an eating disorder that nearly cost me my life. I never wanted to be identified as someone with debilitating anxiety or depression so bad that I would ever want to harm myself; let alone want to take my life. I never wanted any of these descriptive words, labels or diagnoses. But, here they were. They are a part of my story whether I asked for them or not.
However, I also identify with multiple other labels: overcomer, survivor and warrior. I’ll wear my battle scars with honor. I’m still standing. I’ve walked through the fire and I’m still standing. I’m still here! I know, without a doubt, that God has a divine purpose for my life. I’d like to think that there were other roads my journey had to take me to get to where I am today. And I know, without a doubt, that I am braver, more empathetic, kinder, wiser, ambitious, more aware and somehow more stronger that I would have been if this story was not my narrative.
My name is Jennylynn Adleta and I currently reside in both Chester County, PA and Austin, TX. It’s a crazy, adventurous life with my husband and two amazing step-children. Everyday I strive to remain not just mentally healthy, but physically healthy as well as my body also battle several autoimmune issues, migraines, chronic pain and a bleeding disorder. Taking care of your mental health is very similar to being proactive and taking great care of your physical health as well. I believe that understanding signs and symptoms of when we need to reach out and ask for help is one of our greatest strengths. Each day I remind myself that I have to actively CHOOSE health and a positive outlook despite my circumstances. No one else can do that for me.
It is my hope that those who attend our show and hear our stories will see extraordinary men and women, just like themselves, who did not necessarily ‘choose’ a life, journey or story that they’ve wanted but rather they are now actively ‘choosing’ to live a more fuller and braver life everyday as they walk in the fullness of health and recovery with the support of friends, family, therapists, doctors, and community members around them. It is also my hope that by sharing our stories, we would open the dialogue of mental illness in spaces it is often ignored or overlooked such as religious circles and church settings.
Psalm 138:3 says ‘And on the day I was weak, and frail, I cried out to you, O God, you strengthened my soul. You made me BOLD, and STRONG and BRAVE.’
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Jennylynn and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!
Please share this post with friends and family in the Elkins Park area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.