Sarah Holub Schrom: Being a Warrior
Written by Sarah Holub Schrom on March 23, 2021
Hey everyone! It has been quite some time since I wrote a post for my blog. I’m really sorry for my absence. The truth is that I have been struggling with my mental health and lost a large chunk of the last two and a half years to those struggles. I have ultra rapid cycling bipolar 1 disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a generalized anxiety disorder. The last two and a half years have been a roller coaster ride of multiple inpatient hospitalizations, ER and crisis visits, and countless medication changes. I have a complicated case due to the multiple diagnoses and it has been very difficult to find my way back to some semblance of sanity. I am proud to say that I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though. I am stabilized on a cocktail of seven different medications and haven’t been to the ER or in the hospital since November. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I still struggle on a daily basis, but it seems like every day gets better and a little bit easier. Still, it is 20 miles into the woods and 20 miles out and I am still working my way out of the forest.
I want to share two tattoos I got recently that have a lot of meaning to me. I got them in the midst of the chaos to help remind myself about how strong I am and what I have been able to overcome. The first one is on my left inner forearm and says, “Warrior”, and is followed by a semi colon. The semi colon movement was started to help bring awareness to suicide, self harm, and various mental illnesses. I have had multiple suicide attempts throughout my life time and have self harmed since I was a teenager. I haven’t self harmed in well over a year now and I wanted to get the tattoo to commemorate that. I have heavy scarring on my arm from the years of self harm, but didn’t want to cover them all up. I am not proud of my scars, but I am proud to say that I am a warrior, battle scars and all. I have survived and am slowly getting my life back. I am a warrior because I was stronger than what tried to kill me.
The second tattoo says, “From Ashes to Light,” and has an infinity symbol below it. This tattoo is for the phoenix who rises from ashes to light for all eternity. I relate to the phoenix because I have repeatedly had my life crumble to ashes that I have had to climb out of and rise above. From Ashes to Light will also be the name of my next album.
One of the most difficult things for me to experience while I was working through my mental health issues was the effect it had on my creativity. When I am mentally in a good place, I create art almost every day. I had stopped creating art and music for months when I was struggling with my mental health. I was afraid the medications and my own mind were going to be the end of my creativity. It was a very dark time. My art and music have always been therapy and a creative outlet for me and it felt like I lost my best friend when it was no longer there for me. Thankfully, now that my mental health issues are under control, I am back to creating new art almost every day. My art is a little bit different now, perhaps even better than it was before. I still haven’t been composing music or playing my piano, but I have faith that this too will return in time. I want everyone to know that you don’t have to make a choice between medication and creativity. You just need to find the right combination.
This blog post is very personal and may be difficult for some people to read, but I want anyone who is suffering from a mental illness to know that there is hope. Don’t give up. It is cliche, but true…take one day at a time. You too can find the light at the end of your tunnel. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you have a mental illness. There is also no shame in taking medications to treat that mental illness. Be proud and embrace your inner warrior and never stop fighting.