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19 March 2018

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3/19/18 Hero: Gina Loretelli

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Gina Loretelli. (Her story speaks for itself. Her combo of genetic predispositions & lived traumas is literally unreal. But she reached out months ago, we became friends & I’ve since asked her to take a large role with our #SameHere Advocacy Alliance. She’s so good w other ppl, I even had to show in her #SameHere profile pic how she got others on her work trip to hop on board w the Same Here message. Please reach out to her if you’re an advocate who wants to get more involved, collaborating).

 

“ Depression, anxiety (constant worry), ADD, & addiction felt like they were just a part of me from as early as I can remember. Genetically I must’ve been predisposed to a lot, seeing what family members had endured, themselves.

 

On top of genetics, I experienced childhood traumas starting very young. One of my parents was involved in a car accident resulting in a fatality, & subsequently they fell into a deep depression, not speaking to anyone for a yr. I also learned abt abuse: physical, mental, & sexual, & abt how being a victim of any of those causes major trauma.

 

Suffering from ADD & impulsivity caused me to make many choices which were not properly thought out. These choices led to many dangerous experiences involving drugs, partying, & increasingly risky behavior. I started to feel intense shame abt who I was & what ppl thought of me. I didn’t know any different & just kept telling myself: I must be a bad person, over & over again. That ‘reel’ player over & over in my mind.

 

As a young teen I also experienced more than average amount of loss. At 15, two close friends were killed in a car accident. My neighbor was then also killed in a car accident right arnd the same time. At 19, my best friend/boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident. At 22 another close friend who was a former professional athlete was killed in a car accident. 5 friends in 7 yrs…..gone forever.

 

More risky behaviors ensued, including in a wild alcohol fueled wknd in Vegas which left me & 2 friends in the hospital when we were thrown from a car after a head on collision. This left me feeling once again like a terrible person who made terrible choices. Through all of this I suffered in silence because on the outside I looked ‘normal & successful.’ I managed jobs,  college, & relationships.

 

At 26, I met my husband. I began working, however I changed jobs frequently bc I never felt like I ever really belonged or was deep down good enough for any job or company.

 

I started therapy & gained a few tools, including an ADD diagnosis which I ignored bc I was under the impression that I just needed to be ‘stronger, less lazy, & try harder.’ I did try harder for the next 10 yrs. I had 2 kids & suffered from postpartum w my first – so much so that I wanted to run away & even contemplated suicide. I sought treatment at the urging of my husband & mother. I took meds for a yr & things did get better. I still did not address the underlying issue of ADD. Even though I felt better, deep down I felt like I didn’t deserve to be a mom. I felt like I was in a play acting, like my daughter deserved a real mom, not me.  I then had my 2nd child 8 years ago & things were slightly better, tho I did have to take meds again.

 

I re-entered the work force after having my 2nd child bc we could no longer make it on one income. I worked for a company that was abusive to its employees. I left another job & felt again like a failure. I then tried changing careers – teaching.

 

Soon after, I was in a major car accident myself. This left me with intense PTSD, in physical pain & mentally confused. My symptoms worsened & eventually led to a complete breakdown which left me in a deep depression, feeling like a failure again.

 

This is where my true healing began. I found a terrific team of support. I got help for my PTSD, & finally sought treatment for my ADD. I went back into marketing (where I should’ve been all along despite loving teaching).  After trying many different counselors & therapist I finally found one who really made me look at my life in a whole new light. The focus wasn’t on rehashing traumas of the past, but changing what I thought abt those traumas.

 

I’d asked for help bc I was tired of getting overwhelmed & giving up. I knew I was smart, & could contribute, but my brain kept shutting me down.  The methods that’ve worked best for me have been: Cognative Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness & Guided Meditation. Yoga also helps but I don’t get a lot of time for a proper practice. I take ADD meds as needed, when I really need to focus at meetings or in learning sessions. I see my therapist regularly now. I also attend an ADD support group & volunteer w ADDA & now am talking a large role w ‘Crazy’s’ #SameHere Advocate Alliance. We’re always looking for Advocates for this Alliance so please click on that form in the hyperlink, and I’ll reach out and tell you all about joining ‘team’ and how we’ll feature your work on this site.

 

I now realize that every human alive goes through traumas, & that we can all learn how to deal w them. The most important thing is that we talk abt them, WORK at our own MH & start teaching our children from a young age about MH. We need to give them tools to use when they are feeling not quite right & give them the courage to speak up & understand “Same Here.”

 

I think some ppl will be shocked to hear my story.  Those close to me know most everything, those that love me will be happy I’m taking steps to help others. I hope I can help others see that we are all beautiful & useful. We all deserve love, tenderness & friendship. We can overcome past traumas and stop the negative reel we play in our heads.”

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