My Journey to a Life Worth Living: K.C. Jones's Recovery Story, Part II


This two-part article was written exclusively for by K.C. Jones. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety and an eating disorder, K.C. shares her story of recovery.

Click here to read Part I.

I returned to school and graduated with an English degree in December of 2006. It is one of my proudest accomplishments.

I immediately left for Milledgeville to get a degree in music therapy. At first, I was a model student - I even won an award for best second-year music therapy student for my volunteerism at the local nursing home.

Unfortunately, in order to receive that award the doctors had to agree to let me out of the hospital because I had relapsed into my eating disorder. College was a stress that I could barely handle, and I had started restricting my food and over-exercising again in order to deal with it. I spent another two weeks at Ridgeview.

When I got back to Milledgeville, I continued to work hard at my recovery, but it was too difficult in that unstructured environment, so I decided to return home to work on my recovery full-time.

Finding the Right Medications: A Sacrifice Worth Making

I still live with my parents, and I am much happier than I have ever been. It took me a while to get to this place, even after moving back home. I first started doing really well when I was put on Zyprexa and Cymbalta. 2010 was a very stable year for me.

Unfortunately, Zyprexa made me gain a fair amount of weight and, in frustration, I told my doctor that I would no longer take it. Without this powerful medication, I went downhill again and was hospitalized several more times.

I tried many different medications, but none of them worked nearly as well as the initial combination. Finally, I agreed to go back on the old medication regimen because I realized that good mental health is more important than the size of the clothes I wear.

Attending Therapy: The Turning Point in My Life

My parents and I started attending family therapy, which helped us learn how to communicate better and how to live more peaceably together.

Another turning point in my recovery started in March of 2012 when I took my therapist’s dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) class for five months. I learned to listen to my body and my own emotions, how to self-soothe (a part of distress tolerance), how to better regulate my emotions, interpersonal effectiveness skills, and how to practice mindfulness.

For the first time, I feel confident that painful events and emotions will actually pass and I do not feel the need to act out impulsively in order to try to make the painful feelings go away. I feel calmer and more balanced than I ever have in my entire life. I credit this to my hard work, my supportive family and friends, my wonderful therapist, medications that actually work, and my new DBT skills.

Maintaining Recovery: A Life Worth Living

Today, my life is much more than living with anxiety and bipolar, having borderline personality disorder or being in recovery from an eating disorder. Yes, I still go to therapy and to support groups, but I also started my own feminist book club, I have a part-time job that I enjoy and I volunteer with several different organizations.

I do presentations as part of NAMI’s "In Our Own Voice" program, where I tell my own recovery story in order to try to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. I have been writing my blog Hope is Real! for about four years and am currently preparing to turn some of the blog posts into a book.

My life is full and although it is hard, I would say my life is good. As Marcia Linehan (the creator of DBT) would say, my life is now “a life worth living.”


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