It seems like everyone has been sick this year for the holidays… whether it be sick with a cold, sick with the flu, getting over a mental breakdown, or worse… it seems unanimous that we all just want to get better… I hear it all the time… Brooke, when will I feel better???? But, what if it’s not about getting better? What if the question is not, how to feel better or get better... but how to be better? How to be better than we were before? How to BE MORE?
We all have the ability to achieve our goals and to be the better version of ourselves, right? Why not do it this year? Why not make 2018 the year to BE MORE? If we all have the power to totally reinvent ourselves… and trust me, we do… why not rewrite your life to fulfill all the dreams you’ve wished upon and to turn them into reality? You have the power to manifest those dreams... but we all know a dream without a plan is just a wish. So, let’s start planning! Putting pen to paper is the hardest step!
About three years ago, I thought my life was over. I had climbed the corporate ladder in financial services for twelve years and then...kaputz... I had a mental breakdown. Not only was my breakdown very public, thanks to social media, but also I married another psychotic man that I met in treatment. I was told it’s called Folie A Deux, or the madness of two. It usually happens when one psychotic person convinces another that his/her delusions are real and they feed off of each other. In my case, we were both rarely medicated and abusing substances to cope with our illnesses and we were totally out of our minds, psychotic.
The details don’t really matter so much anymore, but the fact remains that I married a seemingly homeless, schizoaffective, drug addict and I believed that we were to become billionaire's within the year. I used to believe that I could write things down in a journal and if I mailed said journal in the post office box, these dreams would manifest into reality instantaneously. I found out the hard way that this wasn’t true. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than expecting to wake up over Venice Boardwalk to a sea of adoring fans, only to be completely ignored… the beautiful morning sun rising over the ocean in jest, smirking... I was heartbroken, taken for a fool. I kept trying over and over again… but nothing seemed to work.
I wanted the easy way out. I believed it was my birthright… Eventually, I saw that life would most likely only get worse for me. I woke up one day, with the help of heavy duty anti-psychotics, and wondered, how did I get here? I left my husband and headed for South Carolina with my pup, Lefty. We did not become billionaire's, I was left spiritually, financially, and emotionally bankrupt. I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for my delusions for so long… It was about 15 months in total before reality of my condition and its potential for fatality set in. Another year went by and I had never been so depressed in my life… I swore off dreaming and manifestation for what I thought would be forever. I believed I was doomed to live a very ordinary life in the low country, among the Southerners, which I never felt like I fit in with. I was completely devastated.
Over time, my deep depression began to thaw and I fought hard to see the outline of the forest through the trees. I realized that I had been self medicating with drugs and alcohol and that I needed to get sober if my medicine had a chance of working. I couldn’t medicate the pain away any longer. I had to feel. I had to figure my life out. I had to move on. I was more than my diagnosis. I was more than my story. I AM MORE.
I thought I would go back in to finance, as that had been my only experience and I had been successful in the field, but as I stepped into the corporate banking offices, something in my gut told me to run. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t hide amongst the cubicles and trading desks any longer, pretending that life hadn’t been absolutely insane for two years. I went on dates and I felt the same deadening inside. Like I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, someone that I had been before, but had fell out of touch with. I couldn’t handle the pressure to be Brooke Bresnan anymore. I had to embrace Brooke Hilton.
So, I decided to rewrite my life. I decided to speak out. I felt this calling in me to tell my story. To use the pain that I had experienced to give others hope by changing my career and rebuilding my life. I had planned to write a book when all was said and done, but before I could do that I had to manifest the ending. I had to overcome a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and live victoriously, free from substance abuse and successfully managing my mental illness. I wanted to recover and to show others that it could be done. I wanted to change my story, because I realized that I was more than my story. I was ready to do the work. To take the dreams and to turn them into measured goals with real deadlines. I decided to manifest my future through hard work and perseverance, rather than through fairy tales and psychotic delusions.
I have written the ending to my book and there is a lot more life to live. It is one of those choose your own adventure books and I keep choosing yes to life, to helping others, to becoming more than my story. Although I have been triumphant in just a few months, completing one semester at the University of Southern California’s Master of Social Work program, building a brand and website, creating a support group for the dually diagnosed, getting eight articles published in various online magazines including MindBodyGreen, Thrive Global, Go Magazine, and The Mighty, creating The First Annual Dual Diagnosis Day to take place May 15, 2018 in accordance with Mental Health Awareness Month, securing an internship at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Center for Drug and Alcohol Program, staying sober, and maintaining a balanced personal wellness lifestyle routine. Just yesterday, I was asked to become a featured vlogger for Bipolar Magazine. Even with all of these accomplishments building up in such a short time, I know the road ahead will be filled with wrong turns and surprises.
However, I am certain I am on the right path, though it is only the beginning. The next 1,000 days will probably be some of the hardest in my life, but I must push forward, putting one foot in front of the other… the way I have always done. I am better now, I am stable, grounded, I lead a balanced lifestyle and I have never felt more in tune with my body and with reality. But, I don’t want to just get better, I have never wanted that, I have always wanted more… I will become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I will change the dual diagnosis treatment industry. I will help a lot of fucking people. I will make a big difference on society. It is no longer my dream, it is my mantra.
While I hope to impress you, I don’t mean to brag. I want to instill hope in you and in your life. I want you to know that I believe in you. I believe that you are more than your story and that you have the power to rewrite your life, just as I am doing. It is an active process and requires a serious commitment, but the reward will be worth it. Whenever I am down, I just envision all of the smiling faces I have helped already and wish upon them like stars to keep me motivated to help more people and to realize my full potential. I’m no longer dreaming of far off places and then taking another swig of the bottle. I am taking steps to succeed. We can both BE MORE THAN BEFORE... The Fourth Dimension’s highway is roomy and broad...All inclusive, never exclusive...I hope to see you there!