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How Victoria Secrets Saved My Life

Kelley McElreath anxiety attempted suicide survivor depression manic depression PTSD suicidal Suicide suicidesurvivor Teen Depression Teen suicide Victoria Secrets

“A lot is being done to cure physical self-harm, and yet it’s a by-product of mental self-harm!”
-Maddy Malhortra

Back in the day when I was a newlywed, I hated Victoria Secrets. I met my husband in a strip club. He was the manager and I was a dancer. Once we both got out of that lifestyle and knowing he had a porn addiction, Victoria Secrets became my enemy. Why? Because every time we were at the mall with our little girls, I knew the struggle he would have just walking by the store and seeing soft porn, as well all know, that is exactly what it is. 


The further he got into it, the more insecure I got and the more trouble any provocative advertisements and such would spin me out of control. I realize now that this was my own issues and I am not really here to share that side of the story.


You see, I am an attempted suicide survivor and have lived a life filled with tragedies.  After the attempt, as I was trying to work through it all and begin to heal, I became very overwhelmed at some things that were going on in my life. I thought I had been doing really well with my depression and suicidal thinking. One day, I let my thoughts take me to an extremely dark place. I knew better, but it was now too late. 


I was sitting on my bedroom floor in front of my long mirror. I was crying, bawling was more like it. I was in a fetal position rocking back and forth. My eyes were swollen and red with tears continuing to stream down my face. As I looked at myself, I hated who I was looking at. I hated what life had done to me and could not for the life of me figure out why I have had to endure the things I have endured. The crying spell got worse, all I could think about was how desperately I needed to figure out a way to leave my brain there on the floor and just run far, far away. That would give me the break I needed, but of course, that wasn’t an option.


It was at that moment that I realized that I truly was completely out of options. I had damaged my children from trying to commit suicide and take away their mommy. Suicide was NO longer an option. I didn’t have any medication to take to “check out” for a little while. I didn’t want to call and bother anyone with my temporary breakdown. There was nothing I could do. 


I sat there and thought about how I had been a life-coach for over 10 years and yet, here I was, unable to coach myself. It was at that very second that I remembered the few minutes before I attempted to take my life. I wondered how many people, seemingly “normal” individuals like me were across the globe in this exact position, completely out of options. I thought there has GOT to be something I can do for myself. I have to. I must. The only option is to create options. What on earth could they be?


The thought crossed my mind that I just needed to GET UP. Get up off the floor and just take a long hot shower. So, I did. While I was in the shower, I remembered that I had just bought this new Victoria Secret’s exfoliating scrub. I grabbed it, poured some in my hands, rubbed my hands together and then started to scrub my left arm, then my right. As I was doing this, I still had a million negative, dark and scary thoughts racing through my mind. I started to imagine to myself as if with every scrub, I was literally washing the bad thoughts down the drain. I looked down at the drain and actually imagined this. Then, I got more and put it on my head and started to rub my head like I was really “cleaning” my brain from these awful and frightening thoughts.  


I really started to feel a little better! I got out of the shower, got dressed, put my make-up on and fixed my hair. Then I went and opened all my blinds. Then, I got in my car and drove down the street to grab me a coke. I started thinking all the way there and back how with each step, starting with the shower, I felt a little bit better. When I came back home and walked in my door, the feeling was just completely different. I realized that the episode had completely, 100%, left me. I was totally fine!


It was then and there that I started writing a list of all the things that have helped me to get through these tough mental times, fighting with my own brain. I pondered my whole life and created a LONG list of times I have pulled myself out. I went on to realize that I had just invented something extraordinary! I could share this, I could teach this to many others. I could just write about it, blog about it, talk about  it, and that alone could potentially save lives. 


My life was never the same. I started putting ALL of my effort into The Survivor Coach and creating a personalized, customized program to help the other “Me’s” that I knew were out there in the world and started writing my memoir. I started sharing my story on every platform and to anyone who would listen. 


It has been a joy. It has been sad, yet very rewarding. Sad because of the stories I have heard, of people who have also experienced tragedies, that absolutely NO person should ever have to endure. It is very fulfilling when someone calls or writes to me and tells me how much I have helped them or that I have even saved their lives. I have always said to myself that if my story helps prevent even one person from taking their own life, it would be worth it. My mission is to help people realize that their mental illness is NOT who they are and that they can actually help themselves! Yes, therapy of many kinds can and do help some. However, in our darkest hours, in that very short window of time before making a life long, horrendous mistake to end the pain, we can come out on top and be SO very empowered because we did it! When we do it ourselves, we become self-sufficient and realize it isn’t always something external that can help us or make us happy, but internally, right between our ears is our greatest counselor.



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