Hello my name is Shane Harrison and this is my story of how I overcame addiction, self harming, and mental illness. I was born and raised in Ohio. I am the youngest of four children and the only boy. I was born with Spina Bifida and I’m paralyzed from the waist down. I spent the first few years of my life in a body cast until I was about 4 or 5ish until I was old enough to push myself around in a wheelchair. I grew up without a father who walked out of my life at the age of 4 because he couldn’t handle having children who were handicap. As a result of him walking out I had anger and trust issues, believing that anyone who came into my life would just turn around and walk out of my life the same way he had done. In my childhood years and early teenage years I suffered from severe ADHD and was on many different medications throughout my childhood and early teenage years. When I was a sophomore in high school my mom told the family that she has cancer. Needless to say I didn’t take the news very well. I was very suicidal and had my first attempt at 16. I was immediately put on antidepressants and for a short time things got somewhat better. My junior year I was struck with another tragedy when one of my closest friends died from a brain hemorrhage which lead me trying to attempt suicide yet again. My medication was switched and things went okay for a while. But, less than two years later I was struck with another tragedy when a friend and classmate of mine committed suicide. My meds were changed for a third time after trying to commit suicide as a result of her death, things continued to escalate and about a year later I started abusing pills. It started with Tramadol and Ambien. A few years after I had to have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled and was prescribed Vicodin and Codeine and I started abusing them as well. In 2012 I decided to go see a psychiatrist to get properly diagnosed. I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder,ptsd and generalized anxiety disorder. I was put on the right medication and started to slowly feel better. Six months into treatment I starting to feel better. After 5 years of active addiction and about 4 attempts to get clean cold turkey and relapsing every time I had something happen that would change my life for the better. I was home alone one gloomy rainy day while my family had went out to eat. I reached in my drawer and grabbed a bottle of pills. I was holding some pills in my hand and as I got about mid chest all the sudden it stops raining. Deep in the pit of my stomach something was different about this time, but being the addict I am I didn’t really think much about it. I get close to my mouth and out of nowhere I heard a voice say “it’s over”. Confused and scared, I looked around to see if maybe someone seen me, but no one was there. Confused and scared I sat for a moment wondering what the hell was going on. Then, it dawned on me that my higher power was speaking to me, telling me that my days of active addiction was over. I realized if I didn’t stop I was for sure going to die that day. I started crying and blurted out “I can’t take this shit anymore” and dumped the pills that I had in my hand along with the bottle of pills in the trash. I hollered for my sister. She came down and I asked her to help me search for pills and dispose of them. I told her I was an addict and I was tired of using. We found dozens of bottles and disposed of them. I tapered down and on March 17th, 2013 I was completely sober and free from active addiction once and for all. On January 3,2016 I almost died from Sepsis. I was in a coma for about two weeks and I was in the hospital for over a month. I had 8 surgeries and I was on antibiotics, pain meds and hooked to a wound vac for over a year. Knowing how I was in active addiction I was strong enough to know that I couldn’t use that as a means to return to active addiction no matter how much I wanted to at times. Fast forward to May 29th 2020 on my mom’s birthday I started school to become a personal trainer and nutrition coach and on July 15, 2020 I officially become a certified personal trainer and on October 6th 2020 a certified nutrition coach. I am also a wheelchair bodybuilder. I am actively going to meetings, working on a 12 step program, and doing my part through social media and other various outlets to speak out about addiction and mental illness. I want the younger generation to know that no matter what you’re going through or went through in the past, you don’t have to turn to drugs and alcohol or even self harming as a means to cope. I want then to know there is a better way.
A quote I live by that has helped me get through my toughest moments:
“Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day, or even a year. But, eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever”.