StoryCorps: Mental Illness, Recovery And Finding Love "There was absolutely no hope," Amanda Farell said of her time spent in a state psychiatric ward. Today, she is happily married with a family and works to help others who struggle with mental illness.

As She Fought Mental Illness, She Found Love Along The Way

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And it's time for StoryCorps this morning. Today, a story about mental illness and recovery from Amanda Farrell in Appleton, Wis. She sat down at StoryCorps with her husband, Craig.

AMANDA FARRELL: The summer after I graduated from high school, I started thinking that people were out to get me. I was spending the night over at my brother's house. I can just remember, like, the TV was talking to me personally. And then I felt this pull to go outside. I went out in my pajamas. It was raining. And there was a church that was across the lake. And I saw a big cross, and I felt like God was calling me. And the best way to get there was to swim. And I remember swimming until I got cold, and I remember just getting on my back and floating. And the next thing I remember, the EMTs were pulling me up on a boat.

Just knowing that my brain could do something without me controlling it was extremely scary. I was put into the psych ward, and things continued to get worse. Living in a cemented room with nothing but a pad on the floor, there was absolutely no hope. I was told that I was a lifer. I would lie there in bed, and I would imagine myself doing my own dishes. Just having a sink where I could do my own dishes was a dream to me. I was finally able to have my own place, and it was (laughter) a shack. But to me, it was the greatest thing ever.

I had just started dating when I found you. Your smile just seemed so sincere. I could just see the teddy bear in you from the very beginning.

CRAIG FARRELL: In our conversations on the phone - was just nonstop for hours. I just felt comfortable.

FARRELL: That's what I lived for, was that call from you. And kissing you was just one of the most natural things I'd ever done. But I was scared. And I said, Craig, I'm starting to fall in love with you. And I need you to know I carry all of this baggage. And if you stay with me, it's going to be some work.

FARRELL: When you told me about that, I didn't give it a second thought.

FARRELL: You said, Amanda, I will take care of you, and you have. But I think I tested your patience a few times (laughter).

FARRELL: There were nights that you would cry a lot. You didn't take your meds, and I can tell that you wasn't right.

FARRELL: I remember you being on the floor and just crying and scared.

FARRELL: That was a rough time.

FARRELL: But even though we went through those hard times, I truly believe that the things that we've been through together have made our relationship stronger. And as long as I'm going through this life, I just want to go through it with you.


GREENE: Amanda and Craig Farrell. They've been married for eight years. Their StoryCorps interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.

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