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Nerdy. Scrawny. Weak. Impulsive. Ugly. Dirty. Poor. Trashy. Crazy.
AJ Mendez Brooks has had all these words shouted at her and alike aerosol corrective on her property.
“I accept been pushed into these hurtful, close-minded boxes alike afore grammar school,” she said.
So, why did the above WWE pro wrestler adjudge to use a “verbal wound,” as she calls it, in the appellation of her New York Times acknowledged book?
Because the personality aforetime accustomed as AJ Lee wants to prove to anybody that crazy is in actuality her superpower.
After added than a decade in able wrestling, the three-time championship retired to focus on herself, publishing her adventures “Crazy is My Superpower.” She said it was a far cry from the times of actuality angry into an activity figure, cutting an inflatable Sumo clothing and assault up bodies for a living.
Yet as a NAMI (National Alliance on Brainy Illness) ambassador, Mendez focused on how a activity of brainy affliction and abjection angry into article positive, while speaking during the NAMI appointment on Dec. 2 at the Ramada Plaza Appointment Center in Monroe.
Mendez said she and her ancestors were “Jersey gypsies,” affective frequently to abstain advantageous rent. She said her parents, Robert and Janet, had to adjudge anniversary ages if she, her brother Robbie and her sister Erica were activity to accept a home, aliment or clothes.
She said her ancestor was a self-taught mechanic, while her mother was a home bloom abettor – sometimes bringing her accouchement forth so they could abduct candy from a patient’s house.
Living analysis to check, the ancestors would broad in abandoned apartments or basements, or alike clasp into their car to beddy-bye – with her ancestor parking their babyish dejected Monte Carlo on altered streets so that neighbors wouldn’t notice. Occasionally they would alive in a 300-square-foot cabin room, with her, her mother and her sister administration a full-size mattress.
She said she was “mortified” aback a babe in her third-grade gym chic yelled in advanced of everyone,” Do you aloof absolutely like that shirt, because you abrasion it every day?” abandoning how they had few clothes, the aforementioned apparel which she would abrasion for best of her pre-teen and boyish years.
To try to cope with her situation, Mendez said she began to “pretend” – pretend she “didn’t accord a crap” or pretend she was strong.
“The acknowledgment was clear: I’d accept to be a superhero,” she said.
She said she took a circling anthology meant for schoolwork and instead drew and scribbled, eventually finishing her own banana book starring herself: she was able to see the world, be adventuresome and accept lots of friends, things that weren’t accurate in her absolute life. She said this gave her “peace of mind” and the adeptness to “escape.”
However, one day she woke up in the average of the night and went to the bathroom, angrily abrasion her easily for 10 minutes. She started to hyperventilate already she got aback in bed.
“I was terrified. I was shaking. I was sweating. I was berserk sobbing,” she recalled.
This was her aboriginal agitation advance – admitting her mother told her to aloof “stop acting crazy.” So, Mendez said she afflicted again, this time that she was OK.
“I didn’t appetite anyone to anticipate I wasn’t able abundant to be sane,” she said.
It wasn’t until after on that Mendez said she accomplished her mother was aggravating to adumbrate her own depression, and that her daughter’s agitation advance meant that “her black was spreading.”
Eventually, the ancestors started accomplishing better, and was able to alive in an accommodation while additionally accepting aliment on the table. However, Mendez said the abasement “covered my bark like vines.” She said she would feel abundant and foggy, or accept bouts of paranoia.
She angry to video amateur to feel focused, useful, dainty and happy. She said she could lose herself in a adventure and see herself through a hero’s eyes. She said the characters were able to activity off darkness, which was important because “in my world, I was crazy.”
At age 17, Mendez absitively to administer to blur academy and was accustomed to the Tisch Academy of the Arts at New York University for blur and TV writing.
“It would be a way for me to address my own blessed ending,” she said.
Yet she said that every adventure has “tragic twists,” which connected for her six months into her aboriginal year of academy aback her mother was institutionalized. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is a aggregate of berserk and depressive states, or acute highs and lows.
Mendez said she approved to “stay central the safe, balmy apple of accomplish believe,” but she would cry every day and was abashed to see anyone. Then, because of ascent charge costs, she had to bead out of academy – affective her aback into the darkness.
Just a abbreviate time after at age 19, Mendez said she overdosed while aggravating to accomplish suicide. She was diagnosed at that time with bipolar ataxia as well.
“Hitting bedrock basal is what absolutely set me free,” she said. “I was ‘real’ and I could activity it.”
Through analysis and treatment, she said she assuredly acquainted peace.
This led her to become her own real-life superhero: putting on Spandex abbreviate shorts and angry bad guys. Her admission to “a billion emotions” helped her approach her activity and assailment during angry shows. She said she was able to accept ascendancy in the ring.
But she was told she was “too average” and not adult abundant to accomplish in the arena – admitting she said the admirers accompanying to her cheap, accustomed clothes, loud aperture and adamant attitude.
So, she said her acknowledgment was to “let her aberration banderole fly.”
She helped bodies accept in the accessible – afterwards because of, not in animosity of, what bodies advised to be her flaws. She said her “bipolar abstruse identity” was fabricated into activity abstracts and video games.
“What were already my affliction ancestry were now an absorbing allotment of my adapt ego,” she said.
She absitively to retire added than two years ago in adjustment to “stop hiding.” Autograph her book accustomed her to “expose my claret and basic and address about my activity with bipolar disorder.”
She said she had accustomed her constant affliction to be her baleful flaw, but absitively to “stop the benevolence party.” She developed a “superhuman adeptness of empathy,” her acrimony angry into angelic animus and she reminded herself to be invincible.
“What was already my base abstruse had become my abstruse weapon,” she said. “I could airing through blaze if it agency authoritative my dreams appear true.”
She is now spending her time animated a ablaze on brainy affliction “to let bodies apperceive that I am bipolar and I am proud.” She wants those adversity to apperceive they are not broken, and can become their own hero.
“Embrace your crazy,” she said.
Besides featuring Mendez’s story, the appointment hosted speakers alms advice on the anew developed Aboriginal Episode Psychosis Analysis Centers and on ameliorative interventions for those afflicted by brainy illness.
There was additionally a accolade to Sylvia Axelrod, NAMI-NJ controlling director.
For added advice on NAMI, appointment www.naminj.org or acquaintance Aruna Rao at 732-343-3015.
Mendez’s book, “Crazy is My Superpower,” is accessible through Barnes & Noble.
Contact Jennifer Amato at email@example.com.
The History of Nami | Nami – Nami
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