Dont mess with Crazy Chick.
Former three-time WWE Divas champion AJ Mendez Brooks was beloved for her stage persona as a vengeful ex-girlfriend, but she had her limits for how far she would take her crazy.
In 2012, Brooks( aka AJ Lee) was due to had participated in a series of goofy skits in which her character hallucinated, kissed a leprechaun and danced with dinosaurs from outer space. But, as a real-life secret sufferer of bipolar II disorder, and the daughter of a mama with the same condition, she couldnt go through with it.
It felt like it disrespected both me and my mother, tells the 30 -year-old, who at the time was only public about her mothers mental illness. It was a joke, but, to me, it wasnt something to laugh at. As penalty for her refusal to do the skit, she was taken off TV for two months.
Now, with her new memoir Crazy Is My Superpower( Crown Archetype, out now ), Brooks is opening up about her own strifes with bipolar II and challenging the stigma of depression and other mental health issues.
Its hard to not think youre alone in the world, so its is right to connect with other people whove faced the same issues, she tells. I want to show that theyre not something thats going to stop you.
The book also chronicles her poverty-stricken childhood in Hudson County, NJ her family was evicted more than 20 hours her introduction to wrestling and her wedding to former WWE champion Phillip Brooks, aka Phil C.M. Punk.
Self-conscious and anxiety-ridden as a kid, Brooks strove consolation in playing video games and fantasizing about superheroes. The WWE, especially the female wrestlers, captured her imagination, and she would play out fightings with her older brother, Robbie, copying the moves.
I seemed weak and powerless, then I looked at the TV screen and theres a bunch of tiny women in control, powerful and strong. I was like: Im going to do that for sure, she says.
But her nervousnes became crippling as she got older. I was like a Chihuahua during a thunderstorm, she tells. Every second, I felt like I was on edge.
At 14, she developed chronic insomnia plus a tic in her neck something her bipolar mama tried to correct by forcing her under a frost cold shower.
Brooks was diagnosed with bipolar II in her late teens and successfully treated with a combination of therapy, drug and meditation. She also turned to exercising, channeling her energy into wrestling at local gyms.
In 2009, she got talent-spotted by the WWE, but her big break with the organization didnt come until 2012, when she took on the Crazy Chick character and went on to earn billions of devotees who watched her scoop up 10 major titles.
Little did they know that she was really suffered by bipolar disorder, but now, with the books publication, shes intent on sharing her narrative and helping others suffered by mental illness.
Having retired from the WWE last year at the top of her play, she is now working to spread the message with groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She craves others to know there is hope.
She tells: My memoir is called Crazy Is My Superpower because whatever you are ashamed of or feel insecure about, you can harness into your greatest strength.
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