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The Long Road to Anywhere/Finding a Voice in a Maelstrom

Note from Ruby: Very brief mention of suicide in this excerpt.

After several years of “having it under control” (which in retrospect, I didn’t) I found myself more or less where I currently live.  I started to realize that I needed help, but continued to put it off.  It was not until I attempted to kill myself via drug overdose that I scared myself into actually getting help.  That was only a mere year and a half ago.

I have since remained on medication and continue to go to therapy.  Also something that I found which has helped me to no end is something called “psychiatric rehabilitation” which is a program where you go during the day and learn how to function in the world again.  This is done through a mixture of hands on activities such as arts and crafts, computer use, games, and home skills as well as more educational activities such as medication education, social skills, and current events as they pertain to mental illness.  To be honest, without this program I don’t know how well I would really be able to cope.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Finding a Voice in a Maelstrom: Blog For Mental Health 2014 Campaign and a short version of my “story.”

Deserting Depression

I was killing myself, chiseling away any dignity I had left as I went on dates with strangers I met online. A few of them I slept with. I’d get stupid drunk on these dates and convince myself I was having fun. Ultimately, I didn’t care about what the guys thought about me. If they didn’t like being out with me, then they didn’t have to see me again. I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship anyway and I didn’t blame them if they thought I was a wreck! I had moved from having a broken heart to having an empty heart and when you’re empty inside there is nothing to give. There were a few people I met who made an effort to become friends with me but the more they called the more I secluded myself. I no longer felt comfortable around people. When they’d ask me questions about myself, I’d draw a blank. I didn’t know how to talk about myself anymore, I didn’t have anything positive to say. Being around people became intimidating, so I tended to stay within the safety of my own bedroom. I even secluded myself from my family. I believed I was poison.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Tomorrow Is Another Day | Deserting Depression.

Black Dog Runner

As a metaphor for depression, black dogs like Fido have been explicitly pestering people for a fairly long time. Roman poet Horace is generally attributed with first objectifying his mental ill health as a black dog, as did Samuel Johnson (who I’m surprised didn’t use more flowery language, but then I suppose he invented the dictionary, not the thesaurus). The most famous black dog was undoubtedly the one belonging to Winston Churchill; allegedly one of the reason’s behind all the cigars and whisky. They might not be a very good way for treating depression, but at least whisky and cigars aren’t so socially taboo as, say, prozac. . .

So, like it or not, I have decided to adopt the black dog, or more specifically my black dog – Fido – as a symbol in my personal quest to return to good mental health and to fight mental health stigma.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit I have a black dog… His name is Fido! | Black Dog Runner.

man of words/metanoia

Its been fourteen years since my attempt at suicide and during that period I have learned a huge amount. Through a great deal of inner work I have actually managed to transmute the experience into an invaluable steppingstone toward a profound sense of empathy for the suffering of all sentient beings. . .

After a while I started drinking and smoking again. I started to use my suicide attempt as an excuse to go completely crazy and get even more messed up. I was damaged goods living on borrowed time. I could do whatever I wanted.

Now seven years sober I look back at these times in awe. I earned my stripes out there in the cracks of societies perfect dream.  My life is rich beyond my wildest imagination and I am truly capable of doing my job of supporting others to transcend their perceived limitations.

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE (GRAPHIC)

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Break The Silence: Support For Suicide Attempt Survivors | metanoia.

Toss the Typewriter

What is stigma?  According to the Oxford Dictionary, stigma is “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”  The first example given is “the stigma of mental disorder”.  Ouch.  There it is.  In perpetuity for all to see.  Unless changed, the words stigma and mental disorder are forever bound together in a trusted resource. At least the Merriam-Webster online definition adds the words “often unfair beliefs”.

I belong to a ‘secret society’.  We meet on Facebook and talk about our concerns for our loved ones and the lack of access to adequate and appropriate care.  Some of us advocate for mental health issues; others share current medical findings; still others attend or lead support groups.  Each of us is trying to find our voice. But none of us will speak out if it will harm our loved ones.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Be The Spark | Toss the Typewriter.