Monthly Archives: March 2014

Fragments of my Thoughts – Managing Anxiety and Motherhood

After I go to these great measures to make sure no germs or bacteria invade my spawns’ systems I sit back and question; “was that a bit overboard”?; “what if I’m making their immune system weak by not allowing their bodies to fight off germs while their young and healthy”? And then I think of children dying from diseases easily prevented with a protocol of hand washing; and reach for the hand soap yet again…

When my son was invited toa  birthday party at a water park the following month all my Fowleri fears came flooding back (excuse the pun). I had images of my son playing in the water then picking his nose (as 4 year olds do); getting a stream of water shot in his face a nd right up his sinus passage. I refused to let him go to the party.

Then, I had a realisation. That I was letting my unfounded fears effect my child, and the quality of his childhood. Never did I imagine that my anxiety would impede on my child’s innocence. Why should he suffer and miss out because Im a little effed up in the head? He shouldn’t. I had to forget about my fears and let my 4 year old be a 4 year old (a dirty, disgusting, germy little 4 year old).

Read the rest of the story by visiting Managing Anxiety and Motherhood | Fragments of my thoughts.

Radically Mad

My identities sometimes seem to contradict each other, which can be really confusing.

For instance, I often grapple with being simultaneously a psychology student working to enter the mental health field, and a radical mental health activist working to end stigma and improve the treatment of mad people by professionals.  (Existential crises:  an occupational hazard of trying to dismantle the very system you’re a part of.)

Sometimes this paradox hurts my brain so much that I become exasperated, and wonder if it’s possible at all.  Depending on how my studies and my activism are going, and which I’m more devoted to at the moment, I might either wonder why the heck I’m studying psychology or why the heck I’m a radical mental health activist.  What did I get myself into???

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Activism as Therapy | Radically Mad.

fractalthoughts – The mind/body infinite loop

When I began taking [Depakote] I felt great, as if my brain was working properly for the first time ever. I was no longer under water or foggy. The thing was, the weight gain was insane. . .

I had a hard, unfair decision to make. Do I choose a healthy mind or a healthy body? So for the past year I chose my mind. It’s been a great year professionally but my body reached that tipping point, more like a domino effect, where I was in serious danger. My liver blood work was dangerously bad which can ironically be caused by either or both obesity and Depakote. I won’t list the trail of ailments that have plagued me the last year but let’s just say when I flipped the coin on mind vs body I may have made the wrong call. I have to do something fast. So, I’m having surgery next month…a sleeve gastrectomy (for weight loss) ,gall bladder removal (already have a huge stone and the majority of the people who have the sleeve end up losing the gall bladder anyway later on). They will also biopsy a lesion on my liver (likely unrelated but they’re right there so why not go for the organ trifecta?)

I’m hoping with this quick weight loss I will undo some of the damage I have done to my body recently. I don’t know if the Depakote will hinder my progress and whether or not it’s the culprit on my liver enzymes. I’ve dragged my feet on a drug change since my brain is so highly functioning right now but I guess a badass brain doesn’t do you much good if you are dead.

Read the rest of the story by visiting The mind/body infinite loop | fractalthoughts.

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.

Finding Positives

. . . I came across something wonderful. A collective group of like-minded individuals who are raising awareness for mental health and breaking down the stigmas that surrounds it. I contacted them to tell them about my blog and they kindly said if I take the pledge, then my little blog will be included in their massive Blogroll. I said “Blogroll”.

If Hollywood has taught me correctly, I believe I need to put my right hand over my heart while I read aloud the pledge. As this is a blog though, I’m gonna have to type it at the same time – with one hand. Good thing I’m a lefty then!!

. . . My blog, Finding Positives is fully dedicated to helping others.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit I’m Taking The Pledge – Blog for Mental Health 2014 | Finding Positives.

Dead Like Me Blog – Mental Journey, Chapter 2: sailing onto the rocks

Through out my childhood and especially my adolescent years I would be found just sitting down and staring into space. I was told that only “mental patients” did that and how could I just do this ? I would have tears well into my eyes randomly and I was always teased that I had an “on” switch somewhere that I could flip to turn on the water works. Over time I looked at this logically (because that’s the only way I could make sense of things) & learnt to not be emotional or at least hide my emotions in cases where I couldn’t control them. I was told that I wasn’t really any use to the family and I was plain useless. One thing though I will mention, that I never had any pressure to perform academically like a lot of kids usually do. I looked around and I started to push myself and work a lot harder – because I had a tough time at school, paying attention in class and learning. I felt worthless and I knew I absolutely had to prove myself to myself first & then the world. So this is how “work” became my coping mechanism and my safe place.

I did go on to get my engineering degree and go on to grad school. I decided I wanted to move away for grad school and I did. During this time, I always thought everyone else who felt home sick was just being a baby because I wasn’t homesick. I was happy for most part. I started to not do well in grad school and this was again a problem for me in terms of self worth. On some level I knew I could never go home even though I was told that I could always come home and that there would always be a place for me. To me that wasn’t an option. I got into a bad relationship around this time where the guy was abusive too but not physically abusive. My best friend lived in Texas at the time and she helped me get out of the relationship by talking to me on the phone constantly. When he tried to get back in my life and I wasn’t strong enough myself, she flew up to spend time with me. . .

Read the rest of the story by visiting Mental Journey, Chapter 2 : sailing onto the rocks | deadlikemeblog.

Capricious1

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

Find out more by visiting Blog for Mental Health 1014 Project | Capricious1.

From One Crazy Life To Another – I’m different from the rest

I’ve gotten questions, and they bewilder me.
“Why do you feel the need to help everyone?”
“Why do you care so much?”
“What if they don’t want your help?”
“Don’t you realize you can’t help the world?”
“You don’t know these people, why do you make their issues your problem?”

I understand all of your concerns
I understand your reasons and your beliefs
However… I think you and those who have made you that way are wrong.

I can’t help the world
Not everyone wants my help
Not everyone CAN be helped
But I at least have to try

I’m fighting for the smiles that have been taken
spreading them like crazy all over
extending my reach as far as I can

Read the rest of the story — manifesto? — by visiting I’m different from the rest | From One Crazy Life To Another.