Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dad’s American Beauty

This spring I am interning at the Mental Health Association of Essex County. One of my key assignments is to co facilitate a sibling support group for individuals with a brother or sister who is living with mental illness. My tribe. Just like me. My role in the group is not about me, and yet, thanks to my sister,  I am steeped in the experience of the group from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. Working in the group, and approaching her birthday,  I slowly caught myself going a bit numb. Averting my eyes from the obvious herd of white elephants entering the chambers of my heart, the memories of Deborah and her craziness, the ways she hurt me, the ways she hurt herself and, despite it all, how much I miss her. The missing began long before she died, when she first became ill. All that much more, then, do I miss her, truly.

So this weekend, I found myself paying a shiva call to the family of a beautiful young woman, whose vivacious and generous life seemed to end midstream, too soon, unfinished. The whole way there, I cried for my sister. In awe, in gratitude, I cried. This is what I have missed, I realized, the open grief. The loss of the one, resonated with the loss of the other, like the vibration of a bell, ringing out in concert, in sympathetic response.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Happy Birthday, Wild Thing | Dad’s American Beauty.


Although we need to be more supportive and understanding of mental illness, I firmly believe that we should also be promoting mental health.  People need to understand the benefits of good mental health, how precious it is, how they can work to ensure they look after it as much as they do their physical health for all round well being.   I also believe the subject of mental health is easier to swallow for many people.  Mental illness can be frightening but mental health and all the positive feelings that come with it, is much more alluring.  Just think of the millions of motivational pictures and inspirational quotes we get plastered with in social media.  If we can make the subject of mental health more sexy for people and get people talking about their positive wellbeing, then maybe when mental illness comes up it will be treated with the respect it deserves and people will be encouraged to get better in a positive way through support and practical advice.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit What is your Picture of Mental Health? | NomNomHelp.

Death By Context

Soldiering on and faking it til I become it (a lá Amy J Cuddy) are two strategies I use daily. Their measured success as campaigns does not dictate their continuance. Some categorize this as ignorant. Some see it as a rudimentary attempt at self-presentation. Some don’t even notice their employ … but isn’t that sorta the point? I chose to embrace my blog as the iTunes Store to my recordings of cognitive dissonance: general consumption is not guaranteed (nor desired), MPAA ratings or conceptual censorship will be actively resisted (sorry Tipper my life has enough of that already), there is artistry involved (hopefully observed), and, although not necessary, it’d be nice if I blithely produced a viral hit (not aiming to be the Justin Timberlake of WordPress here). Wish me naïve luck and questionably add to my gaining sense of self by following DeathByContext. That is all..

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit 20/20: Business Attire (Sans Jay-Z) | Death By Context.

The Bipolar Bum

“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!  Visit Blog For Mental Health 2014 | The Bipolar Bum.

I. Being bi-polar doesn’t automatically make you “crazy” (thanks, U.S. media!)

Heck no. Many people who are bipolar do not kill people and drive their car into a wall. Many of us seek treatment when we are feeling “out of control”.  As for others, it usually does not end up in violence or other forms of aggression.

As for teenagers, however, that is a different story. Teens many not understand what is happening to them and choose to act out. Please have some sort of vague understanding when you’re dealing with a younger person with mental illness. It is only hurting them when you yell at them and say “just act normal”.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Blog for Mental Health 2014 |

Bleached Bone Valley/AZ Gringa

I didn’t know about the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project when I started Bleached Bone Valley a few days ago. Until now I thought of this blog primarily as a medium to help myself. It still is that, but I see that I have an opportunity to maybe help someone other than me, and I want to be an actual doer of good deeds. . .

If you’re suffering from depression or any other condition that affects your mental well-being, do seek help and take care of yourself.  Reach out. You are not alone.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Pledging to look beyond my own self and reach out to others | AZ Gringa.

The Rules for Peace/The Search for Peace from Under a Butterfly’s Wings – The Other 4 Letter Word

This word is dangerous, in fact far more threatening than any other that has ever slipped through my lips or crossed my mind. Rage is lightning about to explode, too close to the ground – the inevitable victim being me rather than the person who has inflicted the wound.

Taught that this emotion is not acceptable and that good girls do not get angry, let alone Rage; I have swallowed hundreds of pounds and medications to quell this unstoppable freight train. Once it has left the station, I cannot control it, rather it controls me. We hide from one another, like children playing a game – search and destroy instead of hide and go seek.

I do my best to avoid Rage. This includes tossing myself onto the burning hot train tracks in an effort to make sure that innocent bystanders are safe. Nobody mistakes my being lost for lack of direction.

Read the rest of the story!  Visit The Other 4 Letter Word | The Search for Peace from Under a Butterfly’s Wings.

PRE? Partum Depression

But I don’t want to start this pledge by talking about the past.  I want to talk about what I’m going through right now.  I want to look at depression through these new eyes; these eyes waiting to see my baby.  I’ve never heard anyone use the term prepartum depression, never read any articles, or watched any Tom Cruise crashing Oprah Winfrey shows about it.  I’ve done a little research and what I can find out is that it is possible that the hormonal changes during pregnancy can be as devastating mentally as those after pregnancy.  That if you experience depression during pregnancy you are more likely to develop postpartum depression.  If you are prone to depression you are more likely to become depressed during pregnancy.  Basically, it is entirely possible to be up that proverbial stinky creek – and that is what it feels like at times.

However, as I’ve already said, I’ve experienced seasons of depression and this feels nothing like it.  I sincerely believe these bouts of misery and paranoia are more hormone induced than anything else because sometimes they come on like a hot flash (which I’m also getting now, thank you estrogen) but go away as quickly.  Other times I won’t sleep for weeks because every time I lay down at night I can’t stop picturing in horrible detail all the ways my baby could get hurt.  This isn’t regular first time mom jitters so please don’t try to shrink me. . .

What makes it all the harder to pull myself out of these slumps is how closely they affect my daughter.  When you have depression you know that your emotions affect your loved ones – but my daughter is INSIDE me.  No one is ever going to be this close to me.  I know she is safe in her little cocoon but I feel guilty that she has to share this with me.  I feel guilty that I can’t just celebrate her but that I cry and can’t get out of bed because of fear.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit PRE? Partum Depression | More Than Mommy.

Go with Your Gut!

My worries and anxieties have taken on many different forms over the years. Certain things that used to bother me, don’t bother me at all, and things that I was never bothered by, I am paralyzed by now. I’ve passed up amazing experiences, pushed away people that I love, and have allowed myself to feel inferior because of it. I have also been plagued by the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. I was diagnosed with ulcers at the age of 21, shingles at 23, and experience headaches, body aches, jitters, low immunity, and other digestive issues. I’ve had periods of “normalcy” as I like to call them. Where I’ve felt great, and was able to function on a more “standard” level, I was even happy! But those fearful feelings always found their way back, destined to plague me forever, (or at least that’s how I feel sometimes). I’ve tried many forms of treatment, and have only found short term relief at this point; hence my advocacy toward Mental Health awareness. With all of the other disease related awareness out there I guess Mental Health got lost in the mix, unfortunately, which needs to change now! I believe that because of the lack of awareness, many people are forced to deal with these demons internally, afraid or ashamed of stepping forward. There is a stigma associated with mental health as we all know. It’s almost as if the words “mental illness” are forbidden, and if you speak them, they somehow attach themselves to you. Mental illness is not who you are, it’s what you are experiencing. Those people who think victims of mental illness are “crazy,” are just ignorant.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Blogging for Mental Health | Go with Your Gut!

The Rules for Peace/The Search for Peace from Under a Butterfly’s Wings – I am a Rock

Fear of failure, of success, of mediocrity; all leave me with my foot hovering above the first movement towards tomorrow. I’ve been haunted and tormented by the present and past; questions that none of their business yet the softness gives in, my knees grow weak as I explain myself yet again.

In an effort to give my dream, my journey, a fair chance I must become a Rock. Aside from my best friend, an introspective hound with understanding, thoughtfulness and candor as long as his ears. I’ve explained to my husband that beginning Monday, I am going to keep “office hours” during the daytime. Staying awake all night, waking in the early afternoon to his whirlwind of needs and then once world peace is settled and I’ve restored the panda population; I may spend what I left of my time on my passion and future. In this case, today: 2:45 AM.

Read the rest of the story!  Visit I am a Rock | The Search for Peace from Under a Butterfly’s Wings.

The Bouncing Spoon

“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.”

This is basically what I do anyway so Hell yeah I’m signing up for this!!

If you want to join in the revolution then just click on the pick [BFMH badge] or go here [to BFMH launch post] and Blog for Mental Health 2014 too!! 😀

Read the post in its entirety! Visit Breaking down the stigma | The Bouncing Spoon.

Note from Ruby:  Sometimes the energy and enthusiasm really grab you.  😉

You Are Not Alone – Not ashamed of the diagnosis : Personality disorder with histrionic tendency

One of diagnosis by a clinical psychologist I received from a psychiatrist is personality disorder with histrionic tendency. It immediately made me feel bad to be diagnosed with personality disorder. But I told myself that healing would start beginning with self-acceptance of the problems and how much I wanted to get better and happier. I have already refused to see a psychiatrist voluntarily or with force because of such bad stigma on mental illness among Koreans based on Korean culture and perception. I thought I was already victimized enough and didn’t put myself into a position to have myself labeled as a mental illness patient because it would be shameful with unwanted criticism and judgment from those who had zero understanding and empathy for people suffering from mental illness. Because I knew that would bring even more pain. I was scared of getting criticized and judged even further more than motivated to seek for help. . .

I no longer carry shame and bad stigma for having mental issues for myself to educate not only myself but others with the goal of getting better and happier to healing. I want to be wholesome and free from all kinds of emotional and psychological hang-ups and burdens that have been weighing me down causing a lot of suffering and pain which made it difficult for me to function in work place and to build secure and healthy relationships. This is a big step to my healing journey which will bring amazing experiences with big shifts in my life. I no longer cry silently. I can cry out. What a progress. Now I slowly start learning my emotions that have been repressed for over 30 years and enjoy exploring them.  There are no such bad feelings. Feelings are not good or bad. I learn to experience my feelings for what they are without repressing them no matter how scary and difficult they may hit me. I pray for courage and strength. I believe in the power within myself even though I don’t have full understanding of it.

Read the rest of the story!  Visit Not ashamed of the diagnosis : Personality disorder with histrionic tendency | You Are Not Alone.