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Crazy Stigma Green

In response to an excess of search terms, here is the information on Crazy Stigma Green, the fab-u-lous nail color developed by the even MORE fab-u-lous Michi Marshall and OPI to raise awareness and change the discussion about mental health!

WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW:

  • Crazy Stigma Green is available exclusively through the Brandon Marshall Platform (Shop) for a $25 dollar donation – OPI generally retails for $9 and up, this is a great deal for a great cause, folks.
  • The Brandon Marshall Foundation is a stellar organization, top down — from Brandon and Michi to the people I have encountered in other areas, they are committed, kind, and really have just blown me away in the month that I’ve been interacting with them.
  • Not in the U.S.?  They will ship Crazy Stigma Green internationally!
  • I have been wearing the polish for three or four days, and I have seriously never gotten so many compliments/had so many conversations started by others about my nails!  It’s a tremendously flattering hue for all skin tones I’ve matched it to — not to mention a conversation starter!

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(The shading is a little deep in the first pic — my hand is actually resting on a dark purple suitcase, for reference.)

So get your Crazy Stigma Green on!  It’s what all the cool kids are wearing — and talking about!

 

The Unrepeatables – Love is Patient, Depression Part III

To know how to help someone with depression you need to understand a little bit about what it feels like to be depressed. As I mentioned here, depression can feel a little bit like there are two people in your head, the regular one and the depressed one. The regular one is having just about the same reaction to the depressed person that most people outside your head have. Thoughts like: Why can’t you just get over it? Go get a hobby/keep busy/exercise and you’ll feel better. People have way worse problems than you do and THEY aren’t depressed, have a little perspective. All these things you are saying to yourself all the time. So none of these things are really helpful to have someone else say. You know what, if you’ve thought it, we’ve thought it. Thanks but no thanks on the obvious answers. Often someone will make these helpful suggestions and the depressed person will respond angrily or defensively, and stubbornly seem to refuse to the see the apparent wisdom of the remarks. This is why. We’ve already given ourselves this advice and it didn’t work. If you think you’re irritated by that, if you think it’s aggravating to be around someone who can’t seem to get control of themselves, we are stuck living with that person all the time. You think you’re sick of it? You can’t even imagine. And you do get sick of it. That’s natural. It isn’t healthy to be depressed. It isn’t normal. Nobody wants to feel like that and even empathizing with someone going through it is exhausting. So first, forgive yourself for feeling aggravated by your loved one. Then, please please stay patient. . .

When it feels like you’ve tried everything you can for them and nothing has worked, be patient. When you’re ready to throw up your hands and give up because you’re obviously not helping, be patient. Don’t ever doubt that noticed or unnoticed your efforts make a difference. I like to say that the keys to surviving depression are love and responsibility. . . Being depressed is incredibly lonely. Love is what pulls us into the human family. All those acts of love from all those caring people kept me going. I was clinging to hope by my fingernails. It was so easy to disappear into my own head, and my own room. Each time someone reached out and touched my life they were keeping up my connections to the rest of the world. And this is the greatest help you can be. Don’t let your loved one disappear. Don’t let them think they’re pain is unnoticed. Don’t talk about their pain non stop. Just keep checking in.

Note from Ruby: I have put my own emphasis on a few sentences in the first paragraph, because they resonated so very deeply with me.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Love is Patient, Depression Part III | The Unrepeatables.

The Unrepeatables – My Harshest Critic

Shame. Let’s haul out the dictionary and look it up to make sure it’s the word we’re looking for. Dad taught me that that’s always a good place to start. Shame: noun meaning “distress or humiliation caused by consciousness of one’s guilt or folly”. Interesting. And apt. It’s part of the definition that the one who is ashamed is actually at fault. That belief is definitely at the heart of the problem, at least for me. Being depressed, feels a bit like having two people in my head. One Cait feels crushingly sad and lethargic, and the other one is watching that Cait and saying, “what the heck is your problem?” I think I then take this self criticism and project it onto others. After all, if I can blame me, of course anybody not actually living in my head must also. . .

I also feel frustrated by my lack of control. Nobody likes to feel they aren’t in charge of themselves. My pride is offended by the idea that I can’t just pull myself out of a funk on my own. And most of the things I struggle with look an awful lot like character flaws, vices rather than medical symptoms. The Cait watching sad Cait is quite suspicious that the whole depression theory may just be an elaborate excuse for plain old laziness, or ill temper. Even my distinterest in activities I once enjoyed could be put down to intellectual sloth. Incidentally, this was the area where I felt the most relief after medication. The fact that I suddenly had more energy and could write again, or think about interesting things, showed me quite clearly that there was a chemical element to the problem. It also left behind the things that were actual character flaws, making them easier to identify and work on. . .

Read the rest of the story! Visit My Harshest Critic | The Unrepeatables.

The Unrepeatables – The Other Side Of The Door

Over the years this getaway to the magical land of shower has served me well. I can spend a little time with my own thoughts, sort through things, and when I slide back that door and return to earth I’m refreshed. I’ll even follow through on a couple of those grand schemes or an approximation thereof. But just like any travel to other worlds, there’s always a touch of danger. When I am struggling with depression I often try and escape it through the door to my shower. Now and then It manages to come through too. The Thing that sits on my chest and makes it hard to breathe. Or hovers behind me so that I see it out of the corner of one eye. Or weighs down my shoulders. Then the deep powerful sadness stands between me and the way home. I am frozen by it, unable to make even the smallest decision. I can’t see the happy future, just this aching inexplicable despair going on forever. I want to get out, to go back to reality, but I can’t find the will. Reality is so hard! Fingers go pruny and the water goes cold, sometimes I even manage to turn off the taps, but I cannot muster the strength to open that door. Somehow I’m a million miles away from home, trapped in four walls inside my own house.

Once in college I was trapped by my own mind for two hours. Eventually the fact that somebody would need that bathroom and the potential shame of being caught out as seriously depressed got me out of there. Even now that I’ve publicly admitted to it, the stigma of depression, or the fear that someone won’t understand, is a powerful motivator to behave like a rational adult. At home though, I don’t have that working for me. Now maybe I can call out. If my husband hears me I’m saved, but sometimes even the decision to do that is too hard. Then the only hope is that someone will come rescue me.

Read the rest of the story! Visit The Other Side Of The Door | The Unrepeatables.

Electronicbaglady’s Bag of Bits – B4Peace: Ideal self

. . . As a child I wanted to be good, and make my family happy. I suppose children do usually want that, at least initially. I was loved, there is no doubt, by my father and grandmother and various relations, although I was a huge disappointment to my mother and we never were really close. Yes, this is the mother who lives with me now, brain eaten by dementia. I have been caring for her and disappointing her for as long as I can remember and nothing changes. I no longer expect it to, of course, but sometimes I think it would have been nice to have had a good relationship. However, we did not connect for whatever reason. Overall, it leaves me painfully aware that I failed as a child.

Well, perhaps there is more luck to be had as Mother. After all I have four Offspring, so perhaps I did something right. I always wanted a large family and a country home with chickens, home-baked bread and possibly a vegetable plot. That was based on Enid Blyton stories and daydreams of roses over the door and being able to climb the Magic Faraway Tree during holidays.

Except I was a terrible mother. I had no role model to use except the unrealistic ones in books, magazines and films. I had post-natal depression very severely for several years and I went out to work while Sigoth stayed home and parented. He is great with children. It turns out I am not. We lived in an Edwardian terrace near London so I could get work. I worked ridiculous hours to earn enough to support the family, at one point holding down three jobs at once. I was exhausted and depressed and terrible with the children, and never had the time or energy to pay them attention. It’s a miracle they stlll talk to me, but then I expect they want to be good children too.

OK, EBL, some of us are late developers. Perhaps you will make a wonderful Crone. You are enjoying getting older after all.

Read the rest of the story! Visit B4Peace: Ideal self | Electronicbaglady's Bag of Bits.

Out of My Element – About Your Heart

I wholly and absolutely believe that God can and does heal people, but that doesn’t mean He necessarily will. He is able to use us all right where we are, as we are. He does all the time. And who are we to say that someone with bipolar disorder, or a mentally disabled person, or a deaf person isn’t perfect and whole in God’s eyes? Faith isn’t about abilities, or mental or physical strength; it’s about your heart. . .

I’m not saying that praying for healing is inherently wrong—because it definitely isn’t—but when your actions ostracize a group of people from the Body, it becomes a problem. Some mental and physical health issues are life-long and there are no cures. Period.

When we pray for healing that we know is very unlikely to occur, we are digging a hole of hopelessness for people with these issues. “Why isn’t God making my anxiety go away?” The answer that often comes to mind is, “I must not have enough faith. I must be doing something wrong. God is punishing me.”

If we prayed for God to use these issues, maybe people could flip their whole situation. Maybe they could find hope and strength in God by knowing that they are able to do exactly what He’s asking even in their imperfection. Maybe they would be able to reach out to others with the same conditions, showing them that there is in fact hope in this dark and lonely place. Maybe, just maybe, God is more powerful than any mental or physical health issue anyways.

Read the rest of the story! Visit About Your Heart | Out of My Element.

Tess of the d’Amned

It traumatised Tess mainly because the whole incident was covered by a veil of secrecy. Uncle married soon after; Amadea still didn’t know how her mommy died – she grew up believing it was from natural causes. Uncle did not deal well with Auntie’s death. Perhaps he was ashamed and angry. Perhaps he thought that if he did not talk about it, it would go away. His religion (he is a Christian) was also not used in a constructive way to help him grieve. He perhaps believed that she committed a sin by taking her own life. He built a new life with his new wife. Amadea was often a sad reminder. Even more so when she herself started to have difficulties, which she did by the time she was about fifteen years old. Problems with depression, alcohol and eating.

Tess believed Amadea should be told. Mainly because traits for depression and other disorders can be passed on just like all other traits. Tess believed Amadea should be aware of her risks so she could be wary of certain triggers. Sadly, Amadea was only told when she was nineteen and only because a psychologist, who she was seeing and who was aware of Auntie’s death, called up Uncle and argued with him that she needs to know. That she suspects anyway.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit Blog for Mental Health Pledge. Auntie Dies. | Tess of the d’Amned.

Trigger Warning:  Suicide

breakingdownandbuildingup

1. Mental health is a redundancy. No one says physical health when talking about health. This asinine belief that the two are separate and only one is considered an acceptable talking point is infuriating. Calling in sick because your body is unwell is covered by my contract. Calling in because my mind is unwell is not. That’s crummy. . .

4. I am the same person that I was before and during the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of my anxiety and depression, but I no longer have to combat the parasitic form of my disease.
5. That being said, my disease tries to rear its ugly head every single day.

I would like to highlight the fact that I keep saying “my disease” and not anxiety or depression. This is because my particular anxiety is different from other people’s anxiety. While anxiety and depression are medical conditions, not every person handles it the same way, gets the same treatment, or recovers the same way. I’ll be addressing this topic in another post, but I want to make sure it’s clear from the get-go. Every single person with a mental illness has to be treated as an individual.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit I’m not crazy; my mother had me tested. | breakingdownandbuildingup.

Mollie Claire Write now.

There was a breaking point where I couldn’t think straight, and I needed help. Keeping up the illusion that everything was “fine” was exhausting. Swallowing my pride, I reached out to new friends and neighbors. I spoke up during bible study and asked, begged, for prayers. I put our family on prayer lists. Old friends were pulled closer, and heavily leaned into.

I didn’t expect the response that I received, in negative and positive ways.

People I didn’t expect to care about our family reached out and sat with us in the hospital. They visited my daughter. They contacted patient advocates. They walked me through the rough process of understanding what our new “normal” was going to look like from now on. Those people were few and far between in comparison to the dozens that shut us out. A new reality enveloped us like fog, changing my perception of … well, everything.

We are nowhere near out of the woods. I would love to report to you that everything is fine, we haven’t had any hiccups along the way and we are surrounded by angels who fart $100 bills.

We’re not fine.
We’re tired and broken and healing and sleep deprived.
We’re resentful, we’re cautious, we’re hopeful, we’re determined to get through this as a family.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit Why keeping up appearances is bullshit – Mollie Claire                                              Write now.

Life in a Bind – BPD and me

I wanted to write, but I didn’t feel that I could. I didn’t feel it would be fair – on you. I have always handled my emotional and mental health difficulties alone, and the damaged part of me very strongly believes that I should continue to do so, that grown-ups shouldn’t need support. The scared part of the damaged part is also afraid of being overwhelmed by emotion, either her own, or others’. She is therefore terrified of overwhelming you and driving you away with hers. The scared part is hard to own, hard to integrate, and she feels so very very young.

I couldn’t write, so instead I read. Maybe it’s the style in which the pages are written –very personal, very conversational. I felt as though there was someone there with me, talking me through what I was feeling. Trying to convince me that hope was not all lost. I was struck by this particular paragraph on the page describing the author’s own story:

“ ..if there is anything missing from the lives of the suicidal, it is connection with others. Being seen and loved as we are. To think, there are millions of people crying out for the same thing…..and it isn’t even something that requires great skill or money to attain.”

Read the post in its entirety! Visit Suicide – Blog for Mental Health 2014 | Life in a Bind – BPD and me.

Trigger Warning:  Suicidal Ideation

Normal in Training

The other reason is that if I took my own life, it would undermine everything I ever said to my clients about how pain passes. That one day when they look back they will realize how strong they were at the time. That they will learn lessons from their suffering that it takes some people a lifetime to learn. How can you believe anything your therapist said if she committed suicide? That would be the ultimate betrayal.

So I spent months willing myself to get better. I went back to therapy, started meds again, meditated and prayed, and forced myself to play tennis and spend time with friends. And I did get better. And everything I said about realizing my strength, becoming more compassionate, and acquiring wisdom were all true. I would have never chosen depression, but we usually don’t choose the experiences that teach us the most about life.

People often ask me how I can listen to client’s problems all day long. In all honesty, I can’t imagine what else I would do for a living. It feels more like psychology chose me. And when I hear a client’s story, I always have hope that together we can change the plot for the better. After all, I always root for the underdog. I am the eternal optimist. And I never back down from a challenge.

There was a time when I would never have told this story about my struggles with depression and anxiety to my students or clients. Or even friends and family. But now I want to share it with the world, because every act of courage benefits someone else. My blog is proof of that.

Read the post in its entirety! Visit Normal in Training: 2014 Blog for Mental Health Project.

Translunary Things

I think this is a great idea. I don’t blog and write poetry exclusively about my mental health, but I do write about my life, thoughts, insights and emotions. So of course my illness — so inescapably entwined with the core of who I am — is threaded through everything I post as well.

I have Bipolar Disorder NOS, ultra-rapid-cycling type, with a few other extras thrown in for good measure. The NOS means “not otherwise specified,” meaning (in my case) that I have symptoms of both Type I and II. I am incredibly lucky to have a great team of doctors (a fabulous GP, therapist, and P-doc, all working in the same clinic), and an immensely supportive spouse. Otherwise, frankly, I wouldn’t be here to post anything at all.

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