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Just Another Manic Mom Day

I am excited to get involved in this and to this end 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 project 2014.

Diary Of An Alien

My paternal grandmother had severe paranoid schizophrenia. When she began going through this it was back in the forties, when mental illness was way more of a mysterious, frightening, shameful thing. My grandma was in and out of institutions. A person could be expected to be committed for a year or more, even a lifetime. Common treatments for schizophrenia at the time were insulin coma therapy, electroshock therapy, and even lobotomy. My grandma, fortunately, did not have to undergo a lobotomy, but she went through at least fifty or more electroshock treatments before they stopped being popular. In the early 1950’s, Thorazine was introduced as the first medication to treat mental illness, and caused my grandma to develop permanent tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements… she would constantly hop around, bounce her knees and feet while sitting, and thrust her tongue in and out.). . .

The main point of this story is, in some way what happened to me was like a reflection of what had happened to my grandmother decades earlier. . . But one thing that was similar was the way people thought of me. I remember my mom warning me that my friends from the neighborhood, whom I’d hung out with before I ran away, might be scared of me now. I remember how, whenever I said or did something my parents thought odd or illogical, they would look at me hard and ask, “Have you been taking your medication?” After spending my childhood hearing my parents ask my Grandma that same question, it made me sick when they said it to me, and I would shout at them to never say those words to me again. I often sensed that people in my family were watching me, waiting for me to do something insane. I perceptively noticed two things… one, that my family members did not like to speak of my running away, the hospital, or my subsequent diagnosis with a mental illness, especially in public; and two, that they believed, by never speaking of these things, they were somehow protecting me or doing me a favor.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Diary Of An Alien: Blogging For Mental Health.

Out of My Element

But to the point, going into my third year as a blogger, I think I’d like to do something a little different: support mental health through my writing. Why exactly would I want to do this? Well, I have Social Anxiety Disorder. I don’t really tell people outright, but it is something I’ve written about before and do struggle with. So, here’s my pledge to write about mental health throughout this next year. . .

By allowing God to use what I consider an impairment, I feel empowered. Instead of feeling like a failure because I asked someone else to pray again, I can turn to God and ask Him to give me the strength and courage to do it next time. When I feel anxious, I can stop what I’m doing and pray for peace and I find it in Him.

I’ve come a long way, but I know others need to find this peace. I’m writing for myself, but I also want to give other people hope for something better. I have friends that struggle with bipolar and anxiety among other things, so I’m writing for them too. I’m writing for anyone and everyone that struggles with a mental health issue. And I hope you’ll join me in supporting them.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Higher Purpose | Out of My Element.

Life of a Phoenix

Second, this is a time for me of great stress, sorrow, anger and a few feelings I didn’t know I felt. It is a healing time of my life.  I have been on a medical leave from work for many months now, after a year of loss and struggle that would challenge anyone.  I’m not looking for pity when I say that – just telling you, because I don’t feel special about this.  I feel lucky that I am in a position to receive the help and support I need.  I have become a psychiatric outpatient during my leave, and I have the great fortune to be in full time group therapy, and to have close review of the medications I take to help me with depression and anxiety.  I am lucky.  Many are not.

Third, I want to sort out, as I put it in my posts about “being a Phoenix”, the “plot lines” or “middle” parts of my life, especially over the last two years or so.  I want to do it with an honesty and humour that is entertaining and inspirational for me and for those who follow my posts.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Gotcha! Right in the Stigma!! – Blog for Mental Health 2014 | Life of a Phoenix.

Seventh Sage Art

After years and years of suffering and inadequate access to mental health care, I moved across the country to a place where my family and I could get some help. I also needed to put a couple thousand miles between me and some particular people–I needed to feel free to be honest about the mental health issues my children and I face. As a single mother of four, the majority of us suffering major depression, severe anxiety, OCD, and/or PTSD, I felt like the poster girl for STIGMA. Stigma shames and isolates and it’s not OK.

But here, in our new state on the West Coast, we have access to quality care. So back to yesterday: I was formally diagnosed with PTSD and finally found validation for what I’ve been trying so hard to hide for so long. It has taken way too much energy trying to pretend I’m fine, so I’m “coming out” for myself, my children, and for others who suffer in silence and shame. There should be no shame in what amounts to brilliant survival and coping mechanisms, nor in mucked-up brains whose chemicals careen wildly like derailed trains. We are among the most courageous people you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit A family in crisis. But it’s a mindful crisis…. | Seventh Sage Art.