Daily Archives: 2015/03/05

Notes From The Devil Dollhaus – 2015

. . . I have what is called in diagnostic language schizoaffective disorder v. depressive features. I’m close to graduating from a sobriety program, though I’m not sure I prefer total sobriety to moderation. Either way, “self-medication”, popular with many of us, may exacerbate some mental conditions. At this point me and my weirdness are like conjoined siblings accepting of the fact. I know. We’re all supposed to be shooting for “wellness”, “recovery”, and many times I have read from other bloggers a desire to be “normal”. I think my brother is that, “normal” cuz’ he lives in Phoenix and tonight he went to the SuperBowl. Supposedly doing that ran anywhere from $24 to $180,000. I heard.

But…ok, so I don’t like severe mood swings, agitation, anxiety…but I couldn’t honestly say I want “normalcy”, a life without the strange visions and sounds that I’ve started learning to draw inspiration from rather than try to figure out or “cure”. Right now I feel hypervigilant and electric orange crackles around the room. Sometimes things like that would bother me. But right now I’m thinking — what if this is a different way of being and perceiving? What if I think it’s nice to be engulfed in a warm orange and magenta buzz? What if turning self-injury into artworks is actually positive and transformational?

What if we had a culture that did away with the whole concept of “normal” and didn’t just pay lip service to ideas like “think different” to sell stuff, but actually met those who do with awareness instead of stigma?

Read more of Jenny’s story. Visit Blog For Mental Health 2015 | Notes From The Devil Dollhaus.

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BEAUTIFUL WORDS

When my husband and I were going through a divorce and custody battle, I began to sink into a depression which continued getting worse. I describe the experience as “hitting the bottom and the bottom falling out.” It was a horrible experience that worsened as the grip of mental illness swallowed me into it’s gut of paranoia, severe depression and high anxiety.

For a long time, I couldn’t sleep at night. Often, I would stay up all night and pace, trying to get away from the horrible fears that had gripped me. I would write in my journal excessively and go on long walks in my neighborhood. I would have frightening hallucinations. I tried my best to look “right and normal” on the outside when on the inside my illness was eating me alive. My family members were ashamed of me and this caused me to try and look normal to them and other people.

After years of therapy and trying different medications, I was finally helped when anti-depressants were introduced to me. Apparently, I had a severe chemical imbalance and the correct medicine was able to correct this imbalance. Finally, I was able to feel and experience joy again, and to think as a normal person again. This was a huge breakthrough for me. There is hope. With the medications, knowledge, and therapy available now, there is hope and help for those who are experiencing mental illness. Mental Illness does include simple depression because simple depression can grow into severe depression if left unchecked. Please, don’t be ashamed to ask for help or ashamed to help your loved one find help.

Read more of Priceless Joy’s story. Visit Blog for Mental Health | BEAUTIFUL WORDS.

UnFocused – 2015

My journey from acceptance of my mental illness through finding therapists and medications and other help to internal decisions to just STOP some of the self-destructive thoughts and behaviors hasn’t been lengthy, time-wise, but has been quite a ride. I don’t expect to ever fully get off this depression/anxiety/self-esteem train, so let the ride continue!

. . . I’ve been kicking myself around quite a lot throughout my life, never satisfied or happy with who I was, and always having a fairly low opinion of myself. Somehow, it was always in the background for decades, but recently made a quantum leap to the fore* and has not only affected me but has affected those near me as well. Seeing the path of destruction that I’ve left wherever I trod has been a real eye opener. I’ve hurt people around me, and have made life unacceptably and unnecessarily difficult for them, not the least of which is my [fiancée] Summer Solstice Girl. . .

Mental illness, even now in 2015, is unlike other illnesses. There’s this stigma associated with it that keeps it from being an easy topic to discuss. It’s as if we’re in the 17th century, waiting for someone to take us to the asylum or the crazy house if we’re found out. We talk openly about leukemia and other cancers, about diabetes and broken limbs, about Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. No one doubts the veracity of claims of cancer or MS. No one loses a job because of diabetes or a broken arm. With mental illness, being such an invisible illness and in a dizzying array of forms, those things don’t hold true. I know this because I’m a prime example of one who doesn’t readily speak of it openly. Sure, I have a blog where I dabble in it every now and then – and Ruby, I’d like my dabbling to become more frequent, by the way – but I don’t bring it up often in conversations at the pub or at family gatherings. I also don’t bring it up at work. I’ve already lost one job, a job I loved dearly, because of my depression and its effects, so I keep quiet when at work, and I’ve been keeping quiet as I interview for more suitable work for myself too. I just won’t risk losing out on an opportunity by declaring in an interview that I have depression and anxiety issues. Why? The world, and the employers in it, aren’t ready to accept that I’m still a functioning, intelligent, capable person if I mention that I have a mental illness.

Read more of Sid’s story. Visit Blog for Mental Health 2015 | UnFocused.

My Travels with Depression

If you asked me four years ago what Mental Health is, I might have said it was more to do with a serious psychiatric illness, such as schizophrenia. My limited knowledge came mainly from the stigmatised reports we read in the press.

My initial diagnosis was Depression secondary to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I had no idea they came under the umbrella of Mental Health. When my circumstances got progressively worse, it became apparent that something more serious was at the helm.

The actual appointment with a Psychiatrist was the easiest part, but my arrogance scoffed at her new diagnosis. It felt like we were sharing a dreadful secret from the dark recesses of my soul and I remember wishing the Doctor would lower her voice.

Dr H asked, “Do you have the internet at home?” Those words were destined to change my life.

Trawling through websites for information is invaluable, but I wanted to hear about ‘real’ people’s experiences of mental health. Forums are an excellent source of identification and support, but blogging was something quite different.

Read more of Cat’s story. Visit Blogging for Mental Health | My Travels with Depression.

The Deep End Diaries

My recollection of early “psychotic features,” as I would later know them, is relatively sparse: a stark white man popping up and down beside my little sister’s bed, men chattering loudly outside of my bedroom when the only man in the house was my father, invisible people calling my name, the image of a woman in red disintegrating like smoke when I turned to look. Somewhere between the ages of 9 and 14, it stopped, and picked up again at 15, only to return more sinister, more terrifying. The voices threatened to kill me if I did not kill myself. And I almost did. . .

I am drawn to mental health blogging because it combines my two favorite things: writing and psychology! I want to spread awareness and share my story and show that the word “crazy” has actual people behind it with real feelings. We are creative, brilliant people; not just loons who should be locked up forever.

Read more of GANBATTE96’s story. Visit Blog for Mental Health Post | The Deep End Diaries.

Open Hearted Musings

I spent years in the dark hole of deep depression, with constant unbidden thoughts of suicide gradually gelling further and further into an actionable plan, more with each episode, and I thought my life was hopeless. I believed I was just born deeply flawed such that no one could ever really love me – and the pain was unbearable. I had actually been a therapist actively working to help other people – but was somehow blind to my own illness.

How would I not know that constant thoughts of suicide indicated I needed more than a weekly therapy session? I never told anybody about those thoughts because they were locked safely away when I was “functioning” at work etc. It’s like they were compartmentalized.

Even my therapist never knew- because we talked about the problems IN my life, not the underlying cause of those problems – my depression. . .

I want people who are depressed to know there is hope, though not magic.I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want families to know that their mother/father/don/daughter/spouse has an illness, no different than diabetes or heart disease, that can be deadly but can also be treated.

Read more of Gerry’s story. Visit I’ll Blog For Mental Health | Open Hearted Musings.

Musings of an Art Therapist/Artist

I am very excited to join this cause. I think I can say that my blog is dedicated to educating people about mental health and well-being and calling out society on stigma and stereotypes that are untrue and damaging, as well as being committed to sharing the stories of others who suffer from any mental issues, disorders and people’s courageous roads to recovery through linking to other sites, re blogging great blog posts by people suffering and overcoming on the front lines and by telling my stories about my work as an art therapist, and showing the healing power of art through my journey as an artist myself and others’ finding hope and healing in the arts. . .

Like almost everybody else, I have personal experience with mental health and mental illness, and I am very aware of how dangerous untreated mental illness can be, having gone to a few terrible funerals of loved ones who died in the front lines/trenches. Luckily, I have witnessed a lot of wonderful transformations on the road to recovery, both of family members, friends and my own patients. Every day I witness huge miracles of survival, strength, resilience and recovery. I see people become healed through caring for their creative spirit as well as their mental and physical body. The work I do I conceive of as spiritual experiences. Or perhaps human experiences with spiritual beings. (Deepak Chopra: “We are not humans having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences”) I am very humbled and honored in my work as an art therapist to be invited to be a witness and sometimes guide on people’s personal journeys of recovery.

Read more of Natasha’s story. Visit Blog For Mental Health 2015 | Musings of an Art Therapist/Artist.

sothisisdepression

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve naturally found myself reading the blogs of other people with similar issues. Knowing other people feel the same way as I do sometimes, and reading about how they deal with things can be very therapeutic, easily as much so as blogging itself. . .

From what I can see, the project stands for everything that I believe that blogging about depression and other mental health issues should be. It should be an outlet for the blogger, support for others in similar situations, and education for those who don’t understand. And being new to blogging (and sharing my feelings in general) I think it is particularly appropriate for me. So I’ll be taking part.

Read more of sothisisdepression’s story. Visit Blog For Mental Health 2015 | sothisisdepression.

Depressionless

So I am joining the Blog For Mental Health Project, I saw the project last year when I started blogging but the year was almost over so I thought I would wait until the 2015 project started. And here it is! Everyone who reads my blog knows I struggle with my mental health everyday, but I also like to share my experiences and help others which is what I hope I can do through this project. So I am participating, and I hope you do too!

I have never had a hug. As a 17 year old guy. . . it seems strange to me that I’ve never had a hug. I know there is a stereotype that guys can’t show emotions but I really want to know what it feels like. . .

I’ve decided that I might hug my friend (the friend who knows about my depression) if I see them on Monday. They are a girl so I don’t want to make things awkward, but I can’t imagine hugging any guys that I know. I’m not sure whether to tell them before that I’ve never been hugged because I’ll probably start crying when I hug them which will make things even more awkward, I presume. As you can tell, I am worrying a lot about this. It never bothered me before my depression started, but now I really want a hug.

Read more of Depressionless’ story. Visit First Hug February | Depressionless.