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30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 4

Day 4: What are the pros and cons of having a mental illness or your specific illness(es)?

Cons – Well, I have a hard time keeping a job, making friends, enjoying life — my depression and anxiety really inhibit me to do a lot of things.  It isn’t fun at all.  With anxiety, I really hate going out.  I am scared of meeting new people.  Then when I do make a friend, I get really overwhelmed if they keep asking me to hang out, so I quite answering their calls or texts – and well, they give up on me, which I don’t blame them for.  I get overwhelmed with jobs too – so I feel sick and can’t go in, or I have panic attakcs during them, or I just stop going, or I quit.  When I get depressed – nothing makes me happy.  I can sleep for days.  I can not shower for days.  I am not interested in anything.  My mania with my bipolar even stinks — spend lots of money, get agitated and frustrated.  Nothing good from that. Basically — it just sucks.  So nothing good about the mental illness there.

Pros –  Hmm that is a hard one to even think about.  With bipolar, there is mania.  Most people like that.  They say they are productive and all that jazz.  For me, I hate my mania – nothing good comes out of it.  So I cant even list that as a pro.  I think I am more empathetic though.  I see the world differently than most people.  I feel pain.  I know what it is like to hurt.  I guess I don’t want to say I understand things better, and yet I also do want to say that.  When someone is hurting or down, I feel like I really do understand them.  I do feel like I see the world completely differently than someone without mental illness – I feel like I have a better perspective.  I know that sounds bad and mean and wrong and as if I am better than them — but I feel like I just have a better understanding — or a different understanding I guess.

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Daily Post – Writer’s Block? Nope, Writing Helps me Cope

Word Press Post A Day – When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it?

I just started doing these Post A Day things from Word Press – I thought it might help me expand on my topics – bring in new ideas to relate to mental health…which is what my blog is about.  For the most part, I think it has helped a bit.  I think most of them I have been able to relate to mental health/illness in some way, even if it has been a bit of a stretch at times.  Except Unlikely Pairing – that one, nope, I just couldn’t tie in.  I wrote about it anyway, just to write.

I am passionate about mental health though.  I have been affected with mental illness my whole life.  There is so much stigma associated with mental illness though.  You rarely hear about the great people that have mental illness, just the horrible stories related to it.  Everyone just gets a bad picture.

I created this blog to show my struggles, but also my triumphs over my disorders – my bipolar, my borderline personality disorder, and my PTSD.  All of which I struggle with daily.  I also overcome it everyday though.

Each day I get up, I write on here.  I write about what mental illness is, or how to cope with it,  quotes related to it, how it has affected me, how it might be affecting me that day, what I am going to do in the future to overcome a challenge that I faced because of it, suicide, sexual abuse, past traumas, therapy, etc.

I’m sure I had writers block in high school related to some silly essay my AP English teacher wanted me to write.  When it comes down to something that I am interested in though, something I am passionate about – no, I haven’t had it.  I am sure it might come eventually, but so far, it hasn’t hit me.  I hope it doesn’t because this is a topic that needs to be spoken up for and needs to be heard.

This is my coping skill.  It’s keeping me mentally healthy right now.  Or as much as it can anyway.

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Anchored In Knowledge Counseling

national minority mental health awareness month
Did you know that July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month? If not, you’re not alone. Sadly this month is often overlooked by the majority of Americans. It is a time when summer has bloomed, fireworks have entered the scene, and multiple summer parties and cook-outs are in full swing. It comes at a time of the year when so many people are outdoors, enjoying the summer time weather and penetrating sun. This lack of awareness, however, not only affects minorities struggling with mental health problems, but our society at large.

There are multiple things we need to do to bring greater awareness to minority mental health:

  1. Build awareness
  2. Remember services are difficult to locate
  3. Remind clinicians and mental health professionals to be culturally competent
  4. Understand that:
    • Many cultures lack knowledge about mental illness or see it as taboo
    • Lack support from their own culture to seek services
    • Do…

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Stop Telling Me to Get Off My Meds if I Need Them

A lot of people tell me I don’t need medicine.  This especially happened when I was first diagnosed with depression.  “Oh I have been depressed, it will pass.  Just don’t worry about things.  You have such a good life.  You are doing so well in school.  I don’t even know why you are depressed.” – they would say.  Even today, I get the whole “mind over matter” given to me or “God will heal you, just pray.”

My problem with this is, none of these people have been in my situation.  Sure, everyone gets “depressed,” BUT depression is such an overused word now that it has lost its real meaning.  In reality, everyone gets “sad.”

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, depression is defined as:  a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, sad is defined as:  affected with or expressive of grief or unhappiness

So when people say they are depressed, they are not, they are sad.  Unless they have been to a doctor and have been diagnosed with a disorder that encompasses depression, they do not understand.

I am not saying that everyone who has a psychiatric diagnosis of something that encompasses depression will need to take medication, because there are a select group of people that can function and learn to function without it.  However, many people do need to take medication. For others to put stigma on mental illness and basically encourage them to not take their medication by saying they do need it is dangerous.

I personally have gone on and off medication.  I was noncompliant with my medication when I was first diagnosed.  I didn’t think I needed it and I didn’t want to take medication the rest of my life.  What ensued after every time I stopped taking them was a trip to the ER and then psych hospital for a suicide attempt, a trip to the psych hospital for suicidal ideation, the cops coming to my apartment for welfare checks and then usually bringing me to a psych hospital…and that continued until I was eventually committed to a state hospital where I was forced to take medication.  The light bulb went off in my head there, my Aha! moment occurred there though.  I was actually doing better! I was feeling better!  The medications actually helped me!

It took years and years to find the right combination of meds for me.  And for most people it does take that long.  It is easy to give up, especially when people are telling you that you don’t need it.  If you know that you need them because you are not functioning well though, don’t give up.  Continue to use your coping skills and continue to fight to gain your life back.  Mental illness is not easy, but you can learn to live with it.  And not only live with it, but live a good life with it.

Most importantly, if you ever feel like you want to get off or change medications, for any reason at all, make sure you talk to your doctor about it.