Tag Archives: NAMI

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 3

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

 

I participated in 6 months of inpatient schema therapy which was really great for me.  This helped me with my BPD.  Perhaps having to sit down for 6 months and break it all down into my mind is what this really worked for me.  It was all broken down into every group I went to, plus we had one group where the therapist added in a bit of DBT, but not much.  Schema therapy really was great though.

I also did quite a bit of CBT here and there.  It helped me when I really thought about it, but I never would actually practice it outside of a hospital setting.  When I was inpatient, and had the sheets in front of me, had to do the assignments, it all made sense.  Outside of the hospital — I just could never make myself think of it.

Outside of therapy programs though, using my coping skills is really the best thing for me.  When I am able to bring myself out of my “funk” enough to actually do something ….

  1. painting
  2. zentangles
  3. juggling
  4. reading
  5. writing
  6. writing on here has been amazing!
  7. walking or running
  8. support groups (NAMI)
  9. grounding techniques

those are the ones I try to use most frequently as they seem to be the ones that work right now….they change quite frequently… like a few months ago, I was obsessed with knitting — nonstop!

 

 

Ice Bucket Challenge for Your Passion?

Word Press Post A Day – The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

 

I’m a day late on this.  I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging as I haven’t been feeling too well.  But I have thought about this ice bucket challenge for a bit since it started – seeing the positive and negative comments in response to it.

I think it is great that it has raised so much money towards ALS.  I first saw the challenge back in January, by some friends in Indiana.  It wasn’t for ALS though – it was for their own personal favorite charities.  I thought that was a great idea, since it wasn’t dedicated to a certain charity and it was kind of spread out to whatever they felt passionate about.

I am very passionate about a lot of different beliefs.  One thing that I am super passionate about though, which my blog is about, is mental health issues.  Being affected by mental illness, I strongly support almost any mental health organization that works towards awareness about mental illness.  My personal favorite is NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness), as I have been most involved with them; however, all organizations that are so many that work towards awareness.

So, if anyone out there ever gets nominated for an ice bucket challenge — I am not saying to not donate to ALS, but think about donating to a charity of your choice too — challenge people to think about what they are passionate about and to donate to that.  Create some awareness about what you are passionate about.  Perhaps create a new viral sensation about your passion to raise awareness?

 

Pros and Cons for Today – 8/17/14

This is my challenge to create a “Pros and Cons” list of my day.  “Pros” are the things that I am happy for, grateful for, or things that just made me smile. “Cons” are those things that you just want to forget about because they do nothing to help with your anxiety or mood that day.

First of all – yesterday I had some goals- to read a bit, to perhaps walk a bit, and maybe paint a picture.  I did achieve some of those!  Yea!!

Cons –

  • To be honest, I can’t really think of anything — I guess that’s good right?  Nothing really happened.  I didn’t do anything at all. So nothing bad could really happen.

Pros –

  • I read a book.  It was a young adult book, so nothing hard to read.
  • I went out to a store for about 30 minutes
  • I really wanted to order pizza, but I stopped myself cause I have no money whatsoever — self control!
  • I got to just hang out and watch some Netflix today – that is always fun 🙂

 

So tomorrow – I have my NAMI meeting that I facilitate, so I need to go to that. I also need to make sure that I continue to stay active.  So hopefully I read or get out again tomorrow.  That is my goal – same thing I did today…continue that.

 

Hope you all had a good day!

 

Spike in Crisis Line Phone Calls after Robin Williams Death

Since the death of Robin Williams, there has been a spike in calls to crisis lines around the US and Australia.  I am not sure about other parts of the world, as I simply saw articles pertaining to these two countries, however I am sure they probably went up as well.

Calls, chats, messages, and clicks on their websites to Lifeline in America, Lifeline in Australia, Beyond Blue in Australia,  the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) information line and Facebook page, and local crisis centers all around the US.

Many people were reaching out, seeking help for their depression, suicidal thoughts, and some were simply wondering how people can be depressed – how can someone look happy and yet feel so much pain and kill themselves.  Perhaps with that last question, people will begin to understand depression more and even see or help someone else around them who might present happy but really be very depressed.

While they do not really know how many people were reaching out for help due to their depression and suicidal thoughts prior to Robin Williams death versus those who were affected by his death and began to feel suicidal after in response to his death (example, when you have someone close to you die, you begin to feel like you want to die) — they are glad that more people know about the crisis lines and support systems and are using them.

While I do think Robin Williams death brought a great deal of attention to suicide and mental health, I also think it is going to die down soon as it usually does even though people seem to care very much about it after such a loss.  However, hopefully after all those posts of the suicide hotline numbers – this will not die down and people will remember these resources – and use them – and reach out for help when they need to.

Here are a few articles discussing the increases in spikes in crisis center calls — and there are quite a few more if you search on the internet.

Australian News Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis calls

American Aljazeera Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis line calls

Houston, TX News Article Discussing local crisis center call increase

Augusta, Maine Article – Discussing local crisis center call increase

I Hate Mania

Risky behaviors. $$$$$  Frustration.  HAPPY!!!! Anger.  Noooo ZzzzZzzZzz’s.  A million thoughts going through your head!

Mania Mania Mania.

When you are bipolar, you are up you are down.  When you are up, you are manic.  I’ll be honest, with my bipolar – I am depressed 97% of the time.  I really haven’t had any major manic episodes – maybe 3 real manic episodes ever.  The rest have been hypomania.  I have been in severe depressive episodes the majority of the time.

When I have gone into a manic episode though – mine is not a happy or good mania.  It isn’t really a productive mania either.  I kind of got the short straw when it came to mania.  I do want to do a lot of things, but I want to do so many things, I start them all and go from one thing to another and so none of them get done.

So why is my mania not a good mania?  Well – I don’t really get happy so much.  I get irritated, I get agitated.  People seem to bother me a lot more.  When I am depressed, people bother me, but I don’t seem to have the energy to deal with them.  I will yell or get mad, but I tend to just cry when I get frustrated.  When I am manic – I have the energy to yell back and argue back and carry on with it.  I don’t get physical and never have but I have those thoughts, my anger consumes me.

I also spend a lot of money.  Way too much money.  I have no idea what I am doing – I don’t think about the consequences of it at all.  I am on disability because of my mental illness.  I have no money whatsoever to be spending.  When I am manic though, I am not even thinking about that.  I just feel the need to buy something to keep my mind distracted, to keep my mind busy.  Everything seems interesting to me.  My mind sees something and I have a million thoughts on how I could use it and why I need it.  Or I do things that I have no way of returning.  I feel like I can save the world.  I donate money to charities and give money to people.  Not like $1 or even $10.  I donate $100’s, and one time — a heck of a lot more than that.  Yes, my credit card was not happy with me.  I am glad it went to a good cause, but my bank account suffered – as did my refrigerator, pantry, and stomach and other bills.

I tend to do other reckless things too.  Speeding, not horribly bad, but normally I am a very safe driver, so speeding is just crazy to me.  Usually it is at night, cause I normally am only out at night after a NAMI meeting.  But I feel like I am flying, ruling the world (of course when I am manic I have these crazy delusions).  I tend to catch myself when I am doing this, and as I said, I never speed horribly, but the fact that it happens in the first place is something that definitely sets me apart from when I am not manic.

My lack of sleep is ridiculous.  I can stay up all night, all day, all night.  Or I may sleep, but only for an hour or two.  I don’t know how I do it.  I can pace my apartment, which is not big, so I don’t know how I don’t get bored? Seriously?  Or I will start all these projects, which I referred to earlier – but never finish any of them.  I will be inspired to paint pictures, draw zentangles, or draw abstract pictures.  I will stay up watching Netflix movies galore.  Everything just seems entertaining to me though. Or boring, everything can also seem boring – my mind will find it entertaining, and then suddenly switch to something else that is more entertaining.

The racing thoughts – they can drive you mad!  These tend to happen in mania or not, but they are a hundred times worse when I am manic.  From one thing to another.  I cant figure out what to do, where to go, who I want to talk to or see.

On that note, who I want to talk to or see —- I am suddenly social!?!  I have horrible social anxiety – what is going on?  I can talk to people, I can see people, I want to see people!  Mania does some crazy things to my brain.  Well, I guess this might be a good part of my mania – socialization is a good thing.

So, my mania — overall, it isn’t a good mania.  I hate my mania.  People always say they miss their manias.  They like their mania.  I don’t like mine.  I am so used to being depressed, severely depressed, that I don’t even know how to handle mania.  I prefer depression.  Even when I am not severely depressed, I have the low grade depression.  I think everyone would prefer to just be stable over all – feel happy, experience the sad when appropriate, but be stable.  That is what I hope for many times anyway.  I know it is not what I have been given though, but I know that I will manage what I do have.  I am going to battle these manic episodes and I am going to battle my depressive episodes.  I am not going to give in though.

The Worst Day of My Life

Trigger warning — discusses suicide.

It was the lowest day in my life.  My depression hit a wall.  I didn’t know what to do anymore.  I had been out of college, graduated 5 months prior, in December 2011.  It was May 2012 now.  I had no money.  I had quit my job in March, but it was a student job from my college, and I wasn’t a student anymore so I was bound to lose it at some point anyway.

My parents had been paying most of my bills.  Even with my job, I didn’t have enough money for rent and food.  They wouldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t blame them.  Rent, food, even my students loans – they were paying for them.  They cut me off.  My lease ended at the end of May.

I had to move home to Texas to live with my mom and her husband or I was homeless, in Indiana.  Neither option was a good choice.  I didn’t want to move to Texas.  I hated it there.  I wasn’t fond of my mom’s husband nor was I fond of my relationship with my mom – living together for more than 2 weeks usually ended up in a disaster with arguments galore.

So back to the worst day of my life —

I decided I could live anymore.  I was done.  I had attempted to end my life multiple times before.  I had failed many times before.  Usually, I called for help.  I realized it was the wrong choice.  I realized I didn’t really want to die, just wanted the pain to end.  This time, it was different though.  I went all out – I was determined to die.  I was ready to die.  I didn’t want to be saved.  It wasn’t a cry for help.

It was still an overdose, as usual.  I didn’t take the pills all at once though.  I strategically took them over time.  Ten pills here, ten pills there, ten pills here… over a course of 24 hours.  They slowly built up in my system.  My liver was toxic.  My case manager met with me the next morning.  I didn’t tell her anything.  The tone of my voice and the negativity in my voice I suppose let her know that I was having the suicidal thoughts though.  She left, but 30 minutes later called me back.  I answered and she asked me how I was.  Of course, I said fine.  She said she would call me again.  I couldn’t understand how she knew something was going on.  Before she ever called me back – there was banging on my door.  The police, paramedics… they were all at my door.  I refused, I refused to go anywhere.  Because of my past history of suicide attempts though, they could get a court order and have me taken in – with handcuffs and all if I did not go.  So I went.

The paramedics took me, I refused to tell them anything.  Blood tests were taken and showed that my liver was at toxic levels and I was very close to actually dying.  They couldn’t believe I was not sick, that I wasn’t in horrible pain from how my levels were.  I told them I refused treatment, I wanted to go home.  Absolutely not – it was not going to happen.  Mucomyst – it is the antidote to Tylenol overdose.  I was given it, immediately.  It also made me incredibly ill.  Police were outside of my door since I was set on leaving and not being treated.  I was throwing up and became very ill.  They gave me Reglan to combat the vomiting.  That was a mistake because I was allergic to Reglan.  My face swelled.  I got hives all over.  I couldn’t breathe well.  I was going to die!  Nope — then I got Benadryl.  I was miserable.  What a miserable way to be.  A few friends from my NAMI support group came to be with me.  They sat with me, disappointed that I had gone to these lengths.  I was upset.  I was upset that I didn’t die.  Yet I was happy.  I was happy that someone cared enough to save me.  I didn’t know how I felt.  I was horribly ill – mentally and physically.  I was supposed to be sent to the ICU, but the ER was trying to stabilize me from all the reactions I was having to the medications to combat the overdose.  Finally, I was sent to the ICU.

I spent 5 days in the ICU.  Maybe 4.  I’m not sure.  I was then released into a psychiatric hospital.  I spent two weeks there.  I had been to that hospital before, many times.  They weren’t surprised to see me.  Upon my release I only had a few days to be out of my apartment because my lease was up.

I won’t forget that day though.  The day I attempted suicide.  Sure, I had done it before – but that day, it was the worst attempt I had ever had.  It was the attempt I really wanted.  The attempt I had hoped would actually work.  It was right near my mother’s birthday, right near Mother’s Day.  It was the attempt that actually really hurt my family.  The one that made everyone realize that I was struggling really bad.  It was the day that I realized I was hurting everyone around me whenever I hurt myself.  It was the day that I realized I would probably never attempt suicide by overdose again either – hopefully never attempt suicide again period too.

I have had really crappy days since then.  I have had horrible days.  I have still had my suicidal thoughts and been back in the hospital since then.  But, when I think of the worst day, that is the worst day that comes to mind.  It was caused by all the horrible things that happened before me.  The culmination of all my past events that made my mind go crazy, it was caused by my chemical imbalances … and all those things just created the worst day ever.  The lowest day in my life.  The lowest point in my life.

Facing the Storm

In Tampa, during the summer, it rains a lot! There are storms almost everyday, or at least that is how it has been this year. Even in the rain, summer is beautiful and I learn a lot through it. 

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In my life, I feel like I get rained on a lot too. I feel like my life is a storm. There are ups and downs, and a lot of the time, I feel like it is mainly downs, it feels like it is raining and raining and raining and the thunder and lightening roar down around me.  The sun doesn’t seem to be up at all. 

This bird though, he just stands tall in the rain!  He stands out there and faces it!  Jumping from car to car, playing in it, basking in the rain!  He doesn’t hide from it.  He doesn’t run away from it.  It doesn’t hurt him.  Sure, when we have problems in our life, it may be hard, and it may hurt, but we can still stand tall going through them.  We don’t have to run away.  Just like this bird, we can go out into the storm, we can stand in that rain, we can face it. 

When I saw this bird, I was walking out to go to my NAMI meeting.  I wasn’t having the best day, I was going through a “storm.”  But I saw this bird on top of my car, then he jumped to the car next to mine.  He just freely exposed himself to the elements.  I needed to be like that.  I needed to push myself to do that – to be stronger, to not curl up into a ball.  I know I am strong, I just need to come out of that curled up ball and show my strength to myself. 

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LGBTQ – Not a Mental Illness, but they are faced with mental health issues

Homosexuality. Gay. Lesbian. Bisexual.  Transgender. Questioning. Asexual.

These are not a mental illness.  In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from it’s list of diagnoses in the DSM.  All major mental health professionals agree with this, that it is not a mental health condition.

However, there are greater levels of mental health problems within this group of individuals.  It is not due to their beliefs though.  In large part, it is thought to be due to the discrimination and stigma that they face on a daily basis.

When a young person is faced with “coming out” to their parents or peers, and rejected by either, their risk for depression and suicide is quite high.  Anxiety and self harm becomes and issue as well. Substance abuse might begin to occur.  Abuse – physically and emotionally at home can occur.  All of these factors can lead to a decline in mental health and serious mental illness later on in life.

It is important that mental health issues of that are LGBTQ are addressed if they need to be.  No, not everyone in this group has them. But when they do occur, they should not be afraid to seek help. And there should be adequate resources to help them.

We should stand behind them to help them get the support they need.  All too many times people tell them they need to change, to seek help from church, to pray, even to get “conversion therapy.”  I am not here to debate beliefs on this blog and will not do so.  I am simply here to discuss that those that are so defeated by the stigma and discrimination due to their own beliefs feel the need to escape life by suicide or self injury or substance abuse – need help.  Professional help through counseling, therapy, psychiatry.  Friendship and understanding.

I had friends come out in middle school, I had friends come out in high school, I had a lot of friends that were out in college.  I am 26 so I knew people that were coming out when we were 12,13 back in 2000 or so.  It was hard for them.  They were not treated that great.  But then, once they came out, a few others did too, and it wasn’t such a big deal.  Honestly, in my generation, it really isn’t as big of a deal as it was a long time ago.  But it still is a really big deal at the same time.  So, if you know someone battling stress, anxiety, self harm, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts related specifically to this issue – here are some resources.

Some resources are:

GLBT National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

GLBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743)

Online peer-support chat: http://www.glbtnationalhelpcenter.org/chat/index.html

NAMI – GLBT Resources

Crisis Intervention Team – Importance of Having CIT Trained Law Enforcement

Recently on The Journey of Kylie, she blogged about a situation involving the cops handcuffing her in a rough, violent manner during a mental health encounter when she was not violent or resisting them in a violent manner at all.

This got me thinking about CIT officers.  CIT officer stands for Crisis Intervention Team.  These are officers within the police or sheriffs department who are trained to interact and deal with individuals who have mental health illness. 

I have personally dealt with CIT officers when I was in college, on many occasions.  All of my interactions with them were very positive.  In my city, the majority of officers were trained in CIT.  In fact, when they were trained, part of their training was to go to the local psych hospital and talk to the patients and get our perspectives on how we were treated by police officers when they were called to our apartments/houses.  I was in the psychiatric hospitals multiple times, so I talked to those going through training about 3 or 4 times to help them understand what would help me if they came to my apartment, and what would not help me, and my past experiences were like. 

Not everyone has positive experiences though.  As you can tell from The Journey of Kylie, interactions with cops during a mental health issue, is not always positive.  And not every city has CIT trained officers.  In fact, a lot of cities don’t.  There are actually countless stories of people with mental illness being shot and killed by cops for one reason or another when it could have been prevented if another tactic could have been used to help them rather than kill them. 

It is really absolutely reprehensible that these things are happening.  People with mental illness should not be treated like this.  If we are not an active threat to someone else.  If we are not an active threat to ourselves.  Holding a gun.  Holding a knife.  Holding something that could be used as a weapon and actually dangerous.  If we are not resisting arrest and causing problems.  Why are we being shot and killed?  Why are we being slammed against walls and handcuffed? 

Yes, I have been taken to a hospital in handcuffs.  But my hands were cuffed by my sides or in front of me.  I accept this and understand why this was done.  It was explained to me and done in a dignified manner.  While I did not really see the need for it as I was not resisting and was voluntarily going, I was treated respectfully at least.  But these awful treatments of people with mental illness are completely unacceptable.  They are not and should not be accepted by anyone. 

If you do not have CIT officers in your city, talk to your criminal justice department about implementing it, I have listed some resources that you could contact about it at well:

CIT International

NAMI – CIT

Mental Health Crisis Institute – Law Enforcement CIT Training

FBI – CIT Article