Blog for Mental Health 2013 Badge Voting

The voting for the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Badge Voting is coming to an end. Tomorrow, I will tally up the votes and the badges will be decided. Cast your vote now!

Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

The new year of 2013 is coming upon us, and quickly.  Last year, I started Blog for Mental Health 2012.  For those that are unaware of what Blog for Mental Health 2012 was, I’ll fill you in quickly:
Many people who suffer from mental health disorders do so in silence.  And prior to many of our own blogs, we may have done just the same.  By taking the pledge to Blog for Mental Health in the year of 2012, we celebrate our own voices that speak up in our own unique ways.  We pledge that not only do we blog about mental health topics for ourselves, but for the inspiration of others to raise their voices and tell their own stories of their own personal experiences with mental health disorders.

For more information about Blog for Mental Health 2012, visit the page.

I fully intend on continuing this…

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Just Snap Out of It

Society has developed some seriously bad attitudes toward mental illness.  It’s no surprise.  We see it attached to the stigma of it.  We’re treated like lepers, as if this were a terribly contagious thing.

Depression is no exception.  Today, a lot of people have been discussing the topic of the “Just Snap Out of It” phenomenon that occurs out there.  Honestly, there is a saying out there about how if a person hasn’t experienced it, then they can never truly know.  A person who hasn’t experienced clinical depression, either in the form of MDD or BP depression can never truly know it’s depth and breadth.  It is an all encompassing monster that claims every last bit of life and any possible joy that can come from it.

Having Bipolar Disorder, I am a person who naturally experiences some sometimes pretty obvious mood swings.  And the attitudes toward it are so completely off.  I have never had a person treat me poorly while I was in a manic episode.  Not one.  Not even when the plainly awful behaviors were showing.  Each person seemed to find it charming, amusing, or interesting.  Even when there were moments where I was so out of control that I was scared out of my wits, not a single person around me seemed to notice that there was something absolutely wrong with it.

No, my energy and spirits were high.  I would act impulsively, and people would take it as spontaneity.  I’d be overly, annoyingly chatty, and rudely interrupting others, but they took it as being outgoing.  Everyone seemed to think that was a sign that I wasn’t depressed anymore.  They seemed to think that it was some kind of miraculous recovery from “being like that”.

People only seem to take notice when I am depressed or mixed, like it’s some kind of disease that I choose to be afflicted with.  And the comments are absolutely endless, because everyone seems to have their own opinion about it.  It’s as if they consider themselves to be the authority on depression, anxiety and sadness in general. I will constantly hear phrases like, “Get over it” and “Get a grip” as if just snapping out of it were an option for me.

Meanwhile, people without mental health diagnoses start flinging clinical terms around, like they had some true application to their fleeting, shallow emotion.  For instance, “Oh, I’m so *bipolar* today”, instead of just saying that they are moody, or women arbitrarily making a comparison between PMS and Bipolar Disorder.   Or “I’ve just been so depressed lately”, to reference a little bit of discontent or sadness.

It’s not cute. It’s not funny. No one with those diagnoses thinks that it’s witty that someone is taking a serious clinical term with so much guilt and stigma that it could bring down a religion, and applying it to their BS, frivolous emotions!

It does everything it can to minimize those conditions.  It puts it in a light that we have some kind of real control over it.  As if it were something that a person can just “snap out of”.  It implies that a person chooses to be disordered.  It also puts a shameful connotation of attention seeking behavior.

Yeah, it’s the life, let me tell you. If I were doing anything for attention, it wouldn’t be this. It would probably be something more hilarious, like plastering myself with an obscenely worded banner and rollerblading through Downtown. Depression isn’t newsworthy, but that sure is.  Or maybe I’d be doing something a little more productive or noteworthy, like finding a cure for cancer.  But no, my depression is just that interesting that I would choose to gain that much needed attention from people I don’t even know or care about.

I have to wonder if the general public has to be so naive that they would actually be jealous over it.  So much emphasis is put on the “just get over it” ideals, as if that were possible. If I could will myself out of this state, don’t you think I would do it already? It would be more logical to think that I want to reclaim my life and be a productive person.  But no, according to others who are ignorant enough of mental illness, I am perfectly content to have disordered behaviors.   Sure, who doesn’t love ignoring their kid because the voices just got too loud? Personally, I love gripping my ears and screaming, “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!!!”

And as a result of this blatant ignorance, I am really starting to believe that some are just plain jealous.  Because, they seem to think that those with disorder aren’t being responsible for their emotions and behaviors that result.  I certainly have quarrels with wanting to thrust a sense of selfishness and entitlement out there, because it’s what I have to do to take care of myself and my own in this world.  It’s those same people that shove themselves and their ideals down other people’s throats, only to make them feel bad. Misery loves company, and we’re perfect targets, right?

The point is this.  If a person is out there reading this and getting offended, it’s time to take a step back and think hard.  Is it so fair to be so judgmental?  Isn’t it about time to take a look from another perspective?  Does a person with a congenital disorder choose to be symptomatic?  It would be an entirely different story if I were refusing treatment, but like anyone else, I am keeping my appointments and taking my medication according to doctors orders.  We don’t blame someone for their symptoms when they have a seizure.  Why should this be any different?

Let me assure everyone.  If could have snapped out of this disorder and been a “normal” person, I may have done it, instead of living this ongoing nightmare.

Blog for Mental Health 2013 Badge Voting

The new year of 2013 is coming upon us, and quickly.  Last year, I started Blog for Mental Health 2012.  For those that are unaware of what Blog for Mental Health 2012 was, I’ll fill you in quickly:
Many people who suffer from mental health disorders do so in silence.  And prior to many of our own blogs, we may have done just the same.  By taking the pledge to Blog for Mental Health in the year of 2012, we celebrate our own voices that speak up in our own unique ways.  We pledge that not only do we blog about mental health topics for ourselves, but for the inspiration of others to raise their voices and tell their own stories of their own personal experiences with mental health disorders.

For more information about Blog for Mental Health 2012, visit the page.

I fully intend on continuing this pledge and tradition into the new year of 2013.  Therefore, I’ve gotten started early on the design for the Blog for Mental Health 2013 badge.  Last year, it was created solely on my own.  But this year, I’d like others to participate in selecting the official badge to represent the pledge.

The nominees are:

#1

#2

#3

#3

#4

#5

If you have any suggestions for combining badges, they are quite welcome.  Let the voting begin!

PS:  Please visit the comments section for additional badges that were created after the first run.

Ten inspirational self-esteem quotes

All that I am, all that I ever was...

It’s time you had a time out

Contemporary life can, at times, be somewhat stressful.

We fill our lives with Twitter, Facebook, the need for twenty-four hour a day contact and blogging. There’s traffic congestion, inbox congestion, nasal congestion and artery congestion. The eternal quest to eradicate wrinkles, lines, body hair and blemishes. Does my bum look big in this? Does my cleavage look too small in this? Does my toe look like it has a fungal infection in this? There’s the endless balance between work, home, family, friends and random strangers. Electricity, food, medication, gas, water, rates, taxes…those bloody taxes! Every day of our lives is an endless stream of stress and tension, relieved only when we chance upon some time for sex, cuddles, massages and cunnilingus. But only if we’re lucky enough to have them.

And then there’s physical health, and mental health, and emotional health, and at…

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Clarity of Chaos

We sat together, alone on a Friday night.  What an atypical Friday night, without people hanging from our rafters and music blaring.  A couple of cans of beer and a pack of cigarettes were the only occupants of the old grainy table with red paint peeling.  I chipped at it a little carelessly while watching him intently.  It was him and me, peacefully alone, deep in light, airy conversation.

I was mildly distracted by the clarity of his voice.  No ambient noise of idle chatter engulfed his words.  They slipped from his full pink petal lips, with the crispness of mildly intoxicated honesty, confessions from a fortress of a man.  He explained his position, the station in which he found himself in within his own self.  My ears perked up at the heaviness of the content, and I felt the weight shifting from a crushing burden of existence onto him, sliding onto the table, begging for me to grasp it.

All I had desired, each last truth and beautiful, intimate moment sat before me, ready for my embrace.  However, I failed to understand the dimensions of it.  He began to clarify, “I need you.”

Befuddled, “Need me how?”

“I need to be with you.  I want more time with you.”

Those two sentences struck me with the force of a wrecking ball, crumbling every wall throughout each layer, penetrating me into a sweet surrender.  Simple words completely ravished me, turning my entire world on it’s ear.  And in this entire duration of the last six months, I had been none the wiser.

I wrote an article for A Canvas of the Mind entitled, “Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know” It went into a detailed analysis of relationships and how disorder can come to affect them.  I wrote:

Mental health disorders have a way of putting blinders on a person.  I have to say, there are a lot of things in this world that I miss.  Whether it’s because I’m wrapped up in my own head, or I have one of the different shades of the multiple pairs of glasses I don on, I know that my own perceptions are often distorted.  In short, I miss things.  Sometimes, I miss very important things.

I am not one to take a hint.  So, one of those subtle things, such as love, often slip past me or whiz over my head.

This admission was far beyond my own powers of perception, interpretation, and insight.  Riding a ten year roller coaster of various states and natures of friendships and romantic partnership, I came to expect that no further surprises existed.  He had seen me in the worst of lights, beyond any imagination of my own personal wreckage.  This is just as he had seen me in my greatest successes, radiantly reborn each time out of my own ashes.  And I witnessed him in his own pits, disheveled, yet hiding it well. With each crack beginning to show, every time pulling himself back into flight.  We ran our own cycles again and again.

People don’t change, they just become more so.  Murphy was sorely mistaken in this context.  And I had made some serious fallacious conclusions in this progression.

Have I folded into myself so tightly that I failed to see this?  Clearly, this desperate longing existed within him, stirring and quaking for eternities, extensively understated.  Had I walled myself into such complete introversion that existing within his own mind and heart was an impossibility?

It no longer mattered.  The blinders came off, and he had never been so radiantly focused though my own eyes.  We were unencumbered by the shackles of responsibilities and obligations.  In that moment, we were young lovers, engulfed in each other, professing each perfect droplet of affections in fine, caressing detail.  The purity of those exchange brought definition and order into our world of chaos and illusion.

That simple phrase was so multifaceted, in such a simple package with a little satin bow.  He had lost me, the pure, undistorted, unadulterated me before him now so many times.  He had lost me to our child, sacrificing so much time and energy that there was not much left to give.  Again, I disappeared into the abyss of postpartum psychosis, and dropped even further into the depths of bipolar disorder.  Each relapse must have been more inexplicably painful and confusing for him than it was for me.  A wild woman emerged in each episode of psychosis, severing him from me as reality slipped through my fingers and out of my grasp.  In the last six months, he had to have been suffering the same loneliness and mourning for the life and love we shared.

“I’m not going back there,” I assured him.  “I am better, and I will keep getting better.  We know what’s wrong with me.  And we can make me better together.  You don’t have to lose me again.”

“I just want it to be us.”

And it is.  And forever will be, us.

Garnets and Rubies

It’s been almost a whole year now!

As the Pendulum Swings

Today could not have been a more perfect day to meet her.

It was one of those days when everything was just so seamless. I climbed into T.D.’s new, twin, big-boy-bed to wake him for his last OT appointment. He was curled up in the center of the bed with books encircling him. I smiled and thought it was so like both C.S. and me. He opened his eyes, and he was all smiles too.

T.D. met most of his goals in his ISFP, and exceeded expectation in some. I showered and mentally picked out an outfit. White slouchy tunic and black and white floral skirt – with wooden and bronze jewelry, of course, for a more bohemian look. Wavy or straight? Easy, wavy. I was showered, dressed and out the door in less than an hour.

Everything was so fluid.

I stepped onto the sidewalk to a gorgeous day…

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