Our mental health seriously affects our physical health, so there should be absolutely no stigma around mental health, none at all~First Lady, Michelle Obama
Depression. Bipolar Disorder. PTSD. Schizophrenia.
What do YOU think of when you hear any of these illnesses?
Do you remember the first time you heard someone speak about mental illness?
Has the way you have heard others speak about mental illness impacted your perspective?
Most of us hear about mental illness or mental health in the news when something tragic happens. A mass shooting, a mother or father killing the kids, or or a murder-suicide. We hear about it when our parents or other relatives discuss family members that have a diagnosis. We may talk about it with our friends if one of them opens up about their own struggle with mental health or in relation to a story-line from a TV show. But what do YOU have to say about mental health and mental illness? What is the impression YOU convey to others when discussing either topic? Continue reading “What do YOU say about Mental Illness?”
“ I think I’m depressed”
“What makes you say that?”
“Well, I am sad all of the time, I don’t want to do sh*t, and this isn’t like me”
This is a conversation I had with myself a few years ago. Yeah, this was one of those conversations you have in your head, but some of questions you answer out loud. For months I knew something wasn’t right because I’d been feeling down. I’d have periods that I felt OK, but my overall mood for months was sad. Outside of being sad, I just wasn’t feeling like myself. I was irritable, and always tired (more than usual). I would either overeat, or not eat at all and I had difficulty focusing on my job. For months I felt like I couldn’t get a grip on my life and I began to feel the affects. I gained weight, I quit pursuing my Master’s degree, lost my desire to go out with friends and I eventually got fired for my low performance.
What brought on my depression?: The short and simple answer is I was trying to handle all that life was throwing at me on my own. (This is my opinion before therapy) What I learned in therapy was all that I had been through led me to believe certain things about myself. In addition to learning how to ask for help, I had to unlearn a lot of shit, and learn a new way to look at myself and how I responded to life. Continue reading “SPEAK OUT: Christina shares her story about Depression.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”-MLK
Mental health, self-care, and therapy are words that we are seeing almost daily. From the news to social media, the conversation about mental health is increasing, but is it decreasing the stigma? Are we more educated on mental health and mental illness than ever before? The current conversation mental health proves that there is still a lot of work to do.
On February 14, 2018 a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and when he left, 33 people had been shot. On February 15, 2018 news stories began telling the story of the accused gunman and words like “troubled” and “depressed” were used. Those words gave way for many people to blame “mental health issues” for this terrible crime. The accused gunman had never been diagnosed with a mental illness, yet many Americans believe that our mental health system failed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High that fateful day.
Despite the increased talk about it, despite celebrities opening up about going to therapy and their own diagnosis of mental health conditions, there is still a stigma that mental illness and violence go hand in hand. In reality, most people with a mental illness are not violent. Maybe we need to shift the conversation, get more specific and be more inclusive. Continue reading “3 things that could impact our conversation on Mental Health”
At 13 years old I learned the name of the illness my mother had be dealing with for years. It was written on a court document: paranoid schizophrenia. It would be almost 20 years before I would actually learn more about the illness and would begin to separate my mother from her illness. Over the years I have met many people that have a loved one (parent, sibling, child, spouse, or friend) that had been diagnosed with what is sometimes labeled a “serious mental illness.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “ One in 17 (adults) lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder”. If I had the chance to tell someone what to expect, this is what I would say. (This based off of my experience with my loved one, everyone’s experience will not be the same.)
For those that love someone with a serious mental illness…..
If you love someone that has a serious mental illness I don’t know if anything will fully prepare you for the roller-coaster ride that comes along with loving someone with a serious mental illness. There will be high and lows, good days and bad days. There will be feelings of guilt, anger, helplessness, and sadness. You will begin to enjoy the “simple” moments that you previously took for granted.
You patience will be tested and used up, but you will find more. You may say some hurtful things, hurtful things will be said to you-you will forgive and be forgiven. You will learn about boundaries, but you won’t use them as you should in the beginning. You will become OK with saying “no”, although you will likely feel guilty, say “no” anyway.
Continue reading “A letter….”
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”
I was scrolling social media recently and saw someone’s post about some things they had been going through. The only thing I remember from that post was “I had to protect my happiness.” This stood out to me because as much as we always hear people talk about how to be happy, and where we can find it. When do we discuss protecting and maintaining that happiness, once we have found it? Being able to honestly and wholeheartedly say “I AM HAPPY” can take a lot of work, so knowing how to protect that precious feeling once we have it, is worth discussing. Here are three ways you can protect your happiness no matter where you are in life. Continue reading “Self-Care Tip: Protect your Happiness”
Author Kendra Bell host the podcast “Calming Sense” where she discusses mental health related topics. Kendra reached out to find out more about Speak Away the Stigma and what led Christina Lattimore to become a Mental Health Advocate. Check out Calming Sense and find out more about Christina, how mental illness has impacted her family and the future plans for Speak Away the Stigma. Kendra’s … Continue reading The Founder of Speak Away the Stigma shares her story
“Where is the family?”. While it is a simple question, the answer can get complicated. Continue reading 15 Questions for Your Consideration
The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle Someone asked me last night, “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist?” To be honest, I couldn’t tell him the exact moment I said, “Let me find a therapist”. I remember I did have a close friend that I discussed the topic with, but I don’t know if she suggested it or … Continue reading 3 Signs It’s Time To See a Therapist
“…in some ways, depression made me a better soldier.” ~ Dad & Depression attendee On Saturday, June 24, 2017, Speak Away the Stigma held it’s first event, Dads & Depression. It was held at the Cumberland County Public Library, downtown Fayetteville, NC. Three mental health professionals were invited to speak and educate the attendees on how depression looks differently in men vs. women, coping skills … Continue reading Dads & Depression: The Recap
I think in many cultures, men are told to be strong, and part of asking for any kind of help is seen as weak. In Fayetteville, so many people are connected to the military and there can be clearances involved. So many people think that going to therapy will make them lose their job or their clearance Continue reading “Everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for…” Q&A with Joanna Nunez for Dads & Depression Event