What do YOU say about Mental Illness?

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?”

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A letter….

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….”

SPEAK OUT: Passion King shares her battle with Postpartum Depression

1I choose to Speak Away the Stigma associated with postpartum depression because I don’t want another woman to have to suffer in silence. I was 27 years old when I became pregnant with my son. The news brought forth feelings of joy & guilt. My joy was due to me growing up knowing I wanted to be a mother. Still, my joy was overshadowed by the guilt of feelings that I had more to accomplish before becoming a mother. I was more concerned with the plans I made for my life than embracing the plan God was unveiling.

During my pregnancy, I began to alienate myself from family and friends. I felt like they were secretly disappointed and wouldn’t understand my depression. I was irritable, cried a lot and stopped praying. I felt like I let God down and wasn’t worthy of His love since I couldn’t obey His Word. My mother was the first to notice a Screenshot_2017-04-27-15-34-22-1significant change in my behavior. I knew she was worried but I hid a lot of what I was going thru from her. She encouraged me to get out the house and enjoy my pregnancy. My son’s father had a hard time accepting my mood swings and spent a lot of time away from me. Our relationship, which I planned to last forever, became toxic. This made me feel alone and caused me to question why God was allowing me to go through this.2The birth of my son didn’t catapult things into a better direction immediately. I had to adjust to the physical changes my body went through, the freedom I gave up for my son and balancing day to day activities. I knew I needed help. A few times I worked up the courage to make appointments to see a therapist. Once I couldn’t afford the $25 copay and another time I felt like they would see me as an unfit mother. Throughout my depression, it was so important to portray being a good mom even though I didn’t always feel like one. I loved my son but felt guilty and like I wasn’t enough. I was in a dark and low point in my life. So, what changed? 3Screenshot_2017-04-27-15-36-36-1I began to get back into my routine of praying, journaling and speaking to other mothers. After speaking to so many women who were close to me I saw how common this illness is. I heard stories of so many extremities from just being sad, to being suicidal and even wanting to harm their babies.  I encourage anyone who is going through this to seek the help I was too ashamed to ask for. Your children deserve the very best version of you! 4.pngMy son is almost two years old and is the light of my life. He will be two years old in June and he is smart (he can count to ten) extremely goofy and loves Mickey Mouse. We pray together, read and do the Chuck E. Cheese dance. My experience has taught me that Gods plan is better than my own. He will always turn your pain into purpose and your test into a testimony! “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”(2 Corinthians 4:17)

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Find Passion on Intagram @ passion_queen

 

The facts about Postpartum Depression on this post are from the National Institute of Mental Health.  You can read more about the symptoms and treatment options here .

Continue reading “SPEAK OUT: Passion King shares her battle with Postpartum Depression”

SPEAK OUT: Medication-Why I hated it & What changed my mind

Thara Gould Edinburgh, UK Full diagnosis: Depression, anxiety, EDNOS/OSFED, and Insomnia. Medication-Why I hated it & What changed my mind Hey Guys, Recently on social media, I have seen negative posts surrounding medication, and while it’s not always the solution, I believe it is an option that should be explored. During my 8 month stay in a Psychiatric Unit, I refused my medication, this was … Continue reading SPEAK OUT: Medication-Why I hated it & What changed my mind

Are we ignoring mental illness? 

Mental illness is an equal-opportunity illness.  Every one of us is impacted by mental illness.  One in five adults are dealing with this illness, and many are not seeking help because the stigma prevents that.~ Margaret Larson

Depression.  Anxiety.  ADHD.  BiPolar.  These are some common words were use or hear almost daily in our conversations, on the news, or on our favorite television shows.

We are hearing more about the importance of mental wellness, and self-care.

We see the green awareness ribbons and read the stories about our veterans’ suicide and PTSD rates.

We are hearing and seeing more and more about mental illness, mental health, and mental wellness more than ever before, but what are we doing with this information?  According to a report by Mental Health America (MHA), a non profit organization, Americans are not getting the treatment they need.  Many people may immediately say that there is a lack of access to the help they need, however the report’s findings disagree with that.  The report entitled “The State of Mental Health in America” gives facts, statistics and other data on mental health from across the United States.  The report also list the best and the worst states for mental health care, and Connecticut is at the top and Nevada is at the bottom.  Even though Vermont is the 3rd best state, 43% of adults that have been diagnosed with a mental illness did not receive treatment.  This number is just under the national average because 56%
of Americans with a mental illness did not receive treatment despite there being more access to insurance and access to treatment. Continue reading “Are we ignoring mental illness? “

An Open Letter to Parents

Parents are the ultimate role models for children.  Every word movement and action has an effect.  No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than a parent. ~Bob Keeshan

Dear Parents (mom, dads, and those who take on the role),

You have the pleasure of having one of the most important jobs, you’re a parent.

You are your child’s first teacher, friend, and confidant.  

Your children have changed your life ways you never imagined.

Your children have shown you the true definition of unconditional love.

Parents did you know that your child could have a mental illness, by as early as 14-years old.  According to the National Institute on Mental Health, “…half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.”  If an illness has an onset at 14 years old, it is highly likely that a diagnosis will come years later.  The symptoms of a mental illness may be difficult to notice for 3 reasons:

  1. They are teenagers!  This is a time when your child’s body and brain goes through so many changes.  Puberty brings not only physical changes but emotional changes as well.  Ask almost any parent that has a child that has been diagnosed with a mental illness and they will tell you that they thought their child was just acting out, or that they would grow of the behavior.  
  2.   Parents don’t know what they don’t know.  Often parents do not know the history of mental illness in their own family and are unaware of the early symptoms.  We may think that since children are resilient that they are immune to trauma, they are not.  Many parents are unaware that mental illnesses has an affect the brain, and there is no amount of punishment, spanking, talking to or prayer  that can change that.  
  3.   Mental illness carries a stigma.  The stigma of mental illness is so great that many refuse to believe that their child could be ill. It is natural that any parent would not their child to face discrimination and be shunned by friends and family.  There is also a natural fear that they will be shunned because they have a child w/a mental illness.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Parents”

Could you survive Schizophrenia?

Imagine seeing black spots on a wall, but no one else can see them?  What if you heard someone calling your name, but you were home alone?  What if your family was trying to poison you or your friends were trying to harm you, or so you thought?  This is the reality of someone who has schizophrenia.  The reality they experience, the sights and sounds, are not real at all.

Learning more about his illness changed my life.  Growing up with a family member with this illness wasn’t easy, but Surviving Schizophrenia changed my life.  NIMH, the National Institute on Mental Health, describes schizophrenia  as “a chronic, severe, and disabling, brain disorder that has affected people throughout history”.  While I don’t have the illness, I am at risk  for it.  I had to learn  about it and learn to live with Schizophrenia because my mother has it.  The challenges a family goes through trying to support a loved one with this illness are difficult to describe.  I believe the only way a family can survive these trying times, is to first learn about the illness.  There are many books that help you understand this disorder.  Also, learn about local resources: your local NAMI chapter, your local hospital, and even reach out to a therapist. Once I learned more about the illness, I had I began seeing a therapist, and I would recommend it for  anyone that is close with someone suffering from Schizophrenia. There will be incredible highs and lows, and self-care must be a priority.   I strongly suggest that if there are children involved, they are educated on the illness given additional support.   What I’ve learned about the illness so far: Continue reading “Could you survive Schizophrenia?”

Kevin Breel Speaks about Depression #NSPW

Would you rather make your next Facebook status: “I’m having a tough time getting out of bed because I hurt my back.” OR “I’m having a tough time getting out of bed because I am depressed.” That quote is one of  the most powerful questions asked by Kevin Breel during an inspiring talk for TEDxYouthTalk.  During the talk, he discusses being depressed and his struggles … Continue reading Kevin Breel Speaks about Depression #NSPW