Deranged #mentalhealth #MHBlog #media

This week I saw someone on my news feed use the word “deranged” to describe someone, so I looked it up to make sure the discomfort, irritation, and disgust I felt because of it was justified… to make sure that my sensitivity to mental illness didn’t skew my judgment. Turns out it was indeed justified.

Here’s why: If you look up the word on the internet you are of course going to get everything that is associated with that word not just its true definition; and we all know that as of late most of the nation has redefined a lot of the English language. It’s almost like words mean whatever pop culture defines it as or whatever feeling someone gets from it instead of the truth of what it is.

So when I looked up ‘deranged’ I not only got “insane, disordered, disarranged” and the “generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a loss of contact with reality,” but I also got the played up images that the media likes to use to make mental illness entertaining… horror movies.. murder/cannibalism… death metal… you know all of the things that make us desensitized to mental illness and the fact that people should actually be cared for, not written off.

Can I also just point out the seriousness and severity of that word and how it is “GENERIC?” That means its all-encompassing… does not exclude any mental disorder. I can’t be the only person who has a problem with that. Looks like mental health professionals need to start being a little more vocal about the specificity of mental illness so that people can be properly educated about it. You would think something like that can remove stigma or something…

It’s amazing how people still haven’t thought about how treating mental illness can prevent unwanted actions and save lives. Like if Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter had been properly treated and screened there is a huge chance that the horrible tragedy would have never happen.

Just a little fun fact, background/credit checks do not screen for mental illness. If a man displays “erratic behavior” (the media’s words not mine, probably quoted from someone in the know about well being of the Navy Yard shooter) that’s actually not something to be swept under the rug (as mental illness too often is); ESPECIALLY if they are working for the government. How does that happen?

Then you have media outlets reporting that Alexis never sought help for mental health issues or even cancelled VA doctor appointments. OF COURSE we should blame him for not seeking help for something he was ignorant of or in denial about BECAUSE of the very thing he needed help for, right? But in spite of his resistance to treatment for mental health SOMEONE saw the red flags and IGNORED them. It’s a shame that it takes preventable tragedies for people to pay attention to mental health and the fact that it isn’t something to turn away from.

My heart, thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the families of the people who were hurt and killed at the Navy Yard shooting… including the family of Aaron Alexis. The same goes out to anyone and everyone who has been hurt at the hands of untreated mental illness, and I know MANY have. That is why it is time to make mental illness a priority so that people aren’t physically impacted by it.

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Go After Them… #NSPW #SuicidePrevention #MentalHealth

I was reading an article on Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog, as I apparently do every morning now, and I read this last quote:

“To live full lives we must rely on others and others must be able to rely on us. Depending on others can be messy and scary – they will let us down. Yet, building walls to protect ourselves from the rough edges of community condemns us to a life of lonely rugged individualism.

What would happen if we admitted that we cannot do it all – that we cannot be our own harmony? Instead of playing every instrument, what if we learned to play the instrument of our lives with excellence and relied on other people to play theirs?”

Full article: http://storylineblog.com/2013/09/13/a-message-for-those-who-try-to-do-it-all/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=bufferdd03d&utm_medium=facebook

The article basically says if you are someone who tries to do it all, don’t. There are benefits to letting others in and allowing them to carry their weight.

But then a thought came to my mind and I realized how true that ISN’T when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. The stigma is SO ridiculous that it forces people to deal with and do everything on their own. When people who suffer from mental illness/mood disorders/suicidal thoughts reach out in their communities, people tend to run from them and then have the audacity to wonder why those people suffering would ever consider suicide as an option.

I always say in my posts that there is help, then throw out a resource with the hope that MAYBE someone will click the link and use one of the numbers on the Get Help page… but now I want to switch it up and issue a call to action to those who have a huge platform and the ability to make time for and GO AFTER someone who feels alone. I honestly believe this is a good 157 times more effective than placing the burden on someone might already have more than they can carry.

For example, every now and then I get depressive episodes and some things effect me more than they should. I have a friend that knows that, and even if I don’t tell that friend I feel like I’m losing it they will take time out of their busy schedule and make a phone call… that phone call can EASILY make my day (BTW If they need me to listen/uplift them, I do the same thing). It could be something that simple yet for some ungodly reason people refuse to make time for people in need.

So imagine if my friend, who is not a mental health advocate or head of an organization that claims to stamp out stigma, can have THAT MUCH of an impact on me when she takes the time to get personal then the sky is the limit for those in the field if they were to do the same.

GO AFTER PEOPLE. THEY NEED YOU.

This One Is For The Survivors… #WSPD #WorldWithoutSuicide

Last night I kept thinking about how I’ve had to start over… to rebuild. There have been countless times where I have either needed to cut off specific triggers to give myself a chance at a better life or where I have been cut off and replaced because of who I was.

When thinking about that it’s so easy to get confused or bitter… to ask why the heck things keep happening and why you are left alone to pick up the pieces. I’m sure the confusion, bitterness, depression is more intense initially for someone who attempted suicide, but lived.

I know it was for me because after leaving the mental hospital and getting over (as much as I could) the thought that I am stuck in this world because no one will allow me to die, I went back to “the outside world” with the same expectations/pressures I had on me in the workplace and as an outcast in my personal life. Life goes on, right? The life I no longer wanted to live, continued. Seemed no one wanted me to die, but they didn’t want me to live either. To be human.

I will never forget trying to change my life all while being remembered by some and punished by others for my emotional outbursts (depressive episodes/anxiety attacks), alcohol addictions, promiscuity, and suicide attempts. I could make an honest expression of my desire to change and easily be shut down as if everyone knew I would always be a screw up, or emotionally unstable, or a slut, or a drunk, or an attention whore who tends to ruin people’s lives intentionally (their words, not mine).

Honestly, people are still punishing me for that… at least they think they are. People can take a dump all over my name for what I have done and remain oblivious to what I am doing because as long as I live (by the grace of God) I will be using my pain to bring someone else joy and the work I do now outweighs and outshines any bad thing I have done. I am more than making up for it and I won’t stop because I’m not finished doing it… you can’t stop because you aren’t either.

With time, recovery, love, and grace your life can turn around just as mine has… to the point where you don’t care what the naysayers think and are unashamed of your past or present. The future holds many possibilities, and since you are still alive you have a chance to see what those possibilities are. You are NOT alone, and there are plenty of organizations that will give you a soft place to land in order to help you rebuild on a stronger foundation.

https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

Know Your Purpose, Not Your Place #mentalhealth #suicideprevention #MHBlog

Minorities are severely under served when it comes to mental health, which is interesting considering the fact that if you look at the statistics from 2008 you can see that races surveyed are affected pretty equally (Sidenote: most recent stats I could find).

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/pdf/NSDUH-SMI-Adults.pdf
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/pdf/NSDUH-SMI-Adults.pdf

Also, in an article last year ABC News Author Mikaela Conley writes “Only about 60 percent of people with mental illness get treatment each year, according to the report, and whites and Native Americans were more likely to seek help than African-Americans, Latinos and Asians.”

See: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/19/1-in-5-americans-suffer-from-mental-illness/

Which begs the question, If “1 in 5 Americans suffers from mental illness” then why isn’t there more time, dedication, or resources put forth to solve the problem for ALL people? The title of the article is not race or gender specific, it is all inclusive. I have a theory, which might be a possible answer.

There is such an importance placed on physical health; so much so that it seems to be more important than mental health. Let’s think about it this way… in the workplace, school, or just in life most people are often put in positions to prove themselves. I think the pressure to do so is more prevalent with minority groups. People in positions of authority are often looking for people who belong to those groups to be physically up to par in looks and in strength, and somehow think that the mind is separate from that.

Physical toughness comes through and is enhanced BY mental endurance. Physical attractiveness is accented WITH mental capacity. I still believe with my whole heart that the way to serve people with mental illness is for others in positions of power to make themselves available as a resource, help others see their worth and value, and help them see that their value is just as equal as anyone’s. This would mean that people of color would not know their place, but know their purpose.. it would empower others in the best way possible.

Keep in mind I don’t mean to be exclusive, but I want to help bring attention to an under served population of people; to remove stigma by telling the truth about what happens in America. If mental illness does not discriminate, then neither should we. It’s time for ALL people to be encouraged to seek help and to know their value. It’s only fair.

https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

I… DON’T Need A Drink #SABD13 #suicideprevention #mentalhealth

WARNING: Potential trigger alert. If my honesty about this particular experience may hurt you, please do not read. Thank you.

I used to drink quite heavily, and not because I liked the taste of alcohol. Any sign (no matter how big or small) of discomfort or trigger of an anxiety attack would result in me saying, “I need a drink.”

Here’s why… I had this cycle of thinking that every bad thing that happened was bound to do so because it was something I deserved anyway. That way of thinking came with a tremendous amount of guilt. When I got drunk however, at least in the beginning, I remember feeling like I could do whatever I wanted to do and people would still love and care for me.

For a while that was true, but I realized my suicidal thoughts would intensify when I was the most intoxicated and not only is that no way to live, but that is the quickest route to death. I did whatever I could to drown memories/years of abandonment, mistakes, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, bullying, and rejection.

I can recall one instance where I was completely wasted, so much so that I decided it would be a good idea to walk from the bar I liked to frequent to my home (not a short walk). I was shouting things that I genuinely can’t remember (otherwise I would tell you) and laughing all while thinking to myself, “I cannot wait to die.”

When I got home I planned out how I was going to die and went to sleep, then woke up unable to move much less commit suicide. I also remember this one instance turning into multiple instances… and I remember placing the biggest burden you can ever put on someone which is depending on them to save your life or give meaning to it.

It’s crazy thinking about now because the very thing that was causing me such anxiety and depression, humanity, the thing that is faulty most times and unreliable others (seemingly more so as of late).. was the thing I was relying on to save me. I wanted help, love, and companionship SO badly and I did not care who provided that for me. When I believed that no one wanted to do that, that’s when I actually attempted suicide.

I felt that way 2 years ago, and now I will do whatever I can to make sure that NO ONE does. Suicide is 100% preventable and there are so many survivors out there who have the ability to initiate change by using what they have to help others.

What saved my life was therapy and the pure grace of God. I had to grow mentally and spiritually on my own (meaning without much support from family and friends which is something I do not recommend), and I now continue to grow with a community of people who are open about their mental illness/mood disorders. We all live as if we have nothing to hide and that has initiated freedom for ourselves and, hopefully, others who hear our stories. I really believe taking the time to share ourselves with others can give them hope, end stigma, and affect society overall.

You aren’t alone, survivors, nor will you ever be if you reach out for help.

https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

Learn how to end the silence and blog about your experience with suicide here: http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/suicide-prevention-and-awareness-blog-day-kick-off/?utm_source=promoted&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog

Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge
USC’s MSW Programs Blog Day.