Daily Archives: October 16, 2014

INEQUALITY: Mental Health

Today is Blog Action Day and we are talking about inequality in the mental health community. What inequality do you see within our community Mental illness patients can’t get life insurance policies because of their diagnosis Mental Health patients have a horrible stigma for just having something that they didn’t want. Inequality is sucks! All …

Why people with Bipolar ‘Zip It’

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Glancing through Twitter the last couple of weeks, a little icon with ‘Zip It – donate your voice‘ written on it caught my eye.  Spending my days as a fundraiser for World Vision, I’m always keen to check out what others are doing in the ever challenging quest to raise funds for charities.

Given the title, it shouldn’t have surprised me that a campaign challenging Australians to stay silent for 24 hours – was raising money for mental health charities.

So often people with a mental illness feel like we have to stay silent about what we are feeling.  Fearful of the reaction of others, we force ourselves to “zip it”.

When workplace chatter turns to mental illness, we “zip it” – not wanting to open up about our condition lest people start to treat us differently.

When we’re feeling stressed, or anxious or  like depression is starting to close in on us, we “zip it” – preferring to suffer in silence than to admit that we’re not coping as well as we’d like others to think we are.  Sadly, keeping our lips sealed, and not talking about what is going on inside, often makes what we are experiencing ten times worse.

But we’re not the only ones who “zip it” when faced with mental illness.

When we do become unwell, our loved ones around us “zip it” – trying to cope alone rather than risk embarrassing us by letting others know of our condition.  Often, their friends, colleagues or fellow church members have no idea of what they – or their acutely unwell husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother or child – is going through.

Most psychiatric hospitals are daunting places for the mentally unwell – let alone visitors.  Moving from the flower and helium balloon filled maternity ward to the high dependency unit of a nearby psychiatric hospital after becoming acutely unwell following the birth of my first baby, the lack of visitors or even ‘get well’ cards surprised me.

As someone who’s been forced to “Zip It” about my own condition on many occasions, I applaud the mental health charities of Australia for this great new campaign.  Last time I checked, it had raised almost $58,000 for the following charity partners:

You can check out the campaign for yourself at http://www.zipit.org.au

Some of you might ask why are we discussing a fundraising campaign on a blog for mums with Bipolar Disorder?  Well, because while I (and I’m guessing many of you) are still forced to “Zip It” – it doesn’t have to be like this in the future.

With awareness and education comes understanding.  If down the track any of my three children are diagnosed with a mental illness – I’d like to hope that  attitudes will have changed so much by then that they won’t think twice about discussing it with their friends or workmates.  That there will be no need to “Zip It”.

If you’ve heard of any other great fundraising campaigns for mental health charities, leave a comment below – I’m sure we’d all love to hear about them!


And Then There’s This

Once Rot Begins to Work

It’s my birthday.

yaay.

Mental Health #Inequality #BlogAction14

Blog Action Day October 16, 2014 Let's talk about #Inequality

Structural factors such as poverty, inequality, homelessness, and discrimination contribute to risk for mental disability and impact negatively on the course and outcome of such disabilities. A human rights approach to mental disability means affirming the full personhood of those with mental disabilities by respecting their inherent dignity, their individual autonomy and independence, and their freedom to make their own choices.

~ Jonathan Kenneth Burns

Thank you, Jonathan Kenneth Burns, for writing “Mental health and inequity: A human rights approach to inequality, discrimination, and mental disability,” an excellent journal article published in Health and Human Rights. Jonathan Kenneth Burns, MBChB, MSc, FCPsych, is Senior Lecturer and Chief Specialist Psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

What he has to say is well worth reading. Check out his whole journal article.

Abstract
Mental disability and mental health care have been neglected in the discourse around health, human rights, and equality. This is perplexing as mental disabilities are pervasive, affecting approximately 8% of the world’s population. Furthermore, the experience of persons with mental disability is one characterized by multiple interlinked levels of inequality and discrimination within society. Efforts directed toward achieving formal equality should not stand alone without similar efforts to achieve substantive equality for persons with mental disabilities. Structural factors such as poverty, inequality, homelessness, and discrimination contribute to risk for mental disability and impact negatively on the course and outcome of such disabilities. A human rights approach to mental disability means affirming the full personhood of those with mental disabilities by respecting their inherent dignity, their individual autonomy and independence, and their freedom to make their own choices. A rights-based approach requires us to examine and transform the language, terminology, and models of mental disability that have previously prevailed, especially within health discourse. Such an approach also requires us to examine the multiple ways in which inequality and discrimination characterize the lives of persons with mental disabilities and to formulate a response based on a human rights framework. In this article, I examine issues of terminology, models of understanding mental disability, and the implications of international treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for our response to the inequalities and discrimination that exist within society — both within and outside the health care system. Finally, while acknowledging that health care professionals have a role to play as advocates for equality, non-discrimination, and justice, I argue that it is persons with mental disabilities themselves who have the right to exercise agency in their own lives and who, consequently, should be at the center of advocacy movements and the setting of the advocacy agenda.
~ http://www.hhrjournal.org/2013/08/29/mental-health-and-inequity-a-human-rights-approach-to-inequality-discrimination-and-mental-disability/


Filed under: Discrimination, Human Rights, Mental Health, Stigma Tagged: #BAD2014, #BlogAction14, #Inequality, #Oct16, hhrjournal.org, Jonathan Kenneth Burns

Mental Health Advocates to Washington- Letters

obamaTo President Obama: I am doing my part and you have been totally ignoring me and in the process have really caused a mess. I watch Fox News. I voted for you the first time and didn’t the second time because after numerous attempts to contact you, the “transparent” President, I was unsuccessful. Tax dollars pay your salary and the people who you work for. Although I am on disability, I did pay taxes and most people I know pay taxes. Money is being wasted in a lot of areas, but if you are going to let your “fellow citizens” know that you are there for them and will listen to them, then you need to do so. If you have to throw letters in the trash then hire more workers. Our forefathers set up the constitution so that everyone would have a say. Then, in 1920 women had a right to vote. So, I have a right to vote because I am a female. Apparently, however, because I have a mental illness, I don’t get something telling me that my letter that was sent certified mail was even received. There is no other way to look at it than I have been discriminated against. Blacks and gays have it easier than the mental health community. I wanted you to be aware of my project as it impacts the next election. I welcome you to Winston Salem where I reside and use some of your campaign money and what Fox News likes to tell people all your free time to come speak to the mental health advocates.

clintonTo President Clinton: I wrote a letter to you you about a year after you left the presidency. I received a letter back from you that I think you personally wrote. I mention that a lot in speeches, etc. What you wrote made me feel special and it was a relief to get something other than a form letter. I quoted you in a recent blog and wanted to give you the opportunity to read it. I would love to talk to you and Hillary at some point before 2016. I called Hillary before she went up against Obama and left a message that said that I did not want her to be the first female president because God had told me when I was 13 that I was supposed to be. I am sure that it was dismissed as some nut job. However, I am passionate about mental health advocacy and love my country and at the age of 43 know that I am ready to enter the political arena and would really appreciate your guidance. I find good in everyone and although I am struggling with how the country is heading, I know that Hilary would do a lot better than Obama. I don’t know that for sure, but things can’t get any worse. I don’t talk bad about people unless they give me a reason to. I have emailed, called, sent a letter certified mail, emailed again, filled out forms, etc over and over and in 6 years, I have never heard from anyone on his staff. Taxes pay his salary and the people he hires. I may have a mental illness, but that does not mean he can ignore me. Mental health needs to be on the forefront of this election. I am hoping that you can help to make that happen. I hope to hear from you or your wife soon. Congrats on being a grandfather. I am sure out of all the things you have accomplished in your life, raising Chelsea the way you did to make her the person she has become and holding that baby in your arms are your proudest moments. 

hillaryTo Hilary Clinton: Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. I remember watching Chelsea entering the White House with braces and now she is a wife and mother. I know that you and President Clinton are proud and I am sure out of all the wonderful things you have done in your life, holding that child has to be the most rewarding thing someone could experience in life.  So, have you decided when she will be running for President yet? :)  I just wrote President Clinton a message on his page, but I also wanted you to be aware of some things I am doing that will hopefully impact the next election.  Mental Health: Hagan vs Tillis Project

 

bush 2To President Bush: I have contacted Obama, President and Hillary Clinton, President Jimmy Carter and am now letting you know that I would like to run for President. I have a house, car and some money in the bank, but am hoping that I can get the support of the former presidents to either run with Hillary or instead of her in 2016. When I was 13, God told me that I was supposed to be the first female President. I even told Hillary that in a message left on a phone before she ran in the election against Barack Obama I am serious about this. I am 43, an American citizen, born in Germany because my dad was in the Air Force, was a teacher and was born on January 3, 1971. I love my country and can’t think of anyone who I have ever met who would tell you that I was a bad person. I do have bipolar disorder, but that has not stopped me from being Teacher of the Year and with the proper treatment, can accomplish great things. I know that the presidency is stressful and that is why I would insist that there is some checks and balances before I were to say press the button to launch a war. Besides that, I am a hormonal female. lol Please call me at 336.201.2390 or email me at [email protected] as soon as you are able. I really would like to hear any advice you can give me and am hoping that you will offer my support.

carterTo Jimmy Carter: Please pass this on to President Carter and let him know that I am trying to talk to President Clinton about how I told Hilary Clinton when she was running against Obama that I wanted to be the first female President and it was something God told me he wanted me to be when I was 13 years old. I am currently living in North Carolina where Hagan and Tillis are fighting for a seat in the Senate and as you know this election is crucial.  Our fellow citizens (Congress) need to listen to what their voters are saying and do the right thing. Lobbyists and Big Companies can no longer influence the politicians. The constitution was set up where I, as a voter, elected a President, senator and congressman(woman), and that person was supposed to represent me at the White House.  Part of that is listening. My experience is that politicians don’t want to listen. Their minds are made up and out of courtesy try and talk to a few people living in their area for publicity sake.  They then go to DC and vote how they want (with their party) and nothing is accomplished.  Tax dollars are being wasted and I am not just talking about all the overspending that has our national debt where it is. I am talking about paying politicians to golf, have parties, not be held accountable, be allowed to not return phone calls or emails and get free health insurance when the rest of America struggles to get by and can’t afford to pay medical bills for their dying loved one. It is sick! I was born in 1971 so pretty much the thing I remember about you is that you liked peanuts. I almost went to your library a few weeks ago, but my mom is dying of cancer so I was not able to.  I want to learn more about you and talk to you. I believe that we can learn a lot by listening to our elders and hope that you will take some time to give me a call or email me.   336.201.2390 or [email protected]

To Fox News: Please read and convince me I should not stop watching Fox News.  Mental Health: Hagan vs Tillis Project

glenn beckGlenn Beck: My fiance worships you. I used to watch your show, he got me into watching Fox News, and he even went to see you speak when you came to Greensboro, North Carolina. I am amazed at what you do and am thankful that you shared your struggles with alcoholism/drug addiction. You are a mental health advocate in my book even if you don’t claim to be. I REALLY want to talk to you. I know that you would really be able to help me get accomplished what I want to do. I need some celebrities to help me with this. Please don’t disappoint me. My phone number is 336.201.2390 and my email address is [email protected] I am holding you accountable by writing this to you on your FB page. If I do not hear from you this time, you deserve to go down in the history books as the president who did not care about the mentally ill. http://bipolarbandit.wordpress.com/…/mental-health…/

To Fox News: Please read and convince me I should not stop watching Fox News.  Mental Health: Hagan vs Tillis Project

Please come back as I will be adding more as I write them. ~Michelle “Bipolar Bandit”


Dejection Alley

Yep. My address is Dejection Alley.
Today started ok, I was determined to get my kid back to school Between me and Bex, I thought we’d conquered it. We went by the shop to get a third opinion since R has the lighted magnifier.
Oh we missed gobs of nits. Actually, I think the fuckers are cemented on. If only glue companies could copy whatever adhesive it is lice use. Geesh.
Back to our leper colony we went.
Made the mistake of giving my kid sugar this morning. She started channeling satan, getting aggressive, hyper, yelling, arguing, name calling. We torture her. We hurt her. We are horrible beasts.
I’d like to shoot whatever force created head lice because I am so frustrated at this point, I want to shoot myself. How is it other parents have it done and the kid is back at school the next day yet mine is going into day 7 of absence??? How can I possibly fuck up that badly over and over again?
I’m scared (terrified) they’re going to have me arrested for truancy or investigated by child services. We are trying sooo damn hard. Hinges on the kid’s cooperation which is infrequent. Even R, who has saintly patience with kids, was getting frustrated with her and we were only there five minutes.
Tired of Lice Tales? Yeah, me too. I wish to fuck there was a nitting service nearby,I’d go sell my blood just to have someone else do it and do it right because this has me stressed I have pretty much missed the entire Halloween month. That does depress me, this is my only time of year I get to be me and not be called some sort of psychopath.

So, yeah…I sprayed pam cooking spray into her hair to get it oily. The nurse did say olive oil would help loosen the nits. Between the mayo and Pam, I think she’s a slice of ham from being a sammich.
Her tantruming put my nerves further on edge.
My family (dad’s faction) keeps calling, demanding why I haven’t gotten it done yet. Nope. I suck. Notice no one in my family has offered to come help and being as perfect as they all are, it’d have been done in ten minutes in their magical awesome hands.

I am rocking this bitterness thing.
Grrr. Just stressed and frustrated.

I finally made a call today I put off for a week due to anxiety paralyzing my dialing fingers. Three times,no answer. Fourth time, lady I need to speak with isn’t in,but we will call back in an hour or so with info for you.
Never happened.
The school called while we were out. They didn’t leave a message. I told both the central and main office ladies (yesterday) she wouldn’t be there today but I had planned on bringing her to the nurse. Apparently, no one between the two offices knows what’s going on at the other. Fed up with this fucking school already. And ya know how much of the fund raiser TWENTY DOLLARS FOR A BOX OF TEN TURTLES stuff we’ve sold? Zilch. She’s in Kindergarten,ffs. My family and friends can’t afford that crap anyway. Ridiculous.

I never intend for these posts to be disjointed rants (and I have noticed few people bother to read long posts) but all this crap gets trapped in my head and the hamster keeps running real fast on his wheel until I can’t hear myself think from all the racing thoughts. Only way to slow him down is to blog or drink or both. I wish I had a drink. Or ten. I’ve never been more focused outside Focalin or a couple of drinks. Wouldn’t it be nice if a doctor actually listened to that?

Whatevs. (We’ve been watching a lot of The Middle and that’s an Axlism.)

On a positive note…Bex taped this and posted it to youtube. My kid,in her mayo head and shower cap, dancing happily to Cell Block Tango from the movie Chicago. She’s a demon but sometimes, the halo hangs off one of the horns.


Hitting HUFFPO as an “Agent of Change”!

I’m in shock as I hurriedly write this, but I wanted to publish this post right away because I’m so thrilled!  There will probably be typos and syntax errors, but I’m so over-the-moon I don’t care! I had no idea … Continue reading