Daily Archives: February 15, 2017

The Danger of Stigma

I posted on Facebook today this:  “Stigma is shame.  Shame causes silence.  Silence hurts everyone.”  I was struck by a comment from one of my friends who said, “Stigma is the root of all suffering whose ripples expand and touch countless others…”  Wow.

Her comment really struck a cord with me.  I know from my experience how much stigma impacted my willingness to get help and stay with a treatment plan.  Stigma caused me to internalize a tremendous amount of guilt because I had this mental illness “label.”

I don’t believe in labels, but I do believe in diagnosis.  Without the correct diagnosis I was put on the wrong medications and it made my underlying condition worse.  It is important to know what is going on and if it takes a “label” to help someone I am okay with that.  But the fact that we even think of mental health conditions as labels means we have a problem.

I read a great deal about mental illness.  I don’t read as much about mental health because I have a good understanding of what it takes to be mentally healthy.  But as I researched information for an upcoming talk I am giving I found there is such a difference between what mental health advocates use to describe a mental illness.  Here are some of them:  mental health issue, mental health concern, brain disorder, mental health condition, and finally mental illness.  All of us advocates are trying to make it okay to talk about mental illness.  We are all trying to fight against the stigma.  Some do it in a different language because of the great stigma attached to the words mental illness.

Here is the question I ask myself – what words make the most impact?  I find myself using them all interchangeably.  But I have to say there is a big difference between a mental health issue and a severe mental illness.  An issue is something we can get over a severe mental illness is something that requires a life long battle.  I believe if we are going to educate we have to be real and raw.  Let’s get real about what we are dealing with and then let’s work to help people know it is okay to get help.

Experience is our greatest teacher.  I have been on this journey with mental illness for more than 30 years.  Trust me when I tell you the stigma of mental illness is dangerous and we must do everything in our power to eliminate it.  Lives are at stake.

 

 


Is It All In My Head?

Have you heard someone say about a medical issue “I really hope there IS something wrong”? These aren’t the words of a hypochondriac – well, I guess they could be but that isn’t the route I am going ;-). They … Continue reading

Sick Day Three

Bob went to the doctor this morning and found out he has a severe stomach flu.  The doctor said he had seen a good bit of it the past few days and gave him a restricted diet to follow the next three days.  So I will be going to the grocery store and getting a few things for him off the list and see if he can hold them in his system.

I’m slowly working my way through my schoolwork. For some reason it’s hard this week. We have a video conference tomorrow night and will see how that goes. I need to get everything in before that so I will work some more this afternoon.

I’m holding up pretty well.  Used to I got really panicked when Bob got sick because there was so much to do.  But now things are easier and I’m not so paranoid about it.  That is actually a good feeling for me–I think it means I am still getting better every day.

I haven’t heard anything about my op-ed I wrote for the local paper.  THis issue I wrote about is still an issue, so I hope they take me up on the column. I will just have to be patient.  I’ve sent out a lot more stuff this week and so hopefully can get more published this year than last.

HOpe everyone had a happy Valentines Day yesterday and has a good rest of the week.

 

Twas The Day After Valenswine’s Day

Surely anyone who even occasionally reads this blog will understand why I refer to yesterday’s “helliday” as Valenswine’s Day. Because the only thing that could possibly make me ok with all that vulgar red and pink hearts and candy and Hallmark robbery. Two pigs smooching. Valenswine’s Day.

Oh, and this, which Diane sent me, did cheer me up a bit.

vtinesI had a few sedate do little days that I much needed. Monday I got another surge of “need to change the scenery” in hopes it might spark my creative block so I did more rearranging in the living room. Of course, that didn’t work out as I wanted since half the floor is caving in and I can’t put the couch on that side unless we want to fall through…GRRR. But it does look better. I am slowly whittling down all the depressive induced “hoarding” which I consider clutter more than anything. Not like I am saving shit from 1979 just because. I need storage containers, plastic drawers (all my cabinets and drawers have fallen apart, thank you slum lord.)

But, progress is progress.

R requested me at the shop yesterday at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. I was horrified and of course, barely slept more than hour long increments. Then I couldn’t take my meds less *that* be one of the times it made me sleepy and knocked me out. I am trying to help him get his ducks in a row as he has a shot at a job making $60 plus grand a year and is going to close the shop if he gets it.

This is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because frankly, once he’s off to being financially superior and upper class again, he will just leave me be and oh that would be wonderful for my anxiety. What am I gonna lose? Smokes and Mangoritas?

What truly pisses me off is that this particular place under its name has been in business 60 years, owned by R less than ten, and he can barely keep the doors open. Because people have no problem shelling out hundreds of dollars for their stupid flat panel TVs and plasmas but ask them to spend two hundred to fix one…”I’ll go buy a new one at Wal-mart.”

Only in this fucktard town could anyone think spending $800 for a brand new TV versus a $150 repair to an existing TV is “cheaper.”

And because society is vapid and shallow and has an “it’s disposable” mentality…this wonderful business with an extremely skilled technician is likely going to bite the dust. That is truly sad as it ends an era. Sixty years of business.

I could blame R for being shallow and wanting more money and less work. But I don’t. This new gig is a big opportunity for him, sort of in his field but also outside so he has to apply, reinterview, learn, take classes, etc…But considering how he was freaking out last night on the phone about how poorly the business is doing…I hope he gets the new gig. Because panic and anxiety are my baseline in life and it’s hell, I wish that on no one. Especially not someone accustomed to it and ill equipped to handle it outside alcohol consumption.

Just saddens me every time a local business is beaten to death by these stupid chain stores. And that’s the truth because god knows, I’m not on a payroll or losing income or benefits. I just really believed in what the business offered customers who’d otherwise have to drive miles away and pay three times more. This town makes me want to Z Whack every resident just on principle and call them disposable.

Anyway…Almost six hours in the dish nearly did me in yesterday. I did get to speak to a very man from Peavey about a service manual and he had this laid back southern cadence to his voice that I found quite lovely. Normally I don’t notice this sort of thing because I fucking hate phones and talking on them, especially to strangers, is hellish.

R waited til a half hour before I had to fetch my kid to dispatch me for errands. By that point I was 15 hours without xanax or any other meds and….panic had set in. like psycho “i am gonna wreck the car if I don’t find a way to slow down my brain” panic. But I pushed myself to get it all done and for my troubles, the nice cashier guy at the smoke shop told me how beautiful my hair looked out in the sun when I was getting out of the car. THANK YOU. Crimson Obsession IS a beautiful color.

I was flipping out further waiting for my slow poke kid, always the last straggler out of school, and went thru with my promise to take her to the book fair. She got a Shopkins journal. I treated myself to a Grumpy Cat book. Because it makes me laugh. By the time we left the school (and the ladies selling commended me for insisting my kid get a book instead of erasers and such as it is a BOOK fair and reading is more important than novelties) I was panting, clutching my chest and basically melting down. I told my kid we would go home, do homework, get her snack and then I needed a half hour minimum of quiet.

Instead what I got was devil girls at the door, then the keys from two trailers down joined in and they were bouncing a basketball, using my trash cans as baskets. Throwing it against the side of the trailer. Yap yap yap, noise noise noise. I was ready to snap. But I didn’t, I just kept telling myself, they are kids, for once it’s warm out, let them be.

On the plus side, I took my meds when we got home and they made me sleepy and nauseous so at least all the kid chaos kept me from dozing off and eating food (again) helped with the meds. Guess take “with” food doesn’t mean three hours after you eat it? Ass trash meds.

Then came my after 9 p.m. panic call from R, totally flipping out cos he needs to return that application for the new gig and the software they gave him to study has a license code but they didn’t give it to him. (And btw, he only got a different laptop because my beloved Jose konked out and all it was is the fan needed cleaned. After watching him remove 80 screws and seeing basically the entrails of a laptop…take it, you earned it.) I was just starting to doze when he called so I was prepared to be irked. Instead, I was calm, supportive, and basically everything no one else in my three dimensional life is for me.

I end up in that battle with myself. “You’re being a welcome mat.”

“But just because they’re insensitive ass clowns doesn’t mean I have to sink to their low emotional IQ.”

Damn having my own identity and a conscience. Damn empathy, too.

While I’d been looking forward to today for recovering from yesterday’s circuit overload…he asked for my help today and I agreed. Whatever. Let’s get him hired at the new place and be done with it all. The man cannot live at poverty level the way many of us do. (Ha, no wonder he’s a Trump crumpet.) It’s stressful but I’d take all the stress of being my own boss, doing what I love, over becoming some cog in a corporate manufacturing wheel. Of course, I was born broke so I’ve never seen the other side. He obviously needs to go back there.

So in 90 minutes I have to appear and pretend I want to be there when in fact…I wanted to take my meds and sleep some more because after his call, my panic receptors kept me awake for two hours and I kept waking up to check the time all night…But it’s ok, he’s going to bring me Mangoritas tonight. See, that is why I scowl at people who say I “work” for him. Um…since when does $4 worth of alcohol constitute employment and a paycheck? I am little more than a glorified trunk monkey (check out the trunk monkey videos on youtube!!!) who can type and find good deals on line. Mostly I am background scenery to listen to him mumble while he thinks aloud.

So truth be told…shop closing will not hurt me much. But since everyone and their dog and hamster have a flat screen TV which usually fail a day after the warranty is out…and they will have to go get screwed without lube elsewhere for repairs…That does make me sad. It truly is a loss for the entire area.

My frazzled nerves will be relieved, as chagrined as I am to admit it. I just can’t do the breakneck pace the man expects even as a friend. And without busted stuff and parts to discuss…I doubt I will see much of him once he gets the job. Change is scary but…

Inevitable.

I rolled the dice on the red hair and I love it.

Now…start plastering on the “I’m functional” face. It takes forever, really. And faking it is draining.

But then I’m not telling you guys anything. You live it and breathe it, too.

Suckage for all.

A Valentine For All The Spouses of the Chronically Ill

Dear Care Givers, You know who you are Your love and devotion Make you a rock star. You work long hours To pay all the bills Then come home to help us With all of our pills. You help us … Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Banned in Pakistan!

http://go.clarionproject.org/valentine-pakistan-1/

Yup, Pakistan banned Valentine’s Day.

In fact, that’s how it goes in theocratic states.  The holidays are dictated by religion and government, which, in some cases, are one and the same.

At the same time, why not click the link to send a Valentine to the Pakistani embassador?  Go on, show some love ❤


Science Says ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Week Has Astonishing Health Benefits

Love this, it’s such a positive article. I need this, I think we all need it. Happy “Random Acts of Kindness” week!

 

http://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/science-says-random-acts-of-kindness-week-has-astonishing-health-benefits.html

Geesh, does the world ever need this week.

The global phenomenon that is Random Acts of Kindness week is upon us: February 12-18, 2017.

We as co-workers — nay, citizens — get to extend hands and open our hearts to participate in wonderfully arbitrary acts of kindness all week long.

If the idea itself isn’t enough to motivate you to participate, science tells us that you literally feel good if you engage in kindness.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has culled together a range of research that highlights an astonishing array of kindness-related health benefits.

Here are the top five reasons kindness can actually make you healthier:

1. Kindness fuels energy and esteem

Kindness produces serotonin which generates that feeling of calmness and even helps heal wounds. (Just like a Lionel Richie song!)

In one Berkeley study, almost 50 percent of participants reported feeling stronger and having more energy after helping others, with reports of greater feelings of calmness and enhanced self-esteem also predominant.

2. Kindness makes you happier

A Harvard Study showed that those who were altruistic and gave away money were, overall, the happiest.

And I thought that title was reserved for New England Patriots fans.

3. Kindness is good for your heart

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation reports:

Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health.

Don’t they say love hurts? Turns out the opposite is true!

4. Kindness helps you live longer

Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, writes:

People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44 percent lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.

Finally, a guilt-free way to skip the gym.

5. Kindness decreases lots of bad stuff

Studies have shown that developing a habit of kindness reduces pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure.

Chemistry plays a role once again. (No, not the Ryan Gosling – Emma Stone kind of chemistry).

People who practice kindness as a habit have 23 percent less cortisol (the stress hormone) and more of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels (thus lowering blood pressure).

So, it’s pretty clear that if we’re kind, kindness is kind to us.

Over the holidays, I shared 31 ideas to inspire you to commit your own random acts of kindness in the workplace .

If you’ve lost that loving feeling since then, here are 12 more ideas. These are some of my favorite suggestions from The City of Kindness, a coalition of organizations working collaboratively to inspire more kindness in the world:

  • Put a surprise note or drawing in your spouse’s or kid’s lunch.
  • Post a genuine compliment to three people on social media.
  • Allow someone into your lane. They’re probably in a rush — just like you.
  • Let the person in line behind you at the supermarket go first.
  • Compliment your boss for something you admire but have never expressed.
  • Write a letter of recommendation for a colleague.
  • Forgive someone. And really mean it.
  • Strike up a conversation with the person standing alone at a party/work function.
  • Listen to a friend having a tough time — without offering advice.
  • Put money in an expired parking meter.
  • Leave a thank-you note for your mail carrier.
  • Don’t gossip.

You can also whip up your own ideas using a kindness generator provided by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

And don’t forget the ultimate act of kindness: Share this article with your friends.