Author Archives: bipolarbandit

Young Minds Matter

kateOne of my favorite quotes is by mental health advocate the former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.  He said, “I want a checkup from the neck up in every physician’s visit from our pediatrician to our geriatricians.”

Many mental health advocates have been saying for years that more needs to be done regarding mental health. We need to take steps to raise awareness, erase stigma, let people know how and where they can get help, and that mental illness can be treated.

However, mental illness can’t be addressed if a parent, loved one, or person even knows they have a problem.

Young Minds Matter, a program started by Kate Middleton, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge is a huge step in addressing this problem.  

Parents often fail to seek help for their children who they suspect have a mental illness because they don’t want to endure the stigma.  They don’t want to think that others think they did something wrong.  Most mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance yet many people don’t know that. This contributes to why children and parents want to let others know they have a mental illness.

In addition to liking what Patrick Kennedy said I now like what Kate Middleton has said. “The mental health of our children must be seen as every bit as important as their physical health. For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help, worried that the stigma associated with these problems would be detrimental to their futures.”  Ref1

The program that Kate Middleton has put into place she hopes will make a real difference. She plans to use articles written by people have struggled with mental illness and won.  These articles will also include researchers who are “asking important questions about the mental health of young people, and are getting answers that will be of real benefit to all parents and teachers.” Ref1

This exciting new adventure looks like it is really going to raise awareness about mental illness especially in children.  Kate Middleton is hoping that you not only read the articles. She is also asking others to share their stories.  If you are interested in contributing your story she asks that you send it to: [email protected]

picmichIt is great to hear that others are getting on board with this endeavor.  This includes First Lady Michelle Obama.  She has praised Kate for her efforts  and has said,”The Duchess of Cambridge has been a passionate voice on so many important issues, and I’m grateful that she is using her day as guest editor to shine a bright light on mental health, particularly children’s mental health, and on the tens of millions of people who suffer in silence.and that getting help is not  “a sign of weakness” but “a sign of strength”. Ref2

I hope that many other leaders continue to join this great cause.

If you are interested in becoming an advocate please see another blog I wrote: What can a mental health advocate do to help people with mental illnesses

Picture sources: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge  First Lady Michelle Obama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Famous People with Bipolar Disorder

fp2Actors, Actresses, Athletes, Artists, Poets, Authors, Politicians, Singers- Bipolar Disorder does not discriminate.

For several famous people who struggle with bipolar disorder, click here.

You will be surprised as to how many there are.  Right now, there are almost 300 of these celebrities I have included.


To the People who are Embarrassed to know me

embarrassmentI have often wondered if people distance themselves from me when they find out I have bipolar disorder and/or have a manic episode. I have evaluated this and realize that sometimes it is me pushing them away because of my own embarrassment.

However, for the most part, I have lost many friends and even family because it was their choice to leave and decide they did not want to associate with me.

I have come to the conclusion that the majority of the time it was their choice. They no longer wanted to be near me because people might think that they have the same illness or that they accept me and my behavior.

Well, I am  going to stop analyzing those people and giving them the power  to hurt or upset me and plan to move on. They can distance themselves from me, but I will no longer take it personally. I was born this way and if they can’t accept me like they would like a friend who is missing a limb, blind,  has diabetes or a heart problem, etc. then then good riddance.

I have lost close friends due to my illness . I have lost relatives I spent a lot of time growing up with and it was not until I was diagnosed that things changed.    I’ve had  cousins who stopped talking to me because they think I am odd or wouldn’t say hello to me at school because of who I am. I’ve reached out to people during times when I am not manic or depressed (the times I am “normal”) and have been ignored, have not been recognized, n  and no gratitude was  shown during the time or afterwards. I didn’t do it for the recognition, but in many cases I think it is just because they wanted to avoid me and that is why they don’t thank me or recognize that I am actually a human who does nice things for them and others.

I even have people in my immediate family who do not  want any of her friends or co-workers to know I have a mental illness.  This person even almost my behavior before I see her friends to make sure I won’t embarrass her.

Teachers who my mom told I was struggling  showed no compassion and understanding. I have had had fellow co-workers who distanced themselves from me once they knew. They did not even suspect I had a mental illness until I told them. I decided to tell a  few employers that turned out to be a mistake in every case except for one.  It disgusts me that even politicians,  actors, athletes  totally ignored me and don’t respond to my pleas.  I know other advocates who have been treated the same way.  Our voices are just not being heard by people who could do something.

One thing in particular I really despise is that the he hospital staff, the CEOs of hospitals, the insurance companies, and the patient’s relations centers of psychiatric hospitals where I have been admitted get away with totally ignoring me. . I am even talking about agencies who work with people with mental illnesses and are funded by the state, and even doctors and therapists.

Letters, emails, texts, phone calls, tweets and FB messages are almost always ignored if they mention anything about mental illness.  I have not only observed this, but have tested it and know it is true.  This just  disgusts me.  Pretty much the only time that mental illness is mentioned or responded to is after a tragedy and then it is represented in an incorrect way.

It may be political correctness to not confront it and something that people don’t want to talk about, but it does need to be dealt with head on. Ignoring it is not the answer and  it’s going to continue to make things worse.

By not responding to me or other advocates and people with mental illnesses is a slap in the face. It is saying we don’t matter. It is saying that we are less than a normal person.  It is showing that not much is being done with the stigma or educating others about the illnesses or where to go if they or someone they know are in crisis.

We can say that things have gotten better, but things need to get a lot better. Society is doing better with  research, educating others, passing  laws, figuring out ways to not have jails be revolving doors, and not having enough hospital beds.  However, the thing that bothers me the most is that people with mental illnesses are mistreated and do not get the respect they deserve.

Please note: There are people who do care and are making a difference. I know that there are people even in my only family who are not embarrassed by me.  In fact they have said they admire me for dealing with my illness..  However, It has just been my experience that the majority of the people won’t touch people with a mental illness with a ten foot pole.

I don’t usually swear or tell people off. I usually try and be mostly politically correct, respectful, and don’t want recognition.  I usually work in the background  and try to use a soft tone to make a point.  I try to be reasonable and usually back up things with fact. I almost always use correct grammar and spelling. I try not to let my own emotions get the best of me and analyze what I say  because  I don’t want my points to be  dismissed because I, as a mentally ill person, don’t deserve to be heard and frankly my opinions don’t matter. Even if I can support things by fact and make every effort to not give people a reason to dismiss what I am saying, it does not seem to matter.

Enough is enough. In this blog I am going to speak up with a loud voice and from my heart. I do not intend to hold back or care about what people think or how they judge me for what I am saying.  I don’t care if they dismiss what I say because my points are actually things that they should hear.

The title of this blog is to write a letter so here it is.   I will be  frank, speaking from my heart and confront things in ways that are different for me.  However, I think it needs to be said and it is a healthy thing for me to do and maybe inspire others to realize that they should not be embarrassed by who they are.

TO THE PEOPLE WHO  ARE EMBARRASSED BY ME:

You might be embarrassed by me, but you should really be embarrassed by yourself. You have judged me, steered away from me, chosen not to love me, pushed me away when I needed you most, ridiculed me, bullied me, avoided me at all costs and that is something that is wrong and you should not only be embarrassed and ashamed, but feel less than a human being.

You are an idiot because you have not educated yourself about my illness, taken the time to realize what you do or don’t do hurts me more than you will ever know.   You have not learned that mental illness affects 1 in 4 people and you really should take some time to study it because either you or someone you know will have a mental illness.  If that happens, then what are you going to do?  Leave them?  Hate yourself and/or judge yourself?  Realize stigma is worse than you thought, realize that people with mental illnesses are actually human beings who deserve patience, love, and do have feelings?

I would never wish a mental illness on anyone. However, if you are unlucky enough to have one, I hope that you come to your senses and realize that how you have treated me is wrong- simply wrong.

In short, you might be embarrassed by me, but I am more embarrassed by being associated with you.  You are uneducated, a bully, an uncaring, unkind person who needs to learn more about mental illness.  You should  find out what to do if you suspect you or a friend has a mental illness, and evaluate if you contribute to the stigma. You could join all the other people who are embarrassed by me and others with a mental illness or you can start to make a difference and help to erase the stigma, the poor conditions we face, educate yourself, help others in need, and rally to get better treatment for those with an illness that they were born with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Brandon Marshall and the Super Bowl

 

15 marshallBrandon Tyrone Marshall (wide receiver with Jets) won’t be playing with the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl this year, but if he was I would be rooting for him. (not Brandon Marshall, linebacker, who is questionable.)

I live near Charlotte, NC so therefore I will be rooting for the Panthers.  However, if Brandon was still playing for the Denver Broncos, I would definitely be rooting for him.

Brandon Marshall went to my alma mater (University of Central Florida).  However, that is not why I would be rooting for him. He has broken many records, and earned honors,awards while playing with four franchises. However, that is not why I would be rooting for him either.

The reason I would be rooting him is for what he has done for the mental health community.  He wore green sneakers  during mental illness awareness week for mental illness in 2013 even though he had to pay over $10,000 in fines. He has been open and honest about his struggles with borderline personality disorder.

He has talked about it on television and the most amazing thing he has done regarding helping others to understand his mental illness is to start his own organization Project Borderline. This organization’s goal are to spread the words about BPD, fight the stigma associated with it, educate people about the illness, advocate, reach out to others struggling with a mental illness and to bridge the gap between patients, clinicians, and the public.

“He intends to change the face and the future of this disorder so that those who have suffered in silence, who spent years of their lives feeling trapped by their own emotions, and who once thought that they had reached a place beyond hope will have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves.”

By having this project and talking honestly about his illness he  has helped others who have  mental illness more than he probably knows. He has shown them that they should not be ashamed.  By doing so, I am sure many people have sought out help.

He is doing so much to help eradicate the stigma and raise awareness about mental illness.  He might not be getting a super bowl ring this year, but he should be earning  a far better reward as far as I am concerned.

In honor of Black History Month I created an infographic showing others black celebrities, including athletes who have mental illnesses and are helping to erase the stigma.  Thanks to Brandon Marshall and these celebrities for making a difference.

 

 

 


Black Celebrities who have a Mental Illness

IN HONOR OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The list of black celebrities is endless.  These courageous people have paved the way for so many others to become singers, doctors, lawyers, athletes, politicians, teachers, scientists, and more.

What you might not have considered is that some of these celebrities also have a mental illness.  Below is a list of those people who have not just overcome the adversities they face because the color of the skin, but also have had to face their mental illness and the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.

Thanks to these brave black people who fight the fight every day giving those suffering from mental illness hope.  Thanks to the many brave individuals who have shared their stories to help eradicate the stigma.

BLACKS WHO HAVE MENTAL ILLNESSES:

Disclaimer: I confirmed that each person has a mental illness by using several sources.   If you click the link on the celebrity’s name it will direct you to an article that discusses their mental illness. In most cases the celebrity has talked openly about their illness. However, I do realize that the internet and media are not always accurate.  Therefore, if you don’t feel like someone should be on the list, please contact me at Bipolar Bandit .   Also, I take no ownership in any of the photos used in the infographic. The majority of pictures were found via Pinterest and source is unknown. 

REFERENCES: Ref 1  Ref2  Ref3 Ref4 Ref5 Ref6  Ref7  Ref8

Black Celebrities with Mental Illnesses pic


Black History Month and Mental Illness

Please note: I, in no way have meant to disrespect anyone. It is merely to point some things out about mental illnesses. I hope that no one takes offense to this blog in any way.   If for some reason you are offended  you can contact me at Bipolar Bandit because I would love to hear from you and would be willing to change things if warranted.  

bhmThere are a lot of successful people in this world who are black.  They have done impressive things in their lives including being doctors, lawyers, artists, business men/women, ministers, soldiers, politicians, teachers, and the list goes on.

During Black History Month we are reminded that a lot of famous people from the black community deserve recognition for how much they have change the world for the better.  I am not talking about just people who are black, but all of us.  I really would like to think that they are, however history and current circumstances unfortunately tell us that this is still not true for everyone.     We learn about people who were born black in school in a positive way.  We learn that against all odds, they took on the world and did not let the color of their skin keep them from doing things that changed the world for the better.

The people from the black community, famous  or not,  are people the black community look up to and other races are amazed at.  They are not ashamed of  who they are and have not let the color of their skin keep them back from what they wanted to do with their lives. Although some people in society are judgmental and racists, no one can deny how successful they are.  Many people coming from the black  community  are idols for many and in some cases have made such a difference in the world that they are famous for what they have done.

I am sure it is still hard  in some parts of our society I will truly never understand how it is to be black.  However, I do know the feeling of being looked at differently.  I can relate to people thinking that I can’t do anything I want to do in life.  I understand  people who don’t accept me because of who I am.  I also can relate to feeling like to being an outcast at times.  It is not because of the color of my skin,however,but because I have a mental illness. Just like those people who are not white have had to face many obstacles, so have those with mental illnesses.

The history books tell us about black people who have made a difference in the civil rights movement and others who have showed others that anything can be done if one sets their minds to it.  However, how many of those people do you know have a mental illness?  It is usually hidden.  That is a shame as they should not have to hide it or be ashamed by it.  People with mental illnesses should not be isolated or looked at differently any more than people who are not white

Please read “I Have a Dream regarding Mental Illness” if you have not already.  Just like people who are black can do anything against all odds, people who have mental illnesses will hopefully be able to do the same in the near future without being judged or held back just because they have a mental illness.

I started out this blog intending to write about all the people who are not white who have mental illnesses, but it turned into a different blog entirely.  Please read this blog to see better what I intended for this blog to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Reality of Mental Illness “They Say” by Allen Minor

Warning: This could be triggering

 allen2Check out this poem on Youtube

They say… -They say that everyday above ground is a good day.
They say when life gives you lemons you’ve gotta make lemonade.
They say that when things don’t turn out the right way
That’s okay because tomorrow is always a new day,
Ya know, they say a lot of things about how I should feel, -But let’s get real,
They don’t know me
They are not me
They don’t have to force themselves out of bed every morning and stumble to the mirror and see me.
And I’m not talking about the me that they’d see
If they were standing next to me
As I shied away from my reflection,
I’m talking about the REAL me.
The secret me that I keep hidden behind lock and key -Because I know that if they ever saw it -Even THEY’D say that those lemons are too spoiled,
And even water and sugar can’t help THAT medicine go down. -And I’m not talking about the Depakote, Wellbutrin, or Xanax getting caught in your throat,
To quote Alanis Morissette, I’m talking about the jagged little pill that they call truth
Getting stuck because it’s too hard to swallow. ….
De Cartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” -He said that the only thing that I can be sure of is that I exist,
Beyond this, everything else is a question.
Nowhere is this proven more true
Than in those with mental health issues.
You can give me all your quotes, proverbs, and platitudes,
But the fact is that for me
Tomorrow is not a new day.
It may be true for you,
But obviously my truth is different than yours,
Because when I lie in bed the night before
I don’t think about tomorrow. -I think about today,
What I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done better than I did yesterday,
And I can’t stop the relay race of thoughts in my mind
As they reach back in time -Struggling to find -Every single thing that I’ve ever done wrong,
So it can take it from yesterday and pass it off to today -And remind me that tomorrow is not a new day,
It’s just a new way of getting it wrong. ….
They say… -They say that they can’t understand how anyone could be so selfish as to take their own life. 
Well I say -I don’t understand how anyone can be so blind as to see someone set on fire everyday -And not understand why they might want to put out the flames.
I say… -I say that I can’t understand how anyone could be so selfish as to want someone to burn -Just so they don’t have to feel guilty or question anything.
And I’m not saying that suicide is the right way,
And I’m not saying that’s how I want to end things, -But that’s what mental illness is.
“I think, therefore I am,” -“I think, therefore I am,” -“I think, therefore I am,” -And when I am in pain seemingly every single day -It makes sense that eventually all I’m going to think about is how to make that go away. -It makes sense that if all I can think about is the pain of yesterday,
Then tomorrow is not really a new day, -Because that means that today is just remembering or anticipating the same old pain in new ways. …. -Fear of judgement is the number one reason that those with mental health issues do not seek help. -They say that society is getting better with that.
Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the US. -They say that society is getting better with that. -Along with millions of other people, I suffer from mental health issues. -They say that we’ll get better with that. -They say that tomorrow is new day. -They say… -They say…a lot of things.
But now it’s time for them to understand.
allen
Allen Minor on Tumblr
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Allen Minor on Twitter

Guest Post: Behind the Smile by Patricia Grace

delmud

For those of you that have met me I’m sure you’d probably say I seem like a really happy go lucky kinda person. For those of you who haven’t met me I’m sure you’d probably say similar. After all I am a very optimistic and a positive type of person. You can probably tell this from my posts on Muddled Up Mummy. But there is more to me than meets the eye. Behind the smile there is a whole other person. A person who has been through more than most people you know. So let me introduce to you the real me.

I was born in Perth WA Australia in 1984. I was born into what seemed like the perfect little family. To onlookers it would have been. Behind closed doors though it was far from that. At first things seemed good. Well for a bit they were. Then my brother was born and soon things turned really sour in our perfect little family scenario.

First it started with my Mother. Mentally and physically abused by the person who was supposed to love her. After a couple of years my Father kidnapped my brother and I and fled to the capital of Australia, Canberra.

My Mother soon followed but he wouldn’t let her see us. She was devastated, and the fact the she already suffered from poor mental health didn’t help. As time went on my Father got worse. Hurting everyone, even his own kids. Once he put me in hospital in the Intensive Care Unit, fighting for my life. What he did to me is a bit too much to share though, but so you all know it wasn’t pretty and I was only 4. Another day he was sick of me and put me in the car boot while he was driving.

My brother and I were living in fear. Every mistake we made suffered dear consequences at the hands of our so called Father. This went on for quite some time, until authorities finally stepped in and we were saved and we went to live in foster care. We soon started seeing our Mother and that eventually became every Saturday. She was the most beautiful soul and I knew this already at such a young age. It was sad for us though as she suffered from Bipolar and really couldn’t take care of us full time. So when we did see her we really looked forward to it.

We adored her so much. In my eyes she was perfect and could do no wrong. At the time though we didn’t even know she wasn’t well mentally. Then one day just before I turned 11 she passed away from a burst aneurysm in the brain. I felt an angel had been taken from earth. I was so sad. Even angry. God had taken one of the most beautiful souls on earth and it had to be my own Mother. I took this out on my foster mum because in my eyes she would never be or replace MY MUM.

I was really down for many years. I was never the same after my Mother died. As I got older I started to date. I was in 3 serious relationships over a period a 8 years. Two of them were disasters. The other wasn’t that great either. Violence. Mental abuse. Name calling. Control. Alcoholism. Cheating. These were just some of things I had to endure. After I finally got free from this evil dating spiral I realised I‘d been dating versions of my dad and lost a lot of trust in people. After years of torment I developed a mental illness.

Although doctors believe now I had problems with mental illness from a young age as I would constantly struggle. But after all my trauma from both my childhood and from adulthood I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) I tried to take my life many times and was in hospital a lot. Slowly though I started to understand it was trauma from my past catching up to me and invading my life like a virus I couldn’t shake.

With a lot of support I got my life back on track. It took a lot of strength and plenty of counseling but I got there. But this wasn’t the end of my struggles. It turns out I had Bipolar. I was diagnosed with it a couple of years ago but they say it’s been around for awhile and just wasn’t being treated. I hated getting this label. It made me feel like I must be some kind of crazy. But you know what it really doesn’t make me crazy at all.

I can’t help that I have this. They say it was probably passed down to me because both my parents have it. But each day after finding out I would wake up, realise I have this label and it would get me down. So one day I decided to ditch the label. I decided I am who I am and not the label I’d been given. So this is me.
I’m intelligent and witty.
I’m not Bipolar.
I have a positive outlook on life even if I have some really down days.
I’m not Bipolar.
I can actually be pretty funny.
I’m not Bipolar.
I’m good looking.
I’m not Bipolar.
I’m an amazing mother.
I’m not Bipolar.
I’m a great friend, partner, sister, daughter and aunty.
I’m not Bipolar.
I am me.
I’m not Bipolar.

So although I have this label that I don’t really like I try not to focus on it. I focus on all the other things that make me me. I take my meds and get on with it. But I do have days that are really hard. I have anxiety attacks at times. Some days I don’t really feel like talking to anyone. But amongst all this I’ve decided Bipolar doesn’t define me.

It doesn’t make me a freak. It’s just something I’ve been dealt and I’ve learnt to be ok with that. So much so that I’m now sharing this. Most of my family and friends don’t even know I have this. This will probably even surprise some of them. I used to be so ashamed because of the stigma behind Mental Health that I didn’t want anybody to know. But not anymore.

There needs to be more awareness so this is my part in spreading it.

Mental Illness doesn’t define a person. But you still need to be aware it’s there. It’s a struggle and if you think those with it can just suck it up and learn to be happy. They can’t. It doesn’t work like that. So please share my story as awareness is key in removing the stigma and being more open about the struggles that some people face. Make a note to yourself that you truly don’t know someone and their struggles unless they are open about it. So spread some awareness so more people feel they can open up. Also try to be more understanding when they do because if we can all do this it just might save a life.

Behind the Smile Video

Facebook Page: Muddled Up Mummy

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Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Treatments for BP


The History of Bipolar Disorder Infographic

History of Bipolar Disorder