Month: December 2015

Goodbye 2015! It’s Been A Pleasure! 😄👋🏾

Time came and went! I can’t believe it! Not too long ago I was in a bad place with myself mentally. Although it has been years since I’ve been involved in family drama, obviously its past events have taken a huge toll on my mental health along with the other spheres of my life (e.g. relationships, work, and school). I felt like a bystander of my own life seeing myself come apart due to the stressors of everyday of life or the dysfunctions of my family at home. I displayed bouts of irritation, hopeless, melancholy, and fatigue. People either thought I emotionally immature or a lazy person with low motivation or I was crazy. But I was none of things. Unfortunately by brain was in control, not me. Yet despite this, I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself…I wanted to help myself, but in noticing this I also realized I couldn’t do this alone…I needed help.

I have been fortunate that I had a good support group:

My Psychiatrist

She has been very helpful during my recovery. She didn’t just treat me like a patient but a person. She didn’t just give me prescriptions, she gave additional support out of my visits with her which would speed my recovery leading to….

My Therapist

Damn, he was tough on me! So much to the point I cried. But nonetheless I continued, because I believed in myself and in my recovery process. I wasn’t just only able to bring the walls of my heart down, but disrupt the negative congnitive thoughts that have long stunted my mental and emotional growth. I was able to learn…

  1. To Accept My Roaming Thoughts. I had thoughts that would rummage across my mind and drive me crazy! But I’ve learned to accept them and now I have better control.
  2. To Accept My Emotions. I always felt that by accepting them it would make me weak or insecure or selfish. Though through my sessions, I have learned they don’t make me feel any of that…they make me human. Then again (ironically), by not being aware and/or denying my emotions they make me weak, insecure, and/or selfish. Go figure.
  3. Being Honest With Myself. No longer am I denying my feelings, stuffing them in the deep basement of my heart. Nowdays, I am more honest with myself.
  4. Reduce Black or White Thinking. I don’t have so much of that any more. When I do however, I tell myself to hold back those thoughts, because I don’t know if it’s true.
  5. Mindfulness. No longer do I not know how to manage my anxiety. It’s now instinctively, I know how to manage them whether is through meditation or through activities like coloring, journaling, or excercising

As great as my session were alas I completed my session a couple days ago. But as I concluded my final session, I felt more empowered to overcome my anxiety, not for my anxiety to overcome me. And if it does…I will do it again, because I know I’ve done it before.

My Friend

I don’t have many friends, but fortunately I have one friend that has been very good to me. Look I don’t care about the quanity of friends as I do the quality. I’ve had many friends in the past, but there were those who did not build me up and it is a must, must to have one can build and cheer you up. After I found my diagnosis, I have to admit I was terrified to tell her. I have had people who have told me my whole life I was weird or ask me why I was weird and would stop talking to me all together. But deep inside of myself—and with the help of my therapist—told me to tell her. And I did and you know what? She has been very accepting of me! I feel very happy and safe, because it makes me feel she’s a true friend. I hope we will be good friends for many years.

My Fellow Bloggers and Readers

I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to tell people of my business and/or problems in person. So, I have no idea what possessed me to do this via social media. I mean seriously, why do something online, that I wouldn’t do in-person? Though what inspired me was

  1. Reading blog site on mental illness

The same day I found out about my illness, I began doing further research about them. And I’d run into blog sites who would tell their stories and as I read them, I could relate to them…I felt my struggles and pains were finally validated through those who lived through them. This was great! Why? Well for one, it’s hard to find stories about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression in bookstores. And two, these experiences were very candid and raw and it really drew me not just to them, but to myself. So, then I too decided to blog in hopes to inspire others like myself to stay strong and courageous in their recovery to mental health.

  1. I’ve always wanted to write/publish a story, whether fiction or an autobiography of my life

Also by having to readers reading my blog, it felt encouraging because I feel I am not alone in my trials of recovery and that my feeling are accepted and verified. I am glad to have “met” my fellow readers and bloggers and have in their stories and messages in turn. It makes me think…why can’t the real world be like this?😕

Last but not least….

My Family

They have been an amazing support system, regardless of how many times we have bumped heads with one another. They want me to be myself and be the best that I can be. They may not always understand me, but they love me. And that’s okay. I love them so much! We have been through hell together and we have come out of it together and let me just say I am proud to have them part of my life.

So, these are all the people I am happy to have been and will be part of my support system during 2015! I hope to continue some of these relationship through the incoming New Year. And who knows? Maybe I will build and model similar relationships in 2016!

Accomplishments/Milestones for Mental Health in 2015

I know that bills/acts are not the most exciting things to learn about, but these particular bills and acts are crucial to you and/or your loved one’s mental health and your protected rights as an American citizen. As this year comes to a close, I wanted to highlight the accomplishments/milestones that has been accomplished for this year :

  • The celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (U.S.)
  • The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare (U.S.)
  • December 3rd will be forever known as International Day of Persons with Invisible Disabilities
  • The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (U.S.)
  • Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 (S.1945) was instated
  • The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act (U.S.)
  • The 21st Century Cures bill (U.S.)
  • The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 (S.993) (U.S.)
  • Medicare Formulary Improvement Act (S.648) (U.S.)
  •  A $400 Billion Budget (or the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016; H.R. 2029) was established and approved for the year 2016 for Mental Health. The budget will increase funding in mental health research, mental health services, supportive housing, veterans, and criminal justice (U.S.)
  • The re-approved and expansive funds toward the Mentally Ill Offender  and Treatment Crime Reduction Act or MIOTCRA. This act includes veterans treatment courts, training for law enforcement & correctional officers on how to respond individuals experiencing psychiatric crises and alternatives to solitary confinement (U.S.)
  • The upholding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) especially for those living with mental illness. The ACA (Public Law 111-148)
    allows people living with mental illness to keep their health insurance (U.S.)

Not bad, not bad…. See this is what happens when we voice our stories living mental illness… This is what happens when we take part advocating for ourselves and each other….Let’s continue to take part in these activities as we take go into 2016! We still have some work to do!

For more information on these bills and acts, click on the article links below:

In the process…..

Letting Go of Inhibitions and Becoming Who You Are Meant To Be

There can many reasons in our life that hold us back from being our best selves, pursuing opportunities, taking a new chance at friendships or love:

  • Doubt and/or fear
  • Previous mistakes and/or bad decisions
  • A broken heart
  • Being betrayed or betraying others
  • Feeling you are not living the life you deserve
  • Feeling hopelessness and/or helplessness

Regardless if you continue to allow these feelings to hold you back, you will never live the life you were meant to live.

The Fragility of Trust

Trust is indeed delicate, because you relay the most vulnerable and most hidden of yourself to them. And perhaps deep inside, you have wanted someone who chose, honors and cherishes you…accepts your strengths and weakness and will be there for you thick and then. However, if anyone of these is tarnished, well….it’s devastating and in some ways embarrassing and violating.

My Recovery Journey Prt 1

Recovery for me has been rather difficult for me. One, I am juggling work and school and two, my family has been hard me for why I haven’t been recovering “fast” enough. I am kinda frustrated because my recovery is more for me, than for them. I mean I feel like I shouldn’t be working and going to school and work. I haven’t been giving as much as attention to my recovery as I would like to. It’s like you spraining your ankle in a soccer match and yet you are still playing the game, even if you iced and took Advil. And throughout the match you are still in pain. Your healing becomes further delayed. Anyways, my family are always on me like, “Why are you so anxious?” And I tell’em it’s because of the school, hoping I’d make into my credential program, just typical life situations. I don’t think I’m anxious due to my medication or my anxiety. I am anxious, because I am looking forward to my dreams, my future, and being centered in myself… I am so excited! Then….maybe even if I am anxious because say for instance,I am afraid of failing my classes, those feelings are normal. That was what I’ve learned in therapy, that these feeling of anxiety whether they be good or bad are normal, that I should accept them and know how to deal with them.

For once, I am doing something for myself. And I owe it to my former younger self to seek help and overcome my mental illnesses.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my family and I know my family loves me and has good intentions. However, this is my personal journey….

What Is Recovery Anyway?

So what do you think recovery is? What do you think it should be? What do you think it should accomplish? How long should it last? Well before we answer those questions let’s know what recovery is.

According to dictionary.com, the term “recovery” has 12 meanings, but let me just take the 4 that actually relate with mental health recovery:

  1. An act of recovering.
  2. The regaining something lost or taken away.
  3. Restoration or return to health from sickness.
  4. Time required for recovering.

Now, according to the MHR.com, the term “mental health recovery” is:

“A deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying hopeful, and contributing life even when limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophe effects of mental illness.”

However even within the term, “mental health recovery”, there are two categories of it: personal recovery and clinical recovery.

Clinical Recovery

An idea that has emerged from the expertise of mental health professionals, and involves getting rid of symptoms, restoring social functioning, and in other ways ‘getting back to normal.’

Personal Recovery

…A deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.

Personal recovery is more of what I am working on. Since I was a child, I knew something was wrong with me. I had to be on top of it. I saw it was affecting me emotionally, mentally, socially, and academically. It has been 22 years in the making. So my goal has been to better manage my anxiety and depression. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.  Plus, I think it’s just more attainable and doable, than making them “go away.”  By sticking to this goal, it has instilled—as the definition of personal recovery mentions— hope, new meaning, and purpose in my life. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a bit nerve wrecking seeking this new life within me. But all I can do is trust myself and know that deep down I know what I’m doing. And my family expects me to have undergone–to what little they know is called—“clinical recovery”.

Though now I think about it… I  can see why. See, according to the article, “Moving Beyond Clinical Recovery AND Personal Recovery: Reclaiming the Possibility of Full Recovery” from the “Recovery from “Schizophrenia” and other “Psychotic Disorders website, mental health services to at first try to meet the objectives of clinical recovery, but then eventually move on to personal recovery. And during most of my therapy sessions, I underwent various treatments such as “play therapy”,
“exposure therapy” and “complementary therapy”, but eventually my therapist focused on what I wanted to achieve—which really was the first thing he asked me in my very first session. My helping me figure out what my goal(s) was made it easier to help me overcome the “treacherous trials” of what is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

I don’t expect my mental illnesses to go away right on its, but I just wanna have better control of it. Yeah, I do show some of the symptoms

General Anxiety Disorder

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Persistent worrying or obsession about small or large concerns that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event (esp. with school and work)
  • Inability to relax, restlessness, and feeling keyed up or on the edge.

Depression

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger or irritability (Still working on it)
  • Loss of energy (the medication I’m using prevents me from losing too much energy

But I’m getting better at overcoming them, especially more effective means to deal with them. And exciting! I’ve also learned that not all anxiety is bad, some could be good, like being excited that most of my hardwork has paid off to getting into my credential program!

Look…just as much as people’s characteristics and experiences are different, so will be the goals for their recovery. As the Rethink Mental Illness website states, how you or I or your loved one will recovery are different, because we can recover from let’s say, depression, in various ways. Examples of ways recovery can be achieved include:

  • Taking steps to get closer to where you would like to be—emotionally, spiritually, socially or otherwise
  • Building hope for the future by changing your attitudes, goals, skills or roles.

All in all, recovery is your own personal goal that you strive to work on. Whatever goal you astride to in order to overcome your mental illness(es) is a good one. And oh, yeah… you will come across difficulties or setbacks as you undergo mental health recovery. I mean I have…but what keeps me going is the previous times I have overcome my mental illnesses and I just pick myself up and start all over again.  You’re probably wondering, what’s the point of recovery then, if you’re bound to fail again and again? What’s the point if your symptoms show up yet again? Why bother at all? You’re supposed to be well by now, that’s why you pursued recovery in the first place. But see that’s the thing… these obstacles are part of the recovery. Just as sometimes coming across the blunders of life is part of life.

Whereas mental illness prohibits a person from being able to relate with others and function in everyday events and situations, recovery helps a person regain control these aspects of life, regardless of living with mental health recovery. And no matter times, I’ve stumbled during my recovery, I will never give up… never give up on the pursuit of regaining control of my life!

For Information On Recovery, Depression, and General Anxiety Disorder Click On The Links Below:

The Understanding of Why Some Individuals Refuse To Seek Help

It can be frustrating seeing a loved one not pursue help when dealing with their mental illness(es). You tell them, “Go get help” and they simply refuse.  Well their “no” is not always because of their refusal to seek help:

  • Fear of facing the challenges  of managing mental health symptoms
  • Fear of not being able to speak up on behalf of their mental health
  • Fear of people not understanding their plight
  • Lack of the awareness of local mental health services

The article, “Showing Empathy and Understanding to Those Who Need Help” from the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) website puts you inside your loved one’s mind and understand their apprehension to seek help.

For more information click on the link below:

Showing Empathy and Aiding to Those Who Need Help

How To Support Someone Living with Mental Illness(es)

As a family member, significant other, or friend helping a loved one with mental illness is difficult, because you don’t know how to help them. You can’t see their emotional “wound” the way you can see a physical wound which makes it even more difficult. Some physical pains are already hard to understand, but mental illness….jeez, that’s like whole other level of understanding.

The article, “Supporting Recovery” on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website provides information on how to approach loved ones living with mental illness. Although the message caters to families, friends, significant others, and even co-workers can use this as a guide to know how to relate with them.

For more information click on the link below:

Supporting Recovery