Tag Archives: 30 days of mental illness awareness challenge

Day 30: What does recovery mean to you?

13 Jul

I’d agree!

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 30 Recovery!

20 Jun

What does recovery mean to me?

Marci, Mental Health, & More

MIA challenge

Day 30: What does recovery mean to you?

This is a loaded question with a lot of people.  I just read an article in the NAMI Advocate about the medical model of recovery and the recovery model of recovery.  Essentially the medical model defines recovery as curing or reducing symptoms where the recovery model focuses on improving health and wellness.  My opinion is that both need to be integrated.  Specific to my mental illnesses (schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder) I need reduced symptoms to help improve health and wellness.  Without therapy, counseling, and medication I could not do the things that keep me well like school for structure and accountability, socializing for support, distraction, and fun, and just maintaining a somewhat normal life.

With voices, suicidal thoughts, self harm scars to hide and be ashamed of, no energy, emptiness, no motivation, and mistrust (all symptoms of the two disorders)…

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It’s been a good day.

3 Oct

Today has been a good day and I am catching up on my blogging, responding to prompts, awards, and comments.  Hey if I have the energy I may even add a few of the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge (30MIAC) Round up posts.  I’m kind of ashamed that it’s been a year since I started that and I still have only done a little over half the round up posts.  I guess that’s what happens when you struggle with chronic mental illness and chronic procrastination.  A little more about the 30MIAC to my new readers.  This upcoming week the 5th-12th is Mental Illness Awareness week and I made up a list of 30 questions to raise awareness about all different types of mental illnesses.  On the master list page you can see the prompts and if you click each prompt you can see my response.  On the Results/Round Up page I have gotten through day 17 of linking people who participate in the challenge so you can see their responses and I have a lot of different perspectives with PTSD, BPD, depression, bipolar, dissociation, anxiety disorders and more.  The challenge does not have an open or close date and you do not need to participate in all the prompts.  Some people answer multiple prompts at once, some do one a day for 30 days straight, it’s just meant to raise awareness and make you think so you can participate in it any way you want.  You can do it if you yourself have a mental health condition, work in the field, or have a friend or loved one who has it or are just interested in telling your opinion on mental health, like the nature vs nurture debate (question 5).  I still have new people, one just joined the other day to add to the already 17 round up days and obviously need to finish the last 13, maybe that will be my goal for this month.  So if you are new and interested or found this blog because of it’s mental health focus check out the links above.

Today I finally went and had my transcripts evaluated for the community college I am going to that has the AA program in LGBT Studies, turns out I only need 3 classes to complete an AA in LGBT Studies and that is exciting.  Especially since I have been limited to how many classes I can take at a time because of my functionality and mental illnesses.  The one thing that bothered me was she (the academic counselor) kept asking me what I planned to do with the degree or if I’d considered linguistics (because of my multiple languages) and she kept asking even after I gave vague answers saying I had psychiatric issues that limited what I could do.  I find one of the hardest things to do is when people ask me what I’m doing with my life, or what I’m going to school for, what I plan on using my degree for, etc…  I’m not like the typical person and it’s partly embarrassment and partly they don’t need to know my business.  But for those who are really interested I could see myself possible teaching Math at the community college level part time.  That would require me getting a masters degree though and I know that’s not possible right now.  Since I have unit-ed out at the closer colleges I am thinking about taking some math classes there also in case it pans out and I can work to a BA and then MA in Math which is what I would need to teach at the community college level, at least in California.

I’ve taken the re-blog I posted yesterday on things to do for your mental health and started working on it.  My plan is at the end of the month to show which days I accomplished what.  I am thinking about doing a weekly update.  Which would be: a picture of the challenge with the one’s I’ve marked off and how I managed to do it or why I chose that challenge item for the day.  What do my fellow bloggers think?

It’s been a good day.

 

30 MIAC: Day 18 Round Up/Results

7 Mar

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my eighteenth prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

MIA challenge

Day 18:  What do you wish people would understand in regards to mental illness and/or mental health?

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was, Addy who .states “mental illness does not define who a person is, they are so much more than the labels that have been applied to them.”

From Remember to Breathe, Lauren makes a list of things she wish people would understand including: “My parents aren’t responsible for my OCD, I’m an adult with feelings – treat me with respect, and Just because I have OCD doesn’t mean that I wash my hands 100x per day”  Which all battle common stereotypes of mental illness and OCD also.

And my answers which I say “that doesn’t mean I fit into a typical or predetermined box of what my mental illnesses should look like.  Or even what mental illness in general should look like.  Get to know me as a person and as you do, you will see how my mental illnesses manifest in me”

From Second Chances, Christine writes “It would be much better if people understood that the mentally ill can often (and do often) function just fine in society and you wouldn’t ever know they were sick unless you were told.” that mental illness can be successfully treated and those with it are often quite productive.

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder says .people are not possessed by an evil spirit, everyone isn’t a bit bipolar, she also explains some common misconceptions associated with specific illnesses such as “All Borderline’s are not obsessive stalkers (Fatal Attraction)”

From That’s Crazy who focuses on what she wishes the Canadian government would understand opening up with: “Dear Canadian Government: I wish you wouldn’t call me “Permanently Mentally Disabled”. I don’t think you realize how damning these words can be for someone with a mental illness.”

From Pride in Madness who wishes people wouldn’t make such a big deal about mental illness, not that it’s not important, just that people wouldn’t treat you different for it.

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also A Life of Madness who answered prompts 10-21 in a comprehensive post, she includes photos and has bipolar disorder.

30 MIAC: Day 17 Round Up Results

2 Mar

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my seventeenth prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 17: If you could get rid of your mental illness(es) would you?  Why or why not?

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was, Addy who explains that he would get rid of the social anxiety and PTSD, but the bipolar “Regardless of the pain, devastation, confusion and chaos that bipolar has inflicted on my life, it is still a part of who I am, and I part of it. We are one, my bipolar and I. Removing it would be like removing my eyes, my hands, my fingers or toes. It would be like erasing memories from my mind, eradicating my passions or expunging my innate playful kinkiness. I would still be breathing, still be walking and roaming the earth a living human being, but I wouldn’t be me.” It is common to wish some illnesses or symptoms away but others seeing as a part of who you are.

From Remember to Breathe, Lauren says “I think it’s one of those bittersweet situations. I love some of the characteristics of my OCD, but I hate others. But I think it’s possible to be rid of the anxiety and fear, but keep the good aspects. And that’s what I’m working on.”

And my answers which I say “I guess I would say that I would like to get rid of certain symptoms for sure, not sure how I would feel about never having the illnesses in the first place or just being magically “cured” now.” It’s again a representation of the mixed feeling of it being so much a part of who I am and made me who I am today but also the negative impact.

From Second Chances, Christine writes “I would ABSOLUTELY get rid of feeling depressed and anxious and make it so I would be able to stop taking anti-depressants in a heartbeat.”

From Fashion Anxious who says “In short my answer is Yes. In a heartbeat, without a second thought.”

From Beyond Normal who eloquently states: “To give a concrete answer, if I could get rid of my illness, I would. But then again, I cannot. I just have to make the best out of it.”

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder says “Of course I would. My condition, as I prefer to call it, has affected every single aspect of my life and it has always disrupted it.” she goes on to say that the empathetic and hyper sensitivity many experience with Borderline Personality Disorder as being too much for her and often being a trigger.

From That’s Crazy who appropriately titles this post “Oh is it ever complicated” and states “Without battling Depression and Anxiety I would be missing my personal sense of strength, my extreme introspective abilities, and my pure compassion for others. As I have come to realize that these are some of my greatest strengths, I have to succumb to answer I would rather not admit: no, I would not get rid of my mental illnesses.”

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also A Life of Madness who answered prompts 10-21 in a comprehensive post, she includes photos and has bipolar disorder.

Also from Surviving by Living who has conversion disorder and depression and answered prompts 15-18 in one comprehensive post.

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 30 Recovery!

25 Feb

MIA challenge

Day 30: What does recovery mean to you?

This is a loaded question with a lot of people.  I just read an article in the NAMI Advocate about the medical model of recovery and the recovery model of recovery.  Essentially the medical model defines recovery as curing or reducing symptoms where the recovery model focuses on improving health and wellness.  My opinion is that both need to be integrated.  Specific to my mental illnesses (schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder) I need reduced symptoms to help improve health and wellness.  Without therapy, counseling, and medication I could not do the things that keep me well like school for structure and accountability, socializing for support, distraction, and fun, and just maintaining a somewhat normal life.

With voices, suicidal thoughts, self harm scars to hide and be ashamed of, no energy, emptiness, no motivation, and mistrust (all symptoms of the two disorders) it is impossible to live a recovered happy life.  Will all my symptoms ever go away, will I ever be cured? Probably not.  But I know I have lived periods of my life where my symptoms were so out of control I had no quality of life.  I couldn’t attend school or work or any structured activity.  I wasn’t stable.  All I thought about was suicide and was constantly self harming.  Life was pointless and empty and I was not going to engage with it.

Luckily I’m not there anymore and I know I will still have my days .

I have written a post about a year ago on Recovery and how do you know what it is.  I have been ill most all my life and most people think of recovery as “before;” before the illness, before the drinking, before the impairment- how you functioned, felt, thought before whatever it is that has you off kilter.  There is no “before” for me, which in a way is nice because there is nothing to be expected but in the same way it’s a little fearful because I don’t know what a recovered life will look for like me.

There is also a post on Recovery and what it means to me in terms of my Borderline Personality Disorder it was written based on an article in a NAMI newsletter in 2012.

For me recovery is:  Me being able to function consistently.  Being able to maintain a regular schedule with personal fulfillment whether through employment, volunteering, or education.  Have socially supportive relationships and be able to reciprocate. Having fun!  Feeling like I have some purpose to my life, and putting to use my past to help others.  Being in a romantic relationship.  Having a pet kid and maybe helping raise a real child whether through family or foster/adoption.  Being able to accept the bad days, the symptoms, the illness and know that it will come and go and I can always come back to recovery. Recovery will be a process not a destination.

Wise words from a fellow blogger

Because recovery does not mean that you will never become unwell. Recovery means you are better prepared for life, more able to cope with it’s ups and downs. Recovery means an understanding of what it is to fall… And what it is to fight your way back up.

I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses.  My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts.  You can also start at anytime.  I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness. The master list of prompts is here.

30 Days MIAC Day 16: Round Up/Results

22 Feb

MIA challenge

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my sixteenth prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 16: How many people are you “out” to with your mental illness(es)? Why?

From Pieces of Me, Gypsy who says she is out to just about everyone who knows her. “I dont think that mental health issues are something that anyone should be ashamed of, and the more suffers are open and talk about it, the better”  She does mention that people are uncomfortable talking about it.

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was, Addy who proudly states “The answer is: everyone! and says he shouldn’t have to hide who he is.

From Remember to Breathe, Lauren talks about coming out to just about everyone only 4 months after her diagnosis and the surprise at the support she has received and proving the not “typical” mentally ill stereotypes.

And my answers which talk about a lack of other people knowing because of shame and trust issues.  “The reason not many people know is because I don’t know a lot of people and that I feel ashamed or like I will be judged if people know my mental illnesses.  Most the people who know only know because I couldn’t hide it from them.  Only the first 3 know everything because I trust them and have told them.  Yeah, I also don’t trust people either so that’s another reason why.”

From Second Chances, Catherine writes about the fear of coming out after a group member “She mentioned wanting me to write about ‘Coming out as a professional in the working world’ and attaching my name to it, if I felt comfortable and I froze.”  She is now out to everyone and doesn’t feel shame.

From Fashion Anxious who talks about not many knowing about her battle with anxiety and bot wanting to be labeled.

From Beyond Normal who responds simply “Basically everyone who cares enough to ask. Or not ask. Doesn’t matter. I don’t like keeping secrets.”

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder represents the common experience of some people being supportive and others running away.

From That’s Crazy who offers a great guideline for coming out: “It took a long time dealing with my illness, and developing a good sense of self before before making this decision. But now it is out and I hope others will join me when it is appropriate for them.”

From Sassy Cat who says she is out to immediate family including her mother, children, and husband.  The reason she is not out to the public is due to fear.

From Confessions of a Crafty Sinner who says she is out to the majority of family and co-workers adding “At first I was ashamed of my diagnosis, now I feel that by sharing my diagnosis and talking to others about my experience I could possibly help someone who is going through the same thing.”

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also A Life of Madness who answered prompts 10-21 in a comprehensive post, she includes photos and has bipolar disorder.

Also from Surviving by Living who has conversion disorder and depression and answered prompts 15-18 in one comprehensive post.

30MIAC Day 15: Round Up/Results

28 Jan

For the Zero to Hero Challenge day 23 is about publishing a round up. I will be publishing a round up of people who have participated in my 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge.  Feel free to join the challenge at any time or check out the bloggers below who have participated in prompts.

MIA challenge

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my fifteenth prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 15: How has your life been effected by your illness(es)? (Some ideas are: relationships, career, school)

From Pieces of Me, Gypsy says: “I could sit here and imagine that if my life werent affected by mental illness, that I may have went to college, or maybe Id have some big career, shit maybe Id be singing in a band like Ive always dreamed of.  I dont see the point in that, other than to make me hate myself.”  Which is a very good point, sometimes when the effects have been nagative it doesn’t help to think what could have been.

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was, Addy breaks the prompt down into three diagnoses: Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, and Social Anxiety.  He mentions Bipolar being the “big illness” but probably having the least impact on his life.  He talks about PTSD and the traumatic experiences feed into his anxiety making it even worse.  He then talks about the Social Anxiety which has been catastrophic in his life impacting everything from commenting on blogs to forming social relationships.

From Remember to Breathe which talks about how her OCD has effected every area of her life and now realizing that and building it back up.

And my answers which break into life events that are effected: relationships with peers/social life, relationships with family, relationships with co-workers, career/job, school and day to day life.  I try to include some positives and negatives, example “When I am depressed I don’t want to be around anyone and frankly most people probably wouldn’t want to be around me.  I have social anxiety plus fears of rejection/abandonment that make it real hard to make new friendships and socialize.  I’m also super shy and tend to be embarrassed easily which isn’t good for social situations.  However, the friends that I do have are the greatest people in the world.  They understand that sometimes I can’t be at events and they don’t let me fall off the face of the planet (though I’d like to some times.)  They are sympathetic and some are not uncomfortable talking about how life really is for me.”

From Second Chances who talks about how her life has been influenced now that she is aware of her anxiety and depression, for example knowing not to trust that racing heart and to try and calm herself.  Also about developing stubborness and resilience to fight the mental illness.

From Fashion Anxious who talks about how her anxiety started really effecting her when she started looking for work and working, and gives examples such as telling trainers  ‘an upset stomach’, in order to go home early because of anxiety.

From Beyond Normal “A great teacher once said that bipolar is like diabetes. It affects everything. So if you are an expert on diabetes, then you would understand the human anatomy. When you understand bipolar, then you would understand basically everything about the human mind. The point I’m trying to get across is this: Having bipolar or maybe even any other mental illness, affects every single thing in your life. It affects your physical appearance, perception, relationships, education, memory, and other people too. ”  She goes on to explain each category like impulsively cutting her hair influencing her appearance and nearly not graduating high school which would fall under education.

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder which talks about negative impacts on jobs, relationships, and friends.  About jumping from one thing to another.  Regrets about not being married or having many social friendships.

From That’s Crazy who talks about living with Depression and Anxiety for most of her life so they often have a front seat, although with time their influence has been smaller.

From Battling The Demons Within which talks about how right now her illness is her life, not being dependable enough to work or go to school because of inpatient stays but states at the end that “Eventually, once I get more stable, I will consider looking for a relationship, but now just isn’t the time for that, in my opinion.”

From Confessions of a Crafty Sinner who talks about her relationships being effected and her mindset whether through accepting things she normally wouldn’t or doubting and thinking the worse.

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also from Surviving by Living who has conversion disorder and depression and answered prompts 15-18 in one comprehensive post.

Also A Life of Madness who answered prompts 10-21 in a comprehensive post, she includes photos and has bipolar disorder.

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 29 Goals

28 Jan

Day 22 of the Zero to Hero Challenge… is to participate in another blogging event.  I started hosting this blog challenge/event in October of 2013 but because of symptoms still haven’t finished it.  Here is the information on it:

I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses.  My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts.  I will do a post within about 3 days of the prompt and my response to link to people who participate, please pingback/link to this post or tag 30MIAC.  If you chose to do the prompts later, don’t find the challenge till later, or life happens and you don’t get a prompt answered within the 3 days no worries, if you pingback to this post I will add you to the post that has the links to that prompt.  I will be starting to post my responses to the prompts in October, I am just posting this now so people can brainstorm and spread the word.  You can also start at anytime.  I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness. The master list of prompts is here.   Here is the image to go with the challenge:

MIA challenge

Day 29: What are a few of your goals regarding your mental health.

  • Become more independent (long term), moving out to family friend’s house (shorter term).
  • To stop self harming (currently at 14 months) and develop and constantly employ healthier coping skills.
  • Less relapses and less acute episodes.  Especially regarding depression and psychosis.
  • A better stable base state, that lasts longer.
  • Supportive relationships, mostly in friendships.
  • Working on intimacy issues, online dating (short term).
  • Be physically healthier, more balanced diet and some exercise.  Yes, physical health does impact mental health.

Let’s be a little positive

24 Jan

Things are still rough but here are some positives out of this last chaotic week:

  • I got a lot of chance to work on my SMASH journal and as soon as I upload the pics, I will post them here.  Doing crafts/journaling/scrapbooking is generally fun and I feel productive after it.
  • I went to my DSPS appointment to get my disability accommodations for school, the reason it is a positive is I was having an unmotivated depressed kind of day and was thinking of blowing it off as really the only accommodation I need is ability to make up exams in case of hospitalization.  And that doesn’t happen every semester.
  • I mentioned spending a bunch of money, but some of it was well spent, I got a new Lego modular set which will occupy me for a few weeks once I start it.  And I am trying to justify it as a reward for 14 months of no self harming.
  • I’ve decided what to do for my first vlog.  It will be about crazy vs normal, and symptoms coming out next Tuesday or Thursday.
  • I will be catching up with the Zero to Hero challenge which includes posting a round up and participating in a blog challenge. And since I already have my 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge (which unfortunately isn’t listed on the blog events page anymore), I will do that.