The State of Mental Health in America 2016.

Mental Health America released their findings about the State of Mental Health in the United States.  These findings are for youths and adults.

I live in Georgia, and I’m really glad about the improvements that happened with mental health from last year to this year.  While they still really need a lot of work, there is some progress somewhat being made in some areas.

Anyway, take a look at this guys.

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/sites/default/files/2016%20MH%20in%20America%20FINAL.pdf

An excerpt from an opinion of mine from Facebook.

I haven’t written in awhile, but I wanted to share this excerpt from Facebook that I posted.  I hope you all enjoy.

I’m going to go out on a limb with what I am about to say.

As someone who’s life has been affected with a mental illness, and has made great strides in living with it, I made a huge distinction the other day.

I remember during my worst depression cycle of this year back in April, I remember saying that everyone doesn’t recover from mental illness. Now, I was in a cycle that was like a serious black hole of despair for a good bit. I got fed up, which incidentally that led to the meteoric breakthroughs that lead me to tonight.

I actually am going to now explain what I couldn’t back then. This is something that, perhaps we all know about in one way or another in our lives, but it is something that is a recurring factor with anyone who struggles with mental illness.

It has to do with time. Mental illness impairs one’s ability to think in a myriad of ways. Therefore, it takes time away from someone. Those outbursts, the disorganized speech, those mood swings, that anxiety, they keep a person from producing in the real world, destroying relationships and property in the process.

Then, if things get severe enough, one goes to the hospitals, the prisons and what not. Losing more time because they did something that in the court of public opinion, they are monsters. Then they lose time from being in those facilities, and even more should they get out because the world is DRASTICALLY different to them.

Then comes the part where one has to make sense of all this, which costs them more time because coming back into the real world, they aren’t equipped with the capabilities to even function in this world that has changed so much. Poor comprehension, communication, and less opportunities are available to them. Most are stuck for a long time.

Some, no, most stay stuck. People with serious mental illness die 14 to 32 years younger than the general population. Take a look at what I just wrote again. Don’t you think, that it is a lot of time gone by the impact of mental illness on one’s life? I don’t mean years either. I MEAN DECADES OF A PERSON’S LIFE IS TAKEN AWAY BY MENTAL ILLNESS ON AVERAGE.

That is why it is that serious. Some people really are not strong enough to go through all that and come out stronger than they were before. My favorite author Haruki Murakami said, “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

What I’m saying to you all who read this, is that not everyone is going to come out of that storm stronger. Some just kind of give up in a sense. Some people run from the storm of losing all that time and end up losing even more time. Maybe I got lucky because I never want to settle.

I do realize by writing these words, it sounds like a complete contradiction to what I do every weekday. However, I do believe in these words, because it is someone like me who could write these words and understand the struggles of mental illness from someone who has taken that time.

And, because I understand this, I can maybe work on something to make sure people who suffer don’t lose anymore time, so this world can see a lot more beautiful minds.

I haven’t posted in a long time, but there is something I would like to say.

I haven’t posted anything in a long time, but I want to say this:

I really do not like how anyone with a serious mental illness are being classified as.

The first thing that I learned when I became a CPS is that I am not “bipolar”, I’m Marques Brooks.

You see this not only in the mainstream media, but also you see it in a lot of the popular blogs, and with mental health professionals, doctors, family members….

We are people.  Not labels.

Where the wind flows: A new direction on the horizon?

Well as I said before in my last post, I wanted to try and write more regularly.  I think that in the almost 7 years that I started keeping a personal blog, I think that I have grown to love writing a bit.  As you may know, I actually at one point wanted to become a writer, but that didn’t really come to pass, or maybe not yet?

Let me tell you about the reason that I haven’t been able to write.  It is surprising to say this because, I shifted the focus of this blog to informing folks about mental health issues, all while being a log for me to have an outlet to sound off about them, and maybe other things in my life.  Heck, I even have a job in the field that I am receiving services in….right….about that.

That is what I wanted to air out today in this post.  I have worked for a year this month in the mental health field, while being a mental health patient myself.  I even started full time this past summer, and that is when the troubles started.

If you remember a post I posted back then, when I started full time work, I had a lot of issues with things then, and it caused me to go into near crisis state of depression, and I started to isolate (more on this word later).  As the months went by, I did what I could, but something still wasn’t right.  And then there was this past January, when I went to the TEDxAugusta conference here in my town.

I looked at all of the speakers, and they were so passionate about what they were proposing to all of us in the audience. I completely felt really excited about just networking, and talking to other people who were as passionate about just improving themselves.  Then, two weeks later, I rented a car, and went to Macon and WHAM! Training, and again, I was in a situation where everyone was completely into absorbing all of the information they could to apply it in their lives, and in their respective agencies.  After that, I went and visited people.

Then, I came back to work.  Do not get me wrong when I say what I’m about to say.  I am extremely grateful, and thankful that I have a stable job, and I do work really hard.  However, picture yourself with a serious mental illness, which, while it has a good remission period, you will always have symptoms.  You work in a place where you are always having to talk about your past, to people, who also have serious mental illnesses, and you have to teach them how to get to an elevated state of recovery.

One of the things that I have never liked to this day is to be consistently be reminded of my past.  As a matter of fact, if something happened in my past and I haven’t dealt with it, I try and deal with it to the point, and learn what I can from it.  I’ve done this for years, and it has helped me to get through a lot of things.  However, I lost that when I was going to through my worst years when I was in my mid 20s.

And that is the reason why I will have to eventually leave the mental health field as a profession.  It melds together in two ways.  The first, is that there is this impression that you always have to be this model of “recovery”, all of the time.  That, in and of itself, means that you have to be on a pedestal, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’ve come to find over these years that I really don’t like the spotlight anymore, and that being put on this “pedestal” of modeling recovery, I can’t live at all.  I guess I feel like this because, I’m lucky in a sense when it comes to my recovery.  I have always had a good support system around me.  My mom worked in the field for 10+ years, and I have had a lot of support in my community, and I lucked out on who my gives me services during me increasing my state of recovery.  In that sense, I do not relate to the majority of the people I serve, at all.  In contrast, a lot of them come from worse environments than I came from, and a lot of them didn’t get a lot of the chances that I got, or, if they did, they did not take advantage of them like I did.

The second is that, I think it is in these past 3 months, that I have honestly thought about what I see as a patient and a provider.  I do try my best here, and I think for me, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to commit to it, and try and improve it the best I can.  There are too many egos, grandstanding, unaware, and uncaring people in this industry.  While I got lucky and got people who do care about where I’m going and want me to reach greater heights, there are too many that do not get access to quality folks like that.  And perhaps it isn’t just on them.  The reality of it is, that it goes both ways from what I’ve seen.  The people with the illness have essentially given up, and since it was easy to just give up, they did that.  Because it was easy, they want more easy things.  So they manipulate, they lie, they cheat, putting themselves into worse situations than before.

At one point I was like this too.  But I wanted more.  I’ve always wanted more.  I’ve been reading a book from Dr. Carol Dweck called, “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success”.  It helped me to remember things that I lost.  I remember when I learned how to play percussion instruments, I worked and worked at it.  When I learned fighters, I worked.  It helped me to learn to enjoy the challenge more.  I use the word “yet” a lot now, because I’m never where I want to be yet, and there are new challenges to be faced.

It is because of this that I can tolerate what I do, and it is because of this that I will change professions.  One thing I learned is to really stay true to myself.  I can’t be somewhere where I have to be reminded of my past all the time.  And I don’t want to be around anyone who don’t want to work to move forward around their pasts.  Also, I can’t work on my current biggest flaw, which is my isolation issues.  I want to actively work on this in earnest.  Perhaps it will enhance my view on this job, perhaps not.  But, I want to really be able to open up and share my feelings with a few people.  I don’t want to hold things in, or shut myself out while trying to figure out things myself.  I learned that, from going out and doing things, is very important to me, and I think that this job hiders me from doing this.  I go home and I sleep for 12 hours because I’m so physically and emotionally drained from this work.  I’m 30 years old.  That is not supposed to be at the prime of my life.

So there is where I am.  I need to write this because I didn’t want to hold back anymore.  I can’t express my feelings verbally yet, but I am working on it.  This is the only way I can really do that, and that is getting harder because since my phone got stolen, I can’t find my back up codes to disable my authentication stuff.  But, I will say this, I am formulating a plan that will get me to a place where I can do some good work, do what I want for mental health (which is really blogging about the main issues), and have the freedom of living I want to have.  But yeah, this is 7 months of frustration that I wrote about here, and I’m glad I did.

There is still ignorance, maybe there will always be ignorance.

http://http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/01/30/fox-host-tells-caller-her-bipolar-disorder-is-m/202349

This is a host on Fox News responding to a call from a woman that is suffering from bipolar disorder.

I want you guys to listen to this.  This type of ignorance is still very prevalent when it comes to mental health today.

If you can, spread this.  Educate yourself about your mental health diagnoses or your close one’s struggles.  The main reason I wanted to post this, is because to beat ignorance, we need facts.  From those facts, we can see what the impact of mental health is doing in a more objective way, and perhaps we can find more solutions to getting people who have diagnoses into more positive situations so that they can function and flourish in society

In extraordinary ways being “mentally ill” is about being poor and right now that is a dangerous thing to be

I was on one of the Certified Peer Specialist groups and I saw this post.
Give it a look.

Hopeworks Community

In extraordinary ways being “mentally ill” in America is as much about being poor as anything else. And right now in America there are few more dangerous things to be. It is not true in every case. It is not true even in a lot of cases. But to an extraordinary extent it is true. And that truth is a mark of shame on all of us.

If you are diagnosed with a psychiatric diagnosis you are disproportionately likely to be unemployed, disproportionately likely to be chronically unemployed, disproportionately likely to be homeless, disproportionately likely to have no health insurance, disproportionately likely to not have adequate medical care, disproportionately likely to have a criminal record, disproportionately likely to have a substance abuse problem, disproportionately likely to be a victim of violence or abuse and finally disproportionately likely not to live as long as someone without a psychiatric diagnosis.

A few…

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The somewhat late, but insightful recap of my 2014.

You know, I meant to do this all the way back on New Year’s Eve, but because of work, I got derailed until today.

Anyway, comparing the beginning of this year to the beginning of last year, it is still kind of shocking.

Let’s recap a bit.

This time last year, I was starting counseling and learning how to come to terms with being someone who suffers from bipolar disorder. It plagued me coming from the end of last year to no end. As a matter of fact, this actually triggered many episodes with the majority of them being severely depressive ones. Like, thinking back on those days, I want to say that there was something, albeit miniscule at this time, that there has to be more to life than the one I was living. You see, I would just do the same things on most weeks. Take medicine, have an adventure or two in the downtown area, go fulfill my obligations during the week, and maybe go to a tournament or two. Even though it could have been better, technically I was living super comfortably.

However, I knew I wasn’t really happy, so to counseling I went. Somehow, I got through a lot of the issues and difficulties of the past. Though that month of February, progress kept getting better. I had a severe depressive episode in the beginning of March. I think that back then when I had this episode, it was like the first time that I was completely aware that I felt like I was not good enough to do anything. Somehow, I recovered enough. Then that week after, I get hired on at where I work at now at this day treatment facility for mental health patients.

Well, then I get through trainings and not being able to celebrate my birthday because of said trainings, but that was okay. However, socially, I started to feel like how I did back in the beginning of March. I started to feel like I really wasn’t enough even though I had a decent job, above average looks, and a good upside and head on my shoulders. When August rolled around and I started full-time hours, it was associated with a crisis at work (what a way to start full-time work). I guess after all that was with that crisis, I went and hung out with people, and I knew, that there were some people who I had to really let go of, or if not let go of, at least distance myself from them. So over that fall, I kind of succeeded. I think that as I went to these months of fall, and as I went through them, I started to feel that little miniscule feeling in the beginning of the year start to grow. As that grew, my decision-making got better, I became a bit more disciplined, and also got a lot better hold on my illness.

So now, let us fast forward to today. I’m sitting here established at my job, and I have an amazing future ahead. I want to talk about what I am going to work on as I move forward through this year.

The first thing, is that now that I am more established and better at dealing with the stressors of my illness, I want to invest in me. When you are active in symptoms in any mental health diagnosis, you lose time. While I can’t get that time back, I can make the time I have now count. That is why, I’m headed to the Tedx event in my city in a few weeks. Also, I enrolled in a course that will enhance my capabilities during the various cycles I face. This way, I won’t be completely helpless when I am experiencing a hypomanic or a major depressive cycle. This will increase my capabilities and also, get me more into what is going on with this city.

Also, I’m gonna try to compete a little more often, but first I have to get back into playing shape. So, I’ve been playing online a lot more. It is a struggle, but I think in the long run, this will benefit by learning how to be disciplined. Something I lack a bit.

Also, I’m learning how to just enjoy the moments. I think a lot of last year, I wasn’t really appreciative or thankful for the moments that I got to experience in the year that passed. I think that it is important that I don’t get caught up in how I feel, and romanticize or get caught up in grandiose thoughts in my head. It’s more important to just experience them in person. That is the way bonds are formed, through those experiences. I have shied away from those, and a lot of them for good reason. But now, I think I have the objectivity to discern between what is a good and bad situation to be in.

And finally, this has been a year of transformation for me. I have changed immensely from the struggling person I was, to a confident member of society. This journey I went on is one that I truly appreciate big time. There is something that I want to leave you with that read this blog. Something that I heard today that really hit home is this:

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Look out for more content from me sporadically! I’ll TRY to write in here more often. Anyway, take care!