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

Facing the words of the past.

In episode 12 of my old blog, I put the following quote inside of the entry from Bruce Barton:

Great men suffer hours of depression through introspection and self-doubt. That is why they are great. That is why you will find modesty and humility the characteristics of such men.

Back then I did not know what it meant. I was two months away from being 24 years old. I think the best way to think of it is that I was way too lost and blinded by the symptoms of my mental illness to actually be able to really think clearly. But, it’s hard to explain. I felt like that someday, even though I was the severity of my symptoms affected me severely, and there was not people in my life that understood what I needed at that time, I felt like that one day, that this quote would be important someday.

For the past several hours, I’ve been here reading every word of my old blog and writing down the words that speak to me now. I’ve done this for two reasons. The first is that I’m going to take some of the things that I’ve said in this blog, and make it into a session for those individuals that I serve. The second, is for me, and you, and everyone who reads this entry. This is the dream that is my recovery, and the best way I can contribute to this special day of Suicide Prevention.

I think that all of the key things that happened to me are when I was 25. I think that in this year, I was probably at the peak of my symptoms. I probably felt the very lowest of myself then. I had suicidal ideations but no real attempts at that time. I think that I got into crisis states of symptoms very often. I was reckless, wasteful, and I guess back then I really wanted to die badly. I read an entry from September 2009 that was the crux of the beginning of my actually journey in living in recovery.

I think reading through all of those entries, I felt like that even though I was a good person for the most part back then. I felt like I had to lie all of the time…to protect myself, or rather, them from me. I felt like no one back them really knew how to deal with me from that standpoint of my symptoms. Also, I didn’t know how to deal with me.

As I look through the entries and up to the final entry to the that blog, I was surprised to see that there were 60% more positive entries than negative ones. As a matter of fact, I actually wrote about what those entries did for me in a semi-blinded light in September of 2011. I think that since then, now having a job that allows me to pool my experiences from those years, and use them to save lives, is the end result of all the struggles I’ve come from.

I want to go back to the quote above now from Bruce Barton. Even now, I will suffer from depression as I have been diagnosed with a disorder that I can’t control when the cycles are. The best I can really do is to identify what cycle is coming and to reduce the frequency of the symptoms. Back in my past entries, there was a lot of confusion in my words, and that confusion led me to panic. The panic I felt made me think about death a lot. That panic made me do horrible things on occasion just like anyone else with a diagnosis. However, this panic was caused by not knowing my illness. By not knowing the nuances, and the knowledge that bipolar type 2 has periods where you feel like you are “normal”.

Even then, I get depressed more than I get mania. Then, I think, and I get frightened, and I feel like I can’t do anything, even to this day. And I think it’s because of this very thing, that I feel like I’m humble. Yes, I will live in recovery for life, and I’ll have these symptoms for as long as I live. But I think it’s because of my symptoms that on this day, I won’t take my life for granted, and I am humbled at the fact that people see a human being beyond the diagnosis. That’s what that quote means to me.

On this day, where suicide awareness is put on the map, I want you all to take a look at the things that aren’t said. Take a look at that eye that looks like it is infinitely sad…that slight tremor when you touch someone’s hand. Also, take a look at those who say all too much, but never the right thing. Perhaps just asking one piercing, sincere question, one open heart, or one clear ear could be the difference in breaking someone’s world, or saving it.

I’m going to save a lot of people eventually because of the struggles that I faced today. It was probably the toughest thing in the world to go back and face those words of a me that was lost. To cut through the fluff and to see what is really going on. However, I am thankful for those words that I wrote in that blog, and I will continue to be thankful. I truly believe that it was those words, back in April of 2008, that shaped me into the person I am today, and I’m not just another statistic.

Beyond The Hope. Beyond The Freedom.

The words hope and freedom have a lot of meaning in my life. I’ve gone throughout the years searching for these and their meaning to me in my life. As I go to deeper depths in battling my perfectionistic ways, I sit here now typing, ready to challenge these words as they have applied and do apply to my life in this moment.

Let’s tackle the latter first. When I think back to my childhood and through my adolescent years, I feel like I had a ton more freedom. Even after I was diagnosed, I still had quite a good bit of freedom. I didn’t take advantage of it in a negative, or positive ways. That’s to be expected just because if the sheer notion that I was (and, for all intensive purposes, still am) young. If I were to be a bit more descriptive about those years, even despite what happened to me to shape my endeavors whilst in those years, I would say think of a scale with no weight on it. On most days, I was okay with being average. The reasoning for that is that if I didn’t get too high, then I could sort of “deal” with the lows. Again, I was young during this time, and the thing about it was that it was a failing strategy back then.

Even today, I do have quite a good bit of freedom granted to me.  I would like to think that I’m a lot smarter than I was in my childhood (perhaps not by a lot).  Last year, I was just glad to finally get into a stabilized situation in my life.  In a sense, I don’t think I’ve had more stability at any point in my life than I have right now.  This brought a new found appreciation in having this sort of “complete freedom” that I had.  As you may have seen, I have been in constant limbo on if this is enough.  In my heart, I don’t think it is enough to just have appreciation for whatever freedoms are granted to me anymore.  The thing about it is, I always felt a huge sense of guilt when I talked about freedom at all.  This also goes for in my blog.  I know that somewhere, something, or someone had to sacrifice for my freedom.  It could be as close as my family or friends.  I can also be as far as those around the world fighting for their freedom.  Maybe I have become more aware that not everyone is afforded freedoms that I have, and that, perhaps in the past, it is my fault somehow (not so much on the worldly scale).

I did not really believe in the world hope for an extremely long time.  As someone who has an illness that at any given moment can make it seem like that there is no hope, it is a really difficult concept to grasp.  To believe there is an outcome that is in your favor all of the time is a draining concept to the mind of a manic depressive.  I can probably speculate that anyone that has had a fit of depression has felt this way in their life at some point.  It is really that hard to grasp for someone for a mental illness.

There is however a way that it can happen.  One with a mental illness has to have something so destructive done by their hands, and also a miracle happen.  Please note that is just my belief, and it isn’t because I have had both of these things happen to me.  The thing about is, with how easy for someone with a mental illness to relapse, a lot of the times when they cycle or show symptoms of whatever illness they have, a lot of the time they really are not aware of what they are doing during said cycles.  If something destructive happens to where they are made aware of what happens when their symptoms happen, then they can possibly get that help they need.  From that help, they can get hope that they can turn things around.  There are also moments where because of the illness, unfortunate things can happen to a person just because they really cannot function like a human being.  If you add the amount of abhorrent ignorance there is in the world, it can lead to situations that a miracle would need to happen.  If this miracle happens, I feel like a new appreciation could possibly happen, to enhance their situation, lives, and the lives around them better.  Let us be honest here as this is again, an ideological way to look at building hope, as everyone is different as well as there are more untreated people with a mental illness than are those who are in treatment.

Now I think about hope, and for the longest time I was in limbo about it.  It was a new feeling to me, and it left me asking, “what is next?”  Now, I ask myself, “what is hope if I can’t help others build hope up in themselves, too?”  Considering my position in life, I feel like that it isn’t enough anymore for me to hope.  I want to see if I can build hope in others in some sort of way.  Even with my illness and those days where I will feel utterly hopeless and defeated, I still think that maybe if more people had a little hope in their situations, the world would be overall better.  I feel the same way with freedom.  Maybe in some way, I could help with that too.

I know that the world is cruel.  There is a lot of ignorance, judgment, and an overall lack of objectivity in the majority of the world.  There are injustices, people being hurt and broken every minute perhaps.  I don’t know, I guess where I am right now, is I want to not only enjoy my personal journey through life, but also help people enjoy theirs as well, especially those like me.  A lot of us like me are those geniuses and prodigies that a lot of the world would call weird, crazy, or psycho.  I’ve also have been called these things over my life as well.  And while everyone cannot be saved, I guess maybe with this blog, and hopefully in the future, one person will read these words, or hear me speak, or anything like that, and be better by them.

I’m one person though, one who tries to do too much a lot of the time, who trolls people a good bit (you guys have no idea), and who breaks occasionally for no reason whatsoever.  However, I think I can do something, and that something is better than nothing, right?

The next man up.

The next man up.

Have you ever heard of a novel that got turned into a movie called “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story”?

Well the link above was the author of that novel.  His name is Ned Vizzini, and as of Thursday, he is now passed away via suicide.

He was 32 years old, and suffered with depression throughout his life.  He left a loving family behind, including a wife and son.  He was also an advocate who would speak a lot about mental health.  He would wittingly write about his depression.  Now, I personally did not know about this man until this morning while checking my Associated Press app on my phone.  Now, I can say that I have watched the movie version of his novel, but I have not read the actual novel itself.  Perhaps I will find a copy and read it soon.  However, here are some quotes from him.   See if some of these resonate well within you.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“How can you live without stars? What keeps you from thinking about yourself all the time?” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    The Other Normals

“There’s so much more for me to be doing. I should be a success and I’m not and other people – younger people – are. Younger people than me are on TV and getting paid and winning scholarships and getting their lives in order. I’m still a nobody. When am I going to not be a nobody?” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Personally, these were a few that just stood out to me.  I’m sure that there are some that will stand out to you as well.

If you have been keeping track of the days, you would know that this day is the last day of the Lines Project.  Something that I posted about last Sunday in my blog.  I am dedicating all my lines today to the family of Mr. Vizzini.  There is this thing in sports(which I am an avid sports fan) that they always say when the stars get injured, namely in football.  That saying is “Next Man Up”.  This means when someone goes down, the sub is expected to fill in and things should run the same.  Think about it with this story.  Yes this is the loss of an advocate to the mental health community, as well as a loss to those closest to him even more so.  This could be a way for us to get ther word out there to those ailing to get the proper treatment, so that they will not have to think that suicide is an answer.

I know I can only do so much by writing in this blog, and tayloring it to really be beneficial to anyone who is ailing from mental illnesses like I am.  I also know that my recovery is also important.  I am generally a young fellow at 29 years old, but even now at that age, I do understand what it means to feel like you’ve destroyed everything and be trapped in a vicious prision in your own mind.  Maybe that gives me an insight into promoting more mental illness awareness all over everywhere when I can.  I do think that eventually my one voice will change something.  Maybe some of you reading this are at an advanced level of your recovery, or know more than I do about mental illness.  Let’s take this man’s death as not one where there is sorrow and mourning of a great and budding young author.  Let’s take it and get to a point where we can save a life, and carry his soul on our backs as we try and get people like me, like others who suffer from any mental illness back to a healthy state.

It is my belief that the individuals who are suffereing right now, maybe some of those who could change this land.  Let’s step up, K?!

RIP Mr. Vizzini.

The Lines Project.

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Starting this Sunday, there is a very unique project called the lines project.

What goes on is if you are depressed, down, ore if you are struggling with self injury, you draw a line a day on your left hand up until that Friday. If you know someone struggling with these issues, you draw a line a day on your right hand.

This is a great way to show support to those many people out there who struggle with depression, and to show that with a little bit of effort, they can be shown positive ways to cope and one day won’t have to feel like that pain is the only relief to their struggle.

Please spread the word!

“The Monster Within.” A post about the importance of International Survivors of Suicide Day.

I remember those days…the days where I would didn’t think there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  There were days where, because I was not treating myself, my needs, and my illness seriously.  As a result, I damaged a lot of lives, and a lot of relationships.  And, as a result of those damage relationships, I felt worse about me.  Damaged, and broken, I turned to the ways where I would try an enter the void that would be the great beyond.

Anyone with a severe mental illness will always have some thoughts of suicide.  Most, will try an attempt the act.  I’m not different.  I’ve tried myself a few times over my life, and I somehow survived.  Maybe, some of those times, I was lucky, and some of those times, I was just being controlled by my illness.  However, I did survive.

Yesterday, for about the span of 6 hours, I felt like I did back when I was at my worst.  I felt like a monster.  I felt like any little thing would trigger me to the point where I could not form up a defense for hours.  Somehow, I got through it because, I know it was in my past.  I’m not that monster anymore, and I am someone who someday hopes to be tool to those people that are like me.  However, still, it’s a struggle since even I, have a mental illness.  Some days, I get just as triggered as anyone else.  I am learning to cope better with being triggered, but I know there are a lot of people out there who are in this struggle with me that will get to a point where they will break, and will attempt to take their life if not taken super seriously.

Just as I write this, I saw a friend of mine, who I saw in my circles last night, post a status on Facebook this morning saying something to this regard.  It’s funny that he picked this day to post something like this.  I feel like, that a lot of people are ignorant to the fact that anyone that has had any traumatic experiences in their lives are succeptable to being depressed/manic/etc. to the point where they will think that they can just get back up and keep moving.  Ideally and optimally, that would be the case, but, as everyone know or should know, not everyone is wired the same way.  People react to things in different ways.  Therefore, it’s hard to know what everyone needs at every given time.  All of us can only do the best we can.

I hope he is reading this, as I sent him an inbox message before I started writing this.  On this day, it is important that we save as many lives from this as possible.  Just from my end of the spectrum in the mental health community in my little town, it is important that we find was to install hope into people.  If the people are into religious beliefs, then perhaps maybe faith and hope(I’m not really religious, so usually my faith is in people).  But we have to find a way to build those that have been broken in the many various ways so that they find life is a beautiful thing and they always can make it more beautiful by just living.  That is a tough task depending on the individual, but days like today make it so where people who have survived their darkness, and even if they haven’t gotten all the way through it, know that there are others who are right there with them.  At the end of this day, they will know that they really aren’t alone, and they are in the loving arms of the milions of people worldwide who have survived attempts at their lives.

As for me, I am at a better place that I have been in all of my life.  There is however one thing that resonates with me, and something that I do want to share with all of those readers today.  It is a poem from the The Blooming Of Madness series.  As I grow in my recovery process, and look to rehabilitate my life so that I can help those with illnesses like I do, I get feelings like I do earlier in this post.  These feelings, I know are holding me back.  On this day, I remember the times where those feelings drove me to near attempts at my own life, and now I am thankful that I survived them.  But here is poem number 37 from The Blooming Of Madness by Christopher Poindexter.   This is something a lot of us in the mental health community should meditate on in my opinion, to be able to say one day, to be able to give their best at all times.

My heart constantly

weighs upon me with the

draining notion that I

am not enough for the

people around me. 

I am terrified that they

will want more than I

could ever imagine

giving them.

This is a current fear of mine, which could end up breaking me again at some point if I don’t take care of it.  But on this day, I think these words would resonate with a lot of you.  At least this way, this is a great way to put a simple fear into beautiful words.