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

Just when is it okay to open up????

This is a portrait of Ned Vizzini. If you read a few posts back, this is the author of some teen novels. Most importantly, he is the author of, “It’s Kind of A Funny Story”. He also suffered from depression, and he also committed suicide just before New Year’s of last year.

He was an advocate for depression, and if you read a lot of his books, some tended to deal with depression. A lot of people would come up to him on book signings and speaking events and say how much just reading his books changed their lives. And even though there was an outpouring of this for him, in the end, he couldn’t deal with what was eating away with him inside.

I wanted to bring him up because there is something that really wanted to touch upon, but I really couldn’t until now. What happens to those who suffer from a mental health diagnosis, when you are in the point in your life when you are consistent with your treatments, and doing well with yourself, but you find yourself in sort of a limbo? What I mean by that is, what do you do when you everything you do is under a microscope, and any little thing you do could be a turning point into you either ending up in a hospital, or you ending up like a Mr. Vizzini?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a long time since I got hired at the day treatment program that I work at now. I look at the consumers that I serve, and then I take a look at myself. There is a big difference between where I am, and where the consumers are. Some of them, it’s like they don’t get it, and never will perhaps. Some are just fine with having just a place to come and get breakfast and lunch up to five days of week, and then just go to their proverbial personal care homes where they do nothing for themselves. For those like this, they are just fine with this. For others, they are soaking in every opportunity. Keeping their head down and making moves to better their lives despite having the diagnosis they may have. Then I look at myself who has pretty much entered a category that you see a lot of advocates, actors, singers, and other successful people have come into. The people in here all pretty much while they are probably famous or really popular, they have to really limit themselves and the behavior. One wrong publicity stunt or negative press coverage could mean tough times for their careers.

So that’s where I am. Over he past three months I’ve gotten a lot of offers from people out there who said if I need to talk, then they are there. Let me tell you as someone who is always living in recovery, this is extremely, and very difficult. The main reason, I feel like, is that as someone with a serious mental illness and who struggles with it very often, you have to decipher what is a character problem, and what is a problem that has to do with the symptoms of your diagnosis. This is a hidden thing that a lot of people don’t get from those who actually suffer and are prisoners of their symptoms, even those that are the family members, spouses, friends, or coworkers would not see, and even those in the medical model won’t even pay attention to on many occasions. There are a lot of instances where you just don’t know what you are feeling at the moment. Not to mention, that situations in where your flaws as a person are exploited can even trigger symptoms. I’ll give you an example.

A couple of weekends ago, my phone got stolen. Had it been a few years back, I would have beat myself up about it. Because I would have beat myself up about it, I would eventually get triggered into a deep depression. Because I would get triggered into a deep depression, I would eventually get into a crisis state. Now, it’s like I have to think about everything I say and do because one wrong move, and it is curtains for any progress I would have made at all.

It’s rough. And for those who suffer like I do periodically, You just don’t know what to do. Living with bipolar disorder for 17 years of my life, the way my symptoms affect my reality is that the cycles from a moderate hype, to a severe low becomes so overwhelming that I can’t function. For those with Schizophrenia, they hear and see things which distort their view on reality. For those with Borderline Personality Disorder, the inability to regulate their emotions causes them to do inexplicable things which destroy boundaries and relationships. But, when you are making a conscientious effort to get better, to recover in a way to where you are functioning just like one without one of these illnesses would, when is the time where you get to know yourself? When is the time where it isn’t just the symptoms, and when is it just you, the person.

That is why it is important to just be a human being. Yes, I do suffer from a serious mental illness. But it is just one part of me, the person. I would say that one big thing that has helped me out is to just be objective when I can…to look at everything with open eyes. I mean, let’s be honest, I am human, and I react to things just like any other person would. However, I think just because I do react, I don’t want to be looked at as some freak, or that monster, or that crazy person, or that psycho. That’s also why I don’t open up as much as I should, because of these things. This is also why a lot of my consumers do not open up to my coworkers or myself. They want to get away from the stigma from being a psycho person and find some type of routine or, “normal” in their life.

I think I can speak for a lot of people who suffer from serious mental illness when I say that when you first learn of your diagnosis, you understand that there is a part of you that will always say in the shape of the symptoms that you won’t get the same types of things that others will. I guess somehow that is partially false. If you don’t do the right things to keep your symptoms under control, and let them run amok, then yes, that will happen. But if you do the right things, things will happen, pieces get put together and such.

I guess it’s just when you do put these pieces together that I am struggling with. It’s like, you are damned if you and damned if you don’t. But I guess there’s one good counter to it: just to live. Somehow, though, I’ll find an answer, cause I do want a good life like anyone else, and I really want to help people. I guess what I’m trying to find is that when you find a little bit of success as someone living in recovery from a serious mental illness, when is it okay to just open up? Perhaps finding the answer to this, will prevent a lot of successful people, like a Ned Vizzini or a Robin Williams from suffering a cruel fate, and then help a lot more who aren’t as famous but struggling just as much.

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?

Clue #1: Courage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgjRce54TzM

This is a song that I stumbled upon listening to the American Top 40 today.  It’s lyrics mirror the feelings that I share during this weekend’s happenings.

I did many corageous things.  I kissed five girls by asking them three questions.  I stood at the brink of one event severely crippling the social status that I built over the years.  I drank like I was 23 again.  I danced knowing that my foot was killing me.  There’s many other things that I did.

However, I sit here today, reflecting on everything that happened to me this weekend.  The weekend is bittersweet and has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  I learned to turn fear into strength, but it was a reminder to me to slow down.  I did all of that stuff, and deep down I felt empty.  Perhaps it’s because I’m still in a big turning point in my life.

But, the clue of courage, is something that I picked up this weekend.  Courage, is something that I have lacked for all of my life.  I’m always safe, and backing away from the moment.  If I’m going to really acheive the amazing thing I really want to do, I have to be brave.  I have to face whatever that is head on.  No matter what I feel like that is, I will stand firm from here on in.