Tag Archives: Mental Illness

Powerless

You can take care of yourself. You can check on your people. You cannot force anyone to get the help he or she might need.

When you suffer from a mental illness, it’s like a fog that cannot be lifted. You can’t see the way out. Or sometimes, you can see the way out but it’s too daunting to rise above. Nothing in the world can motivate you. While I’m not a trained mental health professional, I can attest firsthand that no one can pull me out of my current state. It’s entirely up to me.

I’ve learned over time through trial and error what to say to people, how to talk about what I’m experiencing and how to rise above my anxiety. It can happen in hours or can take weeks – every instance is different. While you can’t see it or perhaps even notice it, I know its always there. You don’t need to treat me differently, however I do appreciate a general awareness.

And this is the situation when you’re diagnosed and openly talking about it.

Imagine seeing someone you love so sick that they don’t know they need help. This is often the case with addicts. Because they are debilitated by the disease, they are unwilling to seek treatment. So what do you do?

For starters, we’re not mental health professionals so we can’t and shouldn’t walk around diagnosing people. Instead, we can:

  • Remove any judgement we have about the person or his/her situation. Because the truth is we don’t know what’s going on inside his/her mind, heart, soul, etc.
  • Be open and receptive if/when the person reaches out. Try to make the time to connect with them and take their concerns seriously. Listen, hold space and do not preach.
  • Pray and if that’s not your thing, send positive vibes out into the universe for that person. I firmly believe in the power of pray or good vibe sending. It can make a difference while bringing a sense of peace to a tumultuous situation.
  • Keep taking care of yourself. Yes, I’m saying it again because it’s that important. Running yourself ragged worrying about someone who isn’t ready to accept help isn’t going to help. It’s actually going to make the situation much worse. If you need to, talk to someone about what you’re experiencing as the loved one or caregiver of someone with a mental illness. Support groups are another resource that could offer perspective on a pretty shitty situation.

Honestly, it sucks being powerless and unable to help those you care most about. Talking about it and setting boundaries helps and yet, there will still be times when it sucks. I’m giving you full permission to hate on it, let it suck, whatever. But, you cannot stay in the suck. Remember you can only control your reaction to the situation. Choose that reaction wisely.

I hope this month’s posts gave you some insight into my views on mental health. It’s only by continuing the conversation that we can remove the stigma.

I Am Miranda Bailey

Let me first start by saying I am a dedicated Grey’s Anatomy fan, which means Thursday nights are a form of religion for me. Whether it’s realistic or not, I’m committed.

Before I tell my story, I want to acknowledge that I am not 100% Miranda Bailey. I will never know what it feels like to be an African American woman. It is another complex layer to Bailey’s story that I cannot understand because I don’t have that experience. However, I can say with full confidence that I know the debilitating effects of OCD.

Let me fill you in. In last week’s episode, Dr. Miranda Bailey went to the hospital (not her hospital) because she knew she was having a heart attack. Multiple doctors rejected her claims. At one point when reviewing her medications with the doctor, she mentions an antidepressant to help manage her OCD. She describes precisely how she fights the compulsions daily and knows the doctors are looking at her differently because of it.

Miranda BaileyI nearly stood on my couch and applauded Bailey (and Shonda Rhimes) for going there and saying all the things those of us with OCD and anxiety feel daily. On average, I fight at least a dozen daily thoughts that could hault my entire life. Some are trivial like what to wear, what time to food shop and what episode to catch up on first. Others are far more draining. And every day, I talk myself down, reminding myself that whatever choice will make me happy is the right one. That anxiety is useless and there’s no reason for it. Some days it’s a few deep breaths. Other times, it can take a full hour to rewrite the story and shake the frustrated mood I’ve put myself in.

It has taken me years to get to this place, where the anxiety and OCD are manageable. A combination of experience and meditation have helped immensely. For some, the only way to find some relief from this constant spin is medication, as in Bailey’s case. And THAT. IS. OK. If that’s what it takes to live without the constant second guessing, overthinking and over exaggerating, so be it. Certainly, a person shouldn’t be judged for it. That’s the trick with mental illness: You can’t see so it mustn’t be real. That’s also the problem. I am SO glad Grey’s Anatomy went there because it needs to be addressed. Just think: This is an accomplished, educated Chief of Surgery who knows what a heart attack is. Yet, she wasn’t’ taken seriously because of her OCD, her gender and her race. What chances does the everyday women without a medical degree have when she walks into the ER?!

You can have OCD and anxiety, but still make rational decisions. Honestly, the older I get, the more I can sense when my obsessiveness is shining through versus knowing something is right in my gut. There’s definitely a difference and it’s through much self-reflection that I’ve been able to listen to myself more and trust myself again.

To the millions out there working through these suffocating conditions, hang in there. Get and ask for help if you need it. Every adult should have a good therapist and a favorite ice cream flavor stocked in their fridge at all times. You can and will overcome. You’ll learn that life is too damn short to obsessed over nail polish color or missing a family occasion. No matter what you do, it’s never enough time anyways.

be gentle

 

Glee’s Major Misstep

For decades, television shows have mimicked real-life events. Shows for younger people are especially famous for doing this as to drive home a point and discuss current issues faced by adolescents. For the most part, this concept is a good one that can potentially teach kids valuable lessons. However, this past week’s episode of Fox’s hit television show, Glee took it one step too far.

All of us can vividly recall the tragic events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut a mere four months ago. Twenty six innocent lives were lost in a massacre shooting that should have never happened. In an attempt to raise awareness of gun violence and possible mental health issues, Glee’s latest musical showcase featured a cut and dry “school shooting.” There was not any back story or discussion after the event occurred. It seemed to be just thrown into the middle of an episode where it truly didn’t belong.

gleeThe Glee kids are in the choir room when suddenly a “pop pop” is heard and everyone is told to hide. The camera shoots empty hallways and then shows all the cast members safe and sound. In the end, Becky, a student at McKinley High School and reoccurring Glee character, relieves only to another teacher, that she brought a gun to school to protect herself. Becky has Down Syndrome and doesn’t feel prepared to take on the real world so she thought a gun could protect her. Her teacher and mentor, Sue Sylvester takes the gun from her when it accidentally goes off and causes alarm throughout the school. Sue also ends up taking the blame for the incident and is asked to leave McKinley.

This was not a school shooting but rather a false alarm that caused a bit of panic. After all of the recent events, in particularly in Newtown, having or showing a gun in a school is just not right. It is too soon, featured on a show that younger children watch. There was also no discussion about the incident, no set-up or follow-up. Viewers of all ages were left to draw their own conclusions.

Additionally, this episodes touches the very sensitive topic of mental illness. Becky is visibly scared to enter adulthood in the episode. While the fear is natural, I don’t know if putting a gun in her hands was the best way to deliver that message. Some of the shooters in recent events did have mental disabilities, but without any discuss or accountability, the message Glee was trying to send was lost.

I understand why an episode like this was featured on a show like Glee. The audience is young and impressionable; they might actually listen to singing high school students. But, the timing and delivery were off. If they would have waited longer and executed the episode with more intention, it might have worked. I am not an expert and do not have any experience in this area. However, sometimes it is not about the media or entertainment but about human emotions trumping everything else.

A clip from the episode is below. Take a look and share your thoughts.

The Seriousness of Suicide

Javon Belcher

Javon Belcher

On Saturday morning, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot himself at Arrowhead Stadium after killing his girlfriend. The 25 year-old professional football player hadn’t missed a start with the Chiefs since he began there in 2009. Belcher and his girlfriend leave behind a 3-month old baby girl. Both the Chiefs’ head coach and general manager witnessed the suicide early Saturday morning.

All of the Kansas City Chiefs players commented that Belcher was a great teammate and someone who worked hard on and off the field. Everyone around him didn’t see any warning signs and can’t grasp why Belcher would end his life. A professional athlete whose dream came true with supportive teammates and a baby daughter; what could have been so bad that he chose to take such drastic measures?

While the actions of Jovan Belcher were tragic, one positive lesson that comes from this situation is the attention it draws to mental illness. Clearly, Belcher was not in his right state of mind when he went trigger happy on Saturday morning. Mental illness does not discriminate or come with a warning. All different types of people suffer from depression, rage, anxiety and various other problems that put them into a dark place. Sometimes there are warning signs, but usually there aren’t. The only real way to help those suffering from mental illness is to remove the stigma from such diseases. People should not be afraid to talk about what they are feeling, regardless of how extreme.

The Kansas City Chiefs released a statement Saturday saying how great a loss it was and sent prayers to his family. More importantly, the Chiefs did not become involved in any of the speculated drama between Belcher and his girlfriend. They focused their message on the loss of their teammate. The most poignant statement was the Chiefs continuing to play their game on Sunday to honor their fallen teammate and his love for the game.

In response to the Jevon Belcher suicide, the NFL launched a suicide help line for current and former NFL players. All phone calls will be kept confidential and the service will be ran independently from the NFL. On their website, there are a series of videos featuring NFL players including Brett Favre telling players that it is okay to ask for help. This is an important step for the NFL to take in order to support all its players. It is also a smart, conscious response to a crisis that shines a positive light on a negative situation.

The Kansas City Chiefs at Sunday's game

The Kansas City Chiefs at Sunday’s game

I am beyond happy to see the NFL aid its players in the real struggle they are facing today. By bringing the issue of suicide to the forefront, hopefully other players and people will be able to get help. Suicide is not something to joke about and must be taken seriously. If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, remember there are people out there to help you.

jeetphiladelphia.wordpress.com/

Exploring Philly's international food scene, one cuisine at a time

Of Undisputed Origin

Life Advice from Brilliant Minds

Filter Me, Please!

Ramblings of a Chronically Ill Chick

ChickpeaCards

Handcrafted custom made paper goods

Chit Chat Tracker

Keeping You In Touch, One Story At A Time!

Pint-sized Girl in the Big World

Daily musings from across the pond

Kerry Patricia Creations

Film. Photography. Life.

The Official Blog of PPRA

Inspiring Excellence in Public Relations

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

United We Eat

all for the love of food

Temple PRSSA

The Temple University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America

Jade & The City

Dreaming & scheming my way through the city

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Social is a Lifestyle

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

PRactical Politics

A place to share my opinions and thoughts about all things public relations & politics. Look out for the occasional travel post as well!

One Guy's Journey

A Hub of Growth, Learning, and Evolution in the World of Communications and Public Relations

Bake Sales and Boot Camp

Surviving one cupcake at a time!