Categories
mental health mental illness NAMI Recovery Uncategorized

Why I Support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

I was first introduced to NAMI when a friend told me about their Peer to peer program. I had heard of family to family, another of their signature programs. I signed up and was assigned to a class when one was starting up.

There were other people like me in the class and the mentors were doing well. That was the first time I had heard of recovery. We learned about relapse prevention, our illness, goal setting, advance directives and much more. We had a mindfulness exercise at the end of each session, I enjoyed it and even though I get really anxious, I signed up to mentor. I moved from that program to In Our Own Voice sharing my story of recovery. I still do those presentations.

I work as a Peer Mentor, but until very recently there was no standardized training. I took a mental health paraprofessional course years ago, have years of volunteer and work experience and recently took the NAMI Peer Support/Family Support Specialist training.

They also have support groups both for consumers and family, a warmline, and other programs.

The OC Warmline is only for Orange County, CA residents

Call or text: (714) 991-6412
Toll Free (877)-910-9276

They have an annual walk to raise money through donations. This year it was a virtual scavenger hunt. Usually it is a 5K walk. I walk to support NAMI because they have so many resources and have been able to help me and others.

Categories
DBT life lessons mental illness psychosis Recovery schizophrenia stigma Uncategorized

How to Talk to a Person: my response to how to talk to people with X disorder

image
You have seen the articles. How to talk to a schizophrenic or how to deal with someone with borderline personality disorder as examples.

I am not saying they do not have useful observations. After all, these are published by practitioners with much experience. Having contracts in a therapy relationship and firm boundaries is normal. Controlling your partner is not.

I just read such an article by Nancy Carbone, a couples therapist in Australia. It is a year old and I don’t mean to point a finger at her, it is just an example. I don’t happen to have a BPD diagnosis. I do not like articles on how to deal with other types of people, clumping us all together.

The first thing you should do, if you want to communicate with people is learn active listening and other communication skills. Maybe, if you pay attention to what you may consider nonsense, you will see there is more there.

If the articles on schizophrenia were about actually trying to communicate, like writing the key points down if the person is distracted by voices, I would not dislike these articles so much. That is not what these are about, though. It is “tough love” or I know what is better for you. It is about dealing with someone who is flawed and somehow that makes you superior.

I welcome comments. Sometimes I have knee jerk reactions and if I am off-base I want to know.

Categories
Donation Marrow mental illness psychosis schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Uncategorized

You May Not Be a Match

image

I was removed from the bone marrow registry when I updated my health information. They sent me an email saying they have volunteers and it was a safety issue. I didn’t think about it until someone mentioned they were turned down to donate blood because they have schizophrenia. It is not the medications we take that are the problem. They fear we are a danger.

I was not really looking forward to donating, but with waiting lists it seems like they would not want to turn people away.

Give the gift of #stigma

I can understand that I can’t purchase life insurance. My diagnosis is associated with committing suicide. I am not unreasonable. But, assuming I am dangerous without asking any questions besides my diagnosis is infuriating

 

Categories
depression disability mental illness stigma

Disabilities: What Not To Say

Originally published PsychCentral.com

link

There is a hashtag trending on twitter: #AncientAbledProverbs, started by @HijaDe2Madre. It is about things abled people say to the disabled, often unthinking, that can be hurtful or ignorant. These could be physical or mental, visible or invisible disabilities.

doglisten

Categories
alcoholism anxiety Co-occurring Dual diagnosis mental illness Recovery schizoaffective stigma Uncategorized

The Stigma of Co-Occurring Disorders

In my opinion, this is my best yet 🙂

Originally published on Psych Central
https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/03/the-stigma-of-co-occurring-disorders/

There is a great deal of stigma attached with both mental illnesses and addictions. That is one reason I talk about my experiences. So, others won’t feel alone, and, to put a face to these conditions. It is scary to get a diagnosis of a life-long mental health condition that all you have heard are extreme negatives. People can lose hope. And, people fear what they don’t know.

I also have shame, or self-stigma. I have worked on accepting the schizoaffective diagnosis and at this point am okay. There was a time when I felt, less than, because of the severe symptoms. Now, I know I could not control what happened in the past, and just work on staying stable.

Social anxiety is something I contend with daily, and I cannot seem to prepare enough. I don’t know if I can ever accept how limiting it is for me. There are some things, like volunteering at my children’s school events, that are just too busy for me. I cannot enjoy shopping or parties, I just want an exit. I have worked very hard on this and work with people now and even do public speaking, but it is difficult.

The alcohol addiction label is new to me. In the program I am doing, SMART Recovery, they don’t give labels. But, I need to call it something. The drinking is not new, just the acknowledgement.

There are choices of programs for changing addictive behaviors. Some people work more than one at a time. This was just one that seems to fit my philosophy. It uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and I already learned some of those for my anxiety.

I haven’t had serious consequences from drinking. No DUIs or jail time, No relationship problems. But, I drink more than I would like to and it is hard for me to abstain completely.

When I started this blog, I decided I would like to write about the alcohol component along with the mental illness. So many of us have co-occurring disorders. I was excited, and then, I paused. What will people I know think when they see ‘alcoholic’?

Then I giggled. First, because I can’t decide which is the lesser of 2 stigmas (it doesn’t matter). And then, because they all have seen me drink. It isn’t really a surprise.

The secret is that I am working on it.

Info on SMART Recovery

Self-Help Addiction Recovery – SMART Recovery 4-Point Program – Alternative to AA

Info on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
http://www.aa.org/

Categories
bipolar disclosure mental illness stigma Uncategorized

Reaching One Person

I feel that if I can help one person by sharing my story it has been worthwhile.

I made this video for “Mental Health Justice” (not my best look) and got the most amazing reply. I am withholding the author’s name for privacy. I really have no idea what I could have said that helped, I am just glad it did.

So, if you are fighting stigma and wondering if it is worth it, it is. Not everyone is vocal, but they are there.

 

 

” This video was not only captivating, but utterly breath taking. I am currently and always have been at war with my Bipolar. Recently however has been an exceptionally difficult period of psychosis. Paranoia as well as hallucinations have ran ramped in my skull in between medications. I felt oh so alone. This video, this God sent video helped to dramatically break the psychosis due to the idea my disease has breed other victims. So, thank you to the existence of pages such as this. It probably saved my life.”

Categories
alcoholism disclosure mental illness stigma Uncategorized

Feeling Vulnerable

I have disclosed a lot. Nothing left to hide. A lot of people knew I had a mental health diagnosis. The alcohol was not really a secret but I never used the word ‘alcoholic’.

I thought I might feel free, not having secrets, but right now I feel uneasy. I hope I did the right thing. I can’t take it back.

image

Categories
bipolar mental illness schizoaffective stigma Uncategorized

The Power of Words

sometimes people don’t know what to say when they find I have a mental illness. I found a list from the DBSA http://www.dbsalliance.org and made a short video of things thst could be hurtful and alternatives.

Categories
gun control mental illness politics schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma

Don’t Use Me As A Pawn

Originally posted on Medium

Note: I know this is a controversial post. I am open to discussion. I am not against any of these laws, I just don’t like being presented as a problem.