Voices for Awareness

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Apr 4

Dealing with Stress

How has everyone been the past few months? For me the stress surrounding my job being taken away, looking for a new job, and getting acquainted with my new job took a bit of a toll. That on top of managing everything else I was doing left me with not a lot of time for what I enjoyed and am passionate about. The good news is that the field is beginning to level out again; I’ve enjoyed the local activities picked up this year; and I’m able to focus on my own recovery again at a manageable level. That all said I once again plan to start picking back up the posts here on Voices for Awareness.

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Jan 8

Fellow Mental Health [V]Bloggers to Start 2012

As a welcome into 2012 I would like to dedicate a post to some other blogs and vlogs out there I have been following for the past 1-2 years. The highlights posts was getting a bit long, so we have a second.

I have selected 3 for this particular post and will write about more in the future.

The Free Your Mind Campaign was started by Nicola as a result of abuse and prejudice within a psych ward located in England. She speaks through her experiences, advocates, and fights the stigma with: art, music, film, and culture. I have been following her campaign and look forward to FYM’s 2012 success.

I Drank the Sea Water is an excellent vlog to follow. She has done mini movies about various mental illness topics, a vlog accounting for her progress through treatment, and written a book: Lady Injury. I find her inspiring and giving people hope through a very unique and inspiring perspective.

Christie has been speaking out about mental health and providing self injury support. One of the reasons I like her vlog so much is she tells issues how they are. She gets right to the point and speaks. This one is hard to sum up but definitely one to check out if you want to know more about the reality of M.I.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year!
Jan 8

2012 Direction and End of 2011 Highlights

I planned to write this post on New Years Eve or New Years Day but delayed it as I increased my advocacy and activism at the local level due to the November employment events. However, those events have pushed forward some exciting and important plans for the Voices for Awareness campaign in 2012. That said these plans have been in planning for some time and are always a work in progress being refined to meet the needs and voices of the world wide mental health community. Voices for Awareness can use your help and experiences to spread the word too, more on that to come later in the update.

Before diving into the 2012 direction though, a quick recap of 2011. In 2011 I began my campaign after following several blogs and vlogs others maintained, having been helped and inspired by them. I realized how much I could offer through my own experiences and that silence wasn’t the answer. Speaking out helps myself, others, and in return fights stigma; allowing more of us to seek help and treatment. I was successful in getting my career on track, started seeking help again, lost my job to the stigma, and began taking the campaign on the road locally with the anticipation of expanding the borders in 2012.

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Dec 4

Stigma in the Workforce

I am dedicating this blog to awareness about the stigma surrounding mental illness in the professional workforce. Whenever in public I feel this shadow cast over me because of what I go through on a daily basis. It’s bad enough that I have the illness, and the stigma makes it worse. I’ve managed to fill in most of my family now and the reaction has been mostly tears and wishing they could understand better, not quite what I expected but welcomed. Next I want to get them involved with my awareness campaign.

I finally began feeling pretty secure at my job, no one even knew I had generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I was extremely productive, did something I enjoy, and had a team that accepted me for who I was, or at least presented myself to be, since I didn’t share my battles. My battles with mental illness didn’t need to be brought up though, and the team helped me learn more about myself when they didn’t even know it. My illnesses are just that, illnesses, they never defined who I am. I began to better understand my anxiety better and my team helped me come to the realization that I needed to seek help.

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Recovery and Seeking Help: Part 4

Good evening/early morning. Recovery and help was on the upside at least for a couple weeks. My job was going well since I was doing the type of work I enjoy and have a wonderful team that is like another family to me. I don’t notice as much change with the medication now that I have been on it over a month, but I tend to believe the medication is helping. My appetite is more consistently there and I am not as anxious about eating lunch or dinner like I used to be. The depression I have mixed feelings about still and am not entirely sure of the medication’s effect, but it may be helping with that too. I intend to wait at least a couple months to see how I am feeling before I judge the depression too harshly.

The support groups I feel are going very well. I have been able to gather resources from others and share some of my own. I may compile I list of some resources I have gathered at a later date if I can find a way to make them non-attributable (most of them are, I just need to look over them again). I look forward to my groups each week not only because of the support, but I have made some new friends there too.

The past week however I have been rather overwhelmed. I am trying to grasp what my rights truly are as a person with mental illness. Last week my position at work was taken away from me due to actively seeking help, receiving medication, and attending support groups. I intend to investigate this and ensure what happened to me cannot happen to anyone else. Should I be able to share anymore details at a later date on this I will, but for now there is not much I can speak about due to legal reasons.

My job actually became part of my recovery process and now that it has been taken from me I am in a state of limbo. As a result I have experienced anger, depression, and thoughts of hurting myself. I am trying not to slip and instead stay strong, but it has been difficult as I try to manage myself, search for a new position, and ensure that my team at work is in good hands with whatever I have been working on.

That is all I can share right now as I am exhausted from what has been going on lately.

Nov 2

Recovery and Seeking Help: Part 3

Morning everyone. I hope you all had a good past week and a happy Halloween if it’s celebrated where you are. Happy Holidays to everyone else around the world too; I know there are a few different ones being celebrated right now. Lets do a quick update, there have been some major accomplishments.

First off I have been on Paxil for roughly 18 days (not keeping exact count, but the last post was about 9 days ago). I think the medication is really helping this time around. Nothing is cured and certainly not everything has been impacted by the medication, but I feel there is a step in the positive direction.

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Recovery and Seeking Help: Part 2

The last post I made was in regards to a step backwards progress-wise and my upcoming doctor appointment to try and figure out what is going on with me. That appointment was last Friday and I would like to reflect back on it, the outcome, and where I think I am headed in the future from it.

The core issues that I spoke with the doctor about - Other than essential tasks to survive, such as; going to work or the grocery store for food, arriving at an airport, etc - I find it nearly impossible to leave my home and do something. I get very nauseous, have trouble breathing, and am brought down to my knees. Panic attacks and anxiety overcome me most of the time and it takes everything in my to put a stop to them. Another issue is relapse of self-injury, although not nearly as severe as it used to be. Based off of these issues the doctor diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

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Oct 4

Recovery and Seeking Help: Part 1

Fall is among us, the leaves are beginning to fall, and the temperature is beginning to drop outside. September was usually a month I could turn off the A/C and open up the windows. Place some fans and was good to go. Nice and relaxing to come home and just relax in a cool environment. This is also the worst time of year for me typically. Thoughts of what happened 4 years ago revisit my mind, although it’s not as bad as a year after. Each year had seemed to get better, except this year I’ve noticed a little progress in the opposite direction.

I have not returned to when I was the worst, but I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. There are steps I have taken to try and make sure this doesn’t happen, one in particular, not stay quite as silent this time. I’ve initiated steps that are a little quicker than I would like them to be, but I think that’s also part of my mind speaking against me. At the same time I really see that it’s best to try and tackle this before it’s too late.

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The Need to Be Yourself

Greetings everyone. Just Saturday was TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) Awareness Day (link at bottom of post). If you didn’t get to do anything for it it’s not too late. Every day is awareness and support day. Before I get on to the main topic I have planned for this post I thought it would be worth mentioning I finally came out to some family about this blog. It is my hope that through the personal contacts I have I can answer the questions those closest to me have always had and spread awareness out through them as well. Those close to me have actually wanted to try and understand and be able to better support me, but until now I haven’t felt ready. Time will tell how well this works out, but I feel it’s an important step in recovery.

If I look back on the last 8 years of my life, more so the last 2 years, there is the theme of wanting to be myself. Who I am is caring, loving, and accepting of many different people and their cultures. I enjoy online games, music, and traveling to new places. Since I graduated college and began working I have lost the part meeting many new people and being able to travel when I want and to where I want. Most of all I’ve been trying to move on and focus on the future, completely forgetting about my past. Bad idea though.

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Addiction and Destructive Behavior

Good morning everyone. Hopefully it hasn’t been as hectic for everyone as it has me the past couple weeks. I’ve traveled, met some new people in the online realm of gaming, watched TV,  and picked up new music. Regardless I’m managing to get on top of everything and want to provide another post.

In my struggle to meet new people there is one key factor that gets in the way the most. That is maintaining the activities that I enjoy and finding similar people who accept those same activities. For example I enjoy playing video games, Massively Multiplay Online (MMO) games in particular these days. I used to play First Person games, but found I enjoyed the MMO scene quite a bit. There are a lot of people addicted to games to the point of playing 9 hours a day though and I get looked at like one of them anytime I mention to someone new that I enjoy MMOs. In another case there are members of my family who smoke. I have seen first hand through them how destructive smoking is, wouldn’t start myself, and wish they could stop. However my experiences with self injury and depression have opened my mind up to the world of addiction, the destruction addiction causes, and how difficult it is to get out. I may not self injure like I used to, but the thoughts and cravings are still there.

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