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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Before I get involved with the upcoming busy week I thought it would be helpful to share an inspirational and helpful person I pay attention to on a weekly basis if not a few times a week. I would like to try and highlight different people on occasion to provide everyone with more tools to get through what they are dealing with. Whether it be passively watching a vlog, listening or calling into a radio station, talking to someone online, getting in touch with family or friends, there is help out there for you.
Sunday nights at 10pm EST (9pm CST, 7pm PST, 3am GMT) I listen to a radio show for many different types of support. If you need help or someone to talk to Dawson McAllister will take your calls on Sunday nights (United States). Available support doesn’t stop there though, a hopeline is available all week with hope coaches. You can e-mail, chat online, or call in. What I like about Dawson is that he approaches people’s topics head on and is direct about what needs to happen. The radio show is more of a self intervention, after talking to Dawson callers get sent to the hopeline. If you need help and don’t feel like you can talk to family or friends Dawson and the hopeline could be an excellent alternative. Not only will they talk to you, but they will make and effort to help you get the help you may need. I have not called in, but have been a listener and find it both really inspirational and helpful.
I’m not sure if there are restrictions listening online out of the United States or not since I have no way to test, but give it a try. There is a lot of information on his blogs and still online support available.
A subject that hits home very much and I think is important to cover: Bullying. This can take many shapes and forms and be encountered anywhere. I experienced it in grade school, it has happened to me in the work place, and the place I expected it least till the last 4 years, online, the world wide web. The following post will go through what I deal with today and work back to roughly 1995, the early school days. Lets begin.
Hello everyone. There will be a new post coming within the next 24 hours. The topic this week is on bullying and its relation to mental health. The post has been written and just needs to be read over and revised.
I have now officially been in my new home for a month and the new job for about three weeks. I have to say it’s half and half when it comes to saying everything is going well. At the new job I am integrating with the new co-workers fairly well. I am to a point where I can get something accomplished and bring up my thoughts to the people there. That happened fairly quick though and is a requirement as a software developer.
What I am struggling with is development of a connection with them that goes outside of work. Not only them, but friends and people in general. I find it very difficult to go out into a public place with people I know, and it’s even more difficult around people I don’t know or have just met. Another complication is that I am not the type that likes to go to bars and have drinks, which is what just about all of society seems to be about these days. So where am I supposed to go hang out with people when nothing else is around?
Hope everyone is well on this hot summer day, or cold winter day, depending where in the world you are.
Over the years I have lived in places with very low grades when it comes to the mental health system in the United States. I have to say the grades are pretty much dead on too, the experiences I’ve had are awful. The U.S. in general greatly suffers when it comes to good mental health support and treatment. I truly believe a lot of this has to do with the stigma out there and lack of understanding. Mental illness though really is the same as any physical illness, just a different problem, so let me tell my experience and help the world learn.
I’ve seen a couple videos from regular vlogs I keep up on weekly in regards to mental health, this time on college living. One from The Emmy R and the other From Miss Lizenka. I’ll link them before moving on with my own experiences so you can get their perspectives as well. They both have good information. I would like to add to their input based on reflection having graduated a couple years ago.
The Questions Are: 1)did you ever consider any other living options? 2)in relation to mental health how had living on campus effected you? 3)if you could change your living situation for collage would you? why?
Yesterday I finally got internet connectivity again and am able to continue on with my posts. The last week though has been an interesting experience though looking at the different affects its had on me.
I think one person at work has begun to sense a little that there is a bit more behind my face than what I really show on a daily basis. I haven’t outright spoken about the difference issues I have, but instead have passed the blame onto all the changes going on in my life right now. I think even my mom over the phone perhaps has noticed somewhat of a change. Between moving and changing jobs the different issues are flaring up a bit more. Without the internet and most of my distractions, the situation became even more interesting.
As the move got closer I got more nervous and anxious. I also began to wonder if I would actually manage to pack everything in time before the big moving day. I did finish though, 12am the morning prior to the move.
The past week I’ve found myself making a lot more phone calls than usual. I really don’t like talking on the phone, but it’s been something to keep me distracted and occupied. If I go back to my old place now I feel really out of place like I don’t belong there. At my new place I feel more comfortable in that I like the floor plan and space better than the other. The community also seems to be a bit more mature, which is wonderful, but I haven’t been able to meet too many new people yet. I need to work up the courage to go for a run around the neighborhood or something. It would be good for my physical well-being too.
I still haven’t checked my new mailbox; I have this fear of who I will run into and just keep avoiding it. The people around seem friendly, but other than observation I tend to just keep to a friendly hello and proceed to my place. Updating my address has been taking a bit of effort as well. I pushed off changing my internet service till the last minute as well as electric and postal. I should have done these things in advance, I don’t know if this is natural or not. I still need to adjust quite a bit, but all in all I feel the new place is better for me than the old one.
Problems I Attribute to the Old Place:
1) I’ve noticed relapse of my depression, but in worse ways than before and closer to borderline or bipolar. I am not sure entirely what to make of this, but will elaborate further in a later post.
2) Due to the noise problems and lack of proper handling I have distanced myself from people further and my anxiety towards being accepted and around people has become worse.
What the Old Place Helped:
1) I began to stand up for myself and not tolerate others bringing me down.
Things to do while moving when without internet and much else to do include:
1) Read a book (This has helped me a lot)
2) Call a friend or family if you have a cell phone
3) Drive an hour to dinner (if you have a car and license)
This wasn’t a post about much, but I am back and expect to have a more informative post soon, including posts about how the moving experience progresses over the next few weeks.
I have been busy with a move, packing, address management, all those wonderful parts involved with moving. I don’t expect to have much time on my hands again till later next week. Between working a fulltime job and going through every little thing I own I have been pretty exhausted most of the time.
I will still be around throughout the duration, just in a limited capacity. I hope everyone is well!
If you have questions or want to contribute your own post use the options on my page! It’s there to extend reach of people and to let the readers get a bit more involved if they would like. There is a link to post a question as well as a link to submit a post.
When I get around to it either at the end of this week or mid next week I have a couple post ideas in mind. I do this for myself and as an effort to help the community as well!
In no way has any scientific research been done for this post, just personal observation of myself. This post is a bit longer than most of my others, so grab a drink, queue up the music, and tune in!
For me confidence is something that comes and goes. Most of the time in social situation it runs away and leaves me behind. There are some observations I have made though, especially in regards to my professional work life, not the same as my social life. One quote I always reference from the public speaking course I was required to take is: “To be confident act confident”. For the most part that is true.
I have been on a mission ever since I was diagnosed with depression roughly six years ago to understand what is wrong with me and what I can do to get better. There is a part of me that doesn’t necessarily want to get better and is afraid of what I will become when I am not quite me anymore. It’s misery though always having issues with my mood and being so isolated that I don’t have anyone else around. If I’m at a get together of some sort I am always the one in the corner not talking to anyone that no one else even wants to approach and start a conversation with. I am the one that can’t bring myself to start a convo. For those reasons I have never given up trying to understand myself and figure out how to make life better.
I am not entirely sure what happened to me over the past week.
The week started with my mind taking over and telling me who I was. My mind told me I am who I was 6 years ago and started steering me right back down the path to some of the darkest days of my life. Any type of distraction I had in my book wasn’t working. I had no support network of people I could talk to. My mind took a hold of me much stronger than it ever has in the past. I completely fell into myself.
This is going to be more of a reflection on the past and what I think I’ve learned from it. So read on if you care to and see if you notice the same and if there is anything we can learn; I think we can. One of the conclusions I am coming to is that anxiety may be one of the larger issues I’ve dealt with over the past year (that’s what I think is going on at least since I don’t feel comfortable with doctors). It wasn’t till I really started facing certain situations head on that this became obvious to me.
I haven’t posted in a little over a week, but I have been busy with my job and life in general.
I have been thinking about something lately. Perhaps this is one piece of the puzzle I need to figure out to finally recover completely. When we “distract” ourselves and do other things instead of the negative behaviors are we really fixing the problem? All we are saying is okay I am in a bad place right now and going to do this other thing to take my mind elsewhere. In reality though we are repressing those thoughts instead of confronting them and working through them. After a while I just suddenly explode/implode, whatever term you want to use. This happens due to stress or some incident and then the thoughts come flooding back in full force and make everything worse. Then not only do I have the problem to deal with I have all the repressed thoughts too.
So my question is, how do we distract ourselves and confront the problems instead of just repressing them?
I wrote this post last night, but because I was trying to get to sleep decided just to write it and not actually post it since I couldn’t look the post over for revision. Last night’s part is below the line. I am a perfectionist. This post has to do with my life long dreams, career, and what I have gotten myself into with where I want to end up. Basically I had to repress my mind to avoid job discrimination, which is very difficult and comes back with a painful vengeance when I allow myself to be who I really am. That’s as much as I really want to say about this particular post and poem I wrote, it’s personal. I wish the stereotypes and discrimination didn’t exist. I will follow up on the subject of stereotypes and discrimination later either through a video or post.
I don’t know how many parts there will be to this or where to really start, but here is some information about myself.
About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with major depression, it was the summer after my freshman year of college. The year prior to my senior year in high school I moved and was required to go to a new school, having to leave all my friends behind without any goodbyes.
Rather than starting out with a personal post since I don’t have much time at the moment I am going to do one in relation to a excellent resource I found a few weeks ago. SelfHarmSupport is a Youtube channel combining a variety of people and their thoughts on weekly questions posted by the viewers. I find this to be extremely helpful because it’s not textbook information and opinion, but is actually the facts from those of us who struggle. Check it out if you need support or are just looking for some more knowledge about mental health and self harm.
This week’s question is: “How does one go about starting to wear short sleeves again and ”baring all”, as it were. How do you gain the confidence to do this and to show your scars without feeling self conscious or like everyone is looking at you?”
What the Blog is About: I have created this blog to spread awareness about mental health issues and self harm. This is a place to share my own thoughts and struggles. I hope that it will also provide another place where people can find more tips and support towards recovery. Self harm does not have to be the only subject and just happens to be what I’ve struggled with. I will make personal posts here as well. In the near future I should have some actual content; this is just an introduction as to what the blog will be about.