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Archive for the ‘Dealing with Bipolar’ Category

 

I travelled up to the North East of England recently to see my wife’s parents. My wife (Laura) had travelled up a few days earlier, so I made the journey up in our car on my own. It reminded me when we were first dating & she was studying in Sunderland, whereas I was working in Liverpool. I’ve got fond memories of our long distance relationship. More so, considering most people seem to believe they don’t work.

I realised back then I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with any mental illness. So although I had suffered from, at least depression, I was blissfully unaware that was what it was. I never knew what I wanted to do, work-wise, back then, but I was confident I could turn my hand to most things. So I suppose my outlook was ‘the world is my oyster’ kind of thing. After just six months since I left Uni I had paid off my credit card debt on only £150 a week wage. I was confident I’d soon be in a job where I’d be earning at least the national average. At which point I would then start making repayments on my student loans. Meh, I never got there (there being the national average wage) in the end, but hey-ho that’s life.

It got me thinking of those ‘sliding doors’ moments in all our lives, where you think what if… My what if, is how would my life be different if I didn’t have a mental illness.

I know a lot of people say ‘I don’t believe in regrets. Everything in life has made me who I am today’. Which is fine, but come on, most of us have done something we regret & if we could change it we would. Personally I think it’s fine to have regrets, but the important thing is not to dwell & stew over them. It’s the past, you can’t change it so what’s the point.

What are your ‘What if’ moment?

 

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This is an excerpt from my guest post on Where I Stand. Please pop over & check it out along with all the other great stuff on there.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that an illness of the brain has so much negative stigma around to it. Whereas an illness to the body is well, for lack of a better word, ‘normal’ and accepted. For me, it can only be explained through fear of the unknown.”

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I’ve been pretty busy lately with one thing or another, but something I really wanted to get a post out about is Faces of Mental Illness.

I’ve been working with Laura SQ from Mrs Bipolarity & Laura P. Schulman from  Bipolar For Life, on creating the real faces of mental illness. Initially it was in reaction to Brian Williams’ stigmatising negative comments on mental illness. He stated of Ariel Castro, who held three Cleveland women captive for a decade was the face of mental illness. So, here we have an NBC Anchorman claiming this repugnant man is the face for people who suffer from all manner of mental illnesses. Such comments from a public figure can only do harm to any organisations out there trying to educate people & reduce the stigma around mental health.

As mentioned, this was originally what prompted the two Laura’s & I to start Faces Of Mental Illness. However, I’d like it to continue & evolve to show how people who have mental illness are more than the illness itself.

We have created YouTube, Facebook & Twitter pages, all entitled The Face Of Mental Health.

Youtube – Faces of Mental Illness

Facebook – Faces of Mental Illness

Twitter – Faces of Mental Illness

Please show your support by doing any of the following…send us a vlog to mentalfaces1@gmail.com. We’ll upload it to the Youtube page & share it to Facebook & Twitter. Don’t worry if you’re unable to do this. I know I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing this a year or so ago. But please visit the pages & have a look at what we’re doing. If you like what you see please comment or like the respective pages. If you do want to show support, please share the pages on your own Facebook, Twitter & Youtube pages

Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Mrs Bipolarity recently wrote a post called Stigma Sucks Sunday: A Recap. Basically it’s about negative stigma spoken by people in the public eye. It got me thinking of ways we can make a change. So I’ve done a brief vlog inspired by one Mrs Bipolarity’s comments from her post above.

If you feel able, please follow suit & do your own brief vlog supporting the real faces of mental illness.

 

 

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Remember I recently did a post about wanting to get more involved in mental health? Well, have a look at the post below on Where I Stand, where I’m now a guest blogger 🙂

http://whereistandblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/my-journey-through-mental-health/

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I came across this post on Weathering the Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder, written by Kait. I want to reblog it, as it’s a great piece that highlights everyday stigma around, not just bipolar, but mental illness in general.

To go to the original post click here. I couldn’t find a reblog button, so I’ve also pasted it below, but the post looks better on Kait’s blog so give it a look. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Mental Illness Affects People Individually

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

 Those who live with mental illness are not all the same. They are not to be lumped into one group or meant to be labeled. They all have characteristics and diagnoses that are alike, but they don’t exhibit the characteristics in the same ways as another person might. They are individuals that will display specific symptoms. Not all symptoms that are listed under a particular illness will even apply to every individual with that illness. Some may display more severe symptoms and conditions, whereas others may only display some or a less severe form of the illness. Due to each person displaying individualistic symptoms and characteristics, it makes diagnosing and finding a successful treatment plan extremely difficult.

 What comes to mind when you hear that someone has a mental illness? Is a little part of you afraid or cautious? Does part of you automatically assume they’re “crazy” and unstable? Or maybe you feel shocked because they don’t appear to fit society’s image of a person who lives with a mental illness. They look and act just like everyone else. Well, that’s because they are like everyone else. They are human who just happen to live with different obstacles than others may. Some people live with food allergies and can’t eat certain foods, while some are diabetic and have to closely monitor their blood sugar. Those who live with a mental illness aren’t much different when it comes to lifestyle changes. They may have to monitor their moods, eating habits, and even their stress levels so they don’t have a relapse (mood swing, addiction habits, etc).

These reactions to mental illness are most certainly common when a person isn’t familiar with mental health. This is why it is ultimately crucial to expand the education and awareness regarding mental illness and the truth of the person behind the illness.

 Due to the stigma, some who live with a mental illness often refuse to share, speak openly about their illness, or even seek treatment that could save their lives due to what others may think and feel about them (or out of denial too, but that is a little different). They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, and weaker than others for having to seek professional help.

 It is sad to think that so many will suffer each year out of fear of getting the appropriate help they need. We, as a society, need to work on making it okay and be supportive of those who may need mental health treatment. Denial of the existence of mental health, apathy, and lack of empathy will not make these illnesses disappear. It may only make matters worse.

 So, the next time you hear or say “He/she is bipolar,” know that it is incorrect. He or she lives with bipolar is the more proper way of putting it because if a person has diabetes or cancer, you wouldn’t say this person is diabetes or cancer. It is a condition that they happen to live with which involves treatment. Same rules apply for those who live with mental illness.

Mental illness is not as scary as it appears in the media. Just because a person who is said to have bipolar (or another mental illness) did a terrible thing that gets displayed nationally over the news doesn’t mean that everyone who lives with that illness will end up doing the same thing.

 People who live with mental illness are individuals and it affects each one of them in different ways. Have a heart, spread awareness, and help a loved one ❤

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Concorde & Me

Concorde & Me

 

Last weekend I went to stay at the in-laws on Saturday night with Laura. We went to a wedding anniversary & whilst there one of my friends asked me to do a post centred more on me. We’ll call here Concorde. Her cousin used to to call her that at Uni, & well, as she doesn’t like it, I thought I’d share it with you all 😉

She said she wants to know what’s going on with me & although the videos I post are fine, she wants to be able to see how I’m doing. I think that’s what she said…well we were at a party & it was loud…what with everyone playing bingo! What can I say that’s how they roll in Billingham, Teeside, UK. Keith Richards just wouldn’t keep up…

OK enough procrastinating & on to how I’ve been. My current work contract runs out on 28th July & I know that’s been playing on my mind the last couple of weeks. Even though I had some good feedback two or three weeks ago, until you get the green light & you get the new contract, there is always that little niggle in the back of your noggin reminding you not to count your chicks blah blah. Happily, just this morning I got confirmation from one of my managers that they have recommended me for another contract :). So that niggle in the noggin is down to a smaller niggle & will be blown away completely when my new contract arrives in the post.

The weather in Britain has been great these last three weeks. We’re in a heatwave! Something we rarely have on these shores, believe me. Now to be more accurate, the weather is great IF you don’t work outdoors in it. I love it on the days I’m off, but dear god, when I’m in work, come the end of the day, I feel like I will melt into a puddle of…well a puddle of me basically. I noticed in the first week it was affecting my mood. My body doesn’t cope with hot weather at the best of times, so when I’m out pounding the streets delivering mail (maybe I should stop pounding & just walk. Hmmmm I could be onto something there) my body just wants to shut down.

I’ve made a few changes in the way I work to help combat the heat. I’ve stopped cycling to & from work for now & I’m using my car instead. I’m drinking much more fluids on my round, a mix of water & Lucozade Sport. So I’m slowly but surely getting better handling this hot weather. By the time I’m on top of it, it will be winter & I won’t know what’s hit me. Then I’ll be whining about the cold & rain, trying to elicit even more sympathy out of you guys 🙂

Ummmm what else is going on with me…Oh I’m off to see my brothers in a couple of hours to talk more about the house & when we’ll be selling it. Hopefully that’ll go well & there’ll be no histrionics from P.

As for me & how I’m doing? Well right now I feel good. This pretty much sums up how I’ve been for the last 10 months, with a few blips here & there, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

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