In reality, acknowledging my humanity, reaching out, admitting to my ‘dark side’ helps not only me, but it helps others. For if I reach out, I’m giving others permission to do the same. And I’m giving my friends an opportunity to be helpful. I know that one of the best things I can do to feel better is to help others, share my experiences, and offer hope.
As a family, we have hashed out many things around this table where I’m sitting, one of the more dramatic being that I had to be admitted into a hospital for my bipolar disorder. This table also heard the conversation surrounding my son, Calen, and when he had to go to the hospital for what we didn’t yet know was his schizoaffective disorder.
Last night I told one of my closest friends that I’ve hit a low point. It sounds strange, but to be able to say that to someone who gets it, and doesn’t try to talk me out of it, is truly priceless. She didn’t say, “but look at all of the good things in your life” or “you just need some rest.” She let me say it, without judgment, without grimacing, without telling me that she only wants good news from me, especially since I’ve been chock full of bad news lately.
It’s been a rough week. Mental illness has again reared its ugly head, this time in the form of a deep, insidious depression, lurking, creeping, stealthily wrapping its tentacles around my daughter, dragging her down, dimming her spark, holding her back from the things she enjoys.
Exercise and keeping in shape are key elements in the fight against depression. Maybe I’m just afraid to commit to a routine because if I don’t follow it, I’ll feel like I’ve failed. Just hearing the term “working out” causes me anxiety. It just makes me feel so pressured when someone asks “so where do you work out?”
I’m a single father of 3 teenage daughters and I live with mental illness. I’m considered a high functioning individual with Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/Anxiety with a little Depression on the side. To be honest, currently, I do not know if I am considered “High Functioning”.
As new parents, most of us are/were fastidious about taking our babies to the doctor for their weekly, monthly and annual well baby check-ups. As our children grow they are screened in school for everything from scoliosis to vision to head lice. However, at the same time, despite the fact that 1 in 5 children suffer from a medical condition that affects mental health, only 20 percent ever receive treatment!
I used to be slim. No, I used to be downright skinny. Now I’m not and the history of my eating follows the history of my medications. I’m sick of it; I’m sick of being embarrassed by my looks.
Just recently I have scrutinized my eating habits and have discovered that even with ‘medication on board’ I don’t have to eat everything in sight.
The winter blues have me struggling with higher than normal anxiety levels, mood swings, sadness, lack of motivation – it’s like seasonal depression on steroids. Yeah, there have been pockets of joy here and there but I wish I could bottle them like a fragrance and give myself a spritz when needed.
As a nation, lately we’ve become hyper vigilant when it comes to mental illness and violence. Almost everyone seems to have an opinion about a) the problem; b) the cause; c) the solution; and perhaps most importantly in the eyes of some, d) who is to blame. As someone who has been immersed in the world of mental illness for a dozen years, I have a pretty solid foundation for my opinions. But something happened today that gave me a deeper perspective.