We are privileged to share blog postings from our Ambassador Jessie Close, Adrienne Gurman, Henry Boy Jenkins, and other guest bloggers. Please visit regularly as our content will be updated often.
Mean people suck. In my first draft of this blog, that bumper sticker sentiment was all I could type. It’s a natural response to an emotional situation, but I know better. Responding in anger only fuels more intolerance. I have enough to deal with just managing my mental illness. Advocacy is not a license to bully. Leave that to the narrow-minded. Then help them change their mind through peaceful interaction.
Finally, a few months ago, I opened up my drawers, armoire and closet and got rid of 90% of my clothes. As soon as I ditched the mentality that I should be fitting into my clothes and embraced the idea that my clothes should fit my body as it is now, and my life as it is now, I immediately felt a sense of relief. By letting go of all the old clothes, I was removing the opportunity to compare or shame myself back into a body that was never truly mine to begin with.
Pop culture had shaped my views on mental illness and psychiatry, so I approached therapy with some trepidation. Would I have to lie on a couch while the therapist sat out of sight, furiously scribbling notes in a journal? Would I be forced to talk about embarrassing things from my past? Would those notes be sent to my insurance company for billing purposes the way my medical records are made available upon request?
After the three-week stay in the hospital, where they changed up his meds because he had become psychotic, he hasn’t settled yet. I implored them to keep him through the transition. I mean, changing serious, anti-psychotic meds after ten years is no small thing.
From my life experiences, I’ve come to learn that stigma comes in many forms. When I say I have bipolar I’m not so afraid anymore of what people think. It’s an illness that I was born with and something I have zero control over having. People tend not to judge you so much for having bipolar; they do still judge you for the stereotypes ingrained in the world that come along with it, but that’s why I speak out and work with Bring Change to Mind.
Kim Walters has lived with anxiety her whole life. However, she didn’t seek out help until the pressures of being a mom forced her to. With her children in tow, anxiety struck Walters everywhere she went, including the grocery store, library, park, and more. At 32-years old, she decided to…