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.

Rating My Pain

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In that brief moment I was reminded of how isolating and unpredictable our deepest emotions can be. Often we are afraid to think of them or acknowledge them; for fear that these emotions will grow bigger than us, swallowing us alive. We tuck them away, securing the lid tightly. Sooner or later, the lid will come loose again, or pop right off, and there it will be. Pain.

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Crazy

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Be authentic. Show the world your real face. Be willing to speak from your heart so that others can better understand your disorder or condition, thereby distinguishing the myth from the person in front of them. You will likely see what I see: that with faith in one another we are not alone, and that together we can end the stigma and discrimination that we experience every day. We can live without shame or ridicule, from without or within. We have a right to be treated as human beings, not monsters or rejects.

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Montana Rain

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I wouldn’t want to be independent of friends and family. Independence calls for taking care of ourselves. I know what it is to be devoid of humor, to feel crappy and want to isolate. Sometimes it’s inevitable but at other times just reaching out to a friend is the best thing we can do for ourselves. Have a great 4th and laugh!

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The Numbers Game

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So if my teenager needs to take a year or two to catch up, to truly live and feel, then please don’t try to put her star shape into a square hole. Don’t ask her the ‘standard’ questions about a prefab future. Try asking about her here and now or her dreams. Or better yet, let her ask the questions.

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Pinwheel

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My objective is to share my experience, strength, and hope, by asking you to spend a few moments in my shoes. We can create a conversation where silence might have been. Misinformation fuels the stigma and discrimination that every person living with a mental illness feels daily, doing little to address the more significant challenges at hand: affordable health care, cultural inclusion, solvency, acceptance, and authentic, respectful support.

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It’s Raining!!

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Sitting here in my living room now, with my four doggies on the couch with me, I am happy to say that my mood is steady even though it’s raining. I’m not particularly happy about grey light and chill air but I can take advantage of it and roll it into a cozy afternoon. It was only a week ago that I was sliding into depression; the sky was grey then too. What makes the difference between getting depressed and not getting depressed?

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Letting Go – Part Three

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So it’s no wonder that when the topic of discharge planning came up during my daughter’s time in residential treatment, we all struggled. Tremendously. I struggled because I was still in protective mom mode, assuming that I needed to parent the way I had in the past. My daughter struggled because she was feeling stronger, more capable, more trusting of her stability, her skills and herself.

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Back to the Music

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We all have certain songs that can bring back good memories. Others songs remind us of difficult or sad times, so we avoid them. I know I do. Or we just enjoy a song as we listen; it makes us feel good.

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Oranges

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If you care for a person with a mental illness, how can you help? Begin by listening without judgement, as you would to anyone else. Refrain from attempting to correct the convergence of ideas that their neural pathways create. Just listen. Is there an urgency to the message? You can sense that. Are they showing an emotion you can recognize, despite the nature of the words, the cadence of their speech? Listen actively, without reason. Bring your shared history with you. Bring love.

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Letting Go – Part Two

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So, in the light of day, I had to let go of my fears, and hang on for dear life to the only hope left. And that required me to let go of my daughter, to entrust her care to strangers who could hopefully do what I could not. Save her life. Not just in the literal sense of keeping her alive, but also in giving her back a life that she could cherish.

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