I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Warmlines and LGBT Mental Health Resources

Mental illness can be very isolating.  Depression makes one want to hide and feel unloved, anxiety makes timid about talking/interacting with others, BPD makes one push others away, schizophrenia takes one out of reality and scares other people, mania makes one irritable, eating disorders make one shun eating activities.  Of course, these are generalizations, but I have experienced all of those hardships (yes, I am super DSM girl!) and the fact remains that mental illness is not usually good for anyone's social life.  I used to have no boundaries and so would tell everyone everything about my life and this would overwhelm people and push them away.  Whenever I am depressed, I become super irritable and argumentative.

Mental illness is isolating and unfortunately during the time when one most needs to talk, it can be the hardest to find someone to trust,

Fortunately, I am glad to report that in the U.S. there are warmlines.  I just discovered them and I wish I had known about them sooner.  Warmlines are a number you can call when you need to talk to someone, but you're not in crisis.  I think it's wonderful!  I can remember calling a suicide hotline several times when I was having suicidal ideations, but I knew I was not going to act on it.  Those calls were very frustrating because there was basically nothing that the person could do for me.  To my pain, I discovered that they did not want to talk to me if I was not in absolute crisis, which is a shame because talking about anxieties and ideations can prevent them from elevating and it made me feel isolated even more.  Like I have written about before, talking about suicidal ideations is an incredibly taboo subject, but talking about them is exactly what diminishes them.  A common recovery phrase is that "our secrets make us sicker" and that is definitely true.  Talking about our frustrations and impulses towards self-harm or suicide reduces their power and appeal.  Having a warmline that I could call when feeling impulsive would make me feel less alone and I would not be worrying whether I am pushing someone away.

People who are LGBT also can feel a double layer of isolation.  I recently put together a list of resources for LGBT people in Georgia for a new NAMI mental health support group that is starting this Saturday for the queer population.  It is sorely needed-Atlanta has one of the largest gay populations in the U.S. and yet this will be the only free mental health support group for them, which is just shocking.  Group details:

First Baptist Decatur Church
1st & 3rd Saturdays
11am-12

Here are Atlanta and some national LGBT resources for youth and adults:

Youth and Families:

Born This Way Foundation
      Lady Gaga's foundation for creating a more inclusive and accepting society

Lost-n-Found Youth
     an Atlanta-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take homeless LGBT youths to age 26     off the street and transition them into more permanent housing. We operate a 24/7 hotline at 678-       856-7825, a Youth Center, a 6-bed 90 day housing facility, and 3-6 month host home program.

Real Youth
      Mission to provide LBGTQ youth and allies the space to be themselves.

The Trevor Project
      24/7 hotline for LBGTQ youth in crisis

PFLAG
      Parents, friends, and family of lesbians and gays.  national support, education and advocacy 
      organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their families, friends and       allies.
 Adults with Mental Illness:

Trans Lifeline877-565-8860  
        staffed by transgender people for transgender people in crisis

       12-step clubhouse for LGBT people in Atlanta

Chrysalis - All Female LBTQ AA Group
       Virginia Highland Church, Fridays at 7:30

       First Baptist Decatur Church
       1st & 3rd Saturdays     11am-12 
   
I also just discovered that NAMI now has an anonymous support app now called NAMI AIR.  Try it out and let me know how you like it.

Link Love:

The Science Museum Blog - Professor Stephen Hawking Gives London's Guest of Honor a Tour of the Museum

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory, or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all. A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race. The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.”

It is brilliant that 40-plus years has allowed growth and change enough that the question of having it all has been eliminated. Of course women can have it all. Nor is the question should women have it all. The question is, must women have it all.




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