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Showing posts from April, 2015

HAWMC #27 - Medications and Poetry for World Health Day

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I think the healthy way to live is to make friends with the beast inside oneself, and that means not the beast but the shadow. The dark side of one's nature. Have fun with it and you know, is to accept everything about ourselves. Anthony Hopkins World Health Day was April 7, but I'm always writing about mental health, so I feel like I celebrate it every day.  Recently, The American Recall Center inspired me to talk about medication for world health day, so here are my two cents. No one wants to be on medication and there is a stigma to taking medication, but I have found that some people need it anyway.  I do.  Medication helps control my depression, anxiety, mood swings, the amount of sleep I get and psychosis.  I've tried going without, but then I don't sleep as well and within a few days I start decompensating, so meds are for me. Some think that patients should not talk about their side effects or drugs with others since everyone reacts to them different

My First Vlog! Giving Yourself Grace

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After watching a few vlogs the other day, I decided to make my own!  It took me a while to figure out how to upload the video to youtube and I probably did some things to my Google account that I really shouldn't have, but at last, it is done.  It is a bit awkward, but for my first attempt, I am really quite pleased.  I will work on getting better lighting and being more expressive over time. It is called, Giving Yourself Grace, and is a companion piece to yesterday's blog post .  Enjoy!

HAWMC #24 - Recovered Vs. Recovery - Giving Myself Grace

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Today's prompt is to tell you about how I maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I am not going to talk about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle, but a mentally healthy one and that is by giving myself grace. I am realizing more and more how much I doubt myself.  I put my foot in my mouth and jump to conclusions too.  I participate in gossip and live in fear.  These are just the not-so-great things I noticed I did today.  Each time I noticed what I was doing, I sort of laughed at myself and said, "Well, that's better than I used to do." And so I gave myself grace. Grace is the knowledge that while I will try to do better at living, I acknowledge that I am imperfect and that is how it should be for nobody is perfect. Grace is life-changing and life-affirming.  It enables one to start over instead of staying stagnant. This brings me to something I mentioned during The Respect Institute workshop I recently attended: I am not recovered. Because of sick

HAWMC #19 - More Honesty, Less Stress

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"It takes strength and courage to tell the truth." Rick Riordan , The Red Pyramid Yesterday's prompt asked me what do I do to help ease my stress and there are many things, like drinking hot tea, journaling and playing music.  One of my top ones is speaking my truth.  I have a wonderful therapist and sharing with her what I am stressed about helps me gain clarity about what is important and what can be discarded.  I did that with her just a few hours ago and we decided that one event I was stressing about I should forego and the other I should pursue.  Talking with her helped me focus on my goals and what would actually make me happy.  I also have several close friends that I know I can call if I need to talk about something and my therapy appointment is far away.  Talking to them strengthens our bond and helps me not feel overly burdened by troubles. I was recently at a wonderful workshop called The Respect Institute .  It was a transformative experience where peopl

HAWMC Day 14 - I Need Sleep (and so do you)

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A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~ An Irish Proverb  Today's topic is what makes me feel my best and it is hands down getting enough restful sleep.  A doctor once told me that sleep is just as important as medication for bipolar disorder.  I talked with a friend about it yesterday and we think it's more important than medication and that that applies to everybody.  Unfortunately, I got to find out just how important it is by suffering with insomnia for about three weeks. Sleep deprivation absolutely makes one crazy.  By the end of the three weeks, I had absolutely no energy and was severely depressed.  I came home from a workshop yesterday and just cried and cried from exhaustion and the realization that I was not happy at all.  It was a terrible feeling because I knew that as soon as I got enough sleep that I would be back to my old self, but how to get it?  I felt desperate in a way that I have not felt in a while.  I took a

HAWMC Day 10 - Don't Be Jealous, Make a Cupcake!

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Yet the children of your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' But it is their way that is not fair. Ezekiel 33:17 Recently I sent an email to a friend and after reviewing it, I realized that I had fallen prey to the envy monster.  I was jealous that everyone around me seemed to have more money, to have less anxiety, and less struggles.  Anytime someone mentioned what they were doing, it reminded me of what I was NOT doing.  I wanted to have just as much as everyone else and everything seemed incredibly unfair. But then I thought - these things that other people have are not even things that I want!  Why bemoan about how everyone has more when I already have all that I need.  Yes, it is true that I am not the same.  I get my food from food stamps, I get money from the government and my parents, but why does it matter where I get my money and my food if all my needs are fulfilled?  It is our system that is unfair - we see post after post about obtaining new things

HAWMC Day 6 - Emotional Safety

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Day six is about your hero and my hero is my therapist.  I have been seeing her for nine and a half years and our relationship has changed my life. Some people criticize having a therapist for so long, saying that it must surely mean that I am not doing better, but that is not true - I started out seeing her twice a week and now I only see her twice a month.  What I really do not think those people realize is how bad my mental illnesses were and how bad my anxiety continues to be.  I need someone that I can unload my anxieties onto and ask for help in figuring out how to overcome them.  I need someone who is emotionally safe. Because I am so sensitive, a question I often ask myself is does this person seem emotionally safe to me?  Emotional safety, to me, is being able to talk to someone without fear of being judged, made fun of, lectured, condescended to, yelled at, bossed, disregarded, or feel invalidated because of our interactions.  For a long time, she was the only person I fel

HAWMC Day #5 - Proud Pain

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You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.  Psalm 30:11 Day #5 asks us to share our achievements in the last five years, so if you don't mind some bragging, here they are: Became IOOV Presenter Diagnosed with BPD &; Now In Recovery Started Feminist Book Club & Feminist Bible Group Won Two Art Awards Granted Disability Moved out of parent's house Started Website Three Years Hospital Free Still Have Faith Still Alive - Older Than Sylvia Plath What I noticed in writing these achievements is that I am wonderfully resilient.  In order to celebrate still having faith, still being alive, having a business based in recovery is that I, of course, had to go through awful events to make those achievements note-worthy and I did.  The year I celebrated living past Sylvia Plath, I was barely hanging on, myself.  I experienced trauma, which started a cycle of hospitalizations that left me miserable.  I

HAWMC Day #3 - Do Not Fear, But Live in Freedom and Love

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“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert , Dune Today's prompt is it write about a time that I've benefitted from the kindness of a stranger.  Most of the times when I've been helped by a stranger involve food and money.  There have been several times when I left my wallet at home and so the cashier paid for my food anyway.  I have always been very grateful in those situations.  Fairly recently, I was at a supermarket with a good friend when she found to her dismay that the store would not take debit cards and she did not have enough money on her credit card to pay for all of her food.  As she started to put food back, the woman behind her in line decided to pay for all the discarded food and

HAWMC 2015 Day #1 & #2 - The Key to Happiness

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“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig It is April and that means it is time for the annual WEGO Health, Health Activist Writer's Monthly Challenge !  I try to do a majority of the posts every year.  Yesterday's prompt was easy - take a selfie of me showing how excited I am to be writing: Note that my earrings are heart-shaped, showing my self-love.  I am also excited because I just bought me a ticket to see my favorite musical, Pippin, at the FOX Theatre in downtown Atlanta.  Since I do love myself, I love to be alone with myself and will be attending the show alone.  Some people think that being alone is always lonely, but that is far from true - often times, the best times I have are by myself and the times when I feel the most lonely are when I am surrounded by other people.  It's all a matter of how I feel in the moment - if I a