Mental Health Friday #5

Mental Health Friday #5

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Imagine receiving a surprise invite to an amazing dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in your city. You know, one of those invite only establishments. The dinner is for the “who’s who” of the world…but somehow you received an invite. Excited about this unbelievable opportunity, you arrive to the dinner early and wearing your best attire. When you walk up to the registration table to find out your seat assignment, you are given an empty name tag.

You quickly try to give your hostess your name, but she replies “oh no, names don’t matter here.” Baffled, you scowl and wonder what type of place doesn’t take names. The hostess notices your confused scowl and says “once you put the name tag on, it will display the current state of your mind; and that’s your seat assignment.

If you had to wear the current state of your mind like a badge, what would it display? Would your badge read “depressed” or “anxious” or “elated” or something similar? Sadly, most people have never thought about this question, so the answer is likely “I have no idea.”

We have all been taught the importance of physical health, but we rarely hear about the importance of mental health. It’s almost as if we have somehow forgotten that the brain is also apart of the same body we strive to keep healthy.

Now listen, I use “we” to admit that I too am guilty of this. Depending upon which point in my life you asked me this question, my badge could read “I just came for the snacks” or “sooooooooo, you don’t have bacon”. Read more

Mental Health Friday #8

Mental Health Friday #8

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I am diagnosed (at the moment) with rapid cycling bi polar type 2, extreme anxiety, agrophabia, fear of crowds, but that stems from the anxiety.

I feel I was lucky that I had been in my relationship for a while, before I got diagnosed, because for my partner he was suddenly dealing with a different person. Rather than the out-going, always smiling, high flyer, he had known for the previous two and half years, instead, he was dealing with a 6 month pregnant lady, who would cry at the drop of a hat, refused to leave the flat and couldn’t give a flying fig about her job

Due to the fact that I was pregnant, it was easy enough to get me to the doctors and luckily, I wasn’t that far gone and was still able to see something wasn’t right. At that point I was blaming the hormones triggering something, but the fact is I have always been a little bit quirky, shall we say, and thankfully my partner who had known me for nearly 20 years, knew it too.

The doctor sent me for CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) and by the time my son was born, I was not only very stable but with the support of my partner, had started up my own little business and we moved into a house with a garden. Read more

Mental Health Friday #3

Mental Health Friday #3

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The effect of stigma on an individual’s acceptance of a diagnosis is something I find extremely important. As I noted in my last mental health Friday post, my first diagnosis came at the age of five.

At first glance, one might find it easy to stand in judgment of a mother that turns away the opinion of an expert. However, in my case, I was most likely one of the first children diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and at that time (1974), the term Manic Depressive was still prevalent. I can only try to imagine what the “label” would mean to my mother at that time. Something to the effect of her daughter being crazy, stupid, and/or dangerous. To look at her daughter, she knew those things were not true, but had she had a realistic view of what the disorder meant, she may not have so hurriedly pushed it aside.

the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses

At the age of 23, and receiving the diagnosis as an adult, I made an effort to educate myself. What I found to be the problem in seeing this in myself was that the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses. These things were not the case for me and so I turned it away myself, based on my oddly extreme ideas on what the diagnosis meant. Read more

Mental Health Friday #23

Mental Health Friday #23

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I’ve always been quite an anxious child. When I was young, if my parents would tell me they would be back at 8 or whatever, at 8.02 I am already panicked that they’ve been in a car crash.

When I was in about year 9 my anxiety got a lot worse, I was in a toxic friend group which worsened it over time without me realising. At the start of year 10, things got bad. I was at a point where I would come home from school everyday crying. After a lot of crying, I numbed out which I was so happy about.

Roughly 6 months after the ordeal with my mates, I decided to go and see a counsellor. I’m not sure what prompted it, I just decided to. I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety, although my counsellor didn’t really understand it as I was always so happy and laughing (which is just my default I guess. Everyone assumes because someone tells jokes and laughs that they are happy, but it can be quite the opposite). The fact that a lot of people didn’t believe I was suffering made it worse I think, it’s still something I suffer with.

I remember one of my mates told me once “I’m probably more depressed than you because you don’t cry”. A big myth about mental illness is that you’re in your room crying 24/7, but that’s far from the truth. Over the year (year 11, I think it was at this point), my depression kept getting worse and there were many nights where I contemplated suicide and even wrote notes on some nights. I am not sure why my depression was so bad, I had a great life. Another thing about mental illness- it can just happen, nothing bad needs to have happened.

I got put on anti depressants which helped me a lot. Then in September, I was raped (you can read my post on that to find out more) and because I was so numbed out on the anti depressants, it didn’t really affect me. In January when it did affect me and I told my counsellor, they told me ‘that explained everything’. But in my opinion, I was just depressed because of how my brain was working, not because of the rape. Read more

Mental Health Friday #4

Mental Health Friday #4

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Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope? You just couldn’t take it anymore. You didn’t want to talk to anyone, be around anyone, and even form your brain to think about anyone. All you could think about was the extreme feelings of sadness you felt about yourself and your life. You experienced something that brought you down soooo low, you never thought you would be able to come out of it. Two years ago that was me. With the death of my mother and the ending of my long term relationship; those thoughts ran through my mind every day and night.

Heart racing. Shortness of breath. Tears beginning to well up in my eyes. Body feeling numb…every 3 to 4 hours the cycle happens all over again. I lay there trying to control myself, counting back and forth from 1-50… “1..2..3..4..5…….50…49..48..47..46”, praying that I will soon fall back asleep. Crying my eyes out sometimes because I can’t. When I finally wake up in the morning, the feelings I have are no better. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get up. This little voice in my head keeps telling me, “It’s not worth it. You’re just. Not. Worth. It.”

The moment when I realized that I believed that “little voice in my head”, is when I knew something was wrong with me. It wasn’t until one horrible day that I was forced to do something about it. The devil saw fit to ease his way in my thoughts and it went downhill from there. As I walked down Alcoa Road one Friday evening, I began to have thoughts that I’ve never had before. I was tired. Tired of crying, tired of hurting, tired of feeling alone. I started really thinking about the most painless way to end this all. Again, I. Was. Tired. My life was no longer important to me and I began to speak so much negativity over myself while devising a plan in my head. In the middle of all of that, I recieved a phone call from one of my sorority sisters. After ignoring the phone call 3 times I finally answered.

“Hello”
“Hey Bridge. What’s going on? Are you ok? I was just calling to check on you.”
“Yes, I’m fine”
“Bridge, you don’t sound fine. Are you ok?”
*hangs up phone*

I turned my phone off and cried my heart out for 15 minutes. Thoughts still pounding at my soul. Called her back and told her, “No. No, I’m not ok.” I ended up telling her everything that happened. All of the thoughts that were running through my head and how I felt inside. She told me to go to the doctor, but I refused. I worked at a psychiatric hospital and no one was about to call me crazy. I wasn’t having it. But after all of her begging and pleading I made an appointment and went to see the therapist and psychiatrist the next day. Read more

Mental Health Friday #15

Mental Health Friday #15

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When the psychiatrist first told me I had paranoid schizophrenia, she started it off with, “I have some bad news.” I have heard my diagnosis described as, “Every parent’s worst nightmare” and many other almost fatalistic phrases.

How are you supposed to feel about yourself when people describe something that is so much a part of you as awful, terrible, tragic, or sad? Living with paranoid schizophrenia is not for the weak, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world either. Those of us with a mental illness know that suicide is the worst thing, because in the case of suicide everyone loses and the illness is the victor. Suicide should be every parent’s worst nightmare, not schizophrenia.

Unlike suicide, there is hope with schizophrenia. I have symptoms every day, but I live a good life. I worked most of my adult life as a social worker, a library assistant, and a marketing director. I am happily married to the love of my life, and I am currently enrolled in a certificate program for writing at UCLA. I am an aunt to some wonderful young women and men. I am a sister to all five of my brothers. I am an only daughter to my parents, and I am a niece, cousin, and friend to many people. Does that sound like “a parent’s worst nightmare?” No, it doesn’t and it isn’t.

Read more

Mental Health Friday #22

Mental Health Friday #22

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Hi. I’m Angela and I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar 2, borderline personality disorder, binge eating, and general anxiety. I can’t remember how old I was when I realized I had a mental illness. I know I’ve always been suicidal. I think my mind uses it as a coping mechanism. I know I was at least fifteen. It wasn’t until I turned seventeen that I sought help. The catalyst was I went from being suicidal to homicidal. I wanted to stab a kid in my class and it terrified me. I went to the counselor at school and started therapy. Still no one recognized my true diagnosis.

It took me twenty two years to finally get diagnosed properly. I had to get a psychological evaluation for myself. After being treated for depression off and on and then general anxiety with meds that didn’t help, I now have a good mix of medication and therapy. Most days I’m good and for those off days… Well I take one moment at a time.

One final thought… Always self advocate. I wish I had sooner. It took me almost being imploding to realize I need to be picky in my doctors and to get second opinions. We need to take care of ourselves before we can others.


This week’s submission is by Angela who blogs at I am my own island , do pop by and say hello. She writes about life in general, living and improving despite mental issues.

As always, The goal of Mental Health Friday is to break the silence, talk about mental illness with the aim of blurring out the stigma one story at a time. If you’d like to share your story, I’d love to have you. You can contact me at my email: mykahani@yahoo.com . For more information, visit HERE.

Mental Health Friday #10

Mental Health Friday #10

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“Seeing my ex-husband handle himself so well with my mother leads me to believe that maybe if he had more understanding of my illness, my invisible illness, he would have reacted differently to me.”

The above is an excerpt from my last post here. My mother had just passed away from bone cancer. If my ex-husband had been more understanding of my illness, maybe I would not have been in the state that I was in at that point. It was just a year before that my ex-husband had asked me why I was doing so well and when I answered him that it was because I was doing it for myself, he got very upset and yelled at me. He couldn’t seem to understand the concept of doing anything for myself and so, I gave up. At this point, I already knew that nothing I ever did was good enough and so, rather quickly I had shut down. The chronic pain I was experiencing did not help and my defiant nature brought me to a point of being unable to eat. On the outside our marriage looked good, but only because I questioned him on nothing.

My physical state was sad at best. My muscles were weak and I did not trust my legs. I had problems with depth perception, balance and coordination. I had vertigo and severe cramping in my muscles. I was over medicated and still not sleeping. I was having trouble swallowing and due to a Barium Swallow test it was found that my wind pipe was not closing correctly, causing me to choke on my food.

My husband and I decided at this point to quit smoking and we went to our doctor for a quit smoking aid called Chantix. We did quit smoking for three months, but I became suicidal. One weekend in August, my husband took the five boys to Six Flags and I stayed home alone. I knew no one would be by the house while they were gone. That night, I had myself set up to sleep on the couch, where I always slept at this point, with my medications on the table beside me. I figured I could go to sleep and never wake up. I was all settled in when one thought came to me. I would die on my son’s birthday and my two sons would be the first two to probably walk into the living room when they came home.

At that point I decided it would have to be another time, somewhere away from home. The time gave me a chance. I had been telling my psychiatrist that I was depressed, but he just said it was because I quit smoking and I would stay that way for a year. I knew I wouldn’t make it a year, but I did not tell him that. Now though, I decided to make a switch in doctors and the day I walked into my new doctor’s office he changed every medication I was on. He looked at my list and the first thing he said was that I would not be taking Ritalin anymore. I didn’t move in my seat. I thought if I protested he would know I was abusing it. The drastic change in medications saved my life. Within days, I was no longer suicidal, nor was I having thoughts.

It was during this time that I remember a conversation between my ex-husband and one of my step sons. He was saying to my ex-husband, “You say she is miserable in the morning, but it is you I hear yelling at her everyday.”

Within a month of that conversation, my stepson was out of my life with no explanation other that my ex-husband telling me that he was angry at me. I was devastated and lost 27 pounds in a week. Six months later one of my other step sons and his wife and baby where out of our lives again, with no understanding by me of why.

During the Spring of 2008, my husband and I started to smoke Marijuana. We smoked a few times over a period of six months and then my husband stopped. I went on to smoke another six months before my husband realized and we then went back to the program of A.A. We originally met there when I was three weeks sober, May 25th of 1996. We had not abused alcohol or drugs since then and saw Marijuana as a relapse. The twelve steps of A.A. can be applied to more addictions than just alcohol and we both knew that.

This started a new period of our lives. More losses and a new way of life through the steps. To be continued…


Guest Writer: Trae from (TripleClicka.com). I’m honored to have Trae who’s been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, participate, help spread mental health awareness and blur out stigma by sharing her story, here on Mental Health Friday. She’d be back in two weeks with another insight
P.S, her blog link is above, let’s spread some love :). IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. You can contact me on My email address is: mykahani@yahoo.com . For more information, visit this post.

Mental Health Friday #9

Mental Health Friday #9

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Shortly after I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder in 2001, my life changed and I crashed. My husband at the time had been complaining quite a bit about the behavior of my son, who had also been recently diagnosed. My husband was also looking at me differently. He became quite controlling as though I were a child and everything I wanted to do became something he doubted I could do. Life went on this way for a year and a few months and then, life changed.

The above is an excerpt from my last post here where I mentioned, it was July of 2003 that my husband and I bought a house. He had started his own business and our life was quiet. What you don’t know is that my husband had three sons from a previous marriage. He had signed open adoption papers before I met him and we visited with them every six months. The two oldest, twins, came into our lives on a more constant basis in 2004 after they had turned 18 that summer. I couldn’t have been happier to have them there.

One evening a few months later, my husband and I sat at the kitchen table. He cried that evening as he told me how sorry he was. He said the way that I treated his sons as though they were my own made him feel terrible for the way he had acted with my son. He promised to talk to my son and to make a change. He did. His relationship with my son became something I never thought I would see. Still though, I found him being partial to his own sons in ways. Christmas shopping for example. I had to fight with him to put each present in the cart for my son. I believe my husband continued to work on that and did make progress. His relationship with my son grew. Ours did not.

In March of 2005 my mother sold her house and moved in with us. Another big adjustment. At that time I experienced a relationship with my mother that I had never had before. I am grateful for that.

In July of 2005 I suddenly became sick. I had foot drop in my right foot, I couldn’t stand on my right leg at all due to weakness. There was pain in my legs and feet that I couldn’t explain and I started to fall a lot. There was a feeling of nausea that ran through my entire body. It was debilitating and I was scared. It took months of going to doctors and finally a Neurologist to find out that I had peripheral neuropathy with no known cause.

For myself I look to see a cause. Was it years of stress. Was it the large amounts of Ritalin I was prescribed for ADHD. Was it the long period of time when I became so defiant that I refused anything for myself that I could. The period of time when I refused to eat. I will never know. What I do know is that my body was failing me. I was scared and my husband was scared, he shut me out again.

In December of 2005 my mother was diagnosed with bone cancer. She stayed at home with us until she passed away March 24, 2006. Cancer is a disease that you can see. You can see it in the faces of terminal patients, I know this. My husband could see and he helped me to take care of her. I was amazed at how good he was with her.

Seeing my husband handle himself so well with my mother leads me to believe that maybe if he had more understanding of my illness, my invisible illness, he would have reacted differently to me.

To be continued…

Guest Writer: Trae from (TripleClicka.com). I’m honored to have Trae participate and help spread mental health awareness and blur out stigma by sharing her story, here on Mental Health Friday. She’d be back in two weeks. Here are here previous entries: part 1, part 2, part 3
P.S, her blog link is above, let’s spread some love :).  IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com

If you’d love to contribute on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. My email address is: mykahani@yahoo.com . For more information, visit this post.

Mental Health Friday #7

Mental Health Friday #7

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If we truly do want stigma gone, we have to start treating ourselves better. We need to stop seeing ourselves the way stigma says we should. Acceptance and compliance to treatment does not make us weak, it means we see our limitations and that is a part of strength. Compliance to treatment says we are not ashamed. If I want to be treated well, I must first treat myself well. If I want someone to believe in me, I must first believe in myself. If I want someone to understand something, I need to first understand it myself. That is my responsibility.

This is an excerpt from my last post here on Ameena’s blog. I can not tell you that I have always treated myself as well as I do now. I can not even say that I treat myself as well as I should. What I can say is that I have learned on an extremely difficult road that if I don’t treat myself well, no one else will. If I don’t like myself I will change myself for other people. If I change myself for other people, I will never be with people that actually like me. If I am with people that don’t actually like me, how will I know it is ok to like myself? It sounds like a trap and it is. We trap ourselves, every time we accept less, we trap ourselves.

It is hard to step back and look at the trap we are in. No one around us sees us any better than the way we treat ourselves and so, when looking to our fellows for reassurance, which is normal by the way, we get none.

The thing is, we know. We know we are capable, yet we doubt ourselves when we look for reassurance from others and it is not there. In my life I have allowed myself to feel so low about myself and my life that I was spending my time just waiting to die.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder in 2001 my life changed and I crashed. My husband at the time had been complaining quite a bit about the behavior of my son, who had also been recently diagnosed. My husband was also looking at me differently. He suddenly decided I wasn’t good at paying the bills, although I hadn’t had any problems doing so. He became quite controlling as though I were a child and everything I wanted to do became something he doubted I could do. Driving the hour to Boston, especially at night. Everything became something I should doubt that I could do and I did doubt myself. As I failed and the behavior of my son got worse, my husband and I argued all the time, me constantly defending my son. Everything just seemed to fall apart and the stress level was at a dangerous point.

I went to my son’s therapist and with her sitting with me, I called the Department of Social Services and reported myself. My claim was that I was afraid I was going to hurt my son. When I met with the woman at DSS, she asked me if I wanted her to open a case and I told her I did. I went through investigation and my claim was unfounded. However, this did get some help to come out to my house. I was then deferred to an organization called MSPCC. A woman was sent to my house to sit with me and help me to get respite services for my son.

Before I go on, I want to say that I do not believe any of this situation was directly caused by my son’s behavior. I believe more that his behavior was worsened to a great degree by the stress in the house. Read more