May – Bring Awareness to Mental Illness Month

Since 1949, May has been bringing awareness to mental illness in order to help others deal with this very broad topic that ranges from anxiety, depression, manic-depression, postpartum depression and suicide along with many other disorders.   The laws in the country need to be changed in how mental illness is treated.  I was raised with a bi-polar mother and early in life I was very much aware of what the future held not only for the mentally ill but for the innocent people that were going to be left in the aftermath of the obsolete care for this group of individuals.   I remember when mental institutions were closing.  I was very much aware in my gut the problems the public were going to be facing and I was scared for not only the safety of my family but for others as well.   Eventually, I knew that innocent people that were going to be killed as a result of these much needed places closing.   At an early age when I visited the mental institutions to see my mother,  it was common to see the patients roaming and wondering the halls, blank looks on their faces,  donning their robes, hair all askew, rambling off  crazy undertones of their delusional minds of their past and of their perceptions of you as well.  They have no filter and they will spout out their perceptions of you as they see you and it’s as if they have entered your mind, read your thoughts, and spew them out at you with a twisted laugh on their faces, increasing your own anxieties and fears.   Maybe this is why I don’t like to deal with people.  I am afraid of what they are thinking or what they will do.  The picture below is how I feel when I am in the midst of an anxiety attack and feel as if all eyes are on me and I have to wonder if this is how they feel on a daily basis.

It was under the leadership of Ronald Reagan in the November of 1980 that the laws changed regarding care of the mentally ill.  I find it ironic that even though this President experienced mental illness not only in his personal life, but while serving the country as President.  The one person who could effect change, yet did nothing to improve or change the laws for this neglected group of people, as he compared the mentally ill to communism.

My experience as a  family member and taking care of a psychotic person is like observing a tornado form.  You can feel the tornado brewing as the clouds turn dark, the wind kicks up, and you see the first forming of a tunnel cloud.   Sometimes, you are lucky and the storm blows over and there is sunshine and beautiful rainbows afterward.  However,  with a mentally ill person,  you know the storm will be returning and there will not be any sunshine or rainbows when that storm is over and you find yourself anticipating the chaos similar to that of a tornado ranging from an F0 to an F4 and when it has passed, you will feel like you have been hit by an F5 and shaken off your foundation.  You are the one left in the aftermath figuring how to pick up the pieces for yourself and your family to get life back to normal until the next storm hits.

I do not think that society views mental illness as a legitimate illness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  I know growing up I was guilty of this as I watched my mother turn on and off her emotions and I was left with a feeling that she wasn’t really “sick”.   I watched her manipulate people to her advantage and this is why I had a different opinion than others of her behavior growing up.  I loathed when well-meaning people would tell me that she couldn’t help it as I had visual proof otherwise.   It would not be until many years later that I would view this differently and having gone through my own life issues that I began to have a different viewpoint.  Not 100 percent acceptance of the events I had witnessed as a little girl, but possibly a more understanding view.

Through my adult years, I have attended counseling several times to help me learn coping skills for the events of life I was going through at any given time.  I would be lying if I said I had never thought of suicide as as a means to ending my feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and depression.  I haven’t always dealt with the issue at hand in a reasonable fashion, but as I grow older I know I handled what I have been through the best I could, and sometimes, better than most.  As you are facing troubling times in your life, I highly recommend you seek out a counselor that you connect with in order to learn coping skills that will work for you.

If you ever feel yourself in the pit of despair, desperation and have thoughts of harming yourself, please, please, please reach out to the national Suicide Prevention Hotline at:  1-800-273-8255.  I know what it feels like to feel as if you are having a nervous breakdown and I can honestly say the only thing that has kept me from falling off the ledge, so to speak, is having my son and knowing since he already has lost one parent, he can’t lose another one.    Everyone is different and you need to find a good therapist that you connect with and learn coping skills that work best for you.

If you notice a change in a friend or co-worker’s mood, gently reach out to them to let them know you are there to listen to them.  Maybe you can help them by providing a phone number to a therapist that has helped you.   If she is a single mom, maybe she needs a night  and alone you can offer to have her kids over for a sleepover with your kids and they can have a movie or pizza night.  Or if someone is ill, offer the family help by bringing a few casseroles over so the caregiver doesn’t have to worry about dinner while they are taking care of the family.  This would be a great idea for a neighbors to get together and spend an afternoon making their favorite recipes that can be frozen for a family that is going through crisis in order that they do not have to spend tons of money and eating junk food by eating fast food which we all know is expensive and not good for you!  Everyone loves a home cooked meal, hands down!  You can head over to      http://moneysavingmom.com and click on the From The Kitchen Tab and click on Freezer Cooking 101 and Free Printables.  (Who doesn’t love free printables???)  This was my go to site for years  when I was raising my son and money was tight.  There are many nutritious and fun recipes to try and my son never complained.

In closing, please reach our to someone if they need it or it may even be reaching out to yourself in see how you can pair down, make your life less chaotic and more manageable. yourself others,

 

Don’t compare yourself to others which ALWAYS increases my anxiety) and just DO YOU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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