Mental Illness


Mental Illness

Friday, 31 May 2013, the POTUS addressed the topic of Mental Health. I … flooded my twitter stream with my own experience, hoping to encourage by example. Please don’t mind the typos; I was passionate and my iPhone was trying to help correct everything.

  1. Mental Health care is a huge deal. If my psychiatrist weren’t a family friend I wouldn’t have access.
  2. Mental health needs to be treated as seriously as physical health. The two are not separate entities.
  3. President Obama: “We want to let people living with mental health challenges know they are not alone.” #MentalHealthMatters
  4. Obama: “It’s not enough to help more Americans seek treatment—we also need to make sure treatment is there.” #MentalHealthMatters
  5. I don’t hide the fact that I take medication for mental illness. I defy the stigma. I didn’t ask for the illness or the stigma.
  6. People who haven’t seen me off my medication don’t understand how bad things can be. Ask @hillarygayle about checking me into a mental hosp.
  7. I do not submit to the attendant stigma of mental illness any more than I feel bad about having had leukemia.
  8. I have been truly lucky to receive life-saving help. Not everyone has that. #MentalHealthMatters
  9. @upworthy Personally, it’s always comes down to being able to afford treatment. Do I eat this week or do I buy the meds?
  10. If you do not believe mental illness can be life threatening, I have to ask how long you plant to keep your head up your butt.
  11. @LadyLoveMonster @Upworthy And that people w/violent episodes can be helped with therapy & medication. The disorder is not the person.
  12. Sec. Sebelius announces a new website that will help those dealing with mental health issues. #MentalHealthMatters
  13. @upworthy more needs to be done. If my psychiatrist weren’t a family friend, I wouldn’t have access. #mentalhealthmatters
  14. I was on FMLA for my illnesses but my employer exploited that and pressured me into resigning.
  15. That resignation left me w/o recourse to unemployment ins or coverage for my meds & made it difficult to find further employment.
  16. But I’m one of the lucky ones. Strong support system means I have access to treatment now. Not everyone has that.
  17. Even now, hospitalizations leave holes in my employment record. Hospitalized for major injury or surgery wouldn’t matter. Mental health? OMG
  18. So yes, today is going to be a flood of tweets about me tap illness and stigma and how both are ruinous.
  19. Someone you know battles a mental illness. And more than likely, s/he worries what you’d think if you knew. Change that.
  20. And if you’re fighting for your life against a brain that wants to kill you, it can get better, I promise. It’s hard, but it can.
  21. I didn’t get treatment until I was nearly 24. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like with earlier help. What matters is now.
  22. Meds are not magic happy pills for people w/o willpower.
  23. It may take a while to find the right med/combo and longer for it to work. But it’s worth it. Fighting is worth it. YOU are worth it.
  24. It took a long time to find the right combo of meds and we still tweak it when necessary, which scares me. But it’s worth it.
  25. If what you’re doing now isn’t helping, there are other options. Keep trying. Please don’t give up.
  26. Zoloft made me suicidal. Wellbutrin helped for a little while. Celexa helped a lot & so does klonopin. My brother is opposit.
  27. What works for one (therapy, meds, etc) will not, by default, automatically work for another.
  28. Keep trying. When you finally shake off a layer of depression or anxiety, you won’t regret the battle.
  29. My depression was so all-encompassing I could identify anxiety till years later. Finally, both are treated. It’s amazing.
  30. I don’t know how to underscore hard enough how worth it it is to fight stigma and regain your mind. Keep fighting.
  31. Seem treatment. You are not crazy. It’s a real illness & if it’s breaking your life, see someone.
  32. There is help out there. And there are organizations that can help you gain access to treatment.
  33. There are people who love you and there are people (like me) who will be cheering for you all the way.
  34. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t let stigma or your illness take you from a world that desperately needs what only you can offer.
  35. If you’ve taken the first steps toward getting help, let me personally tell you I’m so damn proud of you. Congratulations. Please keep going
  36. Due to stigma, I didn’t know my I’ll was had a NAME, much less that it was treatable! My life stayed broken.
  37. I was. So sure my doctor would laugh me out of the office that it took ages to broach the subject. More time wasted b/c of stigma!
  38. When I finally told my doctor, he was tearful and reassured me I’m not crazy. This is a treatable illness.
  39. If your doctor does laugh or doesn’t take you seriously, FIRE THE DOCTOR. The doctor works for YOU.
  40. By and large, though, a doctor is going to help you find treatment – medical, therapy, whatever. Take the first step.
  41. Also, nurses are badass humans who know so much. Talk to a nurse if your doctor is intimidating.
  42. It will take a while for any treatment to kick in. Don’t give up! Please don’t give up. The right treatment will change your life.
  43. Don be afraid to tell the doctor that a med/treatment are t working, though. People react differently to different types. But TRY AGAIN
  44. I went through so many meds/therapies before finding the right “cocktail.” It takes work, but keeping at it is worth it. I’m worth it.
  45. And I’m gonna say it again: if you’re taking or trying to take those first steps, I AM SO DAMN PROUD OF YOU.
  46. If you’ve taken those steps & gotten help, SPEAK UP. Someone is waiting for your encouragement & your example.
  47. Don’t let someone wonder why it seems everybody else has it all together. Speak up. Be honest. Sometimes it takes help to get it together.
  48. Sometimes I joke about the number of pills I take or having my therapist on speed dial but those things SAVED MY LIFE.
  49. I wish I didn’t have to take meds. I even resent it sometimes. But compared what life was like before? Gimme the meds.
  50. I’m just going to say it again: the first step is never easy. But people will help you walk the path. I am so damn proud of you.
  51. If your family isn’t supportive, you choose family who is. Create your own family. Love doesn’t stand in the way of help.
  52. If you need help taking the first step, ask someone safe to go with you. Even someone sitting in the waiting room can make it a bit easier
  53. It’s not easy and it’s not much fun, but really? What have you got to lose?
  54. I know what the darkness of depression looks and feels like. I call it the time I lived dead. It gets better.
  55. Take the first steps toward help. Speak out about help you’ve received. Kill stigma. I’m so damn proud of you.
  56. Don’t assume that your depression/anxiety is somehow less valid if it doesn’t stem from abuse. Imbalances happen even in “normal” people.
  57. Why you’re brave for seeking help: 1. Talking to a relative stranger about something so personal. #youarebrave #mentalhealthmatters
  58. 2. Potentially taking meds when you know that the first one may not be the right one but it will probably take a month to know. #youarebrave
  59. 3. Persevering despite steps backward and sideways because there IS something out there. #youarebrave #mentalhealthmatters
  60. 4. Speaking up in affirmation that life does get better & there is hope & help. #youarebrave #mentalhealthmatters
  61. I’m not sugar coating it. The road to health from mental illness is hard and painful. But what have you got to lose? It gets so much better!
  62. Life can be worth living and your illness does not have to rule your life. There’s help. And I am so damn proud of you. #mentalhealthmatters
  63. I am passionate about this. If someone had spoken out before I might have been treated sooner. I want to help others. #mentalhealthmatters
  64. It is hard. It can be lonely even with the best support. But it gets better and I am cheering my head off for you. I am so damn proud of you
  65. “Is Q still talking about mental health?” “Yep.” –my TL
  66. If you haven’t read @AllieBrosh‘s brilliant & hilarious & heartbreaking depression post, do.
  67. If you don’t have a mental illness, great! But that is no more your doing than a mentally ill person is to blame for being ill. Fight stigma
  68. Again: Someone you know battles a mental illness. And more than likely, s/he worries what you’d think if you knew. Change that.
  69. Don’t let your perception of normality determine whether another’s suffering is “real.” Fight stigma, don’t encourage it.
  70. If your friend talks to you about mental illness, that’s a sacred trust. Don’t crap on it. Stand with him/her.
  71. It takes a lot of courage for someone to speak up the first time. If they’re talking to you, be honored and worthy if that trust.
  72. In whatever way you can, let that person know that this does not change his/her value as a person & friend.
  73. Affirm that the person is not the illness. S/he is not the depression or schizophrenia anymore than you are your blood pressure.
  74. Don’t expect them to be magically better after starting a med or therapy. It takes time. Understand that & that there may be relapses.
  75. And if you are a support person for someone dealing with mental illness, do draw boundaries & practice self-care. It’s best for you both.
  76. @Quiara and don’t act scared and make it about you. it’s not your illness. if you have worries, don’t make her carry them also.
  77. Be willing to be in it for the long haul. Most mental illnesses are a lifetime struggle, not a one-off event. Don’t minimize a relapse>>
  78. But don’t lose hope. Relapses are not proof that treatment isn’t working, just signals it needs augmentation.
  79. #Stigma creates barriers to treatment, employment, housing, & ultimately acceptance. Help us eliminate stigma. Don’t be silent. #mhm #mhsm
  80. While tweeting about mental illness today, I have encountered so many brave, wonderful people. I am so damn proud of you!
  81. FACT: With #Obamacare & other efforts, mental health benefits are being expanded to 62 million Americans. #MentalHealthMatters (via @HHSGov)

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Mental Health – from shame to seeking health – a note | Lana Hobbs the Brave

  2. Pingback: Mental Health — From Shame to Seeking Help, Part One: I Am Bipolar | H • A

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