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Posts Tagged ‘mental illness’

Good question, great article.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1863220,00.html

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Hey everyone. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Been working hard on the book, and feeling a little blue. I got no sleep last night and I felt pretty trashed today. But I’ve noticed that ever since I went on Zyprexa (mood stabilizer – helps with sleep when the restless legs don’t attack me), I have felt very emotionally “flat.” Like it’s nearly impossible to really take an interest in anything. I do what I do because I have to do it, and nothing more. I guess I need to follow my own good advice and go see the doctor.

The problem is, before Zyprexa, I was on Seroquel, which is very sedating and great for sleeping, but it kept me rather sedated all day – to the point where I was falling asleep at my computer. Zyprexa is sedating, as well, but it doesn’t “hit me” as hard, and it wears off enough to allow me to function. The problem with some of these meds is that you’re darned if you do, and darned if you don’t.

I am happy to report, on a related note, that I haven been gathering quite a few interviews of random people for my book. I belong to a few mental health groups on Facebook, so I put the call out in the groups to e-mail me if they wanted to tell me their story. It certainly has been interesting. One woman gave up on Christianity because she was schizophrenic, and when she went to church she believed that she was Jesus’ wife. No more religion for her. I’m not quite sure where or if that fits into my book, but I certainly did find it interesting.

I am having to water down my language, unfortunately. One of the goals of the book is to reduce the stigma attached to the term “mental illness.” It’s to make people realize that heart disease is a disease of the heart, diabetes a disease of the pancreas, and mental illness and disease of the brain. But as it turns out — and I should have known this — people hear “mental illness” and freak out. They don’t want anything to do with it. So I’ve gone from saying “mental illness” to “emotional issues.” Hopefully that is coddling enough to reduce everyone’s anxiety.

Like I said… darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

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Last night I was talking to an acquaintance on the phone about my book progress among other things, and in a rather cautionary tone, she told me her experience with Bipolar Disorder. I must admit, I had a laugh over this.

One time at an event for one of the ministries she’s involved in at church, she struck up a conversation with a woman who was drinking can after can of Coca-Cola. This woman complained to my acquaintance that she couldn’t drop any weight, and she didn’t know why. My acquaintance, who is pure of heart and had no idea that this girl was even bipolar, told her to stop drinking cokes and start drinking a lot of water to flush out her system.

A few weeks later, my acquaintance gets a call from a church friend who says, “Hey, have you talked to Sue lately?” She says no and asks how she’s doing. Her friend on the phone goes, “Well, she’s been drinking tons of water and she flushed the Lithium out of her body and went kinda crazy, and now she’s in an Asylum!”

That’s one of those situations where it’s not funny, but it is, you know?
Impulse control and common sense, unfortunately, are not among our bipolar symptoms.

I always tell people that I like to talk about my disease as if it were a head cold. No big deal. I’m sick, I deal with it the best way I can, you can’t catch it (although after more than two years at my last job, I was beginning to think you really could “catch crazy), and I talk about it because I believe once you give something a voice, it stops being a taboo subject. This was also the idea behind the sexual abuse counseling I went to. The events of your childhood cease to be dirty secrets once they come to light and are faced head-on.

I think the same is true of mental illness. People are afraid what they don’t understand, but they’re never going TO understand until we come into the light (because, after all, Jesus calls us out of darkness anyway), and be honest about what ails us. And, yes, it means enduring jokes and stereotypes, but isn’t work to be acting strangely at times and not have anyone know why?

I know a lot of people don’t like to talk about ANY of their problems, and I can’t blame them. It’s a free country where we can say whatever we want, or opt not to, if that’s the better choice. However, I really do feel that if you’re sick of the lack of understanding, as I am, then you have a responsibility to educate people.

I take meds for diabetes, I take meds for my high blood pressure, and I take meds for my brain illness. That’s how I look at my life. And if someone has a problem with me because of it, even after having everything explained, than so be it. At least they’ve been told the truth.

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As some of you already know, I am in the process of writing a book about mental illness and the Church.  This book will focus on educating the Church as to what mental illness is and isn’t, and highlight what they’ve been doing right, as well as what they’ve been doing wrong.  It will also serve as a “guide” to ministering to the sick.

If you have a story – either good or bad – regarding your own experiences with mental illness and church/Christians, I want to hear from you.  I am currently doing interviews and would love to hear what you have to say.

You can contact me at julie.fidlerATlive.com  (Remove the “AT” and replace it with “@”.)

Looking forward to hearing from you!

-Julie

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I was just watching a segment on Fox News about the great Olympian of all time, USA star, Michael Phelps.  Apparently, when Michael was a youngster, he struggled with ADHD in a big way, and his first swimming teacher recalls him being “benched” by lifeguards on a pretty regular basis.  🙂  He hated taking the medication for it, so he was able to channel that energy and struggle into the pool.  Having a weakness made him a tremendous athlete, and I have to say this is one of the best success stories I’ve ever heard.

Did his ADHD go away?  No, but his focus keeps it under control.  I can understand that, because as a swimmer myself, I have found that being in the pool on a regular basis really helps me defeat depression.

What helps you?

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I’m diabetic.
I’m hypertensive.
I’m bipolar.

What I’m not is politically correct.

We’re trying to “normalize” mental illness, correct? Trying to make people understand that it is, in fact, an illness, not a personal shortcoming, demon possession, or a badge on someone’s forehead. Am I right? Then why are professionals and advocates so insistent upon referring to people like me as “people with mental illness”? What’s wrong with saying someone is mentally ill? It’s a legit physical illness, right? The brain is an organ, and that’s the organ affected, isn’t it?

I’m mentally ill. Just like I’m diabetic and hypertensive. How are we going to remove a stigma when we can’t even work up the nerve to call it like it is? And no one supports this ideology like NAMI.

The thing about mental illness is, it’s just another illness…but it’s not. But in order for a person to learn to cope with their illness, they have to first own it. Phrasing things in a politically correct way just separates people from what ails them, like it’s some other entity hanging on and sucking away the life of a person.

You can’t treat it until you can own it.

I’m diabetic, hypertensive, and mentally ill.

More on this later.

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I stink at art - especially pastels - but every once in a while, the bug bites me.

I stink at art - especially pastels - but every once in a while, the bug bites me.

When you’re sick and things don’t go your way, doesn’t seem like everything is 10 times worse than it really is?  Being bipolar is hardly the exception.

I cleaned the apartment today and decided I need to go for a swim.  Swimming definitely squeezes the endorphins into me, so I packed up my gym bag off I went.  But once I got there and went to change into my bathing suit, I realized I had packed everything but my bathing suit.  What’s a bipolar chick to do?  So I started crying and told my husband the entire world was out to get me.

After a long shower and some caffeine, I’m seeing things more clearly and I recognize the melodrama.

I have been struggling with depression because the time I take some of meds changed, and I have to really fight to remember to take them… which I haven’t, more than a time or two.  So I’ve thrown myself out of whack, and that’s how it goes.

Ten lashes for being irresponsible.

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