Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Imagine

It's time for the "Five Minute Friday" blogging post. The inspiration comes from Lisa Jo Baker

What you do is set your timer for five minutes and write whatever you want according to the prompt Lisa places on her blog every Friday. Then you go back, link your blog and give support to those who posted before you. And, we connect on Twitter with #FiveMinuteFriday.



Imagine a world with no hate, bigotry, violence, crime. I do. I think about going to that world some day. Not now. I have too much living to do. But, some day. God's promise is a world of everlasting joy. I look forward to everlasting joy and peace. 

But not now.

I'm not finished yet with this world. I'm not finished yet trying to teach it things about me and Bipolar and Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I'm not finished learning about my children and my grandchildren.

No, not now.

I have so much living left to do. But, I can imagine what life will be like when I get to heaven. Such a wondrous place. Full of love and peace and harmony. The riches of the kingdom all for me. Just for believing in Christ and taking Him into my heart and becoming a child of Christ.

I'm still waiting.

Still living with my husband and our pets. Still enjoying the gifts God has given to me here.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Song

It's time for the "Five Minute Friday" blogging post. The inspiration comes from Lisa Jo Baker

What you do is set your timer for five minutes and write whatever you want according to the prompt Lisa places on her blog every Friday. Then you go back, link your blog and give support to those who posted before you. And, we connect on Twitter with #FiveMinuteFriday.



I'm walking on sunshine. That's the song of my life. It was the first song I heard when I got out of the hospital for being hospitalized for Bipolar Disorder. My life wasn't mixed up, depressed and crazy anymore. I was WALKING ON SUNSHINE. When Katrina and the Waves belted out that tune, I knew I'd found not only the song for my life, but the title for my memoir. "Walking on Sunshine". My memoir was going to be about my journey from the edge of darkness to finding my way back to the sunshine in my life. That journey took some weird turns and twists but I always found my way back to sunshine. To the light. That's what is most important in my life. That I stay in the light. That the light guides me and protects me. So, I'll always carry that tune, "walking on sunshine" in my head and whenever I hear it, I know good things are happening in my life. I want to share the best part of the song with you:

I'm walking on sunshine , wooah
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah
and don't it feel good!! 

Hey , alright now
and don't it feel good!!
hey yeh ,oh yeh
and don't it feel good!! 

walking on sunshine
walking on sunshine 

I feel the love,I feel the love, I feel the love that's really real
I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that's really real 

I'm on sunshine baby oh
I'm on sunshine baby oh 

I'm walking on sunshine wooah
I'm walking on sunshine wooah
I'm walking on sunshine wooah 

and don't it feel good!!
I'll say it again now
and don't it feel good!! 

Now don't you feel great? Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Mental Health Means to Me

 Keeping up with Mental Health Awareness for the month of May, I thought I'd talk a bit about what Mental Health Means to Me.

Mental Health is hard to pin down. People with depression, anxiety, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and such aren't always as open as people with physical illnesses. For one reason, they don't feel as comfortable talking about their illness because of the treatment they receive from those who they open up to. Stigmatism is so prevalent in the Mental Health world. If I had cancer, I'd get more support and the best medical treatments I could ever imagine. But, if I tell the world I have Bipolar Disorder I'm bound to receive comments from "it's all in my head" to "shouldn't you be in an institution?" to shocked silence and eventual breaking up of a friendship or loss of companion.

I found an article that really gets into what Mental Health means to one person. Her name is Kristi Dename and she wrote What Mental Health Means to Me. Kristi opens up about what Mental Health means to her and gets into the nuts and bolts of Mental Health as it exists today.

I am constantly monitoring myself to determine where I am in balancing my Mental Health. I always ask myself the question "What effect will this decision have on my mental health?" when deciding to commit to something or do something that may have an impact on my Mental Health.

I am always wary of long term commitments because Bipolar Disorder is a tricky illness. I can be well balanced and having good days and WHAM! Out of the blue a very bad day can occur and I can sway from manic to depressive or the other way around within hours.

I have to be so careful of triggers that can cause a mood change. I must stay away from drama and conflict, whether it is around me or on television. I have a list of triggers that I must we aware of that may worsen my mental health difficulties:
1. anniversary dates of loss or trauma
2. traumatic news events
3. being over tired
4. family friction
5. spending too much time alone
6. being judged or criticized
7. being teased or put down
8. financial problems
9. physical illness - being in pain
10. hateful outbursts by others
11. aggressive sounding noises (sustained)
12. being the scapegoat
13. being condemned/shunned other other(s)
14. being around an abuser, or someone who reminds me of a past abuser
15. things that remind me of abandonment or deprivation
16. excessive stress
17. someone trying to tell me how to run my life
18. self blame
19. extreme guilt (from having to say "no" to someone, etc.)
20. crowds
21. loud noises
22. unexpected situations
23. closed MRI
24. lack of structure or change in schedule
25. distorted thoughts and feelings
26. rejection - or perceived rejection by friends or family
27. overstimulation
28. should/could/would statements
29. raised voices

To help me keep track of all my triggers and things I can do to keep my triggers from having a more serious effect, I use what's called a WRAP. Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Mary Ellen Copeland PhD created this wonderful tool to help you manage your Mental Health. I use mine all of the time. Sometimes on a daily basis. I also keep it in a binder so that I can take it with me if I'm ever hospitalized because it also contains a list of all of my current medications, my medical history, my living will, and a power of attorney for health care. All important documents that are needed during a crisis situation like being hospitalized.

 When I'm doing well and am Mentally Healthy, I can do the following things:
1. Review WRAP
2. Take a walk
3. Walk my dog
4. Play Boggle
5. Play word search games or Scrabble
6. Take a shower
7. Call a friend or family member
8. Text a friend or family member
9. Read
10. Watch TV (no drama or conflict)
11. Surf the Internet (no shopping sites)
12. Jigsaw puzzles
13. Container gardening
14. Work on memoir
15. Work on Blogs
16. Color in coloring books
17. Read Bible

It's important that I do the following things every day to stay Mentally Healthy:
1. Eat breakfast
2. Walk my dog
3. Walk myself
4. Brush my teeth and floss
5. Stay on diet (no obsessive eating)
6. Take medications on time
7. Find time to relax and read
8. Find time to catch up on recorded TV programs
9. Find time to blog
10. Read Bible
11. Relax with hubby before bedtime

In my WRAP binder I also have reminders of what things I might need to do on a daily basis. What's really important in that binder is the list of things that I need to watch for in case a trigger does occur and what to do if a trigger takes effect.

There is also a list of early warning signs that my mental health difficulties may be getting worse and what to do if that occurs as well. Nothing is left untouched in my WRAP binder. Crisis planning is addressed including contacts for family, friends, and doctors.

Not all is doom and gloom in my WRAP binder. There is a section on how I am when I'm Mentally Healthy. Signs to watch for when that occurs as well. When I'm feeling well, these occur:
1. Happy
2. Helpful
3. Smiling
4. Talkative
5. Engaging
6. Energetic
7. Productive
8. Positive
9. Willing to take walks
10. Keeping appointments
11. Going out with others

For the organized person, the WRAP is perfect. If you're disorganized, it's perfect as well, because it will help you arrange your life in an easier way to stay Mentally Healthy.

I hope this was helpful for you. If you have any additions, I'd be happy to read about them in the comments section.

Have a Mentally Healthy day!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month and has provided an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues for more than 50 years.
Mental Health America launched Mental Health Week, which eventually became May is Mental Health Month, in 1949. Each May, Americans recognize Mental Health Month with events and activities in communities across the country. The theme for Mental Health Month this year is "Get Connected" to emphasize the important role of social relationships in protecting and improving mental health and building resiliency. Many organizations, including NAMI, engage in efforts to promote Mental Health Month.
There are now designated times in May for groups to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in research, prevention and treatment on specific mental health issues. The first week in May, for example, has been designated as Children's Mental Health Week. But the specific times are not as important as educating about all mental illnesses any time of the year.
Mental Health Ministries is featuring several downloadable resources that may be helpful in your planning. Many of our free print resources are available in Spanish. In addition, these resources are available on the NAMI FaithNet Web site, in the resources section.

I believe that anyone and everyone who has mental health issues should be vocal about them and share their stories with others. It's important to raise awareness for this sometimes silent illness. We need to educate everyone that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of and hide away from others as if you are contagious. 

People with mental illness need love and support. Support is so important in healing and maintaining a healthy balance. No one should suffer alone. 

I have a mental illness, it's called Bipolar Disorder. Along with it I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am being treated by a psychiatrist and a therapist. I've shared this information with family, friends, and my church family. I have a great support system. 

I want others to have what I have. Be open with those you can trust. It's important to maintain a healthy support system. If you have a down day you'll need someone to talk to and give you a much needed boost of confidence. A positive influence is so important during your down times. Even if you need someone to listen or sit quietly with you. 

Mental Health America is using May's Mental Health Month to promote Pathways to Wellness

Don't let another day go by without sharing your story with another person. It could be your best friend, a family member, someone at your church, or even me. I'll listen.

Sharing is the first step to healthy mental health.