Friday, May 11, 2012

have a seat

**May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I'm talking about it**
"Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me"
- James
Wellllll . . . life this week has been crazy. My mom is getting married tomorrow! Anyone else out there have experience with divorced and remarried parents? I'm not sure what's considered "normal", but it feels a little stressful to me.
Also, I've decided I don't care for my neurologist and have been looking for a new Dr. and/or new route or avenue to pursue.
In so doing, I have an appt with a pain management specialist and a neuroSURGEON next week. 2 big appts in one week! The neurosurgeon wouldn't even see me until he reviewed my MRI and decided whether or not he could help me. Yikes. So. I'm a little nervous.
But I'm off the lyrica and feeling much more alive, thankyouverymuch. Dealing a little better with the pain, but the pain hasn't changed very much.
Anyway. Those 2 things have been weighing on my thoughts quite a bit. I have a lot of other mental health topics I really want to write about, but in the meantime, just hoping there are others out there who are willing to "sit down next to me" and talk about some of this stuff. Don't raise your hand, don't stand up, don't make a fuss, or storm the castle, just come have a seat and maybe bring brownies and we'll talk. It's good to talk. :)
Questions:
1. Do you know someone who suffers from a mental illness? Depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc?
2. Do you believe there is stigma surrounding these illnesses?
3. What can be done to reduce stigma, if anything?
4. What is your gut reaction when someone tells you, or what do you think it would be if someone told you they were suffering from a mental illness? Fear? Pity? Sorrow? Blame?
5. What do you believe you could do to help someone with a mental illness?
Think for a minute, and honestly respond if you feel like it.:)
More next week . . .

4 comments:

Linda said...

Sounds like a busy week...hope everything goes well. My husband works in the mental health field so this is a great topic. Yes I know people with mental illness. Yes there is a stigma. I think the more you know about anything, the more you understand it. The problem with mental illnesses is they are so varied, it is difficult to really understand what each person is experiencing and how it has a compounding effect in their lives.

Alison said...

My mother is celebrating her one year anniversary today after 18 years of being a widow. It's certainly been a crazy ride for me emotionally.

I suddenly have three more siblings? How does that work when we're all adults?

I keep referring to her new husband as "My father-in law" (when used in the third person) instead of "my step-dad".

Two of my sisters welcomed him and his kids with open arms, calling him dad and them brother and sister. This is something I still can't do. He's not my dad and they aren't my brothers and sister.

Family gatherings have been interesting as we always had pot luck type gatherings and his family things they shouldn't have to bring anything - just little adjustments like that, and apparently I've inherited the name amongst his children and two of my siblings as the "golden child" which is just annoying to me.

I think this will always be an ongoing journey but know you aren't alone and I think all the crazy, mixed emotions are very, very normal.

Mental Health - isn't this a fun topic? We have a great deal of mental health issues in my family and I spent 11 years of my career advocating for people with disabilities (among which was people with Mental Illnesses).

I, myself was diagnosed with anxiety and depression about 9 years ago and have spent time on and off of meds (I prefer off so that's how I've been for the past five or so years and am doing fine most days.)

I certainly believe there is a stigma with mental illness, between the history of misunderstanding and mistreating mental illness and the media ensuring that, if there's a tragedy somewhere, that mental illness is brought up when at all possible.

I currently have a 15 year old whose birth mother has depression, anxiety and bipolar. She has started seeing a therapist and he is beginning to suspect she also has bipolar.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people with mental health disorders need to simply "buck up" and carry on. The idea that these are often organic issues (as opposed to being, simply the lack of tools to deal with life) that can and often should be dealt with medicinally is so beyond many peoples understanding. When I was first diagnosed my doctor was very clear with my understanding that if I had any other illness I would take whatever measures (and medicines) necessary to ensure I get healthy, why would I not do the same for my mental illness?

Those are my two-cent ramblings.

Good luck with everything!

Heather said...

Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

1. Yes, many.
2. It's always been such a part of my life that I don't have a problem talking about it with other people now. I guess that no one wants to be sick, physically or mentally. So it's understandable that people don't want to be labeled.
3. Talking openly. If everyone who is ill and everyone who knows someone who is ill were to talk openly and honestly about it there might be less stigma. Is it more okay to have a mom who has cancer than a mom who has a mental illness? It sure felt harder to talk about.
4. Desire to help and support.
5. Listen and try to understand, while knowing that I can't fix it. Encourage them to seek professional help, counseling, and/or drugs.

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