I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
As a new kid on the block I felt like it might be nice to jump in with both feet so to speak with regards to the mental health community. In my very first post I stated that my secondary goal was the hope that I could help others through sharing my experiences. It is in that spirit that the blogs which inspired me are written and it is in that spirit that I carry the torch. I have repeatedly mentioned my admiration for the community here. I have continually found myself in awe at the beauty of people who, in spite of or maybe because of their own illness are helping others discover and overcome theirs. It is a remarkable thing and I would love nothing more than to be a part of that. So, while I may be new and while I have yet to offer the volume of entries that my peers have thus far, I take the above pledge and humbly request that you accept me among you. I hope that I don’t let you down.
As for my experiences with mental health, beyond what I have recently posted here with regards to my own bipolar type II disorder I have a long and wide family history. My fathers family is a veritable cornucopia of dysfunction, his eldest brother is extremely schizophrenic for which he is institutionalized. This was also discovered later in his life as his behaviour became more erratic and eventually a case was made by federal investigators who collected his correspondences with dozens of people that he did not personally know. He had written countless letters to many influential people making allegations and accusations of various untold crimes, one of which included “stealing our family fortune”. There was never a Grey family fortune. My fathers sisters were both diagnosed with various forms of mania klepto to nympho and were medicated for miscellaneous myriad reasons. The details of these are unknown to me. His younger brothers are debatably stable and affable fellows, though there are those who would argue. I quite like them, though admittedly they are strange. This is not a mental illness however. They have their share of mild disabilities, dysgraphia and such. They always reminded me of a rural and impoverished version of the Addams family.
On my mothers side there is rampant alcoholism. I personally wonder if it isn’t for some other underlying issue. I drank quite heavily for a number of years in order to cope with my bipolarity. I have to wonder if my uncles didn’t do the same. Other than this however they are fine and friendly country folk who wouldn’t hurt a fly. They are terse, it isn’t their way to talk about their problems. A convenient mask for any problem that they might actually have.
All of these things had made me sensitive to mental health long before my current status as a diagnosed bipolar II. The issue here being that I had seen the inside of a few psych wards when I was young. I had seen people on heavy medications and even then I told myself that this would never be me. I think that I have willfully evaded diagnosis, elluded assistance for fear of being like my uncle. I didn’t want to end up on heavy medication in a padded room, this thought terrified me. So I have likely ignored obvious signs or willfully struggled through and done my best to maintain in the face of them. I implore anyone reading this to please not do as I had done. It isn’t wise to delay treatment, especially in this day and age. The sooner you can begin working on your treatment and recovery the sooner you can begin to feel well. It was foolish of me to think that I could bear that burden like a psychological pack mule. Like I was somehow different and I was capable of overcoming a disorder through sheer stubbornness and determination. No. It takes pills to right the balance in your mind and then it probably takes therapy to adjust your thinking and behaviours.
If you want to participate in Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project visit: http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/ follow the instructions that for some reason I had difficulty finding (I increased my topiramate, it makes me ditsy).