Slang

Usually, I don’t read the articles on Yahoo because, quite frankly, I’m a snob and I find them to be poorly written or alarmist. But this one was excellent, probably because it is less of an article and really just quotes from my brothers and sisters on the mental health battlefield.

27 Ways to Be an Ally for Someone Who Has a Mental Illness

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This one in particular was striking. It amazes me how many people do this.

No, the weather is no bipolar. I AM. The weather is weather. It is controlled by gulf streams, and pressure, and magic and pixie dust. I am controlled by the chemicals in my brain that will not allow me to enjoy my daughter’s birthday party and the demons in my head who are constantly -just- on the verge of breaking free. So the weather, or your non bipolar friend who decided to NOT go to the movies with you today because she’s having a bad day, or your cat who was in your lap and then flipped out and bit you? Again. Not bipolar. But me, in bed for the fourth day in a row, wondering how it is that people can even stand the SIGHT of me, even though six weeks ago, I was the life of the party and handing out my phone number like candy? Yeah. Bipolar. My diagnosis is not slang. Don’t use it as such.

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Ramped

What’s interesting about mood disorders, or at least, what’s interesting in my experience, is having the ability to tell when my next high or low is coming. I’ve been feeling this manic episode building for the past couple of days and I know it’s right around the bend. Even as I type this, I’m frequently having to correct mistakes I’ve made because my hands are shaking too much to type with my normal accuracy. I have my next sentence planned before I’ve finished typing this one. Which, reader, has made for some interesting fixes in the proofreading stage. I’m sure I’ll find more edits after I hit publish. I always do.

Anyway. i have no profound update today. No great story to tell. Just my racing heart and thoughts and the knowledge that in the coming days and then for a week or so, it will only get worse. However, until I crash again, I’ll be damned if my kitchen won’t be spotless and maybe I’ll paint another bedroom.

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Me.

Take Her to the Moon

I finally saw Inside Out. And I say finally because I was so excited to see it, but I didn’t end up getting there until after opening day.

It really spoke to me as a bipolar person. It spoke to me as a person in general. I mean, excuse me, “Who’s the friend who loves to play? BING BONG!!!” Excuse me, I have to go sob for a while… BRB.

We teach our kids and subsequently our adults, that it’s only okay to be happy. We’re never allowed to show our fear or our pain and if we do, something’s wrong that must be immediately fixed. I’ve known for a long time that sometimes there is no fixing. There is only grieving and trying to heal, and sometimes, even though we have the best intentions, we fail and our sadness (or fear, disgust, anger, etc) overtake us. I’ve caught myself before telling Sophia to just smile and pretend to be happy because her crappy mood was bringing down everyone else. And man, what a shitty thing to say to a little kid. But we say it all the time. “If you’re going to be like that, you can do it in your room.” ” I just gave you X, why can’t you be grateful.” “Go hug your aunt, she loves you.” We are constantly forcing emotions on our kids that they just aren’t feeling. We’re teaching them SO young that in order to be successful people, they have to pretend to be these tiny little robotic entities that show just how great parents we are. And if they have any “negative” emotions, we are showing our frailty.

The thing that hurts me so much about this, is that the little girl in the movie had her parents to fall back on. Eventually, she fell into their loving arms and released her grief and despair and they accepted it and they were willing to work through her pain as a family. I know so many people who are unable to do that. Either because they feel as though they have no one to unburden themselves to, are because they are simply unable to reveal the fissures in themselves. 20150626_123653

Let Me In

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Germanwings tragedy from a few weeks back. I can’t seem to let it go. I know my family and friends love me, but in the back of my mind, I linger on the thought: Do they think I am capable of that? I know my husband felt the same way after Sandy Hook. Those people who know he has Aspergers; did they look at him differently now? Even subconsciously? Were they extra careful with their words? More tender when they spoke to him?

Mental health is a serious issue not only here but worldwide. People are sick and because of it, people are DYING. I’m so tired of people being ashamed of their depression, of their loneliness, of their quirks. Talk to someone and get help. Learn to accept that this is a part of who you are. Sometimes there are dark moments, but you don’t have to live there all the time. Tell someone you love what to watch out for so they are aware. I have a team of people who throw lines down to me when I dig myself down too deep.

Stigma will remain until we crush the life out of it. It’s up to us. We can’t change if we don’t talk.

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Gyroscope

Recently, someone close to me revealed that in the recent weeks, they had briefly considered ending their life. I don’t mean they had stared down the barrel of a gun, or even stopped momentarily in the painkiller aisle at the grocery store and considered, “Which one would help me go fastest?” It was a fleeting, preliminary thought, but enough to make this person actually ask the Internet how to end their life in a quiet, pain-free way.

Do you know what Google says when you ask it this question?

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This was enough to give them pause.

This message, posted at eye-level. Above the pro-suicide blogs, the nonsense articles about the “best” ways to remove yourself from life. This.

Hearing this story makes me feel like I’ve lost balance. It’s completely thrown me off because everything I thought I knew about the last month or so of my life is wrong. Every conversation I have had with my buddy has been veiled in a pain that I understand so well that it wrenches my heart out of my chest to know they kept it from me. And even worse, that I didn’t see it.

But what good does it do to throw myself into that black soul-sucking pit as well? Bad back or not, the only thing I can do it throw down a rope and slowly try to pull my friend up and out. Hopefully, along the way, I will gather friends, family and counselors behind me to help.

I just want you to know, that the hole in my heart would never heal if you were gone.

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder Research Study

This is an incredible and UNIQUE opportunity for people who, like me, were diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder right after having children. What a wonderful way to get your individual story heard and to break the stigma. Spread the word on this.

Kitt O'Malley

Walker Karraa, PhDWalker Karraa, PhD

My friend & colleague, Dr. Walker Karraa, is studying the stigma surrounding postpartum bipolar disorder. If you fit her research criteria and are interested in participating, please do so. Her book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth is groundbreaking and a powerful, moving read.


Research Study: The Stigma of Mental Illness for Mothers Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 0-12 Months Postpartum

Greetings,

I am currently conducting a research study entitled The Stigma of Mental Illness for Mothers Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 0-12 Months Postpartum. The purpose of this study is to describe and explain the nature of stigma related to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder during the first year following childbirth.

To participate in this study, participants must have: (a) received a diagnosis for bipolar disorder in the first year following the birth of a child; (b) be able to give informed consent; (c) speak English…

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