Monday, March 30, 2015

Part 1 in Series Called in the Holding Room~

Good evening readers’ hope your mood is stable today’s hope you realize what a gift a precious valuable gift your life is to this world. Tonight I am starting a 3 part series on a very in-depth and interesting topic. Why is hospitalization important and where the mental health community is failing as a whole. The first part of the series will focus on” the holding room”
  The holding room is where a person goes in the ER to be seen by a psychiatrist, and have psychiatric evaluation, to see if they are mentally stable enough or need to be admitted in toe psych ward. We can all agree health is important, knowing our bodies and caring for them is vital to be healthy and productive person in society.
 There have been numerous efforts to emphasize the importance of mental health treatments and give mental health the same emphasis as physical health. I find it so sad when such a stigma overshadows mental health and who suffers most are the patients and their families! Even with the efforts being made, mental health treatment has lagged behind the psychical health. Health refers to Mind, body and Spirit. Our bodies are intricately designed so that one affects the other.
I recall a few years back reading a article in the newspaper about a mother whose son had bipolar and she brought him to the hospital to get help and treatment. To get him stabilized in a hospital setting. I remember her frustration and anger because her son was put into a room and left there, only to find out they had no room and could not get him a bed. He was at risk of harming himself and he never got the help he so desperately needed! He fell through the cracks of the mental health community. How sad is that, when someone who needs help and seek sit out is not able to receive it find that heartbreaking!
So here is my own personal story of being in the holding room! Thankfully, I got the help I needed! For many do not ever see that help. I recall the first time I was suicidal and my fiancĂ© at the time brought me to the ER. your brought to a small room and a security guard stands at your door to make sure you don’t leave or hurt yourself remember like it was yesterday, how scared I was, just laying there on that small cot., holding dons hand! Waiting and waiting for the doctor and the caseworker to come see and talk to me.
I would be put through a series of questions about my life, my medical history, my moods and why I feel suicidal. It was a long tiresome process, One that I had been through many times. However, the feelings never changed of how scared I was each time I was in there. The evaluation is to determine if your stable enough to go home or will they need to admit you! I got help. Yet what happens to those who do not? What happens when no beds are available!
People can speak out, debate, and argue the fact that more money needs to go into hospitals and mental health field. Although there is a emphasis on the importance of treating mental health, it still not viewed in the same light of importance as physical health! Society’s priorities will only change when money is put where the government’s mouths are. Otherwise, those who suffer, suffer with the fear that they will not be able to get help. This is why it is vital so important, I cannot stress this enough to speak out and speak your story to whoever will listen, the more we do not sit in silence the more people will become aware of the epidemic that this is! Not the stigma or the way media portrays mental health, but the reality and the clear picture of who we are.
Things need to change, before another human being falls between the cracks and another life is lost and left alone to their pain and desperation. Please check back tomorrow night for part 2 of the series” Getting the most of Hospitalizations?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Regreting Things We Said or Things We Did~

   If I only could erase what I said to him, if only. If only I had handled that situation better. Why do I do the things I do? Those questions were endless at one point in my journey of dealing with my bipolar. The tears stung my face as words were exchanged. I let my anger get the best of me; my rage was triggered by something he said. What did he say I can’t recall, all I know is that I regret things I’ve said and things I’ve done .Did you ever ask yourself these questions?
   Regret is a big part of dealing with mental health. For so long I felt like I had no control over my emotions, that they controlled me. I felt like at the drop of a hat I would flip like a switch from happy to sad, to angry to depressed and back to ecstatic, a roller coaster of emotions ruled my days and many times I did not want to take responsibility for my actions! I would think its because of my bipolar I act that way and there is no way I can help myself .boy was I wrong. I was a victim to my feelings and I let shame and anger rule my life.
  Let me explain, bipolar yes is a chemical imbalance in our brains that we have no control over. HOWEVER, we can learn to control how we react, and what we react to. We can learn healthy coping skills, so that when our emotions want to play havoc on our actions or words, we think things through, its not easy in any sense of the word, I fell many times. I don’t like to live a life of regret, but  life in general is a growing process, we are all human, so we all make mistakes all the while we’re learning to handle our own feelings, when they come to the surface.
  I know that I was not a easy person to live with at times, I’m sure it played on my husband’s sanity at moments, but he was a strong man, who loved me unconditionally and even when it was difficult to love me, his love remained steadfast.  When I did not love myself, he loved me anyways! We can’t live under the blanket of regret, that leads to bitterness and a cycle of anger and a wall is built between the person you love and yourself. Shame follows and then you find yourself not loving yourself and the cycle begins again! I’ve said things and done things I regret from those days, but those I hurt forgave me and most importantly I know God has forgiven me and I forgive myself and then we have to move on.
   We can’t stay connected to the pain, to that moment, its in the past, we too must move past it and leave it there. Today is a new day, with no mistakes yet. Knowing how you feel and why you feel, and what will, you do when you feel is all part of the journey. Its not going to be perfect in a nice neat package, but day by day were all learning how to cope and how to relate and let go of what was and live in the moment of what is.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Depression can be very Isolating~

   She hides away in her bedroom, with curtains drawn; this is where she spends her days and lives her life, behind the closed door, safe and alone with her thoughts. Inside these four walls, she hides from the outside world. She once was a vibrant outgoing person. She had hopes and dreams, and she felt like she had a purpose. Now she feels she is just a glimpse of the person she was, tainted images of a life she once lived. Now the light in her eyes has dimmed, she spends her days crying and alone. She Separated from everyone who loved her, separated from the outside world, spending her days living on the outside, looking in.
Have you ever felt like this young woman? I know I have many times over the years. There are many reasons why a person isolated himself or herself. Sometimes difficult circumstances make us retreat into ourselves. Into our own liitle world, where we feel safe, where we wont feel judging eyes, ist when we feel like we have no support, we feel utterly alone.
Isolation im focusing on is that which comes with depression, why do we isolate ourselves when we are depressed? It could be because we don’t feel others will understand where were coming from, or we just don’t want to be around people, speaking from experience I understand this all to well, for many years when my bipolar was at its worst hid away.
    I did not like to be around crowds. I found every reason to cancel plans or retreat into my safe place, I withdrew socially would stay home when my husband would go out with friends, I know it was tough on him, but I couldn’t explain my feelings, I dint understand them myself, so how could I possibly explain how I felt to the man I loved?
  It became a vicious cycle of, I would be depressed, so id isolate and then the more I isolated the more depressed I got and the more depressed I go the more I just stayed away from everyone and everything! Then the fear came, what would others think, how can I look like I have it together hen inside im trying to escape from my thoughts and myself! I felt like io could no longer relate to people, I felt inadequate. What is certain is depression and isolation go hand in hand with one another.
 So many years I was that girl I described, afraid of me afraid of my own shadow, afraid of who was staring  back at me, I thought id im feeling this down, I don’t want to bring others down with me and yes I almost lost myself. Thankfully, with God’s help, my husband and family and friends and therapy I was able to focus on the root causes. I accepted how I felt, I learned to deal and healthy coping. Those raw emotions were no longer buried deep within my soul.
  I finally was able to step out into the world again, not just with a painted smile, but I became alive again .I no longer felt the need to hide away .Im here to tell you there is hope and your depression doesn’t have to isolate you from the rest of the world. We learn to cope, and we learn to talk instead of hide. We step out from behind the four walls, open the door and embrace the beauty of life once again.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How Environment Affects our Mental Health~

How are all my readers doing this beautiful morning? How are you all feeling today? I can say though my physical health is not good right now, I’m in a very relaxed mood. ,I live in Massachusetts and we’ve had so much snow this month that I can speak for most people, im ready for Spring now We’ve had enough snow to last the next few winters and then some, but im not going to complain, there is blue sky outside and the sun is shining through my bedroom picture window.
   I want you to close your eyes. I want you to sit down in a comfortable chair and keep your eyes closed and picture this in your mind .Its early morning and the sun is just coming up over the horizon. The sky is lit up with breathtaking colors of pink, orange and purple and you are overlooking the ocean as you sit in your chair on the rock in front of your little house next to the lighthouse. No one is awake except you, all you hear is the waves crashing against the rocks below, and the ocean seems to stretch for miles with no end in sight. Then you hear the seagull overhead and the sunlight and you feel the rays of sunlight on your face. All is well with the world. You are relaxed and ready to take on your day.
    Now I want you to picture this, with your eyes still closed, you wake up for work, you forgot to set the alarm, so now you’re getting a late start, the kids are giving you a tough time. , you burn the toast, since your running late; you realize you forgot to leave out the kids clothes the night before, so now you’re scrambling to find them something to wear. They barely make it on the bus on time. In addition, you finally make it out the door, only for your car to give your problems starting. There is a huge traffic jam, you arrive at work late, and your boss is not happy. You are trying to concentrate on your job, but you know all your responsibilities are waiting at home. The day has just begun and you are already stressed to the max.
   Two different environments. That’s today’s topic how does environment affect our mental health? A person’s environment can influence how a person acts or reacts to a given situation. Many dynamics can stress a person out, just by what kind of environment is going on around them, but what happens when you are dealing with mental health; it takes on a bigger picture of stress, since stress is a huge factor in triggering a bipolar episode.
   So how does the environment affect our minds and emotions, since they go hand in hand with one another? Stressful life events, disruptions in our routines and schedules, these changes no matter how subtle they are at times can negatively affect our brain chemistry. In addition, how we handle ourselves, by expressing our feelings in healthy or unhealthy manner. Stress, interaction sith people, noises these all are contributing factors that play a big role.
   So how can we react or act differently when were under pressure, and we feel like were overwhelmed. Well here are a few ideas. Connect to nature, go for a walk outside, let the sunlight be nourishment for your body and soul. Have options of what you do to calm down. Surround yourself with social support like family, friends and a good therapist no shame in that. we all need to talk out those stressful thoughts, reduce the noise in our lives and clutter and business, they can over take the room in our minds and we feel like were being pulled in so many different directions. Relaxing distractions, a good book, a exiting movie, a bubble bath, or a phone chat with a good friend, there are many healthy options!
 So both physical environment and social environment can affect you. What difference can a physical environment make? For example, a brightly lit room with bright colors will affect people differently than a dark room that is dreary feeling. One will bring relaxation and a calm over  us, while the other brings out isolation and depression, and our minds play into what surrounds us, when were surrounded by certain dynamics then we start to gravitate to feeling that way!
 We need to  be active in our own  environment , some factors can’t be changed, if were in situations that are beyond our control, but we need to find the quiet calm, and bring that daily into our environment even if we have to be alone for awhile to gather our thoughts and relax our  bodies. This is our way of being proactive in your treatment! I know it has worked for me! I take time every day before I dig into my responsibilities to have a cut of tea, read my bible or a good book and look out at my beautiful view out my picture window. Knowing boundaries will help you figure out what are healthy and unhealthy boundaries too! You are not alone, through this learning process!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Self Advocacy..Speaking up for Oneself~

   Good evening my readers.  I am happy to say my husband and I are now in our new place, that we moved too and love it. There are many reasons why im so happy that we are now in a new place, but now that the night mare of finding a place is over and were getting settled in and we have internet back I can now once again focus on my blogs, which when  im actively doing them keep me busy.
 Tonight’s topic is  a very important one, though everything I write on has importance, this topic sums them all up and it’s the very reason why I do what I do writing this bipolar blog. The topic is Advocating. What is it and why is advocating so important to those who suffer with depression, mental health issues and how can you take part in advocating?
 How many of you have ever felt like your voice did not matter? How many have felt like you got the short end of the stick, when it came to how doctors treated you with your depression? How many of you have ever felt like you weren’t believed, or you were belittled? I know I have at certain times. It wasent until I found my voice that I knew then that my bipolar was not going to win this war.
  For so many years in my own journey, I did not know how to find my voice. I was so lost within myself, I was fighting myself every day, afraid that I would be lost forever in a dark world of depression .Because I didn’t have  a healthy self esteem, I didn’t think I could be  of any use in raising awareness, which  part of that process is Advocating for yourself and for others.
  Self-advocacy gives you a sense of power and control. YOU play a role in your treatment, your not just a patient, but a contributor, it gives you some ownership to this disease. We can’t control bipolar/depression but we can control how much input we have, and again it goes back to learning to care enough and love yourself enough to speak up, you have a right to  take part in your own  treatment of your emotional well being.
  Develop your own power statement: Meaning I will be treated with love and respect. I will not be silent; I have a right to be heard. In addition, stand by your beliefs!
Ways you can advocate:
Ask for what you want: Make your needs known
The right to say yes or no: know your rights!
You can change your mind: do not be pressured into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable!
Stand by your beliefs and values:
Do not be afraid to speak what you feel: Your feelings are valid and worth being acknowledged
Receive all info on treatments, risks and benefits:
Be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion: ive gone through times in my journey when ive gone to the hospital and was not treated with compassion. I had doctors whose bedside manner was anything but kind! If at any time you feel like someone in the medical field has done this to you, speak up, keep your cool, your more  apt to get your point across if you don’t lose it, I know its tough, ive been on both sides!
Be listened to: Not just HEARD!
Receive Hope and Encouragement: Search out those who will support you!
Communicate concerns: Don’t just sit back and go along with everything they tell you, if you have concerns about medications they are putting you on, express that, its your right!
Involve family/friends: you have a right to have them involved!
 Be yourself:
Be safe:
Change doctors: this is huge, ive dealt with this one, because some of the doctors ive had were not helping me in a healthy way, or they made me feel uncomfortable or terrible bedside manner, so I switched to someone I felt comfortable with! Do not be a doormat!
Play your ROLE: have a part in the decision-making!
Keep track of your progress: this is your way of showing your doctors that you care about your treatment, its also a way of learning to find what your triggers are, and learn healthy ways to cope.
Do your research: ive done this before personally, know what your medications are, why you take each one, side effects. When you choose a new therapist or psychiatrist, do your research about their back ground and degrees, what are people saying about them?
SELF-ADVOCACY IS WHAT IT‘s ALL ABOUT! You have a voice make it heard…
 Just like the small pebble in the water makes many ripples, once voice can make all the difference, it can change how your treated and then others hear about your experiences and then aren’t afraid to speak up to! Make ripple effects~