There is a new podcast launching this fall from Psych Central. Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales come on The Conquer Worry Podcast to tell listeners about this exciting new resource from Psych Central.
From the Psych Central Website: Psych Central is the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health social network. Since 1995, our award-winning website has been run by mental health professionals offering reliable, trusted information and over 250 support groups to consumers.
From Dan's Website:
Dan is a mediator living with bipolar disorder and the founder of MH Mediate. He has spent the past decade working to improve how people communicate about mental health. Dan has been a support group facilitator with the Mood Disorder Support Group of NYC, a speaker with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and a Mental Health First Aid training instructor with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He studied mediation at the NY Peace Institute, where he sat on the Mediator Advisory Board and mediated criminal court, youth-involved, school, and community cases.
A sought-after speaker and trainer in mental health communication and conflict resolution, Dan has presented workshops at many conferences and led MH Mediate trainings in over a dozen states. He holds a masters degree in Mental Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a bachelors degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dan has delivered programs for the Department of Interior, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the University of Notre Dame, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Association for Conflict Resolution, the Association for Professional and Family Mediators, Cardozo School of Law, and many other organizations. He is excited to see conflict resolution become a bigger part of mental health across the United States.
Guest post by Annalise Sinclair
Editor and blog post designer: Christy Zigweid
Photo made using @WordSwagApp
The semester of college right after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder was the worst of my life. I was in a terrible relationship with a real loser. I was on a highly competitive, world-ranked winter guard team, which I never, ever felt good enough for. I stupidly decided to take on way too many credits in school. I had just joined my sorority and wasn’t prepared for the time, energy, or self-commitment. I was struggling to figure out my identity as someone saddled with a mental illness. Essentially, I ran myself into the ground and then decided to dig a little bit deeper, just for good measure.
Somehow in the middle of all this, I found some time to adopt a kitten. I grew up around animals and had convinced myself that if I got a kitten, everything would magically get better. My aunt (another crazy cat lady) took me to the local Humane Society to “look around,” knowing fully that I couldn’t leave without my own ball of fur. So insert Addy, the cutest, spunkiest kitten you’ll ever meet.
Photo courtesy of Annalise Sinclair
Unfortunately, getting a kitten didn’t solve all of my problems; shocker, I know. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into depression, which felt impossible to overcome. I felt like my only out would be taking my own life. Living each day was so hard and all I wanted was some peace. Suicide seemed so serene, like I could finally get some rest.
I planned everything out: I cleaned my apartment so no one would have to bother, figured out my method (something simple and painless), and wrote a goodbye to everyone that I loved. However, there was one problem. I had no idea how long it would take for someone to realize that I wasn’t answering my phone or showing up to things. I was worried that Addy would have to go too long without someone giving her food or water. I couldn’t be responsible for both of our deaths. So I drove the 45 minutes home to drop Addy off at my parent’s house. That is when everything changed.
My mom had come home early from work that day and had already started dinner. My plan to drop off Addy and run was no longer feasible; I had to stay and pretend to be the happy, wonderful daughter and sister my family knew. It was all too much and for the first time in my life, I finally broke down and talked to my mom about what I was feeling. I told her I was so unhappy that I considered suicide. The pain in her eyes was more than I ever wanted to see. I knew I had to find my courage and do whatever it took to get better. I couldn’t hurt my family by taking my life; my personal pain would never amount to the pain my death would have caused them.
I started seeing a new therapist the next week.
I often think back to that day, my decision day where I chose life over death, and think about what would have happened if I had never gotten Addy or didn’t care about her well-being. Suicide isn’t rational and I’m thankful that it isn’t. My concern for a kitten saved my life.
So when people reproach me for being a crazy cat lady, I couldn’t be more proud. For if it wasn’t for a sassy cat and an irrational love, I wouldn’t be here today.
About the Author
Note From Jay
Suzy's story has been all over the media again this fall with the release of her best seller Fast Girl. From ABC's 20/20 to Dr. Phil, her story is great for ratings and full of opportunities for interviewers to create 'Got Ya' moments. Her story is that of the 'girl next door' turned Olympian, turned prostitute.
The real story is not about her days as a high priced escort. The real story is about a woman who did all the right things until her mental illness sent her on another path that became a nightmare.
I am fortunate that due to my platform on ConquerWorry.org, I have been able to interview or connect with many high-profile people who struggle with their mental health. Suzy takes mental health advocacy to a new level as it would have been easier for her to just slide into history as a footnote and an interesting headline grabbing story. Instead, she lays all of her cards on the table with the goal of trying to help others who are struggling with their mental health. This is a story of mental resilience.
Suzy's Athletic Acomplishments
WNBA and NCAA basketball legend Chamique Holdsclaw comes on the ConquerWorry™ Podcast to discuss her battle with mental illness and her current advocacy efforts.
The New York premiere of Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw is the Gold Coast Film Festival in Port Washington, Sat., Nov. 14 3:30pm. Chamique and film director Rick Goldsmith will be there for Q&A.
Go to goldcoastfilmfestival.org for more info.
For more about the film and DVDs, go to mindgamefilm.org.
Connect with Chamique:
• Lead the Univ of Tennessee Lady Vols to 3 consecutive NCAA Championships….including an undefeated season.
• 4x All American in college
• Finished her career at TN as the all time leading scorer & rebounder
• #1 Draft pick in 1999 by Washington
• WNBA Rookie of the year
• 6x WNBA All-Star
• 2x WNBA rebounding champion
• 2002 WNBA scoring champion
• A Sullivan Award wined
• 2x Naismith Award Winner
Video - Periscope Broadcast
Podcast - Audio Only
Jennifer Marshall shares the story of her Bipolar diagnosis, having children, raising children and blogging about her journey. She discusses the challenges of the stigma of mental illness and the non-profit she founded called This Is My Brave, Inc.
Her blog www.bipolarmomlife.com was awarded Top Blogger status by Healthline in 2014 and 2015.
About Jennifer Marshall
From her website: 'Writing openly about living with mental illness inspired me to co-found a non-profit called This Is My Brave, Inc. which provides a platform for people to share their story live on stage through poetry, music and essay.'
This podcast features the work of Jennifer Marshall and Anne Marie Ames who started the non-profit organization This Is My Brave to help people struggling with mental illness share their story.
'This is My Brave' Information:
From their website: 'Our mission is to ignite and actively promote―through community programs and social media― a positive, supportive national conversation about mental illness for those who live with, or love someone who lives with, a mental illness. Through the sharing of stories and experiences of those in recovery, we expect to provide a sense of community and hope; and encourage others to share their stories. We believe that each time one of us shares our story, there’s another crack helping to break down the stigma of mental illness. Right now, it's time to be brave and bring mental health issues into the spotlight because they've been in the dark too long.'
Connect with This Is My Brave
About Jennifer Marshall
From her website: 'Writing openly about living with mental illness inspired me to co-found a non-profit called This Is My Brave, Inc. which provides a platform for people to share their story live on stage through poetry, music and essay.'
It is hard when one is being torn between the best possible emotional stability for their child, and the fear of outsiders (psychologists, teachers, school mentors) looking into an unhealthy lifestyle that needs to be readjusted with positive thinking and higher self-esteem to bring about change. Living in an environment of criticism though arguably loving with a loud and demanding dictatorship on one side; and a caring, teaching, protective, though strict with guidelines and rules and an ever fighting and fearful spirit on the other side, made for a challenging family household. And for others to look into the dynamics of these surroundings was a terrifying experience knowing that in the past that household could have been destroyed and dissolved by these authorities. So a balance had to be achieved to not allow this to happen again. Protection at all times a must!
To say that I who overcame and balanced these stressful conditions for years is not of strength is ignoring a bold and fighting being, and yes, someone with purpose and ability. And to realize that I am of more capability than I allowed myself to recognize is shameful. I always made the choice that ultimately benefited the children though my heart may have been filled with fear. I always took into account the best for them, and discounted hiding or isolating. It was something that had to be done. And yes, I am a stronger person because of it. And though I was hospitalized two times while under these stressful conditions in the whole time of raising my children into adulthood while acquiring PTSD and managing Bipolar and Anxiety Disorder, I still managed to make the best contribution I could have to society – my beautiful children.
I think as I am older now and the children are grown, what I struggle with is admitting that my Bipolar is a debilitating disorder that has taken away my career. I also know that the children are now on their own, and thankfully succeeding in life. My life has changed significantly and to learn new purpose has been difficult – though not impossible. I have dealt with oppressing challenge in the past and taken the prize. This is like nothing that I haven’t yet been able to achieve. The future is going to be bright, I’m sure.
Connect with Kelsy
If you had told me three years ago I would be working on a wellbeing project helping others with their struggles around Mental Health I would not have believed you. This time three years ago, my life had gone from being a loving wife, mother of three, professional nurse within critical care, having fulfilled most of my life’s dreams to someone who was determined to destroy themselves in any way possible.
This obviously did not happen overnight, and looking back, I have always had a tendency to act impulsively and irrationally at times, but always thought this was normal and I was just an emotional, passionate person. I knew at times in my life I was struggling with depression but always related it to my menstrual cycle saying, “oh it’s cos I’m due on”.
I was also aware that my mum had suffered with a hormone imbalance, which caused behaviour changes and she had spent many years on hormone replacement therapy.
As a teenager I was a typical tearaway, and really struggled with my identity. Often I would feel like I just changed according to the people around me and didn’t know who the real Lydia was.
I moved to Liverpool in 1999 to work at Alderhey hospital as a staff nurse. I met my husband and we married in 2002 and went on to have three children. After my first child, I suffered with post-natal depression and was started on antidepressants by my doctor. I stopped these once pregnant with my daughter but as soon as I had finished breastfeeding her, I relapsed. In September 2007 I found I was pregnant with my third child Ethan and once again stopped my medication. I still felt that somehow my mood and behaviour changes were linked to my hormones as when I was pregnant or breast feeding I would feel so much better. Once Ethan was born, yet again my thoughts and behaviour were becoming erratic with outbursts of anger and plenty of tears. During the years I had struggled I always managed to maintain an external appearance of a women who balanced, family, work, church and life in general really well. I can remember people often saying to me, “How do you do it all??” Even at work where I held a responsible job as a sister in critical care, no-one had any idea of my internal suffering and the constant struggles I had inside my head. One of the obsessive thoughts I would often have to fight was the fear of something happening to my children. This soon became too close to reality when my youngest son Ethan had a large seizure at home and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
I started to lose separation as to what was real and what was not and began to lose grip on reality. I couldn’t understand what the point of me living was when I couldn’t protect my children. I felt like a failure as a mother and as a nurse as the realisation set in that I couldn’t save everyone. The world felt like an awful place to be and heaven seemed an easy option.
After a serious attempt to take my own life I spent most of the following year in and out of a psychiatric unit and made numerous attempts to end my life. I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar type two disorder and stabilised on medication.
In some ways being ill has given me a new sense of freedom. After all when you have walked through Liverpool in nothing other than a theatre gown with a drip and lots more showing than you would like, being foolish in public now feels quite acceptable.
However, on a serious note, the lows were extremely painful and included numerous attempts to end my life and generally destroy myself in any way possible. Since being diagnosed I have completed a course of cognitive analytical therapy which has helped me to understand why I think the way I do and helped me to recognise and change certain thought patterns I struggle with. I have taken time to understand my illness in order to recognise triggers and signs of me becoming unwell again and have put preventers in place. I do still have to take medication and may have to continue this long term, but my life is worth living and those feelings of despair have gone. I want to take this opportunity to thank my husband; Stuart, Children; Cameron, Rosie, and Ethan, family, and friends for supporting me and loving me through this very difficult time. But ultimately I want to thank God, as he never gave up on me and when I had no fight left in me to live, He carried me through to the next day. God is my hope and foundation for the future.
Key Symptoms I was suffering: Obsessive intrusive thoughts, Catastrophic thinking, paranoia, outbursts of anger, extreme behaviour changes, suicidal tendencies, switching between being very happy and busy to very sad and melancholy.
Symptoms for PMS/PMDD: mood swings, depression, tiredness, fatigue or lethargy, anxiety, feeling out of control, irritability, aggression, anger, sleep disorder, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, clumsiness and headaches. Dramatic change in behaviour from ovulation to the onset of a period (7-10 days prior to a period)and complete relief from those symptoms once you have menstruated.
For further help and advice, please go to www.Pms.org.uk
Places I found help: St Andrews Church Clubmoor, Celebrate Recovery Programme, Community Mental Health Team, Merseycare NHS Trust, GP, Family and Friends.
If this story has affected you or you would like any further information on services provided by the wellbeing project, St Andrew’s Community Network, please email; Wellbeing@standrewslive.org.uk.
“I want to give Hope to others suffering from mental health Problems”
My name is Lydia and I currently volunteer for the Wellbeing project in St Andrews Community Network. The project looks to help people within our local community who are struggling with physical, social and mental wellbeing.
The services we currently provide are:
Connect with Lydia: Twitter: @likeablelyd
I recently celebrated my 34th birthday, and with that I did the regular coming to terms with the reality that I’m not as young as my mind likes to convince myself that I am. Having an end of January birthday also gives you a ‘do-over’ for all my failed New Years resolutions…and this year was no different. So here they are: (1) Eat Healthy/Get in Shape/Feel Good (so simple, yet so required to be made…Every. Single. Year.) (2) Do more with family (and friends) My wife got me camping gear for Christmas, so I’m already looking forward to putting that to use this summer. (3) Build stuff!! I know this is very broad, and leaves lots of room for variety…but I want to build stuff. Accomplish things. Let my creativity unfold. (4) To write…which is what brings me to starting this blog today.
I find that birthdays also bring on a time of reflection…looking back on the year that was. Analyzing, evaluating, and critiquing. And let me tell you, this year was something else!! From start to finish, the best way that I can describe it is that 33 was that unexpected punch in the chest that completely knocks the wind right out of you. It started out slow, built up into an absolute whirlwind in the middle, and in many ways both extreme hurt and numbness to end things off. This last year was one for the books. I wish I could say it was forgettable…but it’s not. It’s all too memorable.
I told my wife, Sherry, that I wanted to start a blog. I’ve wanted to start writing. She’s wanted me to write. It seemed like perfect timing to get on that. Seemed, being the key word. “What do you want to blog about?” she asked. Especially after this last year I had no doubt in my mind what I wanted to share. “My Life…a window into my life. A little bit of what I go through, how I see things, and what it’s like to live with someone like me.” For those of you that know Sherry, and to those of you that don’t, my wife is an extremely private person. She hates attention, avoids surprises, and is completely content just blending in. I threw a “30 and Fabulous” surprise party for Sherry, and my biggest fear was that she was going to HATE the surprise. To soften the blow, I told her there was going to be a party, when that party was going to be, and what to wear. To her I don’t know what would have been worse…the surprise, or the anticipation of the unknown. Bottom line is it was a great party. She’s now 32, and still absolutely fabulous!! But the thought of putting our private life on display in any way struck literal fear in my wife. At first she very much resisted, but over time that resistance lessoned, and here I am today…writing my first blog entry with the support of the most beautiful ‘proof-reader’ I could ask for.
I don’t know what my expectations are with this. I don’t even know who or how many people will even read it. But what I do know is that I want it to be real…a passage into my life. To make myself vulnerable, and break down walls I have spent years building up. It’s putting my life on display in hopes that I can maybe give a little encouragement to ‘people like me’. And to shed some light for those who have to live with, or simply don’t understand what makes us tick. Why we are the way we are, think the way we think…my life, my reality, and my future.
My name is David Stone, and I live with Mental Illness. There, I said it. And with hearing those words, most are struck with awkward discomfort. Lost on how to respond. How to react. And most importantly…how to change the subject, close that door, and put a lid on that box. No one wants to know or hear anything about a grown man who’s ‘off his rocker’. That’s a book that’s best left closed on the top shelf…out of reach. Out of sight. Out of mind. There’s a stigma that comes with mental illness, and my opinion is that stigma is rooted deep in misunderstanding, misinformation, and in many cases complete ignorance. That’s what my approach is hoping to influence…I want you to get to know me. My challenges, my struggles. Accomplishments and failures. A taste of life both as a person living with mental illness, and those having to go through life with that person. I don’t intend to put myself or my family on display. I’m not looking for accolades or sympathy. Not to sound cliché, I hope to in some way be a voice to those who read this… Family. Friends. And you who somehow stumble across this. To shed some light on what it’s like living under the label of ‘mental health’, and in some way… #stopthestigma(<cliche overload)
We all know someone who suffers from some form of mental illness. Wether it be anxiety, depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, or any others. We’ve seen the impacts it has on their lives, and the lives of those close to them. It’s difficult, it’s challenging, and in many ways it’s overwhelming. But…it doesn’t have to be defeating. Life is most definitely different, but I’m slowly learning that that doesn’t mean it has to be worse. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I never once thought of it as an illness, but just the way I was. It came and it went. Many days were better than others, and I grew accustomed to it. Not knowing any differently, it all just seemed normal. Looking back, the area that had the biggest effect on my life, and still continues to this day, is in the area of trust. I’m not a completely untrusting person…not even close. But to trust someone to the point of making myself vulnerable to them is nearly non-existent. I’ve had many friends over the years, but I’ve only allowed a few to get close. I’ve never been one to have ‘best friends’, to have people to confide in…or people to confide in me. Closeness and intimacy scares me to the core. This is a fear I fight daily, and I expect to fight for as long as I live. It’s just one of the realities that is my life.
This past spring/summer there were a series of events that ultimately led to my diagnosis as having ‘Narcissistic Borderline Personality Disorder’, or BPD. My depression and anxiety were spiking more than they ever had before, and I was becoming increasingly erratic and irritable. Sherry finally convinced me to see a doctor about antidepressants and mood stabilizers. This was just the beginning of what is proving to be the most challenging phase of my life. I got hit very hard by the Robyn Williams suicide. That really carved into me the reality that this depression/anxiety is not something that’s just going to go away. I began to self-harm, which until this point is something I was able to keep hidden and under control. The self-harm led to a trip to RUH emergency, which resulted in getting admitted to the Dube Centre for Mental Health. It was during my stay here that I was diagnosed with having BPD. My life since then has been, and continues to be a time of major adjustment, both for myself and my family. I work only 80% now because of my new reality, which is counselling once or twice a week, as well as regular appointments with my psychiatrist.
I guess to end off this first entry I’d like to leave you with who I am: Yes, I’m BPD. Yes, I’m suicidal (yet so far not successful. <-(captain obvious)) Yes, I’m medicated. Yes, I have a life filled with therapy and psychiatrists. Yes, I self harm…as I write this I’m looking at my most recent stitches on my arm. But that’s not all that I am. I am a caring father, a loving husband, and a considerate friend. And also very importantly, I’m working my ass off to learn how to take control back of my life. I know BPD will never go away, but I also know that through hard work I can become in control OF it, and not suffer being controlled BY it. Here is a quote that I love. I share it quite regularly with Sherry, as I feel it describes quite accurately the person she has been strong enough to live with for the last 15 years of our lives.
“I’m not an easy person to be with. I know that. I probably won’t even try to make it easy for you. I’ll be real difficult at times. It may seem, at times, I don’t want you, and I don’t like you, but I do. I’ll be a challenge, because I’m not the type of person who people walk all over. I’m not the person who puts up with bullshit. I’m not the person who will give you sympathy comments. When I say something, I mean it. If people are assholes to me, I cut them out of my life. I’m annoying, I’m hilarious, and I’m the worlds biggest jerk. I’ll make you want to scream and punch walls; I’ll ruin your day and then save it at the very last minute. I’ll drive you crazy and, sometimes, you’ll hate my guts. But even though all that’s going to happen, and I swear it will, I have an amazing side to me. I do. I have a giant heart. I’ll always be there when you need me. Even if my life is impossibly knotted, I’ll try and untangle yours by listening and loving. I won’t sop caring about you, not even if you push me away. You’re different from everyone else, and I like that. It’s refreshing to find someone different in the world because way too many people are all the same.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Feel free to comment, and please…if you know anyone who might be interested in or be of benefit to what I have to say, please pass this on. Until next time,
Connect With Dave:
Blog - hadtoomuchtodreamlastnight.wordpress.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/hadtoomuchtodreamlastnight
Twitter - https://twitter.com/InkedDadBPD
Tumblr - https://www.tumblr.com/blog/-hadtoomuchtodreamlastnight
Instagram - http://instagram.com/dave__stone/
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Phil Fulmer on Teen Suicide
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Columbia Univeristy's Dr. Rynn on OCD