Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Rising Issues of Mental Health

With Robin Williams’ death comes another wave of discussion over mental health care in our country. Are we doing enough? Is the stigma disappearing? How does it come to this? What does this all mean?

Well, as the wife of an amazing man who happens to suffer from the diseases of Bipolar Depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, I’ll tell you. The answers of those questions are: No, No, easily for those suffering with depression, and only those people know.

Depression is a disease. It isn’t a stigma. It isn’t leprosy. It doesn’t brush under a rug and go away. It hides behind endearing smiles, captivating conversation, and energetic activities. It hides in dark rooms, under pillows, quiet times, and is deadly. It strikes when you are weak and hits like a brick. You can’t dodge it, or hide from it, or definitely, you CANNOT ignore it. It’s an evil fog that encapsulates its victim, then spreads out to try and trap those around them.

You know the saying, only the strong survive, yes? Well, even the strong can collapse with depression. It can dissolve your ambitions like acid. Everyone has a breaking point. It is what happens when you are at that point that can make or break it.

Depression is an invisible disease. I call Depression an invisible disease because sometimes even those closest to the individual don’t notice until too late.  People suffering from this disease are no different than those afflicted with other invisible diseases. It is no different than Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, etc. The individual has it, but most people can’t tell until it is so severe that there is no turning back. Depression has an advantage though, with the correct medication, support, love, kindness, help, and direction, most people can survive it, fight it, and live through it. Sure, they don’t look sick, but seriously, never judge a book by its cover.

Fighting Depression is a constant battle. Every moment, every thought, becomes a target and a fight. I’m dumb, fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, worthless, unneeded, a blemish, an anchor to my family, or a disgrace. The absolute fact is that you are NOT dumb, fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, worthless, unneeded, a blemish, an anchor to my family, or a disgrace.  You are smart, beautiful, amazing, friendly, fun, needed, loved, and special. You are a significant part of your friend and family circle. Without you, they would not be complete.

Depression is a bully. Beating you up and taking your sanity like your lunch money. It wants to stuff you in a locker, give you a wedgie, and put tacks on your chairs. Don’t even mention the mental swirlies that it gives you. Stand up to your Bully. Gather your friends and family and back that jerk right back into his box. Hulk Smash that bitch.

This has gone on long enough people. Mental Health is nothing to stick your nose up at and ignore. It is something painful that requires special attention. You fight it by being supportive, observant, and sincere. I know from my own experiences with the Big D that I need to have someone I love or respect tell me to put on my big girl panties and step up. It’s hard. It truly is.

Depression insinuates itself into your head and makes you think that you are a burden to your family. You are dragging them down. It would all be better if you just weren’t around anymore. Your family would move on and be better off. What you don’t believe, understand, or realize is the carnage you leave behind in your wake when you get to the point of suicide. You can’t, won’t, or don’t let your family do what they are there for, to love you and help raise you up. That is why they are there in your life. They aren’t pretty fixtures you need to dust. They are hard working, loving, caring, bully-destroying, kick-ass, cheerleaders, and supporters of everything you do in your life.

Your faith, yes, your faith can help as well, but it is the loving people in your face telling you to get up, take another step, expressing their love for you, and yes, tell you to put on your big kid underwear and combat boots, baby, cuz you are doing battle. The cool thing is, if you look to your sides, you realize that your family and friends are right there with you in this battle. Their love and commitment to you is your super power against the Big D. You can’t let it win. Please don’t let it win. The wreckage left behind takes forever to clean up and sometimes, it is never clean. Sometimes there is no recovery. And the circle begins again.

Break the circle, go Super Saiyan on that bitch. Tell it to back the hell off because you have things to do, people to see, memories to make, and people to love.

Sure, sometimes that person thinks they have no one to reach out to, but honestly, there are tons of people, groups, and support out there to stretch out a hand to you and give you a hug. For no other reason than you are just you. You are valuable. You have life experiences that can educate others. You have opinions, needs, desires, and suggestions on how to help others. You are amazing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

I know this post sounds like a lot of BS, but honestly, I live with the Big D every bloody day of my life. It crawls into the crevices of my brain trying to undermine my control. It’s a constant battle. I have Multiple Sclerosis, that’s enough junk in my system trying to mess with me, I don’t need Depression coming to the party. The Big D was NOT invited.

I live with a loving and caring man that deals with this daily as well. We help and support each other. It’s all we can do. This isn’t a single-player game, peeps. This is full contact, multi-player, team defense.

There are tons of places out there for help. You can call any of the resources below or visit your local shelter and talk to anyone working there, I am sure if they don’t have the expertise to help, they know someone that does. Plus, I am sure the hugs are free and you should never be afraid of crying. Crying releases toxins in your body. So, cry away, get that crap out of your body. Don’t believe me? Go here: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/06/06/7-good-reasons-to-cry-your-eyes-out/

Just take that first step, please.

Maybe some of this can help:

Call 24/7 - 1-800-273-8255

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online (http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx), or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Institute of Mental Health (Also a great place for any info on Depression.)

Amazing help for Teens and Young Adults for Depression or Addiction Services:
Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433 
Immediate Medical Assistance: 911 
Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863 

Crisis Call Center
800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
Depression and Bipolar Support 
800-273-TALK (8255)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week 

National Hopeline Network

800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
800-442-HOPE (4673)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
Crisis Center and Hotlines Locator by State

Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline
800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

Your Life Iowa: Bullying Support and Suicide Prevention
(855) 581-8111 (24/7) or text TALK to 85511 (4–8 PM every day)
Chat is available Mondays–Thursdays from 7:30 PM–12:00 AM

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:

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