Waiting for today...: April 2014

"Research has shown that such people are overrepresented among cases of fals...

"Research has shown that such people are overrepresented among cases of false confession because the conditions of their illness - such as proneness t... - Nyawela Gianna - Google+

Monday, April 28

Article: Black Folks and Mental Health: Why Do We Suffer in Silence?



Reading the African-American Community Mental Health and African-American Women and Depression Fact Sheets at NAMI.org got me to thinking about the crisis in our community…

I knew from experience and from personal conversations that mental illness was not accepted in the African-American community.   As I researched mental illness in general and depression specifically, I saw the stance as foolish and unfortunate.   Learning about etiologies and symptoms led to the realization that I knew a lot of people with some degree of mental illness that would be hard pressed to admit it much less speak about, even in private conversation.  The following article tells of two African-American women, their experience and how they are helping to raise awareness in their respective communities.



...the statistics are loud and clear. African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic Whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Services. Yet young adult African Americans, especially those with higher levels of education, are less likely to seek mental health services than their White counterparts, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.  

When the evidence proves African Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience circumstances that increase the chances of having a mental illness or challenge, it begs the question: why do so many African Americans suffer in silence?...

con’t reading: Black Folks and Mental Health: Why Do We Suffer in Silence? written by Nia Hamm, producer and freelance writer having works published on multiple websites including Ebony.com, Huffington Post and CNBC.  Retrieved April 27th, 2014 from http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/black-folks-and-mental-health-610/2#axzz306eg64Gm

related: Mums the Word

Wednesday, April 23

Taming the Chaos...



The Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport Bahamas overlooking the Caribbean ocean…



Days off are a hustle and bustle to scratch every task off my to-do list while trying to be social and carve out “me” time.  That balance I so desperately need is still in the distance… unattainable it seems, at times. I first begin to feel overwhelmed.  Next I fear the that the darkness will find me again.  Then I pause and remember that I cannot always trust my feelings.  I take a deep breath, re-shuffle the “to-do deck”, find my priorities and continue on leaving my emotions behind.  My current priority: the laundry… It’s getting done!  Therefore my room is beginning to look as though a civilized person sleeps there.  Although I’m still sleeping in the living room.



As a child, I remember being fascinated by everything around me.  I took to drawing early, trying to capture those things.  My earliest remembrance of this fascination is from elementary school.  Instead of paying attention in class, I went about trying to recreate a design I saw on a hand-woven bag.  My creativity has waxed and waned since then.  As I grew up and became aware of cameras, my interest shifted from drawings to photos.  It never evolved beyond pointing and shooting however.  And just as I lost my passion for drawing and “less than amateur” photography, I lose my desire to write from time to time.  I am almost certain it is related to my instability.  So on days like this, when I’m speechless and lacking or time simply eludes me, I’ll share instead one of my photos in hopes to somehow keep my diminished creative flow from dying altogether.



Friday, April 18

Article: What Depression Feels Like


Hi, I'm still new to PC and I'm new to the depression forums.

I can identify with what everyone has said. Especially about being empty, feeling like I don't belong and having so much to do but not being able to begin.

It's almost like I feel as though I'm a robot... just moving from here to there without any real purpose of my own, empty. Like at work, I just want to go, do what I "have" to do and go back home where it's safe, so I can "turn off". I block out everything that's happening around me... nothing matters.
I isolate myself, I don't want to talk to anyone because I either have to lie about how I'm feeling or I have to talk about it. It's exhausting. And while people mean well, what they say will often irritate the f*** out of me or make me feel worse.
I don't take care of myself: don't shower, wear the same dirty clothes every day. I eat but not for nutrition, it's for comfort so I eat junk food. I lay in bed all day watching TV and when I have to go out somewhere, I playback the made up life I created as a child over and over again in my head while I avoid eye contact and conversation with people.
And once I'm depressed... once I'm in that dark place, I'm almost always afraid to leave. It's like I don't want to confront all that has been neglected... like it's too much work to put my life back together again. -- February 6th, 2014 Reply to “Can You Describe Your Lowest Low?” on the Forums at Psych Central

Hardly poetic, yet very therapeutic.  It was the first time I actually described my depression in public without all the sugarcoating. Without holding back. Without the fear of rejection, glances of skepticism or having to endure half-assed attempts at encouragement. For a change I was able to open up and be honest about how I really felt in the midst of a depressive episode.  It wasn’t much.  It was therapeutic.  Not at all poetic.   But the following article includes a very poetic first person account of what depression feels like.




Hanging out with depression crushes me...
I can’t breathe. I am alone and drowning and I can’t swim and the water is dark and vast and there is no bottom...
I want to just sleep I can’t wait to sleep but then it wakes me up, way before dawn…
It overshadows everything… The sun doesn’t shine here…

con’t reading: What Depression Feels Like written by Anonymous, published by Samantha Smithstein Psy.D.,  contributor on Psychologytoday.com and author of What The Wild Things Are. Retrieved on June 17th, 2014 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201403/what-depression-feels

Sunday, April 13

C.H.A.O.S.


Wood carving by Peter Toth at Mt. Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach Virginia...


Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome: one of the more problematic trademarks of my depression.  When my home is in disarray, I cannot function in my best capacity.  After awhile, if I remain unorganized, I can barely function at all which usually triggers an abbreviated bout of depression.  Around and around I go.  In my best capacity, I am able to prioritize tasks while maintaining a healthy balance of work, rest, recreation and other interests.  To date, I am only finding balance in work and rest.  Not until my space is in “array” can I liberally pursue recreation and hobbies.  It’s been a month since the depression lifted and I still haven’t made it past the bathroom and the kitchen.  While that is better than nothing, I’m getting a little antsy.  





As a child, I remember being fascinated by everything around me.  I took to drawing early, trying to capture those things.  My earliest remembrance of this fascination is from elementary school.  Instead of paying attention in class, I went about trying to recreate a design I saw on a hand-woven bag.  My creativity has waxed and waned since then.  As I grew up and became aware of cameras, my interest shifted from drawings to photos.  It never evolved beyond pointing and shooting however.  And just as I lost my passion for drawing and “less than amateur” photography, I lose my desire to write from time to time.  I am almost certain it is related to my instability.  So on days like this, when I’m speechless and lacking or time simply eludes me, I’ll share instead one of my photos in hopes to somehow keep my diminished creative flow from dying altogether.



Tuesday, April 8

Why a Blog?



As of 2012 there were an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States (Blogging Statistics, Facts and Figures in 2012 – Infographic).  HealthyPlace, Psych Central and Psychology Today are just a few behavioral health websites, in addition to the many blogging platforms, that are home to both professional and personal mental health bloggers.   One thing that I have learned since seeking treatment is: no two sufferers of mental illness are the same.  Yet we share similar motivations for blogging.  Below are a few motivations of my own.

One:

“Writing has always helped me cope with stress...”


Way out of my comfort zone and out of touch with my peers, I used my writing as a means of coping when I moved to Philadelphia as a school-aged child.  I would write the lyrics of new songs I heard and the scripts of new movies I saw.  I eventually found friends in the neighborhood and in school but writing remained a hobby.  Eventually I realized that I had the creative capacity to write my own lyrics, stories, poetry and even a play.  It was in highschool, however, that I began keeping a journal.  This was a very trying time for my relationships and a time in which I began to experience the most stress.    Entering college, I was met with a different type of stress and my journaling continued.  For a time, blogging also became part of my stress relief.   


Two:
“I often have a difficult time finding and focusing on the core of my issues...”

My therapist has encouraged me to continue journaling as a positive coping method.  At baseline, my mind is often filled with make believe and tends to race which impedes all efforts to think clearly.  My journaling is predominantly free flowing thought, rambling even and very emotional.  And like my mind, those entries can be much disorganized.   Writing helps me organize my thoughts and make sense of the circumstances that cause me distress.  I began my second blog, for milk~and~water, for this very reason: to help me make sense of why I was sabotaging my college career.  It was helpful for a time; while I had focus.   Journaling definitely has its place but blogging is more of a systematic approach to the above, rather than an emotional one.   

Three:
“If I am to be well, I cannot continue to internalize but I also cannot 
project onto others ... ”
As I approached therapy, I knew that I would never achieve an optimal level of psychosocial health if I kept everything bottled up.  I thought that if I exposed all of the ugly  for exactly what it was and for all to see, I would somehow be free.   As mentioned earlier, I am not all that open to sharing those things with certain individuals in certain of my circles.  But although I am writing anonymously, I feel as though I’m forced to be completely honest; as if I will be held accountable and especially in times when I want to run and hide in denial.  Completely honest?  Yes.  But brutally honest?  No.  The truth will be painful to myself as well as others. Nevertheless, truth is a necessary element in the healing process.

Four:
“I now have a better understanding of my purpose...”

I don’t consider myself an experienced writer much less an experienced blogger.  This partially explains my failed attempts with past blogs: three total.  A short time after being introduced to blogging, I found myself caught up in the hype of the blogosphere.  Even with for milk~and~water, which had a honest and humble beginning, I tried to compete with fellow bloggers.  I would write reviews for movies, television or music in effort to appease the perceived interests of those that would follow.  What’s more, I began using my blog as a daily journal to keep up with the bloggers who would update their site several times per day.   I lost sight of my purpose trying to be something I clearly was not.  My personality has never craved the spotlight or competition; it was all vanity and screamed in deaf ears “you don’t know who you are”.  But now, I hear. Now my path is illuminated.

As I go through this journey, learn more about myself and of the things that has poisoned me, I’ve looked to others in the mental health blogging community for support.  And because I don’t want my journey to be self-serving, I’ve also tried to be supportive and encouraging to others who may be in denial or in hopelessness: Five?  I  recognize that social support from those in similar circumstances is most helpful. And sometimes sharing your story is just as liberating to others as it can be for you...




Thursday, April 3

More Than Enough


“Take my heart and make it stronger… you’re simply the best.”




Once this week:
I allowed rage to get the best of me.


A couple of times this week:
I felt like a failure for my lack of consistency.


But, a few times this week:
I was reminded that no matter how many times I fall short, there’s One that will always look upon my unfortunate condition and have compassion.  


And that’s more than enough to get back up and keep moving forward with assurance.


One day…



Ever since I moved back to the states as a school age child music has played a huge role in my life. In the late eighties, Michael Jackson, Madonna, the hair bands and hip hop grabbed my attention as my home in the islands did not have cable television.   Music helped me through that transition, from elementary school to high school, from college to the working world. You name it music has helped me cope through it.  When the world seems to be crumbling down around me, music helps me to escape.