Please Support Me #NAMIWalks #JoinTheMovement

Please help me support NAMIWalks at https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=65748

 

Please support me as I raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI Orange County has been instrumental in my mental health recovery.

Help Me Support NAMI

NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. As a NAMI Provider Education presenter and In Our Own Voice speaker I share my story of mental health recovery. You can see my speech here.

NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.

Thank you!

Kitt

Barely Fiction: Kate.1

Kiss me, Kate? Good luck You cannot tame this shrew This woman of sometimes Violent temper and speech She remains wild and free At heart a non-conformist Pugnacious and proud

Her true and legal name is Kitt Kathleen O’Malley. She loves her name and is grateful her parents came up with it — a great stage name if there ever was one. Her first name is typically a nickname for Katherine or Kathleen, so her name is redundant.

She had thought that Katherine meant catharsis, or purification through emotional release, a meaning she’s always identified with. Now that she researches her name, the etymology is unclear, perhaps originating with the goddess Hecate.

Hecate (Hekate) is a goddess of Greek mythology who was capable of both good and evil. [Metaphor for bipolar diagnosis?] She was especially associated with witchcraft, magic, the Moon, doorways, and creatures of the night such as hell-hounds and ghosts. [Who knew?] She is often depicted carrying a torch to remind of her connection with the night and in sculpture with three faces, representing her role as the guardian of crossroads. [Interesting…]

– Hecate by  & [Bracketed writing by Kitt]

Anyway, yes, she openly expresses strong emotions, perhaps less so now that she’s medicated for bipolar disorder. She remains theatrical, loving attention and being on stage. She’s also a Leo, so add that to the mixture.

For this piece of flash fiction, she’ll go by Kate. Why? Because she named this piece Kate before she started writing and because it ties into the “Kiss me, Kate?” poem which ensues. Is she a shrew, a woman of violent temper and speech? At times she has been, but she hasn’t overthrown a table in over a year or two (she just did that once). She has been known to throw adult temper tantrums. Something she’s not proud of. Luckily her meds and psychotherapy help her keep an even keel.

Kiss me, Kate?
Good luck
You cannot tame this shrew
This woman of sometimes
Violent temper and speech
She remains wild and free
At heart a non-conformist
Pugnacious and proud

Writing in third person, as true or as outlandish as she pleases, taking liberties with the facts, perhaps this will grow into an autobiographical novel. More likely than not, these words will remain here as a flash and then die the death of so many other blog posts, lost over a relatively short time period to the archives.

Talking to Yourself in the Third Person Can Help You Control Stressful EmotionsMSU Today. July 26, 2017.
Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRIScientific Reports 7. Article number: 4519(2017). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04047-3.

 

Book Reviews: fAdE tO bLuE and mOnOchrOme

fAdE tO bLuE by H.M. Jones

He did not go gentle into that good night... Fade to Blue, H.M. Jones
fAdE tO bLuE is H.M. Jones‘ prequel to mOnOchrOme. Those of us who read Monochrome met the fascinating character Ishmael. This prequel gives us Ishmael’s back story and explains more about how the hellish world of Monochrome works. Monochrome is a creative metaphor for depression, specifically suicidal depression.

Ishmael’s childhood was filled with trauma and neglect. As the novel opens, he finds his mother’s body after she dies by a particularly gory suicide. He descends into a suicidal abyss, and finds himself in Monochrome.

Though my life was far less traumatic, like Ishmael, I was a suicidal young adult. What saved me, and what keeps Ishmael alive, was the fight to live. Fight depression. Fight those lies depression tells you.

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones

Monochrome: What would you do to save your most precious memories? H.M. Jones

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones is a blue cold scary fantasy world, a metaphor for depression, an infernal purgatory where the protagonist Abigail survives by paying for her basic needs with positive memories.

As Abigail struggles to leave Monochrome and return to her baby, she fights the despair of postpartum depression. She fights the lies depression convinces her are truths.

Monochrome is a powerful, compelling novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a work of fiction that told important truths about depression through the metaphor of Monochrome.

Depression Lies

Depression lies. You matter. You have value. You are loved. Those you love are not better off without you. Fight the lies depression tells you. Fight and reach out for help. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

You are not alone. I, too, have experienced the hell of severe suicidal depression. I’m thankful that I fought it and got the help I needed. Those I love, those who love me, are thankful, too.

Please Don’t Ask Me to Review Your Book

Recently I’ve written two book reviews, and am about to write one more. BUT, I do NOT consider myself a book reviewer, so PLEASE don’t ask me to review your book.

As a mental health writer, I have many online connections, authors whose writing is fueled by mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. My heart wants to reach out and support all mental health writers (all writers, poets and artists, for that matter), but I simply cannot.

I read far fewer blogs than I once did and very few mental health memoirs or novels, preferring to escape living with mental illness. Usually I read novels which do not involve the subject of mental health.

That said, I did read both mOnOchrOme and fAdE tO bLuE and thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Thank you.

Multicultural Mental Health Facts #MHM

Multicultural Mental Health Facts 1. Mental Health Facts MULTICULTURAL Prevalence of Adult Mental Illness by Race 16.3% 19.3% 18.6% 13.9% 28.3% Hispanic adults living with a mental health condition. White adults living with a mental health condition. Black adults living with a mental health condition. Asian adults living with a mental health condition. AI/AN* adults living with a mental health condition. www.nami.org Follow Us! facebook.com/NAMI twitter.com/NAMIcommunicate Ways to Get Help Talk with your doctor Visit NAMI.org Learn more about mental illness Connect with other individuals and families LGBTQ Community Use of Mental Health Services among Adults (2008-2012) Fact: Mental health affects everyone regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. 1 in every 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness. One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24. 11.3% 21.5% 6.6% 10.3% 16.3% 15.1% 4.4% 5.3% 5.5% 9.2% Hispanic White Black Asian AI/AN* Male Female *American Indian/Alaska Native Critical Issues Faced by Multicultural Communities Less access to treatment Less likely to receive treatment Poorer quality of care Higher levels of stigma Culturally insensitive health care system Racism, bias, homophobia or discrimination in treatment settings Language barriers Lower rates of health insurance *American Indian/Alaska Native LGBTQ individuals are 2 or more times more likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition. 11% of transgender individuals reported being denied care by mental health clinics due to bias or discrimination. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. 2X 2-3X 11% 1 This document cites statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, New Evidence Regarding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health and Injustice at every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Diagnosing Bipolar II #DavidLeite #NotesOnABanana

Creator of the James Beard Award-Winning Website "Leite's Culinaria," David Leite, "Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression"

“Diagnosis: Mental Lite!” — Chapter 33 of David Leite’s self-deprecating Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression — reminded me of the two decades it took before I was diagnosed bipolar type 2.

For twenty-five years Leite was treated (unsuccessfully) for depression and anxiety. Like Leite, I was an overachiever who cyclically crashed. From eighteen to thirty-nine, I was diagnosed dysthymic (chronically depressed).  Finally as a mother of a toddler, I recognized my euphoric callings from God as symptoms of hypomania and called for help.

After seeing numerous psychiatrists since he was fourteen, Leite sought and got an accurate diagnosis of bipolar II from Neil De Senna, who at the time was a Columbia University Medical Center professor of psychiatry.

Here I excerpt as bullet points the questions Dr. De Senna asked that led to Leite’s diagnosis. Buy the book to read his life story and answers to these questions — you won’t regret it.

  • Did I ever have rapid, repetitive thinking?
  • Did I ever talk fast, sometimes so fast people couldn’t understand me?
  • Had I ever been so irritable, I shouted at people or started fights or became violent?
  • Had I ever had a decreased need for sleep? If I slept just a few hours, did I feel great?
  • Did I ever engage in risky behavior that endangered my life?
  • Had I felt unusually self-confident in myself and my abilities? Did I ever experience grandiosity?
  • Had I ever had morose, violent thoughts?
  • Had I ever contemplated suicide? Had I ever attempted it?
  • Had I ever lost interest in things because nothing gave me pleasure?
  • Were there times when I was very interested in being with people, and other times when I wanted to be alone?
  • Did I have crying jags, anxiety and panic, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, bad feelings about myself?

Now I quote without editing, De Senna’s description of bipolar I and bipolar II:

He explained that there are two types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is the more severe form, what Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of An Unquiet Mind, has. In it, the manias are screechingly amped up and oftentimes dangerous. They’re emblazoned with inflated self-esteem and billowing grandiosity, a marked decrease in sleep, a pressing need to talk, sometimes with odd features such as “clanging,” where speech loses meaning and follows a pattern of rhymes or sounds. Someone suffering from full-blown mania can be grossly distracted; battle racing, looping thoughts; and engage in potentially dangerous and deadly activities, such as unchecked buying sprees, risky or anonymous sex, foolish business dealings, and reckless driving. All the while, psychosis—a disconnection from reality—can be skulking in the background, just waiting for a pause, an opening. These manias can disrupt a person’s life to such a degree that jobs are lost, relationships implode, families disintegrate. Hospitalizations usually follow.

“What you have, bipolar II,” he continued, “is a milder form of the illness.” While the depressions can be just as deep and disabling, disabling, he said, what makes the difference is the quality, degree, and length of the high times. With bipolar II, a person suffers from hypomania. Elevated, expansive moods that are seductively attractive to the sufferer and the people around him, hypomanias are a watercolor version of bright-neon manias. Through it all, life isn’t disrupted to the same degree, and there’s never a psychotic break. Hospitalizations aren’t common.

“It can be very, very difficult to diagnosis hypomania,” Neil said. “Especially in type-A people who are normally goal-oriented, high energy, and creative. Their personalities can mask the illness at times.”

By quoting from David Leite’s memoir, published by HarperCollins, I do not intend to avoid copyright law. My hope is to educate, and as an added bonus to Leite and HarperCollins, to promote a great memoir of a creative soul living with manic depression.