What I’ve Done Recently

Hypomania, Self-Care, Success!

Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic

The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.

I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.

How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?

Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.

Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.

Provider Education, Take Two

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.

I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.

Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.

Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.

Self-Care

After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.

How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.

Women in Mental Health

On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature women living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.

I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.

Success!

When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.

BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.

Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.

Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life

This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.

Sunday, we met with:

I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!

Mini-Family Reunion

Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!

I CAN Do It

Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.

Irritable. Hypomanic. Parenting Fail.

Fighting Hypomania. Parenting Fail.

Fighting Hypomania

Irritable. Hypomanic. Overwhelmed?

Unfortunately, social stimulation triggers and worsens hypomanic symptoms in me.

Upcoming events that may overstimulate me:

Parenting Fail

Frustrated with my newly adult 18-year old son who struggles with social anxiety and migraines. Though highly intelligent, he has not completed high school, nor has he taken scheduled high school equivalency tests.

Anxiety. Migraines. Reschedule. Repeat.

Yesterday, he did not go to his scheduled cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) evaluation. The CBT psychologist told me that we must make structured household changes in which we design and implement consequences. As is, he lacks motivation to change.

Self Care

After drafting this post, I went to the pharmacy to fill my clonazepam prescription. I rarely take clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, for it’s a potentially addictive controlled substance. But, today I need it.

Treated myself to chicken enchiladas mole for lunch. I love Olamendi’s mole sauce. Chocolate and spices in the over 50-ingredient sauce help. Magic.

Now, I chill out.

Formatting My First Book

Kitt O'Malley Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health
Kitt O’Malley Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health Book Cover

Been busy formatting my first book for publication. Problem is that while formatting it for Kindle ebook publication, I made changes. I can’t resist editing…

So, my Scrivener project is different than my Word manuscript which is now different than what I formatted using Kindle Create.

Oh, well. Guess that’s why each published version gets it’s own ISBN (actually, Kindle ebook doesn’t require ISBN, but I did buy a bunch of ISBNs).

The versions will be different in small ways. Or, not so small. We’ll see if or when I get around to formatting the Amazon print version, and later the IngramSpark ebook and print versions for distribution to sellers other than Amazon.

Just realized my title changed since I filed my copyright. Oops! Turns out that using a URL in a book title is a no-no. The book cover looks pretty familiar to those who know my brand.

I’ll let you know when the ebook is live.


This Thursday and Friday I’m participating in NAMI Provider Education in preparation for the historic opening of Children’s Hospital of Orange County‘s (CHOC) pediatric psychiatric unit — the first inpatient psychiatric unit for children under age twelve in Orange County. The entire staff will attend the inservice, which is incredible. We expect sixty-three attendees. I’ll be serving on NAMI’s panel as the mental health provider with lived experience.

In the past, parents had to take their kids up to UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Unit. At CHOC, parents can visit their kids in crisis 24/7. One parent can sleep in the room with their child, which is important for young children.

When our son was hospitalized for dehydration at CHOC in Mission Viejo, we took turns spending the night. CHOC treats kids and their families wonderfully.

Health Care System Fails Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED)

The health care system has failed to address the needs of persons with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and serious emotional disturbances (SED). 4% percentage of the adult population, age 18 and over, living with SMI. 1 in 4 individuals with SMI live below the poverty line. 25x the suicide rate for individuals with mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder is 25 times higher than among the general population. 1 in 10 youths in SAMHSA's CMHI program had attempted suicide prior to receiving services. 2 million approximate number of persons with SMI admitted annually to US jails. Only about 1 in 3 people with mental illness in jails or prisons is currently receiving any treatment. 7% to 12% of youth under age 18 who have SED.

The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers

The Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) has released a report detailing a plan for helping adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and children and youth with serious emotional disturbances (SED). The report includes current needs of individuals with these issues, advances in clinical care, as well as extensive recommendations for improving the way we address these challenges. (Quoting NAMI California email dated January 18, 2018)

Press Conference

Members of the ISMICC discussed the recommendations in their first Report to Congress during a press conference on Thursday, December 14, 2017. The findings and recommendations in the report have the potential to spur federal action to revolutionize behavioral health care by increasing access, quality, and affordability of care. (Quoting SAMHSA.gov/about-us/advisory-councils/ismicc)

Full Report
Executive Summary