Day 42: May 28, 2018 This is a Doozie!

This is a doozie! But, it’s important to our society, and our current climate.

Memorial Day is a day of thanks to those men and women who have fought for our country, and who have died in service of our country. No matter the government’s agenda, our brave men and women had no choice but to fight. Whatever their feelings were in whatever climate, they fought. I hope everyone remembers what that means for us now.

Today has been a very quiet, and peaceful day. I needed a peaceful day. A day without noise, chatter or people. I was so happy to see Jamie when he got home, though. I am the kind of person who needs quite from time to time.

Yesterday was not a terrible day, but a frustrating day. I had some really unpleasant thoughts. I lashed out at Jamie, and then he allowed me to settle down and I actually talked about how I was feeling. Keep in mind, I’m getting off pain meds, and it really does mess with your mind. Not that these thoughts are new ones, but I think me talking about it can help those who feel their time is wasted after a certain point in their lives isn’t waste, but continuous opportunities to learn and grow. I think I may have mentioned that I have deeply depressive tendencies. It’s been a struggle here and there throughout my life, and when I become imbalanced, things can get tricky as far as my mental health. Before I go further, how I feel, and what I’ve been through and go through isn’t that special. I’m one of many.

Mental Health by Numbers

Prevalence of Mental Illness

1. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.1

2. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2

3. Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3

4. 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4

5. 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5

6. 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6

7. 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7

8. Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8

Social Stats

1. An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.9

2. Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10

3. 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.11

4. Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.8

5. Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12

6. African Americans and Hispanic Americans each use mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13

7. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.14

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

1 Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15

2 Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.16

3 Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.18

4 Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14¬–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.19

5 Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–1421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.22

6 More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23

7 Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.24

It must be serious if I cited the above and left a website. But, this is worth reading. And, here’s another one:

Mental Health Resources

The above is a great resource! I highly recommend it if you’re struggling or if you have loved ones who are struggling. Mental Illness can be serious. I believe people can be treated. I also believe there are some who can’t be helped. But, we won’t know unless we help that person get all the help that’s out there. Right now, people who have mental illness or who have bouts of depression or acute onset due to tragedies, etc. are still looked at as if we’re misfits, or unfit, or dangerous, in some cases. People who struggle or have struggled even stay quiet because they’re so afraid of being judged. I’ll also say that treatments differ for ALL different kinds of mental illness and there are also different levels. If you look up mental illnesses, you’ll see so many different – such as Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Bipolar Mixed…blah blah blah. That’s because there are so many different possibilities and mixes of symptoms that it can’t be categorized into one category. I actually think it’s defined differently because drug companies and doctors make more money if there are more definitions.

Not all of it requires meds, although, some do. There is help. I can talk about the school shootings, teen suicide, adult suicide and all other kinds of violence blamed on mental illness, but, I think we all know the possible issues, and hope that our society can see the difference between people who are mentally ill, and true evil. They are very different things.

There are very few people who know anything about my particular brand of “mental illness”. I am always terrified that I’m going to be judged or looked down upon. But, I have nothing to be ashamed of. Isn’t that why so many suffer? They’re worried they’ll be judged? They’re worried no one will ever trust them, love them, understand them, etc.? I know there are more people out there who are in “hiding” than the statistics show. Mental illness can be caused by genetics, traumatic events, medications, etc. Not everyone is born with mental illness. But, it doesn’t mean we deal with the issue any differently. It’s time we stop making those who feel “not quite right” ashamed and reach out to them and let them know they’re not alone.

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This is important to me for 2 reasons.

1. I’m Bipolar and I know what it feels like to hide.

2. I watch people suffer often and I simply want them to know you can be successful and that no matter what, someone is there to help

I was diagnosed when I was 19, but I absolutely didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t properly deal with it until 2006. From 1992 to 2006, I wasn’t properly medicated. Of course, those years had truly happy times, and other kinds of meds, but I didn’t like any of them. I want to be clear that things were not always bad, but fighting depression is tough when nothing you’re doing is helping. I just fought it best I could. Since 2006, 1 pill a day has been the answer for me. I did a lot of research because I hate medications. I had to have one that had few side effects, could be taken long term, and didn’t make me gain weight. I’m just being honest. I wanted to make sure that I was still me. I’ve been on the SAME medication since 2006. I’d say it was a good choice for me. IT SAVED MY LIFE. Do I still get depressed? Yes. It’s the whole reason I started this particular post. But, the difference is that without my medication, I’d be in a dark place I might not come back from. I know my life wouldn’t be what it is today. Did the pill fix it? NO. But, I was able to start working through the chaos, and now, all these years later, I can differentiate between my true emotions, and emotions caused by drugs, etc. I now have a bag of tools that help me wade through the noise. No pill fixes anything by itself. It requires other aids, such as writing, reading, talking, sharing, exercising, singing, working, eating correctly, regular sleep – and whatever aids you have learned or come up with to help. Brains are funny things. When I was diagnosed the 2nd time with Bipolar in 2006, they actually did testing to confirm, and found that the chemicals in my brain mimic that of someone who has Bipolar, and interestingly enough, hinted that the seizures I had and the Bipolar are connected. That is just a theory, but I’ve heard it more than once at this point. The medication I’m on also prevents my seizures. I hope that by me taking this risk to be out loud about my Bipolar that whoever is reading this will know that there is someone who wants to help you. Just because you’re having a hard day, week, month or year doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill, by the way. That’s too easy and convenient for our health industry to twist. So, while I’m Bipolar, you may have just had a trauma in your life that causes temporary depression. You should talk to someone, and let them help you figure it out. It requires honesty on your part to really be able to talk about your emotions, your past, your decisions, etc. it wasn’t easy for me, but without it, I would not have been able to get better and be who I am today!

img_2454In 2018, I’m successful. I’m happy. I’m blessed. And, I feel I can now talk about it, and hope that those who love me and know me will stand by me. This is just Part 1 of a series I feel is important. I feel absolutely blessed that I can talk about all of this with a clear head and heart. After having a major surgery like I did, it could have really taken me to a dark place, but instead, I’ve been able to wade between reality and hard days. As a matter of fact, I was telling Jamie that there are even more positives to my having surgery.

 

Today I added to my long list of positives:

1. I don’t eat fried food anymore

2. Jamie won’t eat fried food as much because I’m not, which means trips to the store for healthier options benefits me, Jamie and Bella. For example, he went to the grocery tonight and got salmon meals for me, and sushi for himself.

3. I am not a meat eater anymore as I’ve realized meat makes me feel heavy. I had already been staying away from meat, but now, it’s no more. I am not a vegetarian. I love eggs, fish, etc. Beef, chicken and pork are just not meats that make me feel good.

Yesterday, I didn’t write a post because I knew I would be complaining, and it’s not what I thought was best, but I did talk to Jamie, and he absolutely made me feel better, and he listened to me.

Good night, All! Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you’re reading, and you need help, please go to the website I posted, or message me, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

THANK YOU to those who made a difference in my day today! Jamie, Judy, Mom, Dad, Jacob, Michael, Kan, Susan, Kevin, Deea, Kathey, Mark

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