May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In Honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we took a trip to Central State Hospital a few weeks ago. It was once the largest mental health hospital in the world. It’s first patient was accepted in December 1842. In the 1960s, it housed more than 12,000 mentally ill patients. There were more than 25,000 patients buried in unmarked graves throughout the hospital grounds. Praise God that mental health care has evolved to where it is today. This place was very eerie and spoke for those who had been there.
I have travelled through madness to find myself.
These markers represent only some of those who died while staying at Central State Hospital for mental health issues. Praise God our medicine has advanced so much in the last 150 years.⁣
This balloon was stuck in the fence. Definitely not something you would want to see if you were there at Central State.
A thousand secrets are hidden in just sitting still.⁣
If these walls could talk, it would be deafening.
The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
If only your eyes saw souls instead of bodies, just like a window to the soul…how very different our ideas of beauty would be.
No great mind ever existed without a touch of madness.
Remember you don’t have to struggle in silence! There are plenty of resources in our day and age to help you.
Please reach out for help. You are important and loved no matter how bad you feel!!
XOXO
-S

Emotional roller coaster

This COVID-19 has me on an emotional roller coaster. Every time I see the 12:00 and 7:00 updates, tears well up in my eyes. More deaths, more infected. Our governor finally issued a stay at home order that goes into effect Friday. I really hope and pray this helps. I wish the president would do it for the whole nation, but what am I for wishing? All I can do is my part and pray for everyone.

I read everyone’s posts on Facebook on how they are irritated or pissed off, mostly because school is cancelled and our seniors won’t get to go back to school. I have 2 that will be graduating in 2020. They will miss out on things that normal seniors get to do, awards ceremonies, class trips, maybe even commencement…that hasn’t been announced yet. But come on people get it…people are dying and you want to be selfish and care about feelings and if your kid gets to walk across the stage? Things happen, things change…we must adjust and make the best out of it. Is it really that important? We have all the opportunity in the world to make a difference in our kids lives…after all this is over, we can go, we can do, but for now it HAS to stop!

Just think if you could save one person by staying home, wouldn’t you? What if your family member was sick; wouldn’t you think about things differently?

I had a cruise scheduled for September and today it got cancelled…I was upset for a few minutes, then quickly reminded myself that it would be ok. Things had to come into perspective and I reminded myself to look at the big picture. I will adjust…it’s really not that important. When this is all over, I will go on a trip of a lifetime.

For now, we have to focus on stopping the spread, savings lives, and just doing the best we can. I am thankful that I have a job that lets me work from home, that my family has everything we need right now, and we are all healthy.

If you’re wondering why flowers for this post…well these are my resurrection flowers. They remind me, we will rise again. We will get through this!

XOXO

-S

Sanity during COVID-19

For years, I wished for working from home everyday…well I got it.  For years, I wished I just didn’t have to work any longer.  But now that COVID-19 has me working from home, I can honestly say, I am ready to go back into the office. I also hope I never think I want to be a housewife again.  I miss my human interaction and conversations with my co-workers.  I miss being able to chat about things we are working on and bounce ideas around.  Calls and Instant Messages just aren’t the same and a lot is lost that way.

We are all in a place that we have never been.  Its kinda like an exploration all in its own.  Exploring yourself, taking a deep look at who you are.  I do wish I could get out and explore, but realize with the pandemic and the extreme number of cases and deaths, I need to stay home.  Right now, I was scheduled to be in California, but due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our trip.  Instead its working on puzzles, cooking new recipes, and trying to keep our sanity.

As of today, there have been over 40 deaths in Georgia due to COVID-19…with one being in central Georiga.  I didn’t know the  man, but it is hitting alittle more close to heart now that there is a name and face attached to the COVID-19 death.  Until this point, I had never really known a name or seen a person’s face that had died from COVID-19.  It seems way more personal now.  I see friends on facebook that are possibly infected and are waiting on tests to come back.  It is getting too close for comfort.  By no means am I panicking, but I honestly think the only way to end this is to make everyone stay at home.

Mental health is a huge concern too.  People who are isolating and having no human touch/interaaction are going to be affected; this can be devastating to one’s mental health.  The uncertainty, is very concerning.  I believe that everyone is going to be affected by COVID-19 whether it be physical or mental.

Just a few of my thoughts.  I hope you are all well and hanging in there!

XOXO

-S

 

 

Mental Health – Is it important to you?

What would you do if you woke up in ICU and all you really remember is your husband carrying you down the stairs and putting you in the car?  I woke up to them trying to force charcoal down my mouth, but they said too much time had passed.  They kept me pretty sedated on meds, or maybe it was the medicine I overdosed on that kept me sedated.  The next month or so was very hazy.  I was in the ICU for 3 days and then transferred to the psychiatric unit.  The psychiatrist there, kept me very sedated and I didn’t feel much of anything.  I just remember people close to me being very upset with me.  How could I do this?  Why would I want to die, when they felt like I had everything?  I had a good job, children, a husband, and could get whatever I wanted or needed.  But honestly my anxiety and depression hovered around for so long that it  put me in a very dark place.  I felt like the only way I could escape it was by leaving this world.  I love my family dearly, and this was a very selfish decision, but mental illness is just that…something is wrong in my mind causing irrational thoughts and behaviors.  I was transferred to two other psychiatric hospitals, where the docs tried different medicines and therapy to try to draw me out.  I still wasn’t sure it was enough.  Honestly I still wanted to die.  The disappointment from my family was almost too much to bear.  My husband said it might be easier if we just went our separate ways.  We have a blended family and there were crazy (I really hate this word, but the expectations were absolutely ridiculous, asinine…you get the point) expectations.  The family thought if I was desperate enough to try to kill myself, that I could be a danger to the kids.  But in my heart of hearts, I know I have never wanted to physically hurt another human being, especially my children; but at this point, I was completely untrustworthy in their eyes.

I stuck it out with my husband, even though things were really tough.  I dealt with the expectations until enough time had passed for everyone to realize I was harmless to others.  I beat myself up for many years, but finally came to the conclusion that God kept me on this Earth for a purpose.  Maybe to be a mother, maybe a wife, maybe something even bigger.  Maybe I will change the world?  Who knows; but I do know that when I overdosed, the doctors said it should have killed me.  It didn’t though.

This suicide attempt was on November 21st of 2010 and oh how far I have come since then.  On the third psychiatric hospital I was in, they took me off all my medicines, cold turkey and put me on a whole new regimen.  At that time, I was very combative.  I was sick, physically because for the few weeks I was on that regimen, my body had become addicted.  I was experiencing withdrawals, was angry at the world, and really just wanted to be done with everything.  My friend talked me into staying at the hospital and eventually the regimen they put me on, proved to be pretty successful.  My psychiatrist has made some minor changes throughout the past 10 years, and I have actually had another hospital stay because of suicidal ideation.  But my psychiatrist, as soon as I told him, sent me directly to the hospital.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  He said if I wasn’t there in an hour, he would call the cops to find me.  Pretty serious in my mind.  I headed directly there.  This hospital stay was not like any of the last.  This one, I felt stable enough to get to the root of my problems, my thinking; in other words stinking thinking.  I really focused on coping skills and trying to change my ideology on who I was.  I have Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; notice how I didn’t say I am bipolar, etc.  These conditions don’t define me, however I have to work daily to remind myself of this.

I have learned that I need to craft, paint, build, take photos, exercise, explore and cook to keep my mind focused on the positive and specifically, the task at hand.  When my mind starts obsessing, I have to get my mind focused on something else, for example: go out and photograph something.  Once I start an activity, my mind focuses on that task, causing my thoughts to move away from the obsessing thoughts.  Some people might just think I’m a busy body or overachiever; honestly it is just a coping skill.

I have been able to keep my job and my family together.  Well we have kept the family together; but because I didn’t walk away when given the pass to walk out and leave it all behind.  My family is everything to me.  I also have many friends that stood by me when my family wouldn’t; they are just as important.

I recently shared my story with co-workers in a resiliency training.  I felt great knowing that I was able to connect with others that have dealt with suicide within their family.  My co-workers reached out to ask for signs to look for if I am going into a manic or depressive state.  I feel very safe in my work environment.  I have felt that advocating for mental health was where I should be.  Sharing my story is not about me being the center of attention, it is to reach out to others that may be struggling with some of the same things I have dealt with.  It is possible to get through whatever it is you may be going through.  Always follow your psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, and primary care doctor orders.  Find your outlet, find your tribe (family and friends), and know your perception and view of the world might be clouding your mind.  You must change your stinking thinking.  Think of it as a daily exercise of your mind.  It is not easy; however it is possible! To me, I have to constantly think on how I can do better, live better, make my world fabulous.  I do this by staying very active with my hobbies and family.  The key is how you perceive your world; you have control of your thoughts.  You just might have to retrain your thoughts to be more positive.  Even if you deal with mental illness, you can have a fulfilling and fabulous life!

XOXO

-S