It's Time To Talk About Mental Illness And How To #StopSuicide | Jenngem

Did you know that "1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition. With the right care, recovery is possible. But, most people aren’t getting the care they need. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 73% of Americans say that a lack of access to mental health care is a major problem."

6/10/2016 EDIT: I just want to share my journey with you guys. My mental health has NOT been the best, and I have NOT been practicing self care, as much as I preach it. Today, I began an intensive therapy program, from 9AM-3PM, designed for me to reach my mental health goals, which include going back to doing the things that I loved doing, making jewelry, playing with Syrus, games, writing. Here's to a healthy journey in the next four weeks!

9/10/16 EDIT: Since my last edit, I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. A bit scary, I must say, but guess what? I'm feeling a lot better than I have been over the summer. I'm on a new medication called Vraylar, and it truly seems to be helping. I'm just taking it day by day, moment by moment. 

08/31/2019 EDIT: Wow, it certainly has been a bit since I have edited this. But I will continue to do so because I believe it is important. I am currently going through a divorce. There was another suicide attempt about a month ago. That one is still pretty raw to talk about. But maybe at a later date I will be able to speak about it. Please, please read this. If you need, use the links at the bottom. You are special. You are needed. You are wanted in this world. I can promise you that.

I've talked quite a bit about my mental illnesses here before, such as my "Pure O" post and the "5 Things I Want My Son To Know About Mental Illness." It's become a big part of my life, well, because it is a big part of my life. It's part of who I am as a person, but it doesn't define me as a person. I try to look at it that I am living with an illness, just like anybody else could be living with. But you can't see it. 

Aye, but you can, if you look close enough at me. With my strange type of OCD, it's mostly obsessional, but a bit compulsive, as well. You can catch me tapping a pencil on the table exactly 20 times, tapping my foot on the floor in repetitions of five, doing random things in a sequence of numbers. Compulsions are supposed to quell the obsessions, but they rarely do for me. Looking back, when I was 9, I can remember my first "thought," as we like to call them in our house. Nine years old. Bouncing from psychiatrist to psychiatrist. At one point I was on 100MG of Zoloft at 9 years-old! I was just a child with a mental illness. My parents did their best to do what they could. But insurance combined with my psychiatrists that kept leaving, it was hard.

But, I digress. I dealt with many mental misdiagnoses trying to get to the bottom of what was really going on inside my head. As a teenager growing up, my head was a scary place to be. And I don't just mean that in a regular hormonal-teenage way, either. My symptoms were getting worse, and I was being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Depression, Monopolar Depression, you name it, they tried to slap a label on it. What's worse, is when I would tell them what was going on in my mind, they would immediately want to put me inpatient. Even though I wasn't a danger to anyone or myself. They were judging me. Looking at me, assuming I'm going to snap at any second. 

I went through a few therapists. Some tried to help, again, others wanted to put me away. But why? My purely obsessional OCD, and I am going out on a limb here, sharing this with the world, but I am not ashamed anymore, involves thoughts of wanting to harm others, specifically those closest to me. My psychiatrist says that everyone has a fleeting thought like this sometime in their life, but instead of letting it float on by, my OCD makes it so that it plays over and over like a broken record, telling me I'm insane. Do you know how TERRIFYING that is? Not only to a nine year-old, not only to a teenager, but to an improperly diagnosed adult? It wasn't until one therapist said something about "Pure O," that we started researching it. As we did, tears fell from my eyes. This was what I was feeling. All I needed was a proper diagnosis. 

I finally did end up inpatient, but that was for post-partum depression, as I tried to commit suicide. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that anymore either. This year will mark the sixth anniversary of that attempt, but a rebirth of sorts into a new life for myself. Thank goodness I didn't succeed. Truth is I couldn't have succeded, as it was only 3MG of Xanax that I took. It would not have killed me. I didn't know that though, the intent was there. But I immediately asked for help. THAT was the important part. There is nothing to be ashamed of with mental illness. If you feel scared, upset, sad, hopeless, TALK TO SOMEONE. ANYONE. I promise you there is no shame in that.

While I was inpatient, I saw a psychiatrist who definitely seemed to know what he was doing. And that was the beginning of a really great doctor-patient relationship that we still maintain to this day. He did indeed agree that I have "Purely Obsessional" OCD, and he put me on a combination of medication that he thought would work best. Since there aren't too many medications out there for OCD, he put me on Luvox. But he also diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Wellbutrin XL was prescribed for my MDD and Xanax for my GAD. 

I don't know how many times I've asked my doctor if I will ever "snap." He always soothes me by saying that the thoughts of people with "Pure O," are ego-dystonic, meaning the thought is the furthest thing from anything that person could, would, or ever do. Am I a psychopath? No. Am I a sociopath? No. Am I mentally ill? Absolutely. Even though I thought it was something to be ashamed of, it really isn't. I've come to terms that I'll live with this for the rest of my life. I'm okay with that. I am choosing to be stigma free. 

What's not okay is the social stigma that still surrounds mental illness and those who live and cope with it on a daily basis. We don't want to be called "psychos" when and if we choose to let you into that private world of ours. Until now, only a handful of select people knew about it. But for the sake of ANYONE out there living with similar symptoms, I urge you to seek out help. These days, the thoughts are barely there, and if they are, they're gone as fast as they come. Less my physical ailments, I am happy. Sure, I get episodes of MDD, but that is par for the course. Ride the ebbs and flows of it. Isn't that what we all have to do to get through life anyway? 

I'm dropping some links below that may be helpful. Please visit them. Share them. 
Post to your social media outlets! Use the hashtags #IAmStigmaFree #OkayToSay #MentalHealthWeek2016 #MentalHealth 

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