When Marc sent us this poem it wasn't with the desire for it to go up at a certain time, but we felt that it was a perfect poem to go up during Mental Health Month.
Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder articulately written by Dyane Harwood is a touching memoir that portrays a woman’s struggle with Postpartum Bipolar Disorder and the courage that helps her find healing from mental illness.
Escape From Myself: A Manic-Depressive’s Journey to Nowhere, eloquently written by Tom Roberts, is an inspirational memoir of a man’s battle with manic depression and the courage that leads him to a path of mental health recovery. This is an amazing book that demonstrates the true meaning of hope and recovery for those living with manic depression also known as Bipolar Disorder.
I cringe anytime I hear someone talking about finding "the cure." It’s the same feeling that strikes me when someone walks into my office, where we help people with mental health problems, proclaiming how they just want to “fix” their loved one.
I turned 37 on April 20, 2017. Another candle on the cake. Another year of beautiful life. Another year of surviving mental illness. I reflected on my life. It has almost been 20 years that I have been living with schizoaffective, bipolar type. However, back then, my diagnosis was bipolar disorder with psychotic features. I can’t believe I have made it this far. I have survived multiple suicide attempts and about 12-15 psychiatric hospitalizations. I survived all the delusions.
“The key to keeping your balance is to know when you’ve lost it.” I don’t know who said that, but knowing I had lost my balance in life was the turning point in learning to live with bipolar disorder and multiple sclerosis. Unknown to me as an undergraduate nearly a half-century ago, I had both incurable neurological diseases. Most disorders have obvious symptoms, but mine were hidden working like a computer virus destroying a marriage, a career, and ultimately leaving me living alone, in poverty, and planning suicide.
Those of us who are around mental illness on a daily basis, have to ask ourselves what is me authentically and what is the illness? It’s hard at times to distinguish between the two.
As the grocery store aisles fill with candy and pumpkins begin appearing on suburban doorsteps, my mind turns to the ghosts and goblins of the month of October. Not the ones that hit the streets on Halloween. These are the ones that consume the minds of many who suffer from depression and seasonal affective disorder as night falls fast, as the leaves begin to fall, and the cool winds of winter are beating at the door of our lives.
In 1949, Mental Health America named May as Mental Health Month. The purpose of the observance is to bring about awareness and spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about. Awareness to other groups within that community has since grown with the first Thursday in May designated as National Children’s Mental Health Day.