Virginia Shooting: Mental Illness vs Gun Violence

mental illnesss blogEvery time there is a mass shooting, I just wait for the media to tell us that the person was mentally ill and that is why they did it.  It saddens me that the media oftentimes does not mention that less than 1% of people with mental illness are violent.

They also don’t use the opportunity to educate the public about mental illness, let them know what signs to look for, assure them it is okay to get help and where to get it.  Instead the media would rather just let the public think that all people with mental illness are violent.

After this horrible tragedy, some  politicians have tried  to use the opportunity to further their stance on either gun control or to express concern about  how the nation needs a better mental health system. However, I was encouraged to see that most of them didn’t. Some of their responses

This time is different!  I have heard the people in the media blame this on Vester Flanagan’s, (Bryce’s) mental health and others make it clear that gun control would have prevented it.  These people in the media came to the conclusion that the shooter was crazy and had a mental illness within hours of the incident.  It is now two days later and no one has mentioned what mental illness they have.  For some examples, watch Fox News, specifically The Five the day of the shooting and the day afterwards.

Trump used it as a chance to say, “This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem.” He went on to diagnose Bryce himself by saying, ““In the old days they had mental institutions for people like this because he was really, definitely borderline and definitely would have been and should have been institutionalized,” Trump told CNN. “At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.

Rather you like Trump or not, what he said is ridiculous!   The man at no time was told he had a mental illness that we know about.  Does he have any idea how hard it is for family members and friends to realize if someone is “not right”?  Does he also have any idea how hard it is for family members to get help if they need it?  Oftentimes there are no beds and they are turned away.  Other times, they have to say they are a threat to themselves or others to get admitted.  Most of the time, what the family member says has no influence if the person can get admitted or not.  Does Trump even know that?

He went on to say, “Everybody sees the signals … they see people and they think they’re disturbed” I don’t think people know what to look for.  This could be helped by the media letting the public know like previously stated.

Clinton seized the opportunity to bring up gun control. Whether you like Clinton or not, gun control would not have helped this because he did not have a known mental illness and a background check would not have changed anything. What exactly is she going to do to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness, educate the public about mental illness, provide places for  people to go when they need help?

People with mental illness need help. They need better resources, and  less stigma so they are more willing to seek help.  Families of people with mental illnesses need help too. They need to know that their voice matters when it comes to getting help for their sick loved one.

People with mental illnesses do not need the media and politicians leading the public to believe that these horrible crimes are being committed by only people with mental illnesses and not make it clear that not all people with mental illnesses are criminals.

The way the media and politicians treat these crimes in regards to mental illness matters. “It exacerbates negative attitudes towards people with mental illnesses” according to a study done in 2013.  Source

The quotes below and other information about mental illness and violence and the connection can be found  here.

“Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small, and further, the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population”

“The vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses”

“The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill”

When will this change?  I hope soon because people with mental illness have it hard enough. They don’t need to fight the politicians and media and their biased,  views about people with mental illness that contribute to the stigma.


Picture Sources

Note: My heart goes out to those affected by this horrible tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers are with their families and co-workers.

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30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

d54 bbandit

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know


1. The illness I live with is: Bipolar Disorder
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1987
3. But I had symptoms since: 1983
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: I started to struggle with depression at the age of 13 and had my first manic episode when I was 17.  At the time, I was embarrassed and humiliated and honestly thought I was crazy and weak.  I have had to readjust my thinking to I am a strong person living with an illness that affects my life every day.  I have tried to think that this is something I should be proud of not ashamed of.
5. Most people assume: Unfortunately, with the stigma of mental illness, many people think that I am violent.   I really think that those who are uneducated think I am crazy.  It is frustrating because some people think I am weak and others think I am faking it or that mental illness does not even exist.  Many think they should steer away from being my friend or from being associated with me.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: When I am depressed, it is hard to even get up out of bed and get motivated.  Sometimes I wish that I could just go back to sleep and not deal with anything.  When I am manic, since I have a lot of energy, I am ready to go and there really isn’t anything hard.  However, there is the challenge of not doing things I will regret, remembering to eat, and to relax.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: ER
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My laptop
9. The hardest part about nights are: When I am depressed, it is when I am trying to get to sleep I think very negatively and it is hard to keep my mind off of them.  I often replay all the horrible things I have done when I was manic.  If I am getting manic, I can’t sleep and toss and turn and worry that I am getting manic. If I am manic, I oftentimes don’t sleep.
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins:   I currently take 2 meds regularly and 2 vitamins, but have 3 that I can use if needed. Over the years, there have been times I have taken 16 meds at a time.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: I believe that people holistic approaches are important.  I think in most cases, with mental illnesses, it is hard to control without some medications.  Unfortunately, many psychiatrists push medications with the encouragement of the pharmaceutical companies.  It has been hard to find a doctor who is willing to work with me with an alternative approach.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I think having a serious mental illness is awful. It is not only invisible, but many people don’t understand it and judge  you.  I would not wish my illness on anyone.  The cliche “the grass is greener on the other side” applies here though. I think my illness is awful, but until I were to live with another illness, I could not really say.  I have had dystonia (I could not lift my head up-my chin was attached to my chest).  If I were to compare bipolar disorder to that, I would have to say that even though the dystonia was awful, I would rather have that than bipolar disorder.

13. Regarding working and career: Although I struggled with mania and depression while in college, I was able to graduate. I have worked several jobs including being a teacher for over 9 years.  However, due to being in the hospital 16 times in a year for my mental illness and other serious medical issues, I had to go on disability. When I am up to it, I have worked part-time for a relative, mainly at home where I can set my own hours.  He also understands that sometimes I am just not able to work.
14. People would be surprised to know: Despite having a mental illness, I have never been in jail and never done anything violent. I have accomplished a lot in my life. I was the president of several clubs in high school. I was the grade level chairperson, organized successful  school wide events, and was  even was Teacher of the Year one year.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: People are going to judge me and there is not much I can do about it. I have to ignore those people and know that I am a fighter and am a good person despite my mental illness.  Also, going on disability was a very hard thing to do as I have always been a hard worker.  I hate the question, “what do you do for  a living?”.  Honestly, rarely do I admit that I am on disability.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I have always reached for the starts and unless I am depressed, I don’t and won’t let my mental illness stop me from making a difference.   I also didn’t think I would be accepted by people and be loved. However, I have some really good friends and am married to a wonderful, patient man who is very supportive.
17. The commercials about my illness: So many of them are advertising medications, unfortunately.  It saddens me that so many people with mental illnesses are talked into taking really expensive medications that don’t have a generic yet.  Once in awhile, I will see a public service announcement about mental illness that are encouraging. There are people out there making a difference when it comes to educating others and reducing the stigma. 
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I wish I knew what normal was.  I am not sure if I ever will. It is hard to plan anything in the future because I don’t know how I will be feeling.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: It  was hard to give up working full-time. I have always been a hard worker. Admitting that the stress was too much, was a really difficult thing to face.  
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: I blog about my bipolar disorder and run several social media sites that deal with mental health advocacy and mental illness. I also started an advocacy group on FB.  
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I am not sure if I would know what normal is. However, if I knew I was going to stay that way, I would get a job and plan a vacation not having to worry about if I would be too depressed to enjoy it or manic and risk doing things I would regret.
22. My illness has taught me: My illness has taught me perseverance.  It has taught me to try and leave things I have done in the past and move on.  It is hard to forgive myself especially when I have hurt the people I love.  This often takes time, but is very much needed. If I were to dwell on all the mistakes I made when I was manic, I would stay depressed indefinitely.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: It really upsets me that when someone commits a violent crime that the media so quickly wants to talk about how the person had a mental illness. This often happens before it is even confirmed.  I wish the media would not contribute to the stigma and instead educate people that less than 1% of the people with mental illness are violent.  It saddens me that they share all their opinions and yet very rarely use the opportunity to educate people about mental illness, let people know that it is okay to get help, and give resources of where people can go if they need help.
24. But I love it when people:  When someone accepts me for who I am. It is really amazing when they want to know more about my illness and what they can do to help me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: The “Don’t Quit” poem was given to me by my dad when I was first struggling with my illness. I have included it below. It has gotten me through some very hard times.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: I would like to tell them I am sorry and how awful my struggles have been. However, I don’t because I don’t want to discourage them. Instead,   I let them know I am here if they ever need anything. I also let them know they still can do anything they set their minds to. I sometimes let them know that it will not be easy, but it depends on the person and situation. I let them know that it is important to have a support system and an action plan if I get the chance to talk to them in great detail.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I have been able to help others through my blogging, FB group and page. I can still make a difference even though I am not getting paid.  It is good to know that there are days that I am hopeful that they will find a cure and that stigma will be erased.  Thinking that gives me great hope.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:  My mom was always there no matter how badly I had treated her. Just having someone to listen and not judge is invaluable.  She passed away less than a year ago and this has caused a huge void as she was one of the very few people who really tried to understand and would do anything to help me. She loved me unconditionally, was a great listener, often knew exactly the right thing to say and had a way of making me feel special and accepted no matter what I had done.  She also was good about encouraging me and sometimes gave me the “kick in the butt” that I needed.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Awareness Week because: I think it is important that others know about the various illnesses so there is less judging and more understanding. I hope that some day people accept us for who we are.  Until then, weeks like this are necessary. I appreciate you having this important time when people can share their story and educate others.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: I am glad that you took the time to read it and thank you for caring enough to do so. I hope that you take some time to learn more about bipolar disorder and the other mental illnesses and share something you learned with someone else.  It is through education that we can change the way society views mental illness.

This blog about my invisible illness and other people’s stories can be found here:  Invisible Fight: Invisible Awareness Week 2015

don't quit kateonthinice DOT com

Source for Don’t Quit picture

f13 done

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What can a mental health advocate do to help people with mental illnesses? by Michelle Clark

Advocate-For-Mental-HealthAs the founder and administrator of several groups, blogs and pages online that deal with mental illness, I am often asked how someone can help or what exactly is an advocate.

There are many ways a mental health advocate can get involved and help to make a difference. Sometimes it is simply to take care of themselves because they have a mental illness and sometimes it is helping a loved one or friend who has a mental illness. This is not always an easy task and those advocates should be commended.

There are other ways too as stigma regarding mental illness is common and mistreatment of those inflicted with a mental illness are common.

Mirriam Webster defines an advocate as a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy or  a person who works for a cause or group and 3. a person who argues for the cause of another person in a court of law.  I think the best definition would be a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy as defined by

There are many famous mental health advocates and people who are doing things to advocate for the mentally ill on a larger scale. However, in order to be considered to be an advocate, you don’t have to change policy or be well-known. There are many things you can do to help change the mental health system and the stigma surrounding mental illness.

It might be as simple as letting someone know that you have a mental illness and are not ashamed of telling them. It could be that you have accomplished in spite of having a mental illness and letting others know that.  It might be sharing that a family member has a mental illness and you are not ashamed of admitting it.

If you want to get involved on a larger scale, there are several organizations that deal with trying to change how the mentally ill are treated, perceived and help to educate others about the various mental illnesses.

There are politicians and famous people who have spoken out about mental illness. You could simply write to them and let them know that you appreciate it.

Some ideas that I would like to suggest if you want to do more are:

  • Send an email or call a politician, someone in the media, or a famous person in regards to your opinions, experiences, and ideas how to change things in the mental health system and/or make a difference in the stigma that I think is more discrimination.
  • Start a FB page or page, a Twitter account, start to blog, etc. to help raise awareness and offer support to others inflicted with a  mental illness or others inquiring about it.
  • Join an organization that deals with mental health or illness. Some people lead groups, some show up to offer support, others spread the word about the organizations.  Some such organizations are NAMI, BringChange2Mind, DBSA, Mental Health America.  Give them a call and see how you can get involved.
  • Organize or take part in an event that has to do with mental health or mental illness
  • Contact other advocates for other idea
  • Share information about mental illnesses on your personal social media sites

The ways you can help are limitless.  These are just some of the ways you can help make lives better for those who have a mental illness.   For more ways, please join our group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses

advocate waysPicture credits: and

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Guest Post: Mental Health Awareness Month- Interesting Information

mhamonthHappy May Day!!! It is officially the first day of May and that means it is mental heath awareness month. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that May is mental health awareness month.

It saddens me that the media (as whole) does not make it a major deal like they (the media) do in October when it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don’t get me wrong we need education on Breast Cancer as well as other cancers however mental health deserves just as much attention as other health issues, such as cancer.

People like myself fight the stigma of mental illness on the daily basis. Discrimination is a major issue for those of who struggle with a mental illness and it is also something our loved ones have to deal with as well. No one and I mean no one deserves to be discriminated against because of an illness they struggle with or loved one struggles with.

Here are some facts I got from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website:


  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.7 million, or 18.6%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—13.6 million, or 4.1%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder in a given year. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
  • Among the 20.7 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 40.7%—8.4 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8


  • 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
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10
  • 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
  • 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
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13
  • 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


  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–2421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.22
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.

I hope that I will be able to continue to educate people on mental illness for the rest of May and beyond. I hope to share more of my personal story to give hope to those who a struggling with mental illness and show them that recovery is possible. Recovery is not easy but it is possible.

I also hope to discuss current laws in regards to mental health and pending bills that are being discussed in the House as well as the senate. One of which is Murphy’s Bill. All of what I hope to discuss is dependent on how busy life gets. Life being busy is partly why I haven’t  been able to blog the last month and half. I love blogging and sharing my recovery with others as well as educating others. I hope to blog again at some point this weekend with more educational material if not more of my personal recovery story.

Please do not forget to educate people on mental illness and make people aware that May is mental health awareness month. Peace Out!!

Contributor:  Gertie’s Journey

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It’s World Bipolar Day! Check out these Bipolar Disorder FB pages

There are several wonderful pages on Facebook that deal with bipolar disorder. They offer various information on the mental illness, share inspirational quotes, memes, and personal experiences with the owner’s  illness.

Raising awareness of bipolar disorder and eliminating stigma” is important.  That was why World Bipolar Day  was started.  Please help to raise awareness by sharing these bipolar disorder pages with your FB followers and friends.

bipolar bandit facebook pages

A Bipolar Mom and Her Daily Life
Bipolar Annie: A Fabulous Trainwreck
Bipolar Awareness & Support Power Page
Bipolar Bandit
Bipolar Being
Bipolar Blogs
Bipolar Blonde Butterfly
Bipolar Borderline
Bipolar Burble
Bipolar Coaster
Bipolar Cowgirl
Bipolar Disorder – New Life Outlook
Bipolar Disorder Support
Bipolar Express
Bipolar Groups United on FB
Bipolar Insights
Bipolar Me
Bipolar Parents Uncensored
Bipolar people are awesome
Bipolar prism – bpd and more
Bipolar R Us
Bipolar Resources and Information Page
Bipolar Roller Coaster: The ups and downs of life with Bipolar
Bipolar Rollers
Bipolar support page
Bipolar Twists
Bipolar UK
Bipolar Winds
Bipolar- You’ve got it but I still love you
Bipolar zone
Bipolar, Schizoaffective and Caregivers Support Group
Bipolar/BPD/Schizophrenic Mom
Bipolars Supporting Bipolars
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) (national headquarters)
I love someone with bipolar disorder. Why Not?
International Bipolar Foundation
Me, Bipolar & I
Moodswinger Blog
Musings of a Bipolar Hot Mess
My bipolar life-speaking out and ending the stigma
My Bipolar Memoirs
Parents of Bipolar Children (& comorbid diagnoses)
Pax Nortona 
Positive Bipolar Bear
The Bipolar Artist
The Bipolar Chronicles
The bipolar mama
Tracey Vinyard BPD/Bipolar
Two Bipolar Chicks
Understanding Bipolar
When Bipolar Meets Art.
World Bipolar Day

Note: If you have a bipolar disorder page and would like for it to be included, send me a message at Bipolar Bandit’s FB page.

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14 Things to remember when you feel hopeless

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Thinking positively sometimes is a hard thing to do, especially when you are depressed.  However, challenging these negative thoughts is important.  How do you do that? How to Challenge Negative Thinking  What can you gain from thinking positively?  Benefits of Positive Thinking

x43 for blogIf you don’t think that something is possible, then chances are it will never happen.  How do you reach for your dreams?  7 Steps to Achieve Your Dream

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If you are in a rut, it is hard to remember that things can get better.   Remember that this won’t last forever.  What can you do if things are not going the way you want them to go?  Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

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Thinking that you are a victim can be an easy thing to do. However, it is important to remember that by doing this, you are going to just make things worse. Remember that you have overcome whatever you faced and you are stronger because of it. How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality

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Allow yourself to be happy. You deserve it! How do you allow yourself to feel joy? Ways to Experience Joy


There is nothing you can do about the past.  You can only move forward.  Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain

x47 for blogHeraclitus, a Greek philosopher,  said,  ” The only thing that is constant is change”  Things are going to change.   Oftentimes, there is nothing we can do about it.  It is important to accept that.  Keys to Accepting What You Can’t Change   Picture credit 

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If you focus on the problem, it is hard to think of solutions.  A lot of times it is your perspective that traps you and prevents you from moving on.  You can accept things and learn from them or you can stay hung up on things and most likely make yourself miserable.  Problem vs. Solution Focused Thinking Picture credit


You can’t always  change your circumstances. However, you can control how you deal with them.   Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go they merely determine where you start. ~Nido Quebin Ways to Change Your Attitude When You Can’t Change Anything Else

x52 for blog found at quotescover DOT com

Thomas Edison said, “I  have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that do not work.”  There is a lot to be learned from this. It is important to not give up.   Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From Our Mistakes Picture credit

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If you look back a the times when you didn’t get what you wanted, oftentimes, things actually turned out for the best. If you keep thinking things will stay the same and there is no hope, chances are that is exactly what will happen.  Focus on the fact that things will get better.    9 Ways to Feel Better About Yourself When You Feel Like a Worthless Piece of Crap

x53 found at tyyalmiz DOT com

You will never get the chance to be in this moment again.  There can be something special about every moment and you should not let the moment pass you by. 10 Tips to Start Living in the Present    Picture credit


It is important to remember to remember to “not compare yourself to others and only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.” ~Unknown  Also, Steven Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others


Franklin D Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  You can be a better person and accomplish great things  if you challenge yourself and face your fears.  Betty Bender said, ” Anything I’ve done that was ultimately worthwhile initially scared me to death.”  Can you Be Grateful for Fear? Here Are 7 Reasons Why I Am.  Picture credit

Note: The source of the pictures can be found on the picture or included under the picture.

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Guest Post: What it’s like to be Bipolar by Sherry

delsherryPlease don’t ever take your mental health for granted.  You have no idea what it is like to have every thought, behavior, and emotion questioned by those around you.  Sherry sure is laughing a lot — she might be manic.  Sherry seems a little down today — she might be depressed.  Sherry is angry at me — she must be sick again.  I can have NO legitimate feelings, because they are all questioned if they are the least bit different.  If I have an argument with a person, my anger is never viewed as legitimate.  Instead, “she’s getting sick again.”  I have a good productive day — “she’s getting manic.”

How wonderful it must be for “normal” people.  To not be second-guessed at every turn.  Can you imagine what it would be like to never be taken seriously?  Because it might be Sherry’s “illness talking.”  If I have a differing opinion — “Sherry’s not thinking straight.”

This can’t be my life.  What in the heck did I ever do to deserve this?  All I want is to be treated like everyone else.  If you have a problem with me, come to ME.  Don’t pull a family member or friend aside and say, ” I wish she hadn’t done that.”  If you are concerned about me, tell ME.  Yes, I am fragile, but  I DO take into consideration what others think.

How wonderful it must be to have a “legitimate” illness — like diabetes, or heart disease — where others don’t look at you and think, “Sherry just needs to get over it.”  “She could get well if she really wanted to.”  When you have a mental illness, it is viewed not as a medical problem, but as a personality flaw.  A character weakness.

The truth?  I AM more fragile than most people.  I DON’T bounce back from emotional pain as well as other people.  I feel hurt much more deeply than most.  It’s all part of my illness, and it stinks.

This  bipolar disorder has robbed me of friends, relationships, children, a career, and a decent self-image.  I hate myself — why shouldn’t everyone else?  I can’t even remember the last time I felt glad that I was even born.  Every time I get better, I am haunted by the thought of “how long will I be okay this time?”  Three years?  Three months?  Imagine the most horrible time in your life, and knowing that it will happen to you again and again and again.

Imagine being held responsible for things you said and did when you were sick that you had absolutely no control over.  Knowing that even though people say, “I know you didn’t mean it” — that they will ALWAYS remember.  And knowing that every time you get well again, you have to apologize to everyone you harmed while sick — EVEN though you weren’t in control.  It’s not my fault that I’m bipolar, but yet I am blamed for every hurtful thing I said and did when I was sick.

Do I sound bitter?  Absofreakinlutely.  I didn’t ask for this.  I don’t deserve this.  This can’t be what my life was supposed to be like.  But everyone has something, and this just happens to be MY cross to bear.  So I will cry into my pillow, begging God to either take this cross, or take my life.  Either way, it’s a win-win.  I have had wonderful happy times in my life, but the good times were NEVER as good as the bad times were bad.

I don’t want pity.  I want understanding.  I want compassion.  I don’t want my emotions, behaviors, or thoughts questioned every time they are somewhat different from the mainstream.  I have been very angry this week for personal reasons, and I had every right to be angry.  But instead of letting me be pissed off, because I have a RIGHT to my emotions, my anger is viewed as “irrational” or “unwarranted”.  I will ALWAYS have people questioning me.  I will ALWAYS have people that see me as “crazy”.  I will ALWAYS have people talk about me behind my back.  But I sure as hell don’t have to like it.  I want to live as normal a life as possible.  I want the RIGHT to FEEL and THINK and ACT, and be taken seriously.

Now you have a glimpse of what it’s like to be bipolar.  I wouldn’t wish one day of that hell on my worst enemy.

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What can trigger mania?

triggers of maniaBelow are triggers that can cause a manic episode.  It is important to be aware of your triggers.  Knowing what your triggers are could help reduce your chances of getting manic.

Stress                                 Not enough sleep

Alcohol                              Failed Relationships

Drugs                                 Change in Seasons

Pregnancy                         Lack of Schedule

Antidepressants              Deadlines                           Money Troubles             Traveling

Pregnancy                        Loss of a job                        Loss of loved one          Noise

Routine Disruption        Unhealthy diet                   Lack of exercise             Moving

Loss of Job                       Changes in medication    Schedule Change           Caffeine

Menstruation                  Major Events                      Surprises                         Arguing

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Is Tom Sullivan right? Is bipolar disorder a fad? Are there people on disability who shouldn’t be?

deldis3Tom Sullivan, a Fox news contributor, stated that he thinks that bipolar disorder ” is the latest fad” and that “we all have good days and we all have bad and I don’t consider that an illness. And I don’t consider it a disability.” Story

He added that bipolar disorder is “something made up by the mental health business just to be able to give people prescriptions and keep them coming in, and keeping you — paying them money.”

deldis2I agree that many of the people who are on disability shouldn’t be entitled to benefits. I also strongly believe that pharmaceutical companies are preying on people with mental illnesses and many people are over medicated.  Many doctors get kick backs by prescribing their medications.

I actually also believe that bipolar disorder has become somewhat of a fad and that people are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a catch all for people who are struggling in any way.  I also think that some celebrities announce they have a mental illness for publicity reasons.

By misdiagnosing people as having bipolar disorder when they are depressed occasionally or might have slight mood swings, hurts the people who truly do have bipolar disorder  and should be getting disability benefits.  It bothers me when someone tells me that they have bipolar disorder when they have never have had a manic episode and/ or been hospitalized. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness yet so many people who say they have bipolar disorder are not seriously ill.

Although I think Tom Sullivan was wrong in clumping everyone with mental illnesses as scam artists and part of the latest fad, I do understand why he would come to this conclusion.  There are many people out there who are told by their doctors or have diagnosed themselves with bipolar disorder who simply do not have it.  They may struggle with depression or have slight mood swings, but they do not have bipolar disorder.

There are mild forms of bipolar disorder like Cyclothymia  and Bipolar II Disorder.  I don’t think that these should qualify people  to get on disability easily.

People with bipolar disorder do not get hospitalized for mania because they want to.  They don’t deal with the mistreatment of patients at psychiatric facilities to get on a disability.  They do not choose to have a mental illness that is so debilitating.  They don’t take medications that have serious side effects because they want to either.  I doubt anyone with a  serious mental illness would ever wish their illness on anyone.  I would think that most do not want to be on disability either.

Bipolar disorder has become the latest fad in many ways. However, Tom Sullivan needs to learn more about serious mental illnesses along with many people in the media. By doing so, they could help people rather than contributing to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness. They could educate people where to get help and let them know it is okay to seek help.

To learn more about bipolar disorder go the National Institute of Mental Health

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Tom Sullivan: Does Fox discriminate against people with mental illnesses?

tom sullivanI am starting to wonder if Fox does not like people with mental illnesses. The recent story of  Fox news host, Tom Sullivan, telling a caller that her illness is made up  is not the first time that Fox has added to the stigma of mental illness. It is not the first time they have discriminated against people with mental illness. They allow the people who work there to do and say things against people with mental illnesses with no punishment.

Sullivan said that he thought people with mental illnesses are just saying they have a mental illness for attention. I have to wonder if Fox News is allowing such behavior by their staff for attention to help their ratings.  He also thinks they are lazy and just saying they have a mental illness to get disability.  I think that Fox News is lazy not to research about mental illnesses and does not do anything when people who represent their network say discriminatory things.

Like I said, this is not the first time that Fox has made things harder for people with mental illnesses.

There was the incident with Shepard Smith where he called Robin Williams a coward for committing suicide. My reaction: Robin Williams a Coward? Apology NOT accepted!

Then there was the incident with Bill O’Reilly where he talked about how another violent episode because of mental illness was making America look bad.  My Reaction to Bill O’Reilly’s Opinion Regarding Mental Illness

I have heard people who work for Fox use  words like schizo  instead of crazy.  They have used mental illness as synonymous for crazy too.  (“The real mental illness is coming out of the White House.”)  Using terms like these so loosely are wrong and contributes to the stigma.

When is Fox going to stop adding to the stigma? Do they not know that by not doing anything to punish their staff when they say such things could potentially prevent  people from getting help?  Do they not know that these people who don’t get help because of the stigma could potentially commit suicide or possibly hurt someone else?

They are so quick to mention that someone who has committed a crime has a mental illness. What they don’t say is that less than 1% of those with mental illnesses are violent. They also don’t’ use the opportunity to educate people and let them know where to get help.

I think what Fox has allowed when it comes to mental illness is appalling.  If someone there had said something negative about someone who was black or was a homosexual, would things be different?  Fox News would never be able to get away with calling someone from those groups lazy or downplay  the things they face in any way.

I wonder if there will ever come a time when people from the media who say negative things about people with mental illnesses will  suffer consequences.   1 in 4 people in America have a mental illness. I find it very hard to believe that there isn’t anyone who works for Fox doesn’t know someone with a mental illness.  When will they speak up about what the person they know endures? When will they let the network know the harm they cause for those who struggle with mental illnesses?

The media does not help when it comes to the stigma of mental illness. I would now have to say that Fox is the worst!

Let them know how you feel:

Twitter: @FoxTV @sullivanradio

Facebook: Fox News  and/or Tom Sullivan 



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