It’s starting to feel a little like any violent gun crime is being linked back to a shooter who is labeled as mentally ill. I readily admit that I certainly have no way to know if each individual recently arrested or still awaiting trial after many years is or isn’t mentally ill.
So who does?
That would be the $64,000 question, wouldn’t it?
Ann and I flew back several years ago to the National Institutes of Health to participate in a recommended study by our neurologist. It was here that the mental illness was discovered and we began our personal journey of just what it means to travel through life with a mental disorder.
This included educating ourselves.
Continue reading Are we simply painting mental illness with one broad brush stroke in the end?
About 18 years ago I had my first official diagnosis with mental illness. Things had gotten pretty out of control and an ambulance was called to come and take me away from work. Ann arrived at the ER with Alex and Nick in tow. They would have been around 4 and 2, respectively.
But I was tough.
I took a few days off and bright and early Monday morning I was back in the store, anxious to get caught up. My boss called, expecting to get my assistant manager, and seemed shocked that I answered instead.
She let me know I couldn’t come back without a doctor’s release. I assured her it was merely a formality and that I would call the doctor right away and get the necessary paperwork.
I was dumbfounded when the doctor’s response to my call was “But I haven’t released you to go back to work.”
Huh? Continue reading But I don’t want to lose who I am…
In college I became familiar with this quote by Jonathan Swift:
“May you live all the days of your life.”
It seemed to go well with one of my favorite lines from the movie Auntie Mame:
“Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
Combine the two and the message is pretty clear. I dove into it head first and tried to make these my mantra. I wanted to feel everything deeply. However, I quickly learned that in feeling deeply there were no normal occurrences. Only incredible highs and devastating lows.
I also discovered a quick and strong anger with the ability to hold a grudge with perfect recollection until the end of time.
But hey, that’s just because I’m a passionate person, right?
After all, life is to be LIVED!
In my case, and probably many others as well, this drive to live a passionate and deeply meaningful life was more a matter of mental illness than of excitement for all the good I could find. Continue reading Can we learn to truly LIVE with mental illness?
Today is the 13th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, more commonly known as 9-11.
Do you remember where you were when it happened?
I was in my home office, making calls and trying to get a little jog in on the treadmill. I had the news on and watched the confusion of the news anchors as they tried to process what was being, most probably, shouted into their ear pieces. The images of the twin towers and the planes flashed again and again across the screen.
Then the channel actually went dead for a short time.
I thought that their building must have also been hit. I had no idea how far reaching this attack was or what we needed to do about it.
So I sat in my office and waited.
The emotions of that day were pretty intense, to say the least. Air traffic was grounded. People were stranded far from home and their only focus was how to get back to their families safely.
For a short time, while the emotions were so raw, we shifted our priorities to focus on what really mattered. Congress learned very quickly to agree and move. Former adversaries were now able to link arms together and side by side face a common enemy. National pride and allegiance were again the norm and people vehemently defended Americans everywhere.
We hugged our children a little longer and tighter when they reached our doorstep.
Of course, now history has rewritten itself over and over. Continue reading Mork from Ork
A few days ago there was a knock at our door. When I answered, it was a neighbor who had been reading our blog. She asked if I had time to talk with her about some things.
I had known before this encounter that she was trying to work through depression. She hadn’t told me; I’m not sure that she had told anyone outside of her family.
But I knew.
That’s kind of what happens when you experience something hard and significant like mental illness. You can usually tell when other people are suffering from the same thing.
It’s hard to describe how we know. Continue reading We’re all a little bit crazy. Really?