Monday, July 30, 2012

With less than 3 weeks until graduation, I am working on my final major project of my MBA career! I really just can't believe what I have accomplished over this past year. Not often do I say this but I am extremely proud of myself! I am unfortunately still lacking my own computer, I am using my parents as needed for school work but haven't been able to sit down and write any substantial blog posts as a result of my lack of computer. I am going through withdrawal myself, I need to write about mental health!!! In the mean time, the quotes and sayings will continue. Who can't use a little inspiration in their life? I know I sure can!!!

A quote from the author of my favorite book, a book I recommend everyone reads, it is a good and informative read and really sheds light to the stigma issue without ever directly addressing it:
“Moods are such an essential part of the substance of life, of one's notion of oneself, that even psychotic extremes in mood and behavior somehow can be seen as temporary, even understandable, reactions to what life has dealt.”

― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

-Kisisng Stigma Goodbye-

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I am fine....

Yes, indeed, I have told this lie more times than I could even begin to count... "I am fine"!

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Ever burnt a bridge?

I did just this quite a few months back with someone who was basically poison to me in so many ways, a poison that I just couldn't stop drinking! Looking back on it now I realize that despite the pain at the time that it was indeed exactly what I needed to have done! However, that is not to say that it should be done in every situation but definitely necssary in ones you know you shouln't be in but can't seem to get away from!

Much love to all my readers!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Inspiration in the air...

Today was a truly inspirational day at work.  The client art show was held today, showcasing artwork from clients from 4 different programs at the organization. There were some really great pieces of art work displayed! There was such a large turnout, including individuals from outside of our organization.  It was amazing to take part in this event. It was so great to see the clients take such an ownership of their artwork and to show such pride in what they had accomplished.  They were able to express in words what their artwork means to them and what our organization means to them. One individual explained that the artwork is a way of getting rid of stigma because it shows others that they too have a talent and that they too could accomplish something. I was holding back tears when listening to some of the clients discuss their art work and what it means to them. It was so inspirational!
It is so easy to sit in my office all day and lose sight of the big picture. Days like today are a wonderful reminder of who the work I do is really for! It is for the amazing, strong and inspirational clients that we serve. The clients who as a result of the work our organization does and their own hard work and perseverance are able to fight their fight every day without surrendering to their illness.  Through the use of our various services and programs our clients are able to live life at their “baseline”, which refers to their level of normal functioning (this varies from person to person).  I am so thankful that as a result of my strength and perseverance and the support of my family I have been able to get to where I am in life despite my illness.  Not every individual has that family support and they rely on their mental health workers for many different things. I am so very thankful to have the opportunity to take part in an organization that improves the lives of individuals with mental illness every day. Today was so incredibly heartwarming and amazing to me!

Thanks for reading! Until next time...
-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The manic laugh...

Btw... Still no computer! :(

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yes you can!

We've all been there, quit making excuses, believe in yourself and get out there and accomplish great things! Mental illness can make it so hard to push yourself but in the end it is worth it! You can do it, say goodbye to excuses!

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that can include the following:
  • Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is
  • Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren't there
  • Disorganized thought and speech
  •  Disordered thinking: thoughts that jump quickly between unrelated topics

Psychosis or psychotic symptoms can be found in:
  •  Most individuals with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Some individuals with Bipolar Disorder
  • Some individuals with Personality Disorders

Some medical problems can cause psychosis, including the following:
  •  Use of and withdrawal from alcohol and certain illicit drugs 
  •   Brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease
  •   Brain tumors and cysts
  •  Dementia and Alzheimer’s
  •  HIV among other infections that affect the brain 
  •  Certain prescription drugs such as steroids and stimulants
  •   Some types of epilepsy
  •   Strokes

What is a delusion?
A delusion is a thought or belief that is clearly false and indicates an abnormality in that individual’s content of thought. This false belief cannot be accounted for by the individual’s religious beliefs, cultural beliefs or level of intelligence.  The key feature of a delusion is the degree to which the individual is convinced that it is true. A person with a delusion will hold firmly to that belief regardless of the evidence to the contrary. A person with a delusion is absolutely convinced that the delusion is real- they hold no level of doubt and nothing could convince them otherwise.

Types of delusions

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR; the following are the types of delusions:

Erotomanic: Someone with this type of delusion believes that another person, often someone important or famous, is in love with him or her. The person might attempt to contact the object of the delusion or stalk them.
Grandiose: A person with this type of delusion has an exaggerated sense of self-worth and self-importance. They are convinced that they have special powers, talents or abilities. Sometimes individuals with grandiose delusions believe that they are a famous or are an important person such as the pope, Jesus Christ or an actor or musician. Very commonly an individual with this type of delusion believes that they have made a huge accomplishment for which they have received insufficient recognition for.
Jealous: An individual with this type of delusion falsely believes that their spouse or partner is having an affair.
Persecutory: These delusions are based on an individual’s suspicions that they are being targeted by someone or something.  Individuals with persecutory delusions mistakenly believe that they are being followed, harmed, spied on, poisoned or tormented. They may believe that someone is planning to hurt them or that they are being mistreated.  Sometimes individuals with this type of delusion will make repeated reports to legal authorities.
Somatic: A somatic delusion pertains to an individual’s body.  An individual with this type of delusion typically has a false belief that their body is diseased in some way, is abnormal or has changed in some way. An individual with this type of delusion has the belief that they have a physical defect or medical problem.
Mixed: Individuals with this type of delusion have a combination of two or more of the types of delusions listed above.

What is a hallucination?
A hallucination is when an individual senses something that appears to be real when what they are sensing has actually been created by the mind.  They can appear in the form of visions, voices, sounds, tactile feelings, smells or tastes. Hallucinations occur during periods of consciousness. 

Types of hallucinations

Auditory hallucinations occur when an individual hears voices that are not really present.  These voices can incite panic.  Some examples of these voices would be; an individual hearing voices that are warning them about impending danger, multiple voices that talk amongst themselves and voices that are discussing that individual’s behavior or actions.
Visual hallucinations occur when an individual sees people, objects lights and/or patterns that do not exist. These images can be frightening to the individual.
Tactile hallucinations occur when an individual feels something that is not there.  For example feeling fingers touching an individual when no one is around or feeling electricity moving through the individual’s body.
Olfactory hallucinations occur when an individual smells odors that are not existent and that no one else smells. Typically this perceived smell is an unpleasant odor.  Sometimes the individual believes that the smell is coming from them which can result in them feeling embarrassed.
Gustatory hallucinations occur when an individual tastes something that is not really there; this is typically an unpleasant flavor.

I have now given you a basic understanding of psychosis, what delusions and hallucinations look like, how they present themselves, etc.  I have worked with many clients in the past at my previous job who were dealing with delusions and hallucinations.  I have witnessed each and every type of delusion and hallucination through former clients.  While I am not comfortable sharing my clients stories even though it would be done in confidence, I will find personal stories out there that give you a better understanding of what psychosis really looks like.  I personally have experienced some psychosis and I will discuss that in detail in my next posting.  My experience with psychosis is somewhat limited; it only includes some delusional thinking (trust me that was more than enough)!  I feel that finding more stories to share with you will give you a better understanding of psychosis.  Psychosis is nothing to be scared of.  The words “psychosis” or “psychotic” has such a negative connotation to them. I want to prove otherwise! Expect some more on psychosis soon from a personalized perspective!

“Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.” –Thomas Szasz

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Monday, July 2, 2012

Epiphany of the day...

Opening up about my mental illness was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life for a variety of reasons. Opening up about having a mental illness of any sort can be extremely hard as a result of the stigma attached to it.  Some illnesses have a worse stigma attached to them than others and those illnesses can be harder to open up about than others, bipolar disorder is one of those illnesses.  As hard as it was to do, I felt it to be so incredibly worth it afterwards. 

Why was this one of the best decisions I’ve ever made?
  1. It was so liberating to have finally had the strength in me to be able to open up about this deep dark secret that I locked away in a closet when in reality it never needed to be hidden. 
  2. I was truly surprised to see so many individuals in my life embrace it, accept it and respect me for all that I have accomplished despite it.  I never expected that.  Those are the individuals that deserve a place in my life.  Anyone who cannot look beyond the illness and see me for me really has no place in my life.
  3. Having shared my “secret” that never really had to be a secret with everyone in my life has now provided me with a support system that I have never had before.  When your friends have no idea that you have Bipolar Disorder (or any other mental illness) then you can’t go to them for support when you need it.  Having opened up that channel for support is a great feeling.
  4. Having opened up about my illness has given me the opportunity to help others with their illness.  It has given me the opportunity to show individuals living with a mental illness that they are not alone in this struggle.  It has now provided me with the opportunity to fight the stigma attached to mental illness.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of just as diabetes and cancer are nothing to be ashamed of! That is just something to think about if you are dealing with a mental illness or you have a loved one who is.

I seem to be bad at meeting my deadlines I provide for postings so I need to just stop giving a date for when I will post a certain topic. I’ve got so much going on in life with school and all that deadlines are not always easy to stick to when it comes to tasks outside of school or work. Blog postings like this current one are much easier and less time consuming to write than the blogs that require some degree of research such as the psychosis one. Soon, I promise, very soon you will be reading about the facts on psychosis and my personal experiences with psychosis! :-) 

Thanks for reading! Until next time...

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-


Caesar is ready for football season and so am I...

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-