Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My story, which I wrote for NAMI's You Are Not Alone In This Fight campaign is now on NAMI's website! I am so excited!  Here is the link to it!

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Monday, October 29, 2012

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" -Christopher Reeve

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Defeat brings a lesson, it gives the chance to rebuild, a chance to start again, with the knowledge of what does not work."
 -Leon Brown

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poems From a KSG Follower

A follower of Kissing Stigma Goodbye on Facebook by the name of Lucius Maurice has posted some poems on my page expressing his thoughts, feelings and emotions as he goes through his journey.  I posed a few of them a couple weeks ago with his permission and now I am posting the ones he has sent to me since then. Enjoy!

*Hold on*

Though times you feel alone
And no one seems to understand
How much you have been suffering
The Almighty has a plan

Under all your pain and emptiness
He planted a seed, a soul
Be strong and just hold on
You shall reap what he has sowed
*A Purpose*

So you have no strength
To get up today
And search for a reason

Why you shouldn’t stay 
Wrapped in silk
In that little cocoon
Held captive in your mind
In a quiet dark room
Here’s your purpose 
And reason why 
Look out the window 
At the blue and white sky

Look at the kids
Headed to school

Red and yellow flowers
All in full bloom

Look at the sun
With its rays bright

Life is your reason
To rise up and fight  
 *Lean On Me…..*

They all gathered around

On the side and at the head
My support team assembled

Standing around my bed

I didn’t give the call
Letting them know I was ok
They hadn’t heard my voice
In about two or three days

See one has a key
Two I text and call
Two more are my neighbors
They live across the hall

We talked throughout the night
They put the gleam back in my eyes
They overflowed my heart with love
They put spirit back in my life 

 *Lemons to Lemonade*

He had the skills of Picasso
A smile so contagious
But mom saw a change

His actions became outrageous

Frustrated and confused

Not knowing what to do

She sought the opinions

From a doctor or two

She cried out, why him!

Bricks had fallen by the ton

A Bipolar diagnosis

For her teenage son

There were ups and downs

Mom was there to help him fight

He focused on his gift

He excelled throughout his life

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mental Illness Warning Signs

These are some warning signs of mental illness, this is certainly not comprehensive but it is a great starting point.

In adults:
  • Confused thinking
  • Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Denial of obvious problems
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Substance abuse
In older children and pre-adolescents:
  • Substance abuse
  • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Excessive complaints of physical ailments
  • Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
  • Intense fear of weight gain
  • Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
  • Frequent outbursts of anger
In younger children:
  • Changes in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
    Source: Mental Health America (Link to their website)

    -Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle." -Christian D. Larson

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." 
-Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can you spare a little change to make a big change?

Below is Bring Change 2 Mind's description of their new campaign called Change a Mind Campaign. Bring Change 2 Mind is a fantastic organization and this is an awesome campaign that they are running!  I am going to participate in this campaign and I urge you to as well! It is for a great cause and it costs nothing more than the change in your pocket! Let's do it!!! 
One, two, three... FIGHT STIGMA!
 -Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

The description below can be found at 

1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness — even Presidents.

Abraham Lincoln lived with a melancholy now known as clinical depression. Some historians believe it enhanced his pragmatism and aided in his successes. Lincoln was not alone in his bouts with mental illness; his wife is thought to have lived with schizophrenia.

What if we had turned our back on Lincoln? So many living with mental illness are given up on because of stigma and discrimination. What if you lent an ear rather than judgment?
Perhaps one day that same person will thank you in their Presidential acceptance speech.

Bring Change 2 Mind is launching the Change a Mind Campaign this election season. We are running on the platform of change, but we don't need a billion dollar budget.

Join us in eliminating stigma and discrimination by helping our campaign collect change to create change. When you're at the gas station, or the grocery store, and the cashier gives you back your change — think of how you can Bring Change 2 Mind. When you find spare change in the car seat, under the couch cushions or in the laundry — think of how you can Change a Mind. Have your school, family, workplace or community center join you in collecting coins.

Every cent counts in this campaign. We'll count nickels. Or pennies. Because we never forget who is on the penny. It illustrates that we're all affected, even one of our most beloved Presidents.

Funds raised will be used to create awareness and educational campaigns designed to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. It only makes sense.
Change a mind about mental illness and change a life.
Send your change to:

Change a Mind Campaign
1265 Battery Street, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Follow the campaign:

Watch your words

Copied a pasted directly from Bring Change 2 Mind's website:


Choose your words wisely: Learn about the impact your words can have on those with mental illnesses


Words are very powerful.

  • When we say someone is "crazy" or "that's totally mental" we're perpetuating stereotypes.
  • Eliminate the phrase "suffers from mental illness". Instead, choose, "lives with mental illness" or "is affected by mental illness".
  • When we say a person is "schizophrenic," we make their mental illness fully define their complete identity. Instead, be clear that this is a disease that individuals manage and live with, e.g. "he is living with schizophrenia".
  • There are many phrases and terms; "crazy," "nuts", "psycho", "schiz", "retard" and "lunatic" that may seem insignificant, but really aren't.

While there may be times when it is too challenging or simply not possible to politely correct someone else's insensitive use of language, you can always watch your own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Reader's Story

Below is the story of a Kissing Stigma Goodbye reader and follower on Facebook.  She sent me her story on the Kissing Stigma Goodbye Facebook page and said I could share it, so here it is, copied and pasted exactly as written by her.

So, I thought I'd share my story with you, which you are welcome to share with your other fans...

I first started exhibiting symptoms of bipolar 1 in 1998, around age 15. I wasn't diagnosed until 2007, at age 24. (This has been determined to be because I was on an anti-convulsant for epilepsy. So, I was mostly just manic through my teen years.) My diagnosis followed being treated with anti depressants for a depressed episode following my father in-law's deployment to Iraq. So, in true bipolar form, I went into a manic episode. I tried to overdose, and when my therapist suggested a more thorough psych. eval., I complied. After going over my history and symptoms, I was given my diagnosis, and a boat load of meds. All of '07 into '08 is pretty hazy. They had me on 5 or 6 meds, including Depakote, Ativan, Klonopin, and Ambien, to name some. I was so over-medicated, that I was a shell of my former self. I couldn't function, was still having bad episodes, and attempted suicide at least 3 times. As well as frequent cutting. I was in therapy for a year and a half. I was fortunate to have an incredible therapist. He helped me learn good coping skills, mindfulness, and to recognize my thought patterns and mood swings. He was my saving grace. smile In 2008, I had enough with being so medicated and still having a hard time, I stopped all meds. (Not recommending it, it was just something I felt I had to do for myself.) In any case, for 2 years, I did ok. I had my mood swings, but I was able to recognize them for what they were, and was effectively using all of the skills that I had learned in therapy. I was able to live life more, without the side effects of the meds. It was definitely hard, and a lot of work, but it was worth every bit of it.

In 2010, things changed for me. My husband, who is a brittle diabetic, was diagnosed with stage 4, of 5, kidney disease. It was a lot to take in, and deal with. As we all know, I'm sure, managing bipolar takes A LOT of work and energy. I just didn't have the energy for dealing with everything I had on my plate. I chose to contact the dr. about starting meds. I wanted to keep them as minimal as possible. I was started on Seroquel, which has worked better for me. They have tried me on other things with it, I just can't bring myself to stay with anything else. Over the last year or so, I have been having a harder time than usual, but I keep trudging along. I have been off & on Xanax for anxiety/panic attacks. But try to manage with my coping skills as much as possible. I have been having a hard time getting the correct med changes, as most of the drs. I've seen just can't figure it out. They all seem to think that because I've been handling so well, I must not really need much help. (I've only handled so well because I recognize my symptoms and do whatever I can to manage them, which gets very hard.) In any case, I need to get in touch with a psych. dr. in an attempt to get things under better control. I am confident that once life calms down some (from my husband's health, after his transplant) I will be able to better get a handle on my moods and not have to rely so heavily on meds. In the meantime, I just ride the waves of my moods and try to look for the beauty in a sometimes dark world.


Monday, October 15, 2012

I want you as my readers to know that if you ever catch me beating around the bush in any post that I write, it is for a reason.  I have vowed myself to never write about any relationship of mine in any detail because it is not fair to that individual.  I do not feel it to be right to speak publicly about such a private part of my life especially because it involves another individual and encroaches on their privacy, even without a mention of name, I don't feel it is right. I know that I was a little vague in some areas of my post this evening about the last year and I have experienced this vagueness in the past as well, so I thought I should put that out there so that it is understood why.

Thank you all for your continued support!  

Keep sending me e-mails, I love hearing your stories, thoughts, comments, etc. 

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Life's experiences make you stronger!

Over the years life has not handed me anything on a silver platter.  Life has come with complications through every step of the way.  I have come to no longer expect life to come with ease.  Instead, I take whatever is thrown at me and keep pushing ahead.  There have been times in which I have been pushed backwards but I have never let myself stay there. The last year has come with a lot of challenges.  While pushing myself through 53 credits at school in one year’s time I also dealt with a spike in psychiatric symptoms among other major and not so major issues. I hit hypomania in October and it spiraled from there. While I never really felt fully manic, I experienced more psychosis than I have ever experienced in my life as well as some symptoms of Mania and simultaneous symptoms of depression.  While it did indeed take me time to notice what was going on, eventually I did.  I took control and went to my Psychiatrist and with medication changes I was feeling better than ever within a couple of months.  I continued fighting through school throughout everything and managed to graduate with a pretty awesome GPA. 

This experience taught me that there is nothing in life that I can’t handle.  I have learned that I can push through anything that life throws my way.  The last year has also proven to me that I CAN ask for help when I need it and that there is no shame in admitting the full scope of my symptoms. For so long I had a hard time admitting the full scope of my symptoms even to my psychiatrist out of shame and embarrassment.  However, he can’t help me fully unless I am open and honest with him and I have now realized and accepted that.  I had a year marked by excessive change, heartache and a decrease in mental health.  However I followed that with treatment and a change for the positive and came out of it a better person and with a better outlook on myself and on life. 

I’ve never in my life asked and never will ask for sympathy, just empathy.  I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me because I have bipolar or because of my far from stable former marriage or for any of the life experiences I have had.  Every experience I have had has made me into the strong and independent woman that I am today. Equally important, every experience I have had has placed me in a position to give back to others in need.  I have gone through my entire life without giving any credit to myself for the rocky road that I traveled to get here. I always looked at it as me just doing want I had to do to get through life.  However, some friends helped me realized how much strength it has taken for me to get where I am in life. I now give myself credit for how far I have come. For the first time in my life, I truly stood proud of myself after receiving my MBA. I stood proud because I never gave up, I pushed through all that I was handed throughout that time and came out of it a better person than I was when I went into it.

So my message to everyone with a mental illness is keep that fight up! There is something better on the other side of it! Never forget how strong you are and how much strength it has taken to overcome your illness.  With the realization of that strength, take it and use it to push through anything and everything! Don’t let your past bring you down, if I had, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Remember, not everyone is going to understand what you are going through and that is perfectly alright! Lastly, be 100% honest with your psychiatrist and/or therapist! The scope of your treatment depends solely on your complete honesty! There is no shame in admitting your symptoms, they’ll never get treated if you don’t admit them!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed" -Theodore Roosevelt-

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poems from a KSG follower!

A follower of Kissing Stigma Goodbye on Facebook by the name of Lucius Maurice has posted some poems on my page expressing his thoughts, feelings and emotions as he goes through his journey.  I asked him if I could post them on the blog for all to see so others could benefit from his expressions as well and he gave me the go ahead, so here they are!


No front store parking
With a blue and white sign
No wheelchair needed
I can walk sometimes

No cane or walker
Could assist my kind
No walking stick held
I can see just fine

Mania and depression
My mind is disabled
Just a crazy man
Is how I’m labeled
*My Wish*

I wish
Time stood still
So we all could heal
To enjoy the life we're given

I wish

Hurtful words
Exist no more
So we’re all positively driven

I wish
We all said hi
To those walking by
That’s where the change begins

I wish
For a world free of sin
No more war just friends
One Love till the end

 *Bottom of the 9th*

With a note by her side
Eyes filled with tears
She slowly exhaled

With a hint of fear

Medicine and water

On her oak night stand
She twisted the top
And filled her hand

As she reached over

For the crystal glass
She heard the sound
Of a very loud crash

Glass was shattered

All over the floor
Her son soon pushed open
The bedroom door

He said, “Sorry mom,

I got a good hit”
You can use my allowance
To get the window fixed

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's that time of the year... SAD time!

This article about Seasonal Affective Disorder is a great resource, check it out below!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Published March 29, 2012, Written by Michael Kerr 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's at stake in this election?

We, as individuals living with a mental illness are a vulnerable class.  There is a lot at stake for individuals with a mental illness during this upcoming election.  Hopefully everyone is watching the Presidential debate tonight.  When you're watching the debate, listening to the candidates and deciding who is the best person for the job... think about your mental health! Whose policies are best for you and your mental health? Whose policies and beliefs will make it harder to receive your mental health services? If not your services, then someone who lives with much less than you and struggles to receive their mental health services.  No one should go without mental health care  (or health care) and no one should be denied coverage because of their mental illness.

The points we should take into consideration for the election as stated by NAMI ( are:
  • Protect public mental health funding (medicaid, public mental health services)
  • Expand access to mental health coverage (medicaid eligibility, affordable coverage with fair and equal coverage for mental health and substance abuse services)
  • Ensure that effective mental health services are available (large range of services, community integration services, access to medication for all, workforce development services)
  • Promote the integration of mental health services, substance abuse services and primary care services
  • Improve the mental health of children, youth and young adults (Early identification and intervention, home and community-based services, juvenile justice diversion, transition-age mental health services)
  • Meet all the mental health needs of service members, veterans and their families
  • Provide homes and jobs for people living with mental illness, allowing them to get back on their feet and obtain independence
  • Eliminate disparities in mental health care
  • End the innapropriate jailing of people living with mental illness (incarceration diversion, proper mental health care while in custody, providing access to mental health care to inmantes upon release from incarceration)
What candidate has an improved mental health care system as a priority?  What candidate cares about those of us with mental health concerns?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is NAMI?

After posting the NAMI PSA's, I realized that not everyone knows what NAMI is and what they do. For anyone that does not know what NAMI is, they are the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are a great organization in which I am a member of. This year, I participated in their annual walk to raise money for fighting the stigma of and raising awareness of mental illness. I plan to continue participating in this walk annually. Attached is the NAMI fact sheet for anyone interested in learning more. To those of us living with a mental illness and to the loved ones of those with a mental illness, NAMI is dedicated to fighting our cause day in and day out!

I have copied and pasted the NAMI fact sheet for you to read.  The fact sheet comes from the following link: NAMI Fact Sheet

About NAMI

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.
Thousands of members and supporters are the face and voice of the NAMI movement—families, individuals, friends and businesses—who come together to celebrate mental illness recovery, to honor those who have lost their lives to mental illness and to combat stigma, promote awareness and advocate for others.
Our promise.

NAMI promises to build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Our passion.

Because mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children—or 60 million Americans—NAMI will work every day to save every life.
Our people.

Thousands of members and supporters are the face and voice of the NAMI movement--families, individuals, friends and businesses--who come together to celebrate mental illness recovery, to honor those who have lost their lives to mental illness and to combat stigma, promote awareness and advocate for others.
Our work.

NAMI stays focused on educating America about mental illness. NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education,    advocacy and support group programs for people living with mental illness and their loved ones. NAMI creates change and works tirelessly to advocate for an American health care system that ensures access to treatment to those in need. NAMI provides free support, education, research and advocacy to help individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Learn more about awareness and support, NAMI’s education programs and our advocacy efforts by visiting

2 New NAMI PSA Announcments