Friday, November 30, 2012

Here is the story of another one of my readers...

The following is a story of one of my readers.  I posted one from another reader a couple of weeks ago.  I am hoping to continue to post more stories of readers soon.  If you would like to share your story with me, so that I can in turn share it with my readers please e-mail me at! Your story will be posted completely anonymously.  I look forward to hearing from you! ~Sara~

As a teenager, I was a nice, happy, and energetic girl. I truly was standing on top of the world. I was an excellent student, an over-achiever, and ran my mouth a lot. I didn't get into much trouble, though. I really could do anything I wanted with minimal consequences, or so I believed. I started being sexually active when I was 15. (I say this only to highlight my symptoms). I was full of life and could do no wrong. The saying "anything you can do, I can do better" fits that point in my life. People would say, "There's the weird girl", and I just didn't care.

When I was in a depressed mood, I would cut myself. Not because I wanted to die, I just wanted to relieve my internal pain. It was a lot easier to deal with the physical pain than the emotional pain. I have a number of scars from doing it. My biggest and last scar was about 3 inches long, going down about half an inch to an inch. That one was the one that "woke" me up to the danger I was putting myself in. Had it been my wrist, I could have died. The urge is still there, but I made a deal with my husband (type on diabetes), I would work harder at taking care of myself if he would do the same. Plus, I don't like having to try and explain it to my nieces and nephews, and I want to see them grow up.

I live mostly with mania. Which I think is great, most of the time. I love feeling happy and on top of the world. But, by being such, I have wrecked my credit beyond belief. A foreclosure on my home, a repossessed car, loans, credit card debt. I have had hallucinations and delusions, which can be scary at times. And I've said things that have hurt other people's feelings. And panic attacks and anxiety always comes along eventually. I still get the feeling of being better than others. I have trouble sleeping and then end up needing a nap to get through the rest of the day. I still wouldn't ever trade the mania for depression, though.

I have found that writing, jewelry making and sketching helps focus the hundreds of thoughts going through my head in the same direction. I consider myself lucky. I have family and friends that all know about my illness and are supportive. I know others may not be so lucky. And I remind myself, no matter how bad it gets, I will get through it. I have learned a lot about myself and my bipolar, and am always learning something new. I've gotten a little better at asking for help, but I always remind myself that I am the first line of defense in keeping myself my own sort of "sane".

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874 to a family that had both a history of political prominence as well as a history of mental illness. When Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of Britain he changed the political strategy.  His view of the realistic threat of Germany during WWII was attributed to the way he thought as a result of his mental illness. 

Psychiatrist Anthony Storr described Churchill’s reaction the Germany in the following way:
“Only a man who knew what it was to discern a gleam of hope in a hopeless situation, whose courage was beyond reason and whose aggressive spirit burned at its fiercest when he was hemmed in and surrounded by enemies, could have given emotional reality to the words of defiance which rallied and sustained us in the menacing summer of 1940.”-Anthony Storr

Storr was also quoted saying:

“Had Winston Churchill been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished”. - Anthony Storr

Winston Churchill called his Bipolar Disorder, his black dog.  He didn’t given into his black dog at all, instead he used it to his advantage which I find to be very admirable. Below you will find some notable quotes by Winston Churchill.  Not only was he a politician but he was a great writer as well. Winston Churchill died in 1965 at the age of 90 as a result of a stroke. Read a more in depth biography of him here: NAMI Winston Churchill Biography

Winston Churchill Quotes:

I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

If you're going through hell, keep going.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

Never, never, never give up.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

History is written by the victors.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.

Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. 

 -Kissing Stigma Goodbye-


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Here is the story of one of my readers...

The following is a story of one of my readers.  I am hoping to post more stories of readers soon.  If you would like to share your story with me, so that I can in turn share it with my readers please e-mail me at! Your story will be posted completely anonymously.  I look forward to hearing from you! -Sara-

I was 19 years old when I first began to experience symptoms of bipolar.  I knew something was wrong with me at the time but didn’t want to believe it.  When I would cycle out of a hypomanic state into depression I called it the “slump”.  My hypomanic phases would last months and l absolutely loved them.  I was making all A’s in college, excelling at work and having a blast in my personal life.  Then depression would strike and my depression wasn’t like a sad depression where I cried or felt sad.  I just became very unsocial, my grades would suffer and work became extremely difficult.  It was more of a cognitive thing like memorization, understanding and processing information suddenly became a challenge.  I saw a few doctors and they all said the same thing- sounds like you might have bipolar.  I was definitely not prepared to accept that as an answer to my “slump” so I continued living in hypomania and depression for 7 years until I had my first psychotic break.  

I only remember bits and pieces from my first full blown manic episode.  I thought the radio was personally talking to me.  I had extreme religious delusions.  I thought all my friends and even people on TV were my brothers and sisters and my Dad had fathered all these illegitimate children.  I thought my cell phone was tapped.  I thought I was being stalked by one of my customers at work and had called 911 several times.  911 finally sent cops out to my house and they could immediately see that I hadn’t slept in days and knew I had a chemical imbalance.  They told my Mom I could go to the hospital or jail.  Since I was super paranoid I went with option a, to the hospital I went.  From there I was transported to the first psychiatric hospital who had an open bed.  My first night at the hospital I was sedated and finally got some sleep after days of no rest.  For the third or fourth time I heard those dreadful words from the psychiatrist at the hospital, I had bipolar.  I guess this time there was no running from my diagnosis, it was time to get help. 
The next year I fell into a deep depression.  I couldn’t come to terms with my diagnosis.  I didn’t want to believe I needed a pill to live for the rest of my life.  I began to see a social worker and psychiatrist on a regular basis.  Every few months my meds would change and I’d experience horrible side effects.  Nothing seemed to help.  There was no digging me out of this hole I was in.  The time when most of my friends were getting married, having kids and getting promotions- my life came to a complete stop.  I was unemployed and living back at home.  

3 years and one more hospitalization later at the age of 30 I’ve finally found a combination of meds that seem to work for me.  I feel they could use a little fine-tuning, but overall I’m doing much better.  I know this is an everyday battle and one I could not fight without the support of my friends and family, especially my Mom.  I’m still a work in progress since I do not have a job and still do not socialize as much as I’d like to.  The difference now versus 3 years ago is I’m no longer embarrassed I have bipolar.  I found a NAMI support group in my area and my first meeting is next Tuesday.  I’m excited to see what that can bring to the table.  I look forward to the day where I can work again, socialize and live life more fully and am very optimistic that is in the near future. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dove Promises!

Do you ever eat those little dove promise chocolates?  Well, I sure do! They are one of my favorite candies (the dark chocolate with almonds ones).  Inside the wrapper of each dove promise is a cute little saying.  I’ve been collecting them over the past few months to share on the blog.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

A good love is delicious, because you can never get enough

All you really need is love, and a little chocolate doesn’t hurt

Chocolate won’t let you down

Dance with your heart

Dazzle your sense of flavor

Find your passion

Forget the rules and play by your heart

Give a little love today

It’s OK to be fabulous and flawed (this is my favorite one)

Life is good

Love every moment

Remember the simple pleasures in life

Renew your sense of discovery

Sing along with the elevator music

Stir your sense of pleasure

Take a deep breath and exhale

Take a moment for yourself

Treat yourself today

You are exactly where you are supposed to be

You don’t need an excuse, you just need a moment

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-
I had someone tell me this evening that Bipolar is not a disorder, it's only mood swings and everyone has those.

I responded by saying: Bipolar is a medical illness.  Bipolar Disorder is NOT characterized by mood swings despite what the general population believes.  There is so much more to it, don't minimize what I have been through.

I left my response short and sweet which was best in this particular situation.

Things like that are so frustrating! They would not tell someone with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc. that what they have is not an illness and everyone has some of the symptoms they're experiencing.

I know I shouldn't let things like that bother me, but I do.  A subtle reminder of how misunderstood this illness really is, is always a smack in the face!  Time to forget about it and move on- I'm not going to get anywhere by dwelling on it, but I thought I'd share.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't forget to follow Kissing Stigma Goodbye on Facebook!

Also, don't forget to email me your story for me to share annonymously with my readers!

Thank you all for your continued support!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Are you wiling to share your story?

I'd like to try something new with my blog. I've told a lot of my story up until this point. Now, I'd like to share the stories of other individuals who are living with a mental illness or have a loved one with a mental illness. A few weeks ago I had the chance to share the story of one of my Facebook followers, which I very much appreciated. Everyone's story is different and each story brings a new and different perspective on mental illness to individuals who don't know a lot about mental illness as well as individuals who are knowledgeable about mental illness and care deeply about the subject. Equally important to that, new and different stories could connect with some of my readers more than my story does. Your story could relate more to someone's individual situation and could make a difference in their life. Your story could help fight the stigma of mental illness and give someone a sense of belonging and hope as well as the feeling that they are not alone in their fight!
 If you're willing to share your story for me to post on my blog please send me an e-mail me at I would never share your name or any identifying information, it would be posted completely anonymously! It can be as short or long as you'd like; as formal or informal as you'd like!
Thank You!