“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.” ~ A Canvas of the Minds
I personally have dealt with mental health issues and have family members and friends who have done so, identified or not, throughout the entirety of my life.
There are a number of things I didn’t know and understand for a very long time about Mental Health is that much of the “acting out” behavior of adults behaving badly – things like compulsive behaviors, out of control/extreme emotions and mood swings, addictions, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse – can all have their roots in poor mental health and/or be exacerbated by lack of mental health support.
All of those things I just named, I have experienced and in a lot of ways continue to experience on a daily basis.
I knew I had depression. I’ve been seeking services and treatment for it in one way or another since I was pre-adolescent. My first therapeutic encounter was an Incest Survivors group when I was 11 years old. A few years later, after my mom’s depression and my out of control, angry little girl issues clashed, and she turned guardianship of me over to her younger brother and moved away, we got a call stating she’d killed herself. That single event, in combination with everything that had gone on before, I can now see, flipped a switch in my brain, that has kept me on a psychological and emotional spinning, roller coaster ride of chaos, overwhelm, codependency and dysfunction, for the past 33 years.
It has impacted, informed, and impaired all of my relationships with other people: family, friends, co-workers, people in my faith community. It has affected my ability to parent my children in healthy and constructive ways, setting the stage for them to experience psychological/emotional neglect and abuse from me and partners in my dysfunctional and distorted adult relationships. It has impaired my ability to work and educate myself toward achieving my personal and professional dreams and potential.
I have carried and lived with the stigma and shame, blame, and labelling from myself and others because, as a mother, I should have known better, done better, been better.
It’s taken me a tremendously long time to get to where I am today, admitting my powerlessness over the fact that my brain and emotions are not under my control and that I have to be completely honest about that with myself and with others, and especially with my Higher Power, if I am to be able to get healing and live a healthier, more functional life.
I am pledging to participate in this Bloggers for Mental Health 2014 project in an effort to educate, inform, offer resources, reduce stigma, and raise awareness and sensitivity to the Mental Health Issues and Challenges that people experience, every single day . . . people whom we love and care about, people we work with, people we live next door to, people we go to church with, attend school with, or drive down the road beside. People who may just be us.
A Canvas of the Minds is a community of individual bloggers who either experience or whose lives have been impacted by another who experiences Mental Health issues and challenges. The blog posts shared on Canvas are focused on Mental Health issues and concerns. The personal blogs of the individual bloggers can run the gamut and are not necessarily exclusive or focused on Mental Health issues, however, reading through them with the context and understanding of the impacts and challenges the writers have experienced due to Mental Health issues while reading whatever it is that they have written can provide a rich and layered understanding of people who deal with Mental Health challenges as being more than a diagnosis or partner/caregiver of someone with a diagnosis.
Reading through their posts can offer hope and the knowledge that, however isolating and debilitating a Mental Health diagnosis may be, it is possible to survive, live, and even thrive with one.
It is our collective story of hope, strength, experience, and wisdom.
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