Friday, October 29, 2021


  I want to start off by saying, I am not ashamed or upset by going inpatient. It is what I needed to be safe from myself while suicidal. But I do think we need to reform how we treat people in crisis. This is a time when  people are at their most vulnerable. They are desperate for help, and so brave for asking for it.

This last time I was inpatient, I admitted myself before I hurt myself. I called and asked for help as I was writing a goodbye letter. I was taken to the hospital. The intake staff was very friendly and supportive. Asking me questions, answering my questions. Even let my grandmother stay with me for part of the process. 

Then my belongings were searched, I wasn’t allowed certain clothes. No phone. And of course, no shoe laces, nothing that you can hurt yourself with. They then searched me, sent my grandmother away with items I couldn’t have. Then upstairs I went with a paper bag of my clothes. 

Once upstairs, I was then asked more questions by a nurse. I was searched again and asked to strip. This was the first time I felt like a prisoner instead of a patient. I was given an outdated “schedule” of the day to day. Shown my shared room. And released onto the floor with everyone.

There was a TV room and 2 group rooms. I didn’t see a doctor until the next day. If you didn’t participate in the group you lost certain privileges, like going outside to smoke. You are on 15 minute checks by the staff, so no privacy. No pens or pencils, markers were in the group room we could use. I spent a lot of time alone, not talking to anyone.

I did see the nurse practitioner daily, she made medicine adjustments as I needed it. I called my family daily in between groups, phones were turned off during group sessions. Some of the groups I enjoyed, some felt like fillers. Usually I just sat in the back and kept to myself. I never had one on one therapy.

The weekends were the worst, not as many groups, so mostly just watched TV or read in my room. I did eventually open up to some people and gained some friends. We walked the halls to pass the time. Talked about our experiences. That helped me more than anything else.

While I do not regret going inpatient, it is what I needed at that time. I do think that things need to change. How can they know what is going on with me in a 5 minute daily meeting with the nurse practitioner? Without one on one therapy, how can they help me get to the root of the problem? I understand why some things are in place, to protect us in our lowest point. But that is also the point. When we go to ask for help, we are literally at our lowest point. Why are we being treated like prisoners?

The staff were sweet and obviously doing their best. But the whole system needs an upgrade. Our whole treatment of mental health and mental illness needs to change. More understanding, more options available for us. When I am at my worst, I shouldn’t be treated as less than human.

Friday, October 22, 2021


     I will be the first to admit, I am not perfect. I have slips. Being stable doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time. It means that my bipolar is more manageable.  I still swing up and down, but usually not as severe and I reach out for help. 

What most people don’t realize is the constant battle in my mind. The constant pressure to be like everyone else. To hide my emotions. To not be overly sensitive. Sometimes just that pressure alone is enough to send me into a tailspin. Add into working full time and being a parent, and sometimes slips just happen. 

What should be happening is that I shouldn’t have to fit into society's standard of normal. I shouldn’t have to fear people’s judgment just because they think I am overreacting. For showing more emotion than most do. Then telling me I’m overreacting and I need to calm down. 

Sometimes I need extra breaks, sometimes I just want to be left alone, and sometimes I can’t stand the thought of being alone. I am just like everyone else, I just feel things a little bit more. The ups and downs aren’t the only part of bipolar disorder. Despite what you hear in the media or read about in books. 

I will obsess over a new hobby, then suddenly lose interest. I am very literal, sometimes I have a hard time understanding sarcasm. Which makes people think I can’t take a joke. I get easily paranoid, sometimes needing to talk it out with someone to make sense and not overreact. I can be short tempered. 

Hypomania is very much real and sometimes hard to detect at first. Sometimes even I don’t realize when it’s happening, until my Mom mentions it. Talking fast, not making sense. A little bit paranoid even. Even medicated slips happen and adjustments need to be made. 

Being stable means always taking my medicine, going to therapy, and continuing doctor appointments. Being honest with my support system when I feel like I’m having a slip. Listening to people when they notice these slips before me. But having bipolar does not stop me from living a full life.

I have a full time job that I love, I have 2 children that are my world, I have wonderful family support. Sure I sometimes need breaks, but who doesn’t?  I am my own person, despite having bipolar disorder. Having slips is just what makes me human. Working together with my support system has given me a relatively normal life. Able to work through my slips freely and with support.

Sunday, October 17, 2021


  Understanding someone that is suicidal is hard unless you know where they are coming from. Just the other day I was asked, “Why did you let it get to that point?” But how are they supposed to understand that you just don’t want to be a burden to anyone? You are scared of judgement?

No one wants to admit they are struggling, because no one wants to admit they are “weak.” I would hide behind a fake smile and a messy ponytail and dry shampoo. You hide behind a facade so people don’t see you slipping into darkness. They don’t see you barely holding your head above water.

This is when reaching out is vital. The earlier the better. For me I traveled further down the rabbit hole. The further you go the more you close off from everyone. Stop caring about your appearance. Stop caring about the dishes, laundry. You make excuses, miss appointments. You fear judgement though, the judgement that people won’t believe you. Or say that it’s not that bad. You have no reason to be depressed.

So many people, myself included, hide how we are feeling. Hide from the judgement, the looks, the talking behind our backs. The stigma of mental illness makes us hide. In a world that expects everyone to be fine, no one wants to admit they aren’t. And no one wants to believe that others are struggling.

“What do you have to be depressed about? People have it worse than you. You have such a wonderful life. She’s just doing this for attention.” I have heard all of these before, about me or others. This is why I don’t open up, I hide in myself, I am so scared that people will think less of me. When in reality we should be opening up to each other.

The more we open up and find our voice, the more we can fight the stigma. No one should be judged for coming forward needing help. Instead they should be taken seriously. Help them find a therapist, take them to the ER, or doctor. Whatever they need, take them seriously. If they have reached out to you then they trust you.

Let me say that again, if someone reaches out to you and says they are suicidal, then they trust you. Don’t break that trust by dismissing them. If you suspect someone you know is suicidal then ask them. Ask if they are thinking of hurting themselves. At the very least, they will see someone cares, someone notices them. And that might make them seek help.

If you have never been suicidal it will be hard to understand why someone can get to that point. But look around at all the judgement. This huge stigma. People calling people liars, fakers. We believe in things like the flu, strep, broken bones, but when it comes to our own brains people act like nothing can go wrong.  

Mental illness is not black and white. There is plenty of gray area with mental illness. Like fingerprints, no one is affected the same. One person could completely shut down and the next might keep up appearances to avoid admitting anything is wrong. 

This is why we need to be kind to each other. You don’t know what is going on with each other. Just because someone has a smile on their face, or looks like they have the perfect life on social media, does not mean they aren’t battling something invisible to you. Being kind to someone could change their whole day.

Mental illness and mental health are not something we should joke about. We need to take each other seriously. Listen to each other. Together we can join our voices and put an end to the stigma of mental health. Even if that means making others uncomfortable. Make mental health a priority.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Everyone Needs a Timeout

  Ever wish you could escape? Take a break from the stress of your life, your job, your responsibilities? I’m not talking about a vacation. I’m talking about an escape for you, just you. Like book a hotel in the next town over and just hide out for a few days?

This is a fantasy of mine that I dream of when I start getting stressed out. It usually happens before a spiral, up or down is what I don’t know. Realizing that the spiral is coming is what I usually miss. I don’t reach out, I just keep daydreaming. This is not to say this happens everytime, sometimes I just spiral with no warning at all.

Ever wonder why people have a “happy place” that they think about and picture when stressed out? Maybe the beach is yours? It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you have one. A place to go to give yourself a mental break for a while. 

There is nothing wrong with needing a break. Taking a break for your mental health is necessary to function. Add in mental illness, and sometimes breaks are literal lifesavers. So why are breaks looked down on?

Why are we constantly judging each other for something everyone is entitled to? When are we going to start lifting each other up and supporting each other instead of dragging each other down? We need to start lifting up each other. Supporting each other when we say we need a break.

The more we bring each other down, the more we are hurting ourselves. Everybody deserves to take a break. Enjoy an escape. Something that is all yours. Nobody needs an explanation. Just relax, and unwind. Decompress your mind.

Do not let other people’s judgement keep you from taking a break. Taking a break and decompressing before burnout sets in is essential. How can you be at your best when your mind is exhausted?

Self-care is just as important as drinking enough water. We all need to take breaks and care for just ourselves. So go get that pedicure. Take that trip. Take a bubble bath and read a book. Whatever it is, take your break. You deserve it. Enjoy your escape.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Working with Mental Illness


Working with a mental illness is hard. Holding down a full time job is already tough, but add in a mental illness, and you are in for a wild ride. For me it is a daily struggle. Having hid my mental illness from my coworkers for so long because I was ashamed, feared their reactions. I realized that I was just adding to the stigma.

Working with mental illness means we are working twice as hard. For me I am constantly pushing myself, trying to prove that I am just like everyone else. That I can do what everyone else can do. But the thing is, I’m not like everyone else. I have to make sure I take my medicine, keep a routine. And I still have bad days.

On good days I can wake up, go to work, do my job, engage with my coworkers. But on bad days, I have to drag myself out of bed, I turn on autopilot, I don’t talk to anyone. And on manic days, I never went to sleep, I talk too much, I’m fidgety. 

My coworkers knew deep down all along. And me being more open with them, talking with them, sharing my experiences with them, has opened their eyes to understanding more. Being sympathetic, becoming closer friends. 

I keep my routine, because routines for me help me stay on track. I wake up at the same time, keep the same morning routine, and leave for work at the same time. Even at work, I keep a routine. I try to keep the same schedule for my tasks. If I become overwhelmed, I take a step back and practice my deep breathing or ask for help. I have to work twice as hard because of what I battle in my head. That does not mean I can’t do my job. And the same goes for anyone battling mental illness.

Pretending to be ok and drowning in your work will only make things worse. Asking for help does not mean you are a failure, just means you need a little help. Drowning in your work will only make you feel worse. Your job wants you to succeed, because when you succeed they succeed.  

If all you take away from this is one thing then let it be this. It’s ok to ask for help. Either at work or home. Do not be ashamed to admit it, do not let the fear of judgement stop you.

Bipolar and Religion

Did you know that studies show that in combination with medication and talk therapy that religion and spirituality have been known to be i...