Recovering from Mental Illness

How do you go about mourning a therapy pet in a healthy way? On Wednesday, my precious therapy rat Annabelle was diagnosed with pneumonia and abscessed lungs. I made the heartbreaking decision to put her to sleep. Now I am mourning the loss of a therapy pet (Coping With Loss: Bereavement and Grief). The loss of a pet can be just as painful as the loss of a human. In this video, I talk about what to do to mourn the loss of a therapy pet in a healthy way.
Last week was National Crime Victims Rights Week, and while at a rally, someone gave me a pamphlet on domestic violence issues in the lesbian, gay, bisexaul, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community. While domestic violence can affect anyone and can take many forms, the unique forms of domestic violence in the LGBTQ community are rarely discussed. I will focus on three types of domestic violence issues: strict gender roles, access to safe places, and threat of "outing" without consent.
What are the mental health needs of the Native American community? At first, I was hesitant to write this because although I have Cherokee ancestry, I'm of mixed blood and not enrolled (my blood quantum is too low). But this morning on a news site, I saw that 11 members of a Canadian First Nation attempted suicide on Saturday night alone, causing the tribe to declare a state of emergency.1 
Recently I was Googling something and the phrase, "how to overdose without dying" appeared. I was surprised and concerned--how bad of a place does one have to be in to Google that, and why is it common enough to appear as a search term? This made me think of other red flag searches. When we are not aware of how bad off we are, searches like, "how to overdose without dying" can alert us to danger (Suicide Hotline Phone Numbers). Here are some phrases that should cause you to check your mental health if you find yourself or a loved one typing them--and some words of encouragement from someone who has actually Googled, "how to kill yourself" and gotten annoyed that it led to anti-suicide pages.
Do you know how to spot a sexual predator? It is a sad fact of life that some people prey sexually on others--and it's not always the weak and helpless who are victims. Strong, capable people may be targeted by a sexual predator as a "conquest," and a sexual predator preys on whoever is available. So how to spot a sexual predator? In this video, I talk about three warning signs of a sexual predator.
Can diet affect mental health? I went vegetarian for Lent this year. One thing I noticed is how much better I felt--I wasn't exhausted in the morning, I had more energy than normal, my head felt clear, and my mood was pretty much even all the time. It left me wondering "Can diet affect mental health?" And, if so, what dietary changes do we need to consider?
Is it an anxiety attack or an asthma attack? This is a question that those of us with both frequently ask when we feel short of breath, have chest pain, and are light-headed (Panic Attack Symptoms: Warning Signs of Panic Attacks). If you are in doubt you should call 911 or whatever your emergency number is, but there are some ways to tell if it is an asthma attack or an anxiety attack.
Should psychiatric patients take medication for side effects? Recently, my psychiatrist increased the medicine for my restless leg syndrome, which is a side effect of one of my antipsychotics. Now I'm constantly sleepy. I was talking with a friend at church when I said, "Sometimes I have to take medication because my psychiatric medications cause unpleasant side effects." The side effects range from the annoying (restless leg syndrome) to the serious (heart condition). So should psychiatric patients take medication to treat the side effects of a psychiatric medication?
What do you do when grief becomes a mental health issue? Recently I lost a friend to suicide, and it made me think of all the other losses I've suffered. Two memories stand out in my mind--the death of my maternal grandfather to cancer and the death of my paternal grandmother to a stroke. One was a mental health issue, the other was not. There are several things people can do when grief becomes a mental health issue.
There are three things suicidal people don't know about suicide. I recently buried yet another friend lost to suicide--this is the fourth person I've personally known who died by suicide. Having been driven to that point, I realize there are three things suicidal people don't know about suicide. They may seem cliche, but they are true--and forgotten by suicidal people who are in unbearable pain. I share these in hopes that anyone reading this who feels suicidal may realize there is always more to the situation than there appears.