Recovering from Mental Illness

There are three things I wish I knew about alcoholism before entering treatment. Maybe if I'd known these three things about alcoholism sooner, I would have realized I had a problem and entered treatment sooner and spared myself a lot of pain. But I'm an alcoholic, and most of my lessons I learned the hard way. So here are three things I wish I knew about alcoholism; may you learn from my thick-headedness.
PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections) is a disease that can account for psychiatric symptoms, but there is stigma around PANDAS. Recently I received a text message from Amber Becker, one of my readers, asking about my time in the state hospital system. Her daughter McKenzie has several psychiatric and developmental disorders, has been in and out of hospitals, and written off as untreatable. The State of Indiana wants to make her a ward of the state and put her in one of the hospitals I was treated at. Her fear is that if Indiana puts McKenzie in the state hospital, she'll be constantly sedated or repeatedly put in physical restraints. But here's the plot twist--PANDAS may be the cause of her problems. But there are no PANDAS specialists in Indiana, and even if there were, they're not covered by her insurance.
There are three lessons the Bill Cosby case can teach us. Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you've heard of the Bill Cosby rape allegations. As a sexual assault survivor, any time a high-profile rape case occurs, I want to speak out. I've watched this case with interest, and have learned three lessons the Bill Cosby case can teach us.
Having a mentally healthy perspective is important. It's a new year, and that lends itself to reflection. Whether 2015 was kind, brutal, or somewhere in between depends largely on your perspective (Putting Mental Illness In Perspective). So having a healthy perspective is important. So how do we have a mentally healthy perspective?
There are many ways to have healthy communication. My family's communication style is not even remotely what I would call healthy. For example, I mentioned I had an upset stomach on Christmas Eve, and my mother said that if that were the case I needed to go home before the festivities started. I took this to mean that I was not welcome and left shortly after gifts were opened. Hurt feelings could have been avoided by phrasing this in a healthy manner (Healthy Communication In Relationships). Here are three ways to have healthy communication.
Do you know how gut health affects mental health? We know that mental health and physical health aren't separate concepts. But still, it came as a slight surprise when my psychiatrist said that gastroenterologists call the gut "the second brain" because it has such a powerful impact on one's mental health. For example, constipation (a side effect of many psychiatric medications) can cause the body to kick into fight-flight-freeze mode, which causes racing thoughts, fear, and panic. So it is important to know how gut health affects mental health.
There are many ways to deal with holiday depression. While it is a myth that the suicide rate goes up during the holidays, holiday depression is no joke. Between the lack of adequate sunlight, the stress of being with our loved ones (I have four nephews and one niece age five and under), and loneliness at the absence of loved ones (my grandfather died on Christmas Eve when I was a child), we have a perfect storm for emotional over-stimulation. So, here are three ways to deal with holiday depression.
There are many ways the 12 steps help besides addiction relief. Recently, I lost my bus pass. I decided to ride my bike into town to save money, only to discover that someone had stolen the seat. I said, "Seriously?" and decided that if that was the worst thing that happened that day, I was blessed, and went about my day in a cheerful mood. That would not have been possible without the 12 steps of A.A.. So here are three ways the 12 steps help besides addiction relief.
I have a mental health Christmas list. There's a popular Christmas song called My Grown-Up Christmas List. In the song, the musician sings about a desire for healing, peace, and friendship. In keeping with that spirit, here is my mental health Christmas list.
There are three things those affected by suicide should know. When someone makes that heart-rending painful final decision to end his/her life, those left behind suffer from horrific grief and loss. Guilt is common, as is depression, anger, and denial. In order to help with that pain, here are three things those affected by suicide should know.