Thursday, September 13, 2012

Suicide prevention awareness is key

Suicide Prevention week has been a very insightful week and it's purpose is very important.  There are so many wonderful groups that are dedicated to help spread the word about how many people are at risk each day and also how to get them the help they need.  There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness and this many times keeps people from getting help.  I have personally worked with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  I have joined one of their walks to raise money and it was something that has stuck with me.  The majority of the people I walked with that day were mostly family and friends that had lost someone to suicide.

These walks put perspective and enlightenment to myself about how suicide affects the family and the friends that have lost someone to suicide. They walked for the family and friends they lost to bring awareness and raise funds to help others that are suicidal and prevent others from experiencing the pain and loss they felt.  I believe their stories help me when I am to that point of suicidal thoughts to get help immediately.  I have mentioned many times that I have a wonderful support system that gets me though those dark moments.

I have been treated for Bipolar Disorder for almost 25 years and I thought after I was placed on medicine that I would never have those feelings again.  However just a year later and many times throughout my battle to stay stable I have had many times of some very strong suicidal thoughts and a few suicide attempts.  I will only tell you the one attempt  that I was very close to actually ending my life.  It was a time in my life that was probably the most stressful and dark times that I remember.  I was married to an extremely abusive man and working at a highly stressful job.  My medicine seemed to also be causing  a lot of bad side effects as well.  It was the perfect storm to push me into the darkness I was in that day.  I took my cat's walking leash and tied it around my neck then took a bar stool and stood on it and secured the other end of the leash to the ceiling.  As I was standing on the stool crying and about to kick the stool out from under my feet. Then my two cats came running into the room and were meowing non-stop almost saying please stop and it was those meows that woke me up a bit and I remember seeing a  picture in my head of the pain I would cause my families and because of those almost crying meows I untied the leash and stepped off the stool.  I then called for help.  That is why having support for people in crisis is vital.  Since that day I have had quite a few days of dark suicide thoughts that can be so overwhelming.  Family support and having someone to talk to during that dark time has gotten me to my 40th birthday and I hope many more.  While I do know that it probably won't be the last time I feel that way it is comforting to know how to get help.

That is why it is so important to bring awareness to a huge threat of suicide that kills too many each year.  I know this year along I have heard too many stories of very young children committing suicide mostly due to bullying.   So many people each year experience both clinical depression as well as environmental depression.  There are so many misconceptions of those that commit suicide and I would like to clear that up.  People do not kill themselves because they are selfish. seeking attention, or they are cowards.   These were never a part of my suicide thoughts or how I was feeling.  When you are suicidal your brain is not logical and you just want the incredible pain to stop.  Those voices in my head  were just so overwhelming I wanted it to just stop.   In my case sometimes I felt like I was a burden to my family and I thought I would be doing them a favor.  So I  urge anyone that has mental illness or may have environmental depression to set up a support team and plan when and if it turns to those suicide thoughts or plans.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

United We Stand, Divided we fall

Today is September 11, 2012 and it's been eleven years since that day that terrorist attacked our country and changed America forever.  I am currently watching stories of the survivors that made it out of the towers.  I am overcome with emotions on just how many tales of heroism are being told.  I have always thought that over the years but this year it seems a bit different to me. 

I want to remember all those that died that day on September 11, 2001. There were so many that rushed toward the buildings or back inside to help others and gave their life for so many. I want to thank all the brave Police Officers, Firefighters, medical personnel, city workers, and volunteers that cared more about others that day and risked their health that day and many days after that horrible event.  I know there are some that have lost their life since then because of working in the debris.  They also sacrificed their life to help others in need.  I want to remember and thank all those soldiers that went overseas to fight for my freedom. I know many died to protect this country, our freedom and safety and many returned injured.  My gratitude is not enough for all they do for us on a daily basis. 

I remember right after that day that people were banning together and doing anything they could to help each other during this crisis.  There were so many people that day that put others ahead of themselves and banned together to get them out of the disaster.  There were so many that gave their life that day to save someone they had probably never met before that day.  We were united we stand.  This always seem to be the case during any event that involves a tragedy. During a lot of huge shocking events there are so many stories of people that helped others and put themselves last.  I saw this bravery during the recent shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  I remember brave acts during the shooting that happened at Virginia Tech.  There were great stories of the community helping each other during Katrina.  There have been many tornadoes over my life in my own community that show how many people care and want to help as much as they can. 

This has reminded me of that sense of community again that seems a little lost at this point in our country.  During this election year there seems to be such a sense of division.  I am guilty myself of being part of the division and taking sides.  So I am humbled myself today and reminded that I need to strive harder to be a better person.   There is one thing during tragedy that seems to always be a common thread. Race, religious beliefs,  sexual orientation, disabilities, or income levels have no affect on how we treat each other during this time of need.  I know it is a hard thing to keep up during everyday life as we go about our daily routines, but it is the stories from 9-11 being retold today that  has made me want to strive to do better.   I fight for the advocacy of mental health rights and to fight the stigma against those with mental illness so I should try to remember that myself when talking about other things and times in my life.   Americans do not agree on many things but I hope we can put those differences down and try to see people in the same light as we might if we were in a tragedy with them.

With our country facing so many hardships I do think working together with others in America will help put us in the right direction.   There are so many charitable organizations that do this on a daily basis and never think twice about it.   I am moved on a daily basis when CEO's and others take less pay so that their staff can keep their jobs.  It is that type of thinking and behavior that keeps this country the wonderful place that it is.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rep Paul Ryan will hurt Medicare

Normally I try to leave politics out of my blog but after US Representative Paul Ryan's speech last week I feel compelled to write my thoughts on his future plans for  Medicare and Medicaid.   His speech last week was full of lies that can be proven but I will leave most of that to true political writers. I will link what he calls the "Ryan Plan" at the end of my post.   I never really pick sides in elections.  I don't consider myself a Republican nor a Democrat.  I am an independent.  My votes in elections in the past have always centered around who I think can protect social programs, Medicare and mental health care.  Those candidates are normally democrats but I always listen to the other side as well.   The Republicans notoriously have their interest into big business, tax cuts for the rich, and they want to get rid of as many social programs as possible to throw more money into defense spending.   I'm trying to keep my blog about mental illness and especially my experience of bipolar disorder.  But I feel people like Mr. Paul Ryan are very dangerous to social programs that help people living with mental illness and hopefully people are checking his facts right now to see how much he is lying about what he really intends to do for Medicare in the future.  Last week he told us he would be there to protect Medicare when really he just wants to destroy it.  I hope everyone that heard his speech will do some research and look into what he really stands for.  He keeps talking about the very poor but he seems to want to hurt them more than help them.   They do not stand up for  social programs or people that are in desperate need of mental health care. They feel that they are hand outs and that makes me very sad that they want to destroy them.

My parents always taught me to thank God for my blessings and to give back to others hurting in my community.  I have always done that as much as possible until I had to apply for benefits.  It was never something I wanted to have to do.  I was thankful there was a safety net to catch me.  It seemed only a week ago at the RNC last week that they keep referring to the programs and the benefits I receive as "entitlements"  I know America stands for free speech and he can believe and do whatever he wants.  However I don't appreciate him standing out there and telling a bunch lies and says he will protect  Medicare.  If he wants to cut Medicare and make it about a voucher program in the future then he should be honest about it and tell us that is what he intends to do.  My only goal here is that I want people to be informed.  I will never tell you who to vote for in this election and I just want you to make sure you know who you are voting for and what their plans are for our country.  Mental health awareness of mental health programs is so important in this country and I find it harsh that no one wants to address these issues.  I am still confused as to why they cover less mental health benefits but that is another fight and article.   I'm not saying either party has it right but the Republicans right now really scare me on the way they think about people in my situation.  I was born with bipolar disorder and despite that I went to college and I did work as long as I could to contribute to my country.   I'm not a lazy person and a person that would love to go back to work, but unfortunately I have an illness that normally won't let me keep a job for longer than nine months to a year because of break downs and employers just can't accept that so I had to rely on disability benefits.  I would gladly go back to work but in this tough economy I am sure an employer could find a worker that would be more stable.  I was always a very hard worker and always did very well but the stress would throw my condition out of whack.  I even tried to get many many part time jobs but they all told me I was over qualified and would not hire me. 

It find it ironic that a man that lost his father at age 16 and received Social Security benefits during that tough time now wants to change Medicare and Social Security as we know it.  I believe Mr. Ryan should of received those benefits because I believe that's what our country is all about.   Reaching out and helping others in great need when things are tough    I find it hurtful that a man that received benefits from government from social security is now trying to take that from us and shut the door behind him.  I guess he received his benefits so too bad for the rest of us.  I never intended for my life to be like this and to be on Social Security disability benefits.   I studied hard,  I went to college and I worked for many years and I've paid into the system.  I've always been the type of person that donated to charities and help people in my community so I do not understand this type of logic as a Christian.  I wish I never had to receive social security benefits because I would love to work.  However, I am very thankful for my social security benefits that helped me and my husband get through the tough times and medicare helped me with my health care.   My husband was let go from his company during the Bush Administration because of financial cuts and it was a long hard two years but with the help of my benefits, his unemployment benefits that President Obama did extend and extra money from my parents we made it through and are now saving money and giving back to our community and economy.    My husband finally found a great job and is happily employed.  Mr. Ryan was given an  opportunity to help him in a rough time and now he wants to shut it down for everyone else. I normally take what politicians say with a grain of salt because they don't always tell the truth but Mr. Ryan blatantly lied to America.  He is saying he is going to protect Medicare and social programs and help the poor when in fact his plan does everything to destroy the help so many in our country need.  He has changes for Medicaid as well.   Mental health care has always been a tough fight but as of right now people can get insurance they need to get their treatments.  Mr Ryan plans to change that if he is elected.

My Mom and Dad were hard working Americans all their life.  My father is even a Vietnam Veteran. He served his country and now there are people that want to deny him and my mom benefits because they call these "enttilements'.  My parents are not entitled one bit.  They worked hard, paid into the system and helped their country.  They are receiving benefits they earned.  My Mom and Dad give back to their community so taking benefits from seniors and the disabled is just plain wrong.  My Mom and Dad raised me to strive to be anyone I wanted to be  and do anything I wanted for a career.   Their biggest dream was to send both of their kids to College and give them the best opportunities.  My brother and I both have degrees and I am thankful I had such wonderful parents to support me all of these years.   I know the system needs some revisions but voucher plans are not the way to fix it.  I know I have a vested interest in this but I am not concerned with my welfare as much as others because I have always had extra help.  I am speaking up for those people that do not have health care for their mental illness.  There are so many people out there that think these people do not deserve help but I have spent the past year talking to so many that live with a mental illness.  I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard where people lose their jobs because of the mental illness, lose their health care and then become homeless without health care on their on with no hope.  As many know very few people stick around when you have a mental illness so some do not have help at all from family or friends.  Thankfully the new health care reform has provided these people with the care they need and it should not be a privilege but a right in this country.  You should never have to go without medical treatment because you cannot afford it and you should never go bankrupt to save your life or someone in your family's life.  There are no easy solutions to these problems but I do know that President Obama's programs helped my family when we needed it and I do not believe Mr Ryan or Gov. Romney will help us and will probably make things worse.  Mr Romney cannot decide what he really believes in or where he stands.  His views change when the wind blows.  Mr Ryan's plan is a very radical plan that will hurt those that need it the most.   You can read about the plan at  So my question is to anyone out there that have loved ones that will be effected by these changes to read more, look at other few points and decide which plan is better for you and the mental health community.  I hope everyone votes and speaks up for our community no matter which party you stand with.  My only goal is to try to inform from the best of my knowledge and help those that might not have a voice right now.   If you need to find out where to register to vote you can go to  I do not agree with all of President Obama's  views and stances but I feel he cares about my community and those that need help with mental health care.   He recently approved more mental health care benefits for those brave soldiers returning from war and that is the least we can do.  They have fought for our country and our freedoms and it is the least we can do to help them in any way we can.  So thank you President Obama for making sure they will receive the extra benefits they need at this tough time.  So my vote for the 2012 Presidential election is clear now after looking over so much data and I hope I have helped you at least be a little more informed or at least want to find out the information for yourself.