Blog for Mental Health 2012 – A Hit!


A few days ago, I started a project I call Blog for Mental Health 2012.  I suppose, by now, the greater majority of mental health bloggers are aware of it.  I am amazed by the overwhelming response to it!  In this small amount of time, I have received a great deal of feedback, as well as the spread of it around the blogosphere.  I am nearly in tears by the enormity of it!

Thank you to everyone who is participating.  Through every writer’s participation, we are spreading awareness through our dedication.  We are openly saying that we support mental health awareness and are working our hardest to erase the stigma for every person who carries a diagnosis worldwide.  I am proud to carry a diagnosis today.  And I hope everyone who carries this badge is proud of themselves and / or someone else, too.

In addition, I’ve decided that I wanted to keep an active blogroll open to index bloggers who support Blog for Mental Health 2012.  If you would like to be on the blogroll, leave me a comment and I will be happy to add you to the list!

Currently, our participants are:

Again, if I missed a blog, please leave me a comment.  If you’d like to take the pledge and display your badge proudly, just leave me a comment with a link to your pledge page.

Again, thanks to all who took the pledge and continue to put the word out there!

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25 thoughts on “Blog for Mental Health 2012 – A Hit!

  1. I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental illness before, mostly because I haven’t had health insurance for the last 6 years. But I’d probably be diagnosed as bipolar. Not sure if I will actively participate, but I’ll support by reading blogs and commenting when I can.

    Best of luck!

    • Hi Nate!

      I am curious now. Please, don’t hesitate to ignore me if I get too personal. I have a terrible habit of crossing those invisible boundaries. Why would you consider yourself as being symptomatic of Bipolar Disorder?

      I’m intensely interested, because the diagnosis didn’t even occur to me until I was in a college 200 psych course. My professor used to joke about the Eyhavet disorder – equating symptoms with some personality traits and behavioral patterns. I thought she’d scoff at me when I did my case study on myself to reveal the mystery behind my MDD and why it couldn’t be cured. Because it was BP II in disguise. And she gave me an A+, agreed, and then gave me a couple numbers for community health centers.

      I was more pleased that I was right than I was concerned about it!

      Anyway, she told us that these symptoms were characteristic of typical behavior. The key is dysfunction. Disorder has to have the component of dysfunction for it to be relevant.

      What led you to think so?

      • Well for all I know I don’t, but there are times that I think there must be something wrong with me and bipolar seems to fit the best in my honest self diagnosis.

        The thing that brought this to my attention was really my sleep habits. It got even worse when I started college. I would go a few days when I wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t feel the need for sleep. And during those times I’d usually start doing something new and random. The first one I remember is I went out and bought a harmonica and tried to teach myself how to play at like 4-5 am. My latest bout (about 2 weeks ago) I all of the sudden wanted to write a novel and got about 4 chapters written in a few hours. After a few days I always abandon whatever I was interested in.

        But I also have times when I’ll sleep 16 hours a day and still be tired during the 8 hours. I’ll think about if there is a point to life and all sorts of dreary stuff and overall just not be to cheery.

        So I’m not sure what I have wrong with me (if anything) but that is what usually happens.

        • I have to put this disclaimer in here before I even start talking. I am not a doctor; I don’t claim to be one. This is strictly opinion and in no way a diagnosis. If you think that you have a serious mental illness (as they deem bipolar disorder to be), then seek professional help.

          The question stands, does this create significant dysfunction for you?

          I have BP II, which means I supposedly have no psychosis (I’m not sure about that one), no full blown manias, and no mixed episodes. In my life, I thought I was typically on the more depressive side, having severe depressive episodes that would last months. But, no longer than months. I didn’t realize until I started blogging that I had so many frequent hypomanic episodes. Those last no longer than two weeks, typically a week or so.

          Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are unique to every person. Some symptoms exist for some people and don’t in others.

          I’ll give you an example of some symptoms I experience:

          Hypomania (General)
          Pressured speech, meaning I speak quickly, rambling, sometimes jumping from one topic to the next in a non sequitur fashion.
          Racing thoughts – I can’t keep up with the speed that my brain is going. Sometimes, it’s so fast that it turns into complete noise where I can only grab a phrase here and there. Sometimes, it’s so bad that I can’t make sense of anything.
          Little need for sleep – I have gone as far as 3 1/2 hours, and still functioned on my A game the next day like nothing happened. Typically, it’s between 4-6 hours for a week or two.
          Highly increased socialization – I am not typically a person who engages others. I am a little introverted, and slow to warm up to people. But, when I’m in a hypomanic state, I am completely extroverted. I find myself prompting social situations, throwing parties, and calling everyone in my phone book.
          Hypersexuality – I could not possibly have enough sex. I used to be promiscuous during an episode, but I’m married now.

          Hypomania (Euphoric)
          The “life of the party”
          Delusions of grandeur – I think I’m the best at everything and anything.
          Superman Complex – I can do anything and I’m completely untouchable.
          Thrill seeking behavior – I want to drive forever. Go out at 3am. Skip work and not tell anyone. Steal stupid things for the fun of it (like silverwear from restaurants). Walk around dangerous city neighborhoods just to see them.

          Hypomania (Dysphoric)
          Uncontrollable rage for no apparent reason
          Delusional thinking, typically paranoia
          Aggression – “acting out”, yelling at people for nothing, threatening people
          Self-injurious behavior
          Violent urges – the urge to hurt someone, myself, or destruction of property
          Irritability – extremely volatile

          Depression
          (Note: I have atypical depressive symptoms)
          Typical symptoms:
          Severe Loss of Energy, constant fatigue
          Sadness, worthlessness
          Crying spells
          Unexplainable bodily pain, just all over
          Digestive problems
          Suicidal ideation
          Attempts at suicide
          Self-injurious behavior

          Atypical symptoms:
          Hypersomnia
          Retardation of motor functions
          Depressed brain function, meaning I can’t think as fast
          Hypersensitivity

          Note: My eating and sleeping patterns get completely out of whack. In dysthymic episodes, I have a tendency to comfort eat. In severe episodes, I don’t eat at all. Sleeping is different than eating. Sleeping can go any which way. I could find myself sleeping 14-16 hours a day, or having fits of insomnia. Insomnia is bad, because after awhile, everything starts shorting out.

          The onset of BP symptoms is common in a person’s 20’s. I was a little different and began having symptoms just before my teens.

          If any of these are ringing bells for you, especially the suicide and self-injurious behaviors, seek help. There are a lot of community health programs that will work with you on a sliding scale. Yes, they are a serious pain in the ass. But, if you can get a diagnosis, and I’m going to assume you live in PA because you went to Penn State, then you can apply for Medicaid under the premise that you are “medically needy”. And when you have BP, you are. It requires a lot of doctors visits and sometimes a lot of medication.

          • My experience has been… diagnosed with Bipolar 2… then over the years of going on and off meds and having catastrphic life events that nearly sent me over the edge… I got a new dx of Bipolar 1 with psychosis. Now the psychosis is not frequent…in fact, it occurred after highly traumatizing events and lack of sleep.
            Now, they have added on BPD, which I hadn’t even thought of until I read the symptoms. Very interesting how things can change and get worse.
            However, I was in denial with the first diagnosis and truly believe I was Bipolar 1 already at that point. I experienced very rapid cycling, often even within a single day.
            To give an example of how severe my disorder is: I applied for disability in May of this year, and was approved 5 months later. It was the 1st time I applied. I was approved so quickly… where it usually takes 1-2 years from approval.
            I wish I could get paid for blogging… it would be the perfect solution right now for a source of income and a feeling of pride..

            • My doctor has suggested several anxiety disorders. He is unsure as to whether it’s the medication that is causing them or if they were underlying to begin with. GAD, PD, and PTSD were brought up. I was not exactly receptive to them. That is likely why I don’t carry those diagnoses. So, I know they’re treating the symptoms. They just didn’t slap a label on it.

              I am sorry your disorder is so severe. It has been a long time since I worked a full-time job, so I couldn’t tell you if I would be able to take it. I’m in a very low stress environment where I have the authority and creative license to do pretty much what I want. I wouldn’t know if I could do 40+ hours. I guess I’ll find out someday, but for now, I’m a part-time teacher and a full time mother.

  2. Hi 🙂

    Many thanks for including my blog. It was very gracious of you. As I said from the beginning I am so in agreement with this concept and I am delighted others are following your lead.

    Well done again.
    Kind Regards,

    Kevin

  3. I am ALL for this! I never knew how many people blogged about mental health issues until i started blogging seriously, it’s brilliant that we have a community that allows us to be annonymous if preferred, or build confidence to show our faces. As a nominee from Helena Handbasket my next blog post is going to be on this 🙂 xx

    • I feel like I’ve been in this protective little bubble for the last six months. I never realized that there were so many people out there either until I started this project! I am hoping that I will eventually have the courage to state my real name. As for everything else, it’s out there. If a person were to happen upon my site, they could probably connect the dots. I have graphic art that features real pictures of me. I talk about real events that happen in my life, and I have disclosed my location. All I have to do is put a name to a face.

      I am so happy about “Blog for Mental Health 2012”. I feel like the badge is pulling together a community of people that may not have otherwise crossed paths!

    • In my teens? No. My depressive episodes were very severe and very long at that period of time. I didn’t start rapid cycling until I was older. Even when I was hypomanic, I didn’t want to be in class. I wanted to do my own thing because class was boring. I always thought class was boring.

      I found myself sleeping through a lot of my classes. I was hypersensitive to criticism and, at some point, eventually became numb to it all. I isolated myself, shut myself out. The worthlessness kept me from trying. I tried to protect the secret of all my cuts and scars. But, thankfully, my middle school / high school was so cold that it was appropriate to wear a hoodie at all times.

      I knew I was different, but I didn’t know why. Everyone looked so happy with their lives and all of their friends. No matter what I tried, I was miserable. And everyone else could see it, too. I was ostracized, because they knew I was different, too. All I wanted was to get out of that place, get the hell out of my parents house, and just run away. I hoped that would make things different.

      College was better. By that time, I had enough hypomania to carry me through an extremely heavy workload. I was a freak among freaks, and it was great. I had depressive episodes, and many of my friends were there to carry me through. My teachers were understanding, but never really realized that there was something wrong (with the exception of my psychology teacher). They figured it was the pressure of an 18 credit courseload, duel major. Sometimes I excelled and sometimes I struggled.

      How did you find out your had bipolar disorder? Was it a surprise? And how did you come to terms with it?

      • I started seeing Psychiatrists in the year 2000. I believe my bipolar began in my early 20’s and was triggered by having my 1st 2 children back to back (they are only 11 1/2 months apart). I was on a downward spiral from there. I divorced my 1st husband and he got custody of the kids because of his substantial income and I was a stay at home Mom up to that point. Then In 2002 my ex boyfriend killed himself and that seemed to make it worse. I finally got my life straight and remarried to a wonderful man. He didn’t understand mood disorders and felt he couldn’t make me happy… so I went into denial. Also, he is military and would comment that any mental disorders would red flag him for certain duties and I did not want to interfere with that, so I swept it under the rug. We got orders away from my home town and he was deployed 3 times in 3 years. He got deployed weeks before the duedate of my youngest daughter…so I gave birth alone. From there on out, I was in a severe downward spiral. I was psychosomatic, manic, highly irritable, and was caring for 2 little babies, one of which was going through testing for Autism. I felt like I was dying daily. When he returned home, I expected everything to fall into place and it didn’t. Then he took a voluntary deployment to Iraq… I cracked. I returned home, jumped into a relationship with someone I thought I knew, and under my nose… he abused my son. Thank God it only last 3 months but I had the breakdown of my life. I had ruined my life once again… this FORCED me into therapy and I knew then that I had to accept my diagnosis or I would die. And this time, my family believed it too.
        Sadly… though I destroyed my marriage, I wanted to try to make it work… but I had destroyed it too much. I battle that daily though I am in a new relationship.
        Sorry so long! LOL… just wanted to give you the background of my illness… 🙂

        • That certainly is a wild ride. But, I don’t think you destroyed your marriage. I hear a lot of talk in the bipolar community about how relationships are next to impossible. While I agree that they are difficult, it’s not completely out of reach.

          I have been in a number of relationships where I was basically told were ruined by my behavior. It made me feel like a horrible, defective person. I’ve been in relationships where the men pretty much exploited my unknown disorder. And just when I thought that I was the most vile, unacceptably flawed person in the world, my husband stepped in. He wasn’t my husband at the time. He was my best friend.

          He helped me out of the trench, but after that, it was up to me to learn how to stand and walk again.

          Despite any blows we’ve traded, I know that he loves me, bipolar and all. He doesn’t tolerate it – he loves it just the same. It is a part of what makes me the woman he loves. And that’s the point. I’ve always encouraged people to be up front about their disorder and allow their significant other to gradually see the worst of it. Real love is loving even the things that frustrate, annoy, and anger someone about their partner.

  4. I have yet to put up the official post (life is a bit hectic here lost power twice in the last three days for significant periods of time – no power= no heat and it is cold here) but I do hope to get to it soon and I am a part of this – I was a part of it before I even knew of it.
    I’m so tremendously happy it has spread and taken as well as it has.
    Congrats!
    Creativity From Chaos

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  7. Hi there,
    I just wanted to let you know that I think this is such a fantastic idea. I’d also love to participate, if that’s still possible. I am the creator/ a contributor of the blog http://endingthestigma.wordpress.com. We’re a collaborative mental health awareness blog (although it’s mostly just been my own ramblings lately).
    My only concern is that I don’t have 5 people to pledge. I’m afraid I’ve been very isolated in the community, and don’t know too many people…
    Anyway. I’d still love to take part!

    • Absolutely! I’ll make sure to subscribe! A group of mental health bloggers run A Canvas of the Minds that is also a collaborative effort to connect mental health bloggers, and promote dialogue and awareness. We’ve been a little slow too. It’s been tough time for many of our bloggers.

      Don’t worry about pledging anyone. If you know anyone who would like to participate, just link them back here. My only wish is for mental health bloggers to wear this badge of distinction proudly. We can become united through this badge, and grow a collective voice to rock the world!

  8. I’d like to get involved, but not sure how. Without net at home,I am flood posting and checking email sporadically, but if you email me letting me know how to display the badge and all…I’d like to be included.

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