Recommended Reads

AT THE risk of starting an epic inter-columnist war to be fought across space and time, continued across the ages and settled via an intergalactic senate; what the actual f**k was Mark Latham on about in his most recent offering for the Australian Financial Review?

His column entitled “Give us back our anxiety” tells the story of how he went to see the Academy Award winning film Birdman with his wife. The movie was not to Mark’s liking — in fact he hated it. He hated it so much that as an alternative to watching the critically acclaimed film he chose to watch his wife sleep next to him (presumably Mrs Latham wasn’t a Michael Keaton fan either)

Have you been affected by mental illness in Australia? Are you satisfied with the care you’ve received? What should the government focus on to improve the quality of mental health care? Please send up to 200 words to cif.australia@theguardian.com

  • Why You Should Never Ask Why

    “Often when I tell a friend or relative that I am feeling depressed, anxious or hypomanic, their first question is, “Why?“. While I am aware that this question usually comes from a place of concern, and a want to fix the situation, “Why?” is possibly the most unhelpful question you can ask someone with a mental illness. And there are several reasons for this.”

  • Normal is a Feeling Straight from the Heart

“Feeling normal is my breath of fresh air and is enough to make me happy with my life. My heart feels good. It radiates out of the chest and into every limb. I cannot feel the heartbeats because they are also calm.”

Firstly, this note from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Suicide is a major social and public health issue. While such deaths can occur for many reasons, and many complex factors might influence a person’s decision to suicide, these preventable deaths point to individuals who may be less connected to support networks.  For instance, they may be less inclined to seek help or may be less intimately connected to people who might otherwise be aware of problems or step in to assist”

It isn’t easy to open the self up and come out of the closet. However, I have recently been compelled to do that. For a reason I can’t quite identify, I have come to terms with the fact that I can no longer be ashamed of something I have dealt with and hidden for many years.

Working whilst learning to cope with your Mental Health is hard.

I don’t think enough credit is given to those who have found that balance between their work life and Mental Health. It’s inspiring. I also think those companies that are supportive of their employees should be an example to those that struggle to do just that.

Today has been a horrible day. I am crashing from the mania. In an effort to keep myself from dwelling on the ever latent suicidal thoughts, I am looking through my endless collection of different photographs.

Everyone has their own favourite strategies to help with mental wellness.  Maybe it’s going for a walk, caring for a pet, having a coffee with a friend, doing some exercise or reading a book.

One of the most encouraging things I’ve been told is:

“Don’t let your diagnosis define you.”

I’ve always tried to be as truthful and real with my readers as I can be. This is a time when I probably should be the most truthful as I’ve ever been.

Stigma – a mark of disgrace associated with a particular quality or person “the stigma of mental disorder” synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor, humiliation

There’s a few types of stigma and both of them suck pretty bad

My dad left when I was five I didn’t understand it. What five-year-old does, right

TRIGGER WARNING

By now I’m sure most of you have heard the ridiculous statements made on air by the ignorant Tom Sullivan of Fox News Radio. I mean yes it is Fox News, but come on, this is a new low even for them.

A report by the Social Security Administration (SSA) found that “one in three, or 35.2 percent of people getting federal disability insurance benefits have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.” The SSA reported that “disabled beneficiaries have increased 49.7 percent over the past decade” and the “largest ‘diagnostic group’ for disabled beneficiaries was a mental disorder.’ Moreover, not only are the majority of people who are receiving disability benefits suffering from some form of mental illness they are largely diagnosed with a mood disorder.

“One day,” says Gabe Howard of Columbus, Ohio, “the world is bright and awesome and the next day the reality of mental illness washes over everything.”

Dear Mr. Sullivan, You recently said on live radio that Bipolar Disorder is a fad. Please allow me to address your inaccurate description.

Since pop culture treats these BPD sufferers (and no, they’re not all women) as a walking Worst Case Scenario, we thought we’d sit down with one and see what it’s like to live with it.

The other day I went to visit my old boss, as he was closing the restaurant for a few months and I wanted to see him before he did (plus the food is amazing). We engaged in some small talk and chit-chat and then I mentioned that I have seen a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m very (sometimes too) open with my diagnoses, so this isn’t out of the ordinary.

What also isn’t out of the ordinary was his response. He told me I’m fine, that everyone is Bipolar and anxious and that I’m not truly “crazy” (my word, not his — I have taken ownership of it, but that’s another post). He said I’m “normal”.

Well, here’s something to chew on — I’m not normal.

A few weeks back, I was featured on Psychology Today by the wonderful CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, Sarah Fader. She asked me to write the story about how I was being mistreated by a doctor of psychiatry in Southern California. The office had refused to see me after not having been to the office in several years, and had proceeded to deny me my medical records, which is against the law. After much negotiation, they finally agreed to provide a letter which outlined my diagnosis.

For the past four years, I really didn’t think it was possible to take control of my illness and to be quite frank, I still don’t think there will ever come a time when I will have complete control over it.

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