Raising Awareness of Mental Health

Tonight I tell my story of my mental illness and how I cope with it. Raising Awareness in the community is important. Many times people don’t know where or who to turn to when first diagnosed. I never knew anything about mental health when I was first sick. But that was 20 years ago.

Now I talk formally and informally with people. The more people know the better society will become. It affects 1 in 5 people. I have many friends that have a family member with mental illness. Or they themselves are sick. Mental illness is common so let’s be frank and open about it. Let’s inform people the more the better.

When sick the paranoia is the worst part…

The mood swings, voices and paranoia can all be symptoms of schizo affective disorder.

When I am really sick I have such debilitating paranoia that I close all the shades and stay in the house all the time. I have such anxiety about all the strangers. And even about people I know and love.

I feel the worst when I accuse my close friends and family about something made up in my mind that’s not true. It is hardest on them. They know it is not the real me.

Period and mood swings How to know the difference.

How does a person know if mood swings is just having a period or if it is the beginning an episode. The irritability of a period can last for about a week before or on a period. Irristability may be a sign of depression or mania. If it lasts more then a two weeks it might be a mood swing of bipolar or schizo-affective disorder.

Irritability is a hard one because it can be a symptom of all three. To be able to make a decision is the longevity of it and what other symptoms it co exists with. Depression it has sadness. And mania it has increase energy less need for sleep.

Concussion and mental symptoms

I was riding my bicycle and fell off. I went to the ER and found out I have a concussion. My mental illness has been more pronounced too.

I have heard screaming voices and real sensitive to light and noise. Have a migraine, it has not been fun at all. I feel so guilty for not working my weekend.

Now this is the 2 concussion I have had in the last year. So I have to be careful. Now my eyes hurt from looking at screen for too long. Have to go.

Setting goals and achieving them.

Setting goals in life is essential for motivating us to be the best we can be. It is harder to achieve when you have a mental disorder like schizo-affective.

So you start small and take your time achieving your goals. I remember almost nine years ago. I just got divorced and moved back in with my parents. Well my goal was to live on my own in an apartment. But first I made smaller goals for myself like becoming my own person again, or just getting up for the day. I suffered from depression during this time and loss my job because I was too tired at work. So it took me until 2013 to get out on my own again. I still live in the same place. Beginning of January 2013. I live on ssdi so I have income even without a job. However I got a job in October 2013 and still have the job.

I am proud of myself that I have maintained my goals and strive toward new goals.

You can achieve your goals no matter how big or small they may be. Start setting your own goals…

Leaving on a trip or vacation.

I just got back from a vacation. I had many things to prepare for what clothes to bring, food, how much money to bring, my medications, my music…

You mentally have to prepare yourself for a trip because something can go wrong that you don’t plan for. So you have to be flexible in your thinking. Just being on the trip itself can be nerve racking. Because you are not on your routine.

So allow for extra time. Take breaks from people, take a nap, listen to music, or just relax.

When you get back make appointments to see your therapist, psych doctor, and anyone else that you feel you need. Your support system. They might adjust your meds. Or you might talk about what is hard to get back into the swing of things. Like work…