Double murder in Rochester Minnesota

I cannot actually get my head around the event of the double murder that happened over this past weekend.  It was in friend’s building that the murders took place.  I knew the two guys personally not very well but some of my friends were good friends with the victims.  I cried over it yesterday and saw my therapist.  I was hearing my voices and had a bad nightmare yesterday.  I had to process the whole thing.  They got stabbed in the back and chest.  It is so sad.  The perpetrator was a middle age guy with schizophrenia and he stopped taking his medications.  He was paranoid and the two victims bullied him.  They all were drinking alcohol and the assailant cracked and now has 2 counts of second degree murder and he is going to prison for the rest of his life or a mental institution if he pleads insane.

This is a shock to the whole community.  It is sad and scary at the same time.  Most mentally ill people are not violent but the ones that are get media attention and the general public stereotypes all people in one lump.  It is not fair to the people who take their medication and are doing well.  I just will go about my business and continue on.

My trip to state capital

My trip to the state capital was a success.  First we heard about the issues that the committees and legislators were working on passing into state law.  The ones I am interested in is transitional housing and civil commitment.  I have come to believe these are pressing issues to getting help when you need it the most and to also avoid homelessness.

Then, we rallied in the atrium and got loud.  We need to be heard from around the state and we did it.  But we also need to email, write, or call our legislators and senators during the year.  Being an advocate is not one day a year it is everyday.

My group of four people we got to talk to Tina Leibling.  And each of us got to cover one issue that we felt we needed to bring up.  Suicide, Medicaid, transitional housing, and gun violence.  And she addressed all these issues was very personable.  She represents parts of Rochester, MN.  And so mental health is such a pressing issue now.  Legislators and senators can make a difference in the way we handle the mental health crisis happening here in the United States.

We need our voice heard every single day.  If a situation arises during the day and you feel like you need to speak up do so.  This will educate, dispel stigma and you will be an advocate for mental health.  So please do stand up and make yourself heard.

Minnesota State Capital

Tomorrow I make a bus trip up to the state capital to rally for mental health.  I have never done this before.  It should be interesting to talk to legislators.  And what the people want.  Better access to mental health services and to have transitional services available when a person gets released from the hospital.  Also have insurance companies cover mental health just like any other illness.

Most people don’t get help because of the stigma of mental illnesses.  Especially the major ones like bipolar and schizophrenia.  And I have both.  Lucky me.  However, it is a life long passion to tear down stigma.  I am talking to a college nursing class today about my personal story.  It will be emotional but it helps out NAMI and to dispel the myth that you can’t live a normal life with schizoaffective disorder.

I am going to also tell my personal story to legislators and make them aware of healthy individuals on medication and actively using DBT skills daily.  It can work we just need to start focusing on how to get young people help and quickly.  Not months out to see a psych doctor to prescribe medications.  Suicide is also an issue that I want to bring up and that we need to educate young people to ask for help from an adult.

Well, I will tell you all about my trip tomorrow.

Changing of the Seasons

Changing of the seasons affect everyone especially those with schizoaffective and bipolar disorder.  You come out of the winter into Spring and feel the depression lifting and you return to normal.  Yet you have to be careful not to go into mania.  It is hard to not get too excited for Spring but the longer days mean sleeping less.  And to be outside and exercise helps lift our mood too.

I usually still try to keep sleeping at least 6 hours a night and to read or do something relaxing before going to sleep.  I don’t eat and exercise 3 hours before bed because I will be up longer.  I have not be manic in a a long time but that does not mean that I am immuned to it.

I also keep a journal and it helps me see my mood patterns weekly. And I also see my psych doctor monthly.  This helps me keep my moods in check. I have been doing this for years.  It is a habit and I know if I start getting depressed or have mania.  I know that it is just weeks before I see my doctor again.

So go out and enjoy the sunshine it is the awaking of mother earth.  Everything is new and fresh enjoy it.

Mental Illness and Gun Violence

What is happening in the world now it is sad and something has to be done about it.  First I think that if you regulate guns and who can buy them won’t work because if someone really wants to buy a gun they will find a way to get one.  I think that we need to start with getting these people help and to commit them to a psychiatric hospital.  And get a diagnosis and then come up with a plan to help them whether it is medication or therapy or support groups.  You have to start treating the problem and if they are delusional then there needs to be ways to get them help even if they don’t want help.  This is very serious the ones who need the most help are the ones most resistant.  Especially if they are not grounded in reality.

My parents have personal experience with this problem.  It was me that needed help and since I was an adult I had a choice whether I needed to be in the hospital or not and my parents knew that I was in trouble.  However, they could not do anything because the law is that the person can make his or her own decisions even when they don’t know they need help.  I was so paranoid and thought people were after me and I would not come out of my room.  I was going to defend myself if someone tried to hurt me but I did not buy a gun.  Yet, I know people do because they are just defending themselves or they feel wronged by their peers.

In this culture growing up with video games and becoming desensitized by it.  Teenagers and young adults don’t really think about the consequences of their actions in a way people do when they reach 25.  The brain is still changing and maturing before this.  Maybe we need to change the laws about having friends and family members being able to help these people at such a critical age.  Most mental illnesses start around this time too so we need to be aware of this and get them help right away.  Not waiting until it is too late.

Warning signs of Psychosis

What are the warning signs of Psychosis?  Well first let me explain what psychosis is.  It is when you lose touch with reality and become entangled up in your own delusions and hallucinations.  First a delusion is a set of false beliefs. For example the CIA bugged your house, or that you are god and have to save the planet.  These are the most common false beliefs.  And hallucinations are things that are not really there.  Yet, you see it yourself.

And this is being in psychosis.  The main warning sign is that your family and friends tell you it is all in your mind and that you need help.  You will actively deny it and think it is real. See you will not be able to reason.  You have lost touch of reality.

See when I was psychotic I was very paranoid and thought everyone was against me and that I had to save humanity because I was Jesus Christ.  I actually really believed it.  I saw connections everywhere.  I went to the gas station once and read the sign on the pump where you get gas and thought it was a sign for God. Your mind plays tricks on you and you are either really smart or crazy.

I think there is a fine line between being really smart and being crazy.  In the movie “Beautiful Mind” the main character John Nash creates this idea that revolutionizes economics.  I believe you are the most creative when you are on the verge of being psychotic.  I wrote this story for my creative writing class in college and everybody loved it.  In the next few weeks I was actively not living in reality.

So, just remember that if you are not grounded in reality that your friends and family please get them the help they need.  They will not agree with you and reason is out of the question so get them help.

 

 

DBT

DBT is dialectical behavior therapy.  It helps anyone in life especially with a mental illness.  I have been through the class 3 times.  In a nutshell it is the merge between Eastern and Western culture.  Mindfulness is the center of theme throughout the course creator and teacher Marsha Linahan.  It is very practical and easy to learn.

Now, we are coming into the age where the Eastern thought is becoming new age Western thought.  I use mindfulness in my daily life.  I try to let things roll off my back, sometimes I get upset with my neighbors on my floor and realize they probably are having a bad day and not to take it personally.  Not letting my emotions get to me and use more of my rational mind.  I am more of a feeling person so using my rational mind is good.  I don’t let things upset me so much as I did before DBT.  I know not everybody is going to like me or I can’t please everybody.  So, the most important thing is to do what you want and that you come first.  Meaning taking time out for yourself and getting to know yourself.

You can be your own worst self critic and you just have to let things be.  Try not to be judgemental of yourself and others.  It can hurt yourself and others and you can ruminate about the situation or thought itself.  Just try to live in the moment enjoy life.