Monday, September 1, 2014

Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read Kickoff!



Hey everyone. September has come and the first week of the annual Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness Theme Read has begun!

As I've said repeatedly during my "plug-my-own-event" campaign, it is very important for people to be open and supportive about mental illness and suicidal ideation. Some people have absolutely no empathy for suicide - they feel that if someone wants to die, let them die. What these people fail to see is that suicidal people are ill. Their perception of reality is often distorted, and they honestly feel that death is the only way out. They need to be reminded of why life is wonderful. They need (and want!) help. Suicide is a tragedy - not only for the individual, but for all the friends and family. 

Stigma pollutes our culture, discouraging people who need help from speaking out - it's the people who talk who end up healing. We need more healthy people in the world, and suicide and mental illness advocacy is one way to promote this goal. 

To participate, all you need to do is post about something related to suicide and / or mental illness. This can be a book you've read, a movie you've watched, or just some random thoughts you want to share. You can share publicly on FB or Goodreads etc if you don't have a blog. So anyone can participate. 

Here is a list of movies and book suggestions that I posted a few weeks ago: 

Popular Mental Illness books (Goodreads list) - Several of the books on this list I have already read or are on my TBR mountain.

11 of the most Realistic Portrayals of Mental Illness in Novels - This is a pretty interesting article with some good suggestions. And don't miss the embedded list of 20 Greatest Memoirs of Mental Illness

Mental Illness in Fiction (Wikipedia) - This interesting list includes some much older books as well as some unexpected inclusions (LOTR? - Ok, yeah, I guess Golem was mentally ill, but...it DOES make kind of a fun list, though. And you can feel free to be )

Contemporary YA books featuring mental illness - What is a list of books without YA these days? ;)

NAMI Blog: The Top 10 Movies about Mental Illness - This is a really good list (should be, coming from NAMI). I've seen 6 of them. :)

10 Gripping Films about Mental Illness - This list seems pretty good, as well. 

10 Best Portrayals of Mental Illness in Modern Movies - This list, I suspect, is more about the acting than about psychology. From I totally agree with the assessment of great acting on this list!





Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I'd switch places with Emma


This week's Feature and Follow Hop, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, asks us to write about characters we'd like to trade places with. This was a really hard question for me, because the books I love the most tend to be about people that have problems galore. Hermione Granger? No thank-you. Don't want to battle Voldemort. I have my own demons to battle.

After a while, I realized the character I'd most like to switch places with is Emma from Jane Austen's novel of that name. Reason? Clearly I'd be better at handling Emma's problems than Emma. ;) Of course, I also have 15 years on her...and maybe if I grew up all spoiled and rich I would be just as stubborn as Emma. Emma is so sensible but misapplies her sense so gratuitously - and Mr. Knightly loves her anyway - that's what makes me want to change places with Emma. Although this isn't my favorite Austen novel, and Mr. Knightly isn't quite as romantic as Colonel Brandon (from Sense and Sensibility), Emma is my pick. :) You can see my review of Emma here

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile

Coming next week at Resistance is Futile
Anybody who's been reading my blog for a while will know that I have an upcoming event to raise awareness and personal education about suicide and mental illness. The stigma for these two issues is very high in our culture, and that means that many people who are feeling suicidal have no one to talk to about their problems. Many people who kill themselves could have been saved if only our culture didn't frown upon expressing so-called weaknesses. Many people who could have been treated for mental illness before cascading to rock bottom are left floundering with no one to talk to. Educate yourself and others about mental illness and suicide in order to fight this dangerous stigma!

My upcoming event is one small way to educate yourself. You can read a book or watch a film / show that educates you on mental illness. Mention it on your blog / goodreads / other place, and provide the link to the review in my comments section. I'll collect them all and make a tab of this year's selections, so that you can see what everyone else has been reading. :)


Destined for Doon, by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon will be released on September 2nd, and I'll be hosting a giveaway of this sweet little teen romance. My review and author spotlight goes up on September 2nd. 

The last two weeks on Resistance is Futile

Watched this movie with my nephew and my friend for her birthday.
This movie was surprisingly fantastic. I hadn't expected them to be able to keep so close to the story of the book and yet have it adapt to screen so well. I am SO happy that I went to it. Even my 10-year-old nephew loved it, though it seems to be aimed at a slightly older audience. 

I volunteered 28 hours at the crisis hotline

Had an orientation for my new job :)

I read the August 8 issue of New Scientist. I was most struck by the article about the "big beasts" - bears, lynx, and wolves - returning to Europe. It included a sweet story about one collared wolf that walked from the Balkans in Eastern Europe, over alps 6 meters deep in snow, to Italy. The story actually brought a little tear to my eye, so I must have been in an emotional state of mind. The article also discussed the social / environmental implications of the large animals returning to Europe. 

As mentioned in my post yesterday about fears and vulnerability, I was at the hospital for a good chunk of the last week. But hopefully I'm doing better now!

While I was in the hospital, my wonderful BFF gave me two books. One of them was this adorable and hilarious Japanimation  comic. It gave me (and a few of the other patients) some needed laughs. :) 
While locked up I also enjoyed a game of cribbage with a couple fellow detainees (er...patients). 
They also taught me how to play Rummy.
And we watched the Vikings berserk the Chiefs for a 30 to 12 score. 


Upon sweet release, I celebrated by taking my nephew to see Guardians of the Galaxy - yes, I wanted to see baby Groot dance on the big screen again. :) I can do that over and over! We are Groot! My nephew, sadly, claimed that he liked Ninja Turtles better. :(

I also celebrated by having my FIRST pumpkin spice latte of the season! Yum!
And yesterday, I got flowers for the first time in over a decade.
That makes the hospital stay worth it, right? ;)
I FINALLY got to play the game Pandemic for the fist time, thanks to someone I met in the hospital. So perhaps that made the hospital stay worthwhile as well. :)


Newly Acquired


Bought this at Goodwill. It will go well with my mental illness theme the next couple of months, though I don't know if I'll have time to read it, since I have so much else going on. *sigh*

This book was also given to me by my BFF while I was in the hospital.

Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
 
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Daily Deal sale at Audible
Audiobook from the library. Thought it would fit in really nicely with my mental illness theme. Since I had to return A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar before finishing it, I'll read this for now. 





Friday, August 29, 2014

Vulnerability - My deepest fear



As usual this week I am combining my Life of a Blogger (by Novel Heartbeat) post with my Friendship Friday (by Create with Joy).  This week's topic is fears. 

Some fears are easy to discuss, and some are harder to discuss. It depends a lot on what your fears are. For instance, I have a fear of making myself vulnerable. So stating my fears actually goes against one of my deepest fears. However, I've been working on this specific fear, so this post will be a good opportunity to test out my new mad skilz at being vulnerable.

The Scream
Artist: Edvard Munch
(who theoretically had bipolar)

One of the things that has been making me feel vulnerable lately is my recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this diagnosis, it used to be called manic-depressive disorder. I'm diagnosed with type 2, which means I've only been "hypomanic" and not "fully manic." Hypomania increased my irritability, irrationality, and impulsivity while (on a happier note) making me feel that I couldn't be wrong, that I had the ability to climb the highest mountains and take on the world. I lost several people I considered friends during that period. And that still makes me feel abandoned and vulnerable. (Though, I have to admit, the online community is SO amazingly supportive, and I'm very thankful for you guys. You're all rockstars!)



With the spirit of fighting my fears, I will admit that the reason my blog has been a bit quiet last week is because I was in the psych ward of the hospital. (My doctor was unfortunately not as handsome as the one above.) I was really angry at my psychiatric NP for putting me there, because I didn't feel that I was in crisis at that time. But now that I'm out, I realize that he was trying to make sure I was stabilized and ready for my new job, which starts on the 2nd of September. He was being forward thinking, and I was very unappreciative. I guess I'll have to thank him later.



I hadn't originally planned on writing about my mental illness on this post - nor had I planned to mention that I'd been hospitalized in my upcoming weekly update. But when I was searching stock photos for a nice illustration of fear, I found the one above. It seemed fitting, somehow. Before I can change (and therefore master my new job), I need to admit to myself that I actually am in crisis. And to admit that, I need to make myself vulnerable. 


The picture I wanted to choose for this post is the one above - with the spooky religious images. I'd already been having a bit of a faith crisis before I was diagnosed with bipolar, but the diagnosis put my faith into a tailspin. What if...I thought...what if all this time that I thought I was being inspired or called by God, all those feelings of "rightness" and euphoria were just figments of a hypomanic mind? That is the most terrifying feeling I've ever experienced. The foundation of my faith was no longer stable. I'd say on the Richter scale this faithquake was about a 6.5. Most of my faith is still there, but I'm walking around all wobbly. There were a lot of things I felt that God had called me to do - writing is among them. I started writing this blog because I felt that God wanted me to write, and a blog would be a good place to practice both writing and marketing. Now I wonder...what do I blog for? If I give up on my faith, do I stop blogging?



Anyway, putting my vulnerability and faith aside, my own diagnosis of mental illness is a fantastic segue to plug my upcoming Suicide and Mental Illness Theme Read. Don't forget to stop by my blog in September and October to see what people are reading and watching for this event. I'll also be having a couple of giveaways. You're welcome to jump in and participate at any point in time...all you need to do is read or watch something that educates you on suicide or mental illness. It can even be something that's an accurate portrayal of mental illness - just tell us why you think it's not. :) I have a list of suggestions for both books and movies.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Facing my demons - 23

My friends.
The one
my strength.
The other
imperfect other
who loves me
in my imperfection.
They have not left me behind
with Procrastination.
Despite my doubt, 
they have dragged me
under the Gate
to Fear.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Facing my demons - 22

My skin tears
breaks
separates from my flesh.
The left side of my face
my palms
gone. 
I know this
though I can't see.
But I am too cold to bleed.
Blood freezes in ruptured capillaries.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Facing my demons - 21

Face
Hands 
Frozen to the ice
cemented by filth
I pull
My skin is weaker
than my stubbornness.