Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mental Health vs. Mental Illness

Photo Credit: NAMI

Tomorrow begins Mental Health Awareness Month. I like that...the mental health part of that. Yes, we should focus on mental health. So much is said about the mentally ill and mental illness and we forget this other side, that there is hope and health waiting for us all somewhere along the road. Whenever I talk about mental illness it feels kind of dirty to me. It's like dunking something in mud and pulling it out and letting the gunk drip off of it; that gunk, in this case, being the illness. Why can't we talk about mental health?

-Medications that work
-Therapy that changes lives
-Caregivers and the work they do to help keep their loved one healthy and happy
-Advocacy for those that have a certain illness
-Sharing our stories so that others can find some hope

I could keep going listing things that are in line with mental health.  That is what May is about and that is what I am going to work on bringing to light as the month goes on. I am a bit behind the eight ball as far as planning what I am going to do but I promise to make a real effort so that you all have something to share to your timelines during this very important month.

Even more exciting for me is that towards the end of the month there will be a Schizophrenia Awareness Week.

This is my week to shine. My week in that I get to do a lot of things to try to change the perception of schizophrenia and to educate people on just what schizophrenia is. It has passed through my awareness in the last couple of days about the James Holmes trial. For those of you not familiar with it, this man came in and opened fire on a full movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July of 2012. The media, of course, is now reporting, almost with zeal, that James was in fact a man with schizophrenia. Oh yes, let's be sure to get that fact out there. I don't know why it angers me necessarily but I guess it comes back to why I started this blog and what it is I write about and post articles about. Schizophrenia is not all of those violent acts we hear and read about. If anyone with any power in the media would take some time to do some reporting on someone like Thomas or one of your loved ones who is just simply trying to get through the day, then the world would see that it isn't all about bullets, tear gas, blood, carnage and terror. So, I remain on my mission to educate the public about schizophrenia and during that very special week of schizophrenia awareness, you can bet I'm going to fire my cannons fast and loud. I will not let this go. I never will. The world needs to know the truth and that is my one-woman mission.

On another front, Thomas is working on his next blog post. He's come up with a new title for his blog and he's calling it Tom's Corner. Doing this will make it so that his post doesn't have to be on a specific day. We are also working on trying to figure out what to write about. The other day he had his headphones on and he was typing furiously something about a riot. I asked him what he was doing exactly and he said he was listening to a song with a title something about a revolution and he was writing a story to go with the song. Never have I seen him type so fast and furiously. It gave me an idea, though, for his blog. I told him he needs to find a song that touches him and to write a post about himself and that song. I saw so much passion in what he was doing and I'm thinking he could parlay that skill of matching a song with a story into something good for the blog. He did show me some of his other works using music and story telling and I read through them but I felt they were........

......perhaps too violent, too polarizing......

.....too delusional.

I complimented him on the work he had done and how well he had matched the songs with the stories but I wasn't sure those types of things belong here on the blog. I'm hoping that what he does come up with eventually is more a showcase of his heart as opposed to his head which is clearly still fighting delusional thinking. I can't say for sure he'll do the song/blog thing so we'll see where he finally ends up.

Now, just a reminder, as far as commenting on this website, when you go to comment there is a drop down box that gives you choices of how you want to be known as the author of the comment and "anonymous" is one of the choices so feel free to use that resource to comment. I know some of you are still fighting with this but I've looked things over and can't figure out why exactly there is a problem other than that you need to choose "anonymous" from that drop down box. As always, however, you can comment under the post of this blog on Facebook. I'll see it in both places. Oh yeah, also, if you comment here on the website and don't see it, it's because I have to moderate the comments and manually post them. That always takes a day or so.

I do hope to continue to hear from you all how ever you choose to comment. It makes me feel less alone behind this computer screen.


  1. I heard that some people think that Holmes can't really be mentally ill because he smiles and laughs too much. Uh, my son does, too, because he is reacting to internal stimuli! That's actually how we know he is not doing well right now - his meds needs to be adjusted. I sure look at mass murderers differently now, with more compassion. I don't think my son is capable of violence, but I can sure understand why it happens. I don't think a killer should be let go, but maybe he should be in a hospital rather than a prison.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      It's so easy for people to judge based on appearance but they have no idea what is going on inside of a person. You are so right. I, too, look at mass murders and other crimes perpetrated by someone with a mental illness much differently now. There must be a better way to handle their punishment and I agree with you, hospitalization is a better option. With proper care, the person that did that crime could be completely different than the one who is well treated with meds and therapy and a supportive, protective environment.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think that the work you do around awareness and breaking down stigma is fantastic.. you humanize your lovely son so that everyone can see the beautiful person he is. Schizophrenia comes with such shaming and damning connotations and I am also on a mission to end stigma. I think if we fight together we are stronger for it.... kudos to you and how strong and patient you are. Your son is lucky to have you!!!!

    1. Dear Kasia,

      Thank you so much for what you said. I work very hard to change the perception of schizophrenia as it stands right now. I am happy to know that you are in the fight against stigma too. The more the merrier!!

      My son may be lucky to have me but I am even more lucky to have him. He has taught me so much because of the person he is and I am better for having been his mom.


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