It’s OK Not to Be OK

One of the more positive aspects of our society today is the message of being strong in the face of adversity. We share a worldwide idea that no matter what happens, you can be strong and come out more fearless in the face of tragedies/struggles in your life. While this is an incredibly encouraging state of mind that I do support to an extent, I’m afraid it, in many cases, does more harm than good with regard to our mental health.

This idea – this mindset – is so widespread, well-known, and automatic to us that it truly causes people who may have reached out for help in desperate times to stay quiet, because they’re expected to stay strong. A lot of mental health issues have been overlooked or ignored for this reason.

Broken hearted woman is crying,silhouette,Valentines day conceptThis is why I’m writing today. I want to tell you – whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever has happened in your life- it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to ask for help when you need it. It doesn’t make you weak or broken to reach out.

As a matter of fact, it’s completely normal not to feel OK or to feel broken. It’s human nature. It’s your mind and body telling you there’s only so much you can withstand before you need to release it.

I’ve been blessed to meet many people, both online and in person, who have shared their experiences with me on the topic of mental health. One story shared by a friend last night really resonated with me, as I’ve recently gone through something similar. This is her story, names withheld for privacy reasons:

My teenage daughter has been experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts. She wrote me a note on March 7, 2018, asking for help. She’d been hiding her depression and anxiety from us for about a year. Since she told us, we have been active and trying to find her the help she needs. Medications are not a fun experiment during this hormonal phase of her life, but we fight the fight.

Fortunately for her, she doesn’t have to fight alone. 

Reading this made me realize a couple of different things. One, I commended my friend’s parenting because her daughter felt safe enough to be open about what she was struggling with. Now they can make sure she gets the help she needs, and she has the full support of her family behind her. Because of the way this friend handled her daughter being open with her, she will feel comfortable doing that in the future if she needs to.

Another heartbreaking aspect, though, is one of the things that really prompted this post. She had been struggling for a year before feeling able to ask for help. I struggled for 8 years before feeling comfortable enough to be vocal about my struggles with depression and anxiety before asking for help. In both of our cases, once we were vocal and brave enough to be honest, our worlds were opened up to an entirely new way to deal with these mental health issues, and while there is still an element of self-guilt (we should know how to handle this ourselves without asking for help), our families have consistently let us know it’s ok to talk about this.

That being said, I want to take a minute to say it’s definitely normal to want to hold feelings in. In some situations, it’s healthy too. Hold it in if you need to. Have that alone time. Listen to music that makes you feel better. Draw, paint, sing, play hashtag games on Twitter – whatever you normally use to cope. But when it all starts feeling like too much, like you’re caught in a riptide and hit the surface for even one breath – when it feels too heavy to even move – find the strength within to say something. It’s there – believe me.

Even if your saying something is like my friend’s daughter above, who wrote her parents a note explaining what she was feeling. However you’re able to reach out and talk to that trusted someone, I can guarantee you it’s worth it. There is no wrong way to ask someone for help or support.

What I want to resonate with you today are these things.

Honor your limitations.
Instead of adopting the mindset that no matter what happens or what we feel, we always have to have this unwavering strength to save face, let’s change the way you think about it: If you’re able to be honest about how you feel and what you’re struggling with, you’re much more strong than someone trying to hold everything in always to appear strong. The problem with trying to appear strong to everyone else by holding everything in is that we’re all human, and eventually, we will break. Someone I met recently online said it best: honor your limitations.

Be stronger together.
Being truly strong starts with honesty. Honesty with yourself, and honesty with the people you trust and/or a mental health professional. In my experience, it’s usually easier to find someone you trust to talk with first. If you need someone to talk to or don’t know where to start, please contact me. I’m here for you.

Lift each other up.
I’m very familiar with the use of satire, sarcasm, and cynicism we use daily in real life and on social media. It is a fun and quirky way to express your feelings and gain likes/comments/RTs/followers, but this is not the tone we want to use when talking with those we care about.

For no reason today, or without looking for anything in return, say something genuinely kind to someone you care about. Say something kind to a stranger. Lift them up for no reason. In a world filled with communication at the tap of a screen, you’d be amazed how many people crave that kind of personal interaction with others and/or people who feel like they’re fighting the fight alone.

Offer support where it’s needed.
If someone you know comes to you looking for support, listen with purpose. Offer them your support and if you’re not able to help them, look into getting help together. If you know someone who needs help but doesn’t know where to start, or you don’t know how to help them, contact me. I’ll help point you in the right direction.

Check in with a friend just because.
All of us have a friend or two (or more) we know struggles or has seemed off lately. Reach out to them today just to see if everything’s ok. It could be a call, a text, a PM/DM, an email… Just be sincere. Let them know you’re here for them if they ever need to talk and that they’re not alone. You’d be amazed what difference a message/call like that will make in a person’s life.

Instead of giving off this bogus facade that we’re always strong, happy, healthy, funny, and otherwise always OK, let’s honor our limitations – honor ourselves. And let’s show this world what we’re really made of. We are stronger together.

Beyond the Media: PTSD in Survivors of Mass Shootings

In the wake of all of the seemingly endless and horrific shootings that have occurred lately in the world, I wanted to start by talking about PTSD in survivors of mass shootings. The National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) defines it as a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

PTSD can be very debilitating to live with, and any victim of trauma can be affected by it. PTSD contrasts other disorders because it is strictly trauma-based. War veterans and victims of sexual assault are very likely to experience PTSD symptoms; however, the lesser talked about demographic (once the media quiets down) is survivors of mass shootings. Let’s talk about the basics of PTSD for a minute.

Symptoms of PTSD aren’t necessarily consistent and will vary per person. Some people experience symptoms directly after the event/experience, some have symptoms that come and go, and some have symptoms that don’t present themselves for months or even years after the trauma. The four main symptoms of PTSD are as follows:

Reliving the event
Memories of a traumatic event can present themselves at any time, with or without warning. Some symptoms associated with this include nightmares, flashbacks (feeling like you’re going through the event again), and triggers like certain sounds, sights, and smells (i.e. a car backfiring, news reports).

Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
You may avoid people or situations that remind you of the event, even sometimes going as far as to try not to think or talk about it.

Negative changes in beliefs and feelings
The way you think about yourself and others may change as a result of the trauma. For example, this may cause you to:

  • Not have positive or loving feelings toward people
  • Avoid relationships
  • Forget parts of or all of the event
  • Have extreme trust issues, like thinking no one is to be trusted

Feeling keyed up (also known as hyperarousal)
You may feel jittery, on edge, always alert and/or on the lookout for danger. This may cause you to be easily startled, have trouble sleeping, have trouble concentrating, or always want your back facing a wall when in a public place.

If you are experiencing these symptoms for 4 weeks or more, find they’re disrupting your work and personal life, or cause you great distress, you may have PTSD. It is possible to get professional help to manage/deal with the symptoms by seeing your doctor or a psychologist.

This is not, under any circumstances, a political post, and I will not comment on gun reform/control. I just know, based on the wide number of people impacted by these shootings, this is something that needs to be talked about. When innocent people are witness to or injured by mass shootings, is there enough support out there for them? Local agencies like

In my research, I’ve found a couple amazing resources:

The Rebels Project, whose mission statement states they seek to embrace, support, and connect survivors of mass tragedy and trauma by creating a safe environment to share unique resources, experiences, and provide education surrounding the varying effects of mass trauma.

The Red Cross also offers a free Disaster Distress Hotline that can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

If you know of any other resources available to survivors of mass shootings, please let me know, and I’ll update my post accordingly.

I have a personal tie with mass shooting survivors, as I was witness to a shooting in my workplace a few years back, and was only a few feet from the shooters. Now, it still seems logical for people to at least mildly understand people who were witness to and/or injured in an event like this would be traumatized. But for some of that, the trauma is lasting. In my case, in particular, PTSD didn’t rear its ugly head until 5 years down the road, in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

The following is my recounting of the shooting to which I was a witness in 2012. I did provide a trigger warning just in case, as it is a sensitive topic that even triggered me to write about.

TRIGGER WARNING: Retelling of Experience in Active Shooter Environment

The morning following the Las Vegas shooting, I woke up earlier than normal, and instead of laying in bed and pushing snooze another 12 times, I got up. I’m not sure why this morning was different. I got ready for work and got a cup of coffee, and something in me told me to turn on the morning news. I hardly ever watch the news anymore, because more often than not it’s one heartbreaking story after another about the madness and cruelty of humankind or the biased political agenda of whatever news network is airing stories of the most recent scandals. Other than the weather (which is usually less than accurate) and the occasional heroic tale of an everyday person beating cancer or rescuing a child from a tragic situation, it’s all negative.

Regardless, there I sat, with the remote in my hand and turned on the TV, flipping through the channels until I saw a local news network and put it on. Immediately, my screen was filled with images and videos of what would turn out to be the most deadly mass shooting the United States had seen yet. My heart dropped into my stomach. I watched as live footage of the shooting from different cell phones was played, and survivors were being interviewed by reporters, all of which were understandably visibly shaken and terrified. Recounting what would most likely be the most traumatic thing they’d ever experience.

As I sat watching this and sipping my coffee, I was in a daze, waiting for it to be over, but knowing it wouldn’t anytime soon. This story would be the focus of every news network in the nation for weeks – months, maybe. Reluctantly, I turned off the TV and went to work as normal.

The next few days passed in a blur. I went to work, came home, watched the news, and went to bed. Then woke up and watched the news again. Each day my heart broke more as new information about the shooting was revealed. A few days into this pattern, I started wondering why in the world this was impacting me so heavily. Yes, it is a tragedy, and I should be feeling shocked, heartbroken, and enraged for both the survivors and those who lost their lives at the hand of a mentally unstable person with a powerful weapon.

And then it hit me. It was like in those cartoons I watched as a kid when a character randomly realized something and a lightbulb appeared above its head, lit up, although (of course) there was no source of power for the bulb itself. I suppose, in a way, it’s a metaphor, because your brain is the source of power for the bulb and it’s powered by thoughts coming together after everything being muddled for a period of time.

On January 27, 2012, one day before my birthday, I was working at our local mall when an active shooter situation occurred. Suddenly, my reaction to the most recent shooting makes sense. I thought, Is this PTSD? It can’t be. That was… so long ago.

Then I started questioning my own memory of what happened. Are you sure that really even happened? What if your brain is just looking for a way to reconcile this horrific event and its created this fictional tragedy so you’re now the victim? I started to get uncomfortable with the flowing thoughts, and so I pulled out my computer and started doing some research. I entered very simple search terms in Google and the results came up quicker than I’d hoped.

Two wounded in Visalia Mall shooting; suspects captured

Trial underway in Visalia Mall shooting

Men given life sentence for Visalia Mall shooting

It did happen. I wasn’t imagining things. As soon as I saw those titles, I was flung violently back to January 27, 2012. A day before my 20th birthday.

I had began working at JC Penney in May of 2010. On this day, a Friday, I was scheduled to work. Most of the time when I took my lunch breaks I’d leave the store and get food at the mall’s food court, which was adjacent to JC Penney. Today, though, I was shopping. I was in the women’s department, which is right next to the entrance to the mall. I came across my coworker, Paloma, who was still working, but we started talking. I was shopping, she was cleaning and we just chatted. A few minutes into our conversation, I heard a few short pops. I paused, then looked at Paloma, whose expression showed she heard them too.

I knew the store was undergoing some construction for one reason or another, but I thought they’d finished. ‘Who’d be using a nail gun right now?’ I thought to myself. All of these thoughts, though seemingly calculated and inquisitive, took place over just a few seconds. In my mind seemed like minutes. I’m not sure if I said any of that out loud to Paloma or not. I don’t think I ever had the chance.

By the time I looked back over at Paloma, her face was unreadable. Out of my peripheral, I saw movement – quick movement – that wasn’t there before. People pass leisurely through our store typically, unless they’re stealing something, and even then sometimes they’re leisurely about it. My head whipped to the right, toward the aisle that was connected to the mall’s entrance just a few feet away. What I saw then is when everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Crowds of shoppers were flooding into the store, unorganized, panicked, in uneven clumps. You couldn’t tell if anyone was shopping in groups or by themselves, it was so unorganized. The panic in the air was almost palpable.

Maybe there was screaming. I’m not sure. I can’t remember hearing anything after the gunshots. It’s like adrenaline took over because the flood of people surging through our store was looking for the nearest exit, “every-man-for-themselves” style. 

Paloma and I looked back at each other and I had a realization – those pops I heard were gunshots. They sounded like a nail gun probably because the shooter had a silencer or the acoustics of the mall made the sound of the shots echo in a strange way.

The look we shared was one of mutual understanding – we needed to run, and we needed to run now. We turned on our heels and bolted further into the store to the nearest exit through the men’s department. Neither of us ever agreed we’d stay with each other, but we did. Once out of the store, we ran into the parking lot and hid behind a car, out of sight of the store.

I remember we talked, but I don’t remember what was said. I also remember a woman drove into the parking lot and turned down the aisle where we were hiding. She saw us and our I’m sure panic ridden faces and slowed down. As soon as she rolled down her window, I said something to the effect of ‘You don’t want to go in there right now, we just heard a ton of gunshots’ but I can’t even remember that clearly. She was filled with a visible myriad of emotion, thanked us, and hastily drove out of the parking lot.

We were probably only hiding behind that car for about 3 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. I looked at Paloma, and I told her my boyfriend’s parents’ house was just a few minutes walk down the road so we could go there. But then, somehow, the logic part of my brain kicked in, and I said to her ‘You know what.. we’re going to have to go back inside. The managers are going to be doing a headcount and they’ll be looking for us.’

I could tell by her reaction that is the last thing she wanted to do, and I was on the same page. We slowly and reluctantly walked back to the entrance to the store and stayed right by that exit once inside the Men’s Department. Everything continued to pass in a blur. I picked out that none of our staff had been injured, but some people have, and the suspects were on the loose. The only other thing I heard is that they were closing the store early and we were all free to go.

Now, my story is one of few that are mostly unheard of, and there were injuries, but no tradgedies. Regardless, feelings of terror and helplessness were still similar. I actually had completely forgotten about the events of that day until I saw the footage of the Las Vegas shooting. Once my symptoms started occurring, I was experiencing intense anxiety over every little thing and constantly looking over my shoulder. Some people in my condo association set off fireworks one night and I went into fight or flight mode. I would jump practically through the roof anytime anyone approached me from behind. There’s much more, but those were the main symptoms that prompted me to seek help from a psychologist. That was the best thing I could have done for myself. Since everyone copes with trauma in different ways, I had to (still have to) find ways that work for me, which sometimes includes altering what I already do for myself in the way of self-care.

It’s just one example of many that the way PTSD symptoms are displayed cannot be measured except by the severity and frequency of when they occur. To this day, I still deal with symptoms of PTSD that I have yet to learn to manage. I’m incredibly thankful for the friends, family, and professionals who have helped me through my experience.

 

Friends and Family of Mass Shooting Survivors

If you know someone who is a survivor of a mass shooting, please be cognizant of what you say to them. Be aware of mental health first aid. Understand that just because the traumatic event is over does not under any circumstances mean the trauma is. Many survivors of mass shootings watch others, even their friends and family members, get injured or killed because of these shootings. They themselves may have suffered injuries as well.

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There are also many free courses online for providing assistance to people you know who have gone through traumatic events like this, such as this site.

I just want survivors of mass shootings (or shootings in general) to know:

  1. I see you
  2. I hear you
  3. I understand (to the best ability I can) what you’re going through on an ongoing basis

Please do not ignore symptoms of PTSD. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms, but are scared or unsure, try talking with someone you trust first. But most importantly, please know you are not alone. If the resources I listed above won’t work for you, or you need help finding a hotline or doctor/psychologist/counselor near you, please contact me and I’ll gladly help you find something in your area.

Also, remember a lot of self-care is necessary to manage PTSD symptoms. A great article on to read is 5 Self Care Tips for Abuse and Trauma Survivors. This site is a domestic violence site primarily, but their self-care tips apply to trauma survivors in general.

Love, understanding, empathy, and compassion go a long way in the process of dealing with PTSD. We can’t change the actions of the people around us, sadly, but we can, as survivors, get through these times together. You are never, ever alone.

 

My Abbreviated Life Story

Before I begin dissecting mental illness, our world’s lack of resources for mental health care and the terrible stigma associated with it, I thought I’d give you some background on what I’ve dealt with throughout my life. Additionally, I’d love for you to take a moment to take this survey I created about present-day mental health. It will provide me with a lot of valuable information to use in my research and give me an idea of what you would like to know more about.

Disclaimers:
*This will be a fairly LONG post. Feel free to read if you’d like. I just wanted to give you some background on my experiences.
**I spoke with my biological mom prior to posting this and have her full permission to share what I’m sharing. 

My childhood was hard – not as hard as others’ that I know of or will know of – but for me, it was hard. I was raised in a single parent household, while my father was mostly absent. I could count a handful of times I saw him throughout my entire childhood. My mother had, unbeknownst to me, experienced an extremely significant amount of neglect, trauma and abuse as a child. The experiences she’s taken the time to share with me were nothing short of horrific. These experiences were what shaped her life and mental health into what I witnessed as a child, and, as expected, there was a lot of toxic spillover.

Throughout my childhood, my mother focused on not bringing negative influences into my life (like drugs, alcohol, or strange men); however, she was dealing with a significant amount of depression, anxiety and PTSD that had gone completely untreated. There were countless days where her depression was in control and I felt helpless to do anything but watch. It wasn’t until I became an adult that she found access to adequate care and began dealing with the things that had happened to her.

It became intrinsic for me to be increasingly responsible and act as an adult would when my mom would go through these episodes (which was often). As a result, I ended up growing up long before I should have. Most of the time, I felt as if I was caring for both myself and her, and it quickly caused me to lose respect for her. I was tired all the time and could only express/release my anxiety by cleaning obsessively. Because of the things I went through with her as a child, I developed depression and intense anxiety that went untreated because my mom was dealing with so much she couldn’t see/handle it and I was not able to recognize it. I also developed a case of OCD, which I used frantically in stressful situations to gain some mild sense of control.

Her and I would constantly argue and it personally felt as if there were more bad times than good. During my childhood, verbal abuse and neglect was common, whether intentional or not. Every so often, borderline physical abuse was an issue. There were constant power struggles. Constant fights. I will go into a little more detail on these issues later.

I had both positive and religious influences in my life by way of my dad’s parents. They were/are devout Pentecostal Christians. For anyone who’s unsure of what a Pentecostal Christian is, go ahead and take a quick look at this Wiki page on legalism. While their influence was overall positive, I was raised in an environment that I was never good enough and I was always on the path straight to hell. I became extremely fearful of the rapture and even went into full-fledged panic attacks if I couldn’t get ahold of someone I considered “saved” for a period of time.

They also had serious marital issues that have only recently come out and bared their ugly heads. My grandparents were very critical of the way I dressed, who I hung out with, what I read, what music I listened to… At one point, when I was a pre-teen, my grandma accusitorily told me I dressed to make my grandpa lust after me. It was then I realized I needed to get some distance from them, and have.

In 7th grade, I bonded with my now best friend/sister of 16+ years and we spent weekends together from middle school through the end of high school. She was there for me during some of my most traumatic experiences in my childhood and I hers. I’m happy to say even through the ups and downs I’ve experienced, she has been a constant in my life.

At the age of 16, my mom and I got into a would-be life changing fight, during which I was issued an ultimatum: I could either live with her or I could choose to go into foster care.

I was in such shock hearing the words that had come out of her mouth as she stormed out the door to give me time to decide. Being the teenager I was, and with the experiences I’d had, I angrily decided I was sick of it all and done putting up with it. I started packing my things. When she came back, I got in the car and she started driving. We ended up at my ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house.

A little backstory on my ex:
We started dating when I was 14 and had broken up fairly recently and amicably because he was 2 years older and moving away to go to college. Because of the issues with my mom, during our relationship, I spent the majority of time with him and his family at their house, church, and family functions. I was taken in as one of their own and consider them to be my adopted family, although it was never finalized.

Oddly enough, when we broke up, I was surprised how welcoming his family still was to me. I still spent ample time with them and our bond strengthened. I’m still a part of their family to this day, and there have definitely been hard days with my ex, but I applaud his patience and open-mindedness in all of this. He’s now happily married to an amazing woman and they have 2 beautiful children together. We’re still learning how to address this odd relationship dynamic, but we’re just taking things a day at a time.

Anyways, my mom dropped me off at my ex-boyfriend’s family’s house, where I would live while he was away at college until the age of about 17. It was a definite adjustment as I came to live in a house with 2 parents and a brother who drove me insane (love you, Joey) and a much more balanced home environment.

Eventually, I needed to move out, and proceeded to live with my high school drama teacher and then a family from our church. In all situations, I rebelled in some way or another, became distant, avoided people, stopped going to church. I felt so truly alone and unstable. Finally, when I started college, I moved in with a few roommates from my choir class – 3 guys (2 gay, 1 straight). We partied, as most college kids do, and I got a “genuine college experience”. And then I got pregnant by one of my roommates and dropped out of college.

Now, because of the dynamic between my mother and me, as well as my unhealthy relationship with any immediate family members, I developed an intense adverse issue with forming healthy relationships with others. I still struggle with it to this day.

My son is now 6 years old and incredibly intelligent. He’s also extremely stubborn, but the light of my life. I can’t imagine life without him. His father and I had an on-again, off-again relationship for about 8 years, the last 2 of which we were married. We very recently separated, and are in the process of going through a divorce. When I got married, I was not sure of who I was or what I wanted out of a committed relationship. It’s very hard and upsetting to admit that out loud. That being said, I’m a very big advocate to being grounded in who you are before you commit your life to another person. Marriage is never something to take lightly.

In late summer of 2017, I decided, as an escape mechanism and a “last hope” to save my marriage, that it would be a good idea to move out of state to develop a relationship with my estranged biological father. I found a job with an east coast-based health insurance company and we left. I already knew I dealt with mild depression and anxiety and thought I coped pretty well without professional help or medications. Once I got to Ohio, though, I began therapy for anxiety after the shooting in Las Vegas happened.

I learned through therapy I had repressed to the point of completely forgetting about my involvement in a shooting at the mall I worked at in early 2012 and I was experiencing latent side effects of PTSD, as I had never dealt with the situation (more on that later).

Additionally, I realized soon after I got to Ohio I had a completely fairy-tale like idea of what my relationship with my biological father would be like and was quickly disappointed. In my short career at the insurance company, I began befriending a co-worker who was in just as unstable of a place as I was, and was the sole witness to her attempted suicide. That threw me into a spiral of extreme depression and anxiety. I ended up going on leave at work and started weekly therapy and an anti-depressant. During this time, I was also having escalated troubles in my marriage.

My son, my husband and I moved back to California at the beginning of April 2018. It was a move that needed to happen for many reasons, and my eyes were opened throughout the 8 months I lived there.

I’m currently a caregiver for my adopted grandma who has dementia and have my son every other week. His dad and I are on amicable terms, which is nothing less than a blessing as we all adjust to our new lives. Over the past 72 hours, my grandma’s dementia has gotten significantly worse, and her prognosis is looking grim. It’s a very hard time for my adopted family.

I’m telling you this story to say this: I have a personal understanding of what it’s like living with a mental illness, both detected and undetected. I understand how extremely important it is to address any mental health issues you may be struggling with in whatever way you can so you can live your best life. What it’s like to not have adequate support or resources. What it’s like to feel like you’re drowning in your struggles. And I am here for you.

If you ever feel totally lost, alone, or just in need of general support, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll help you find support in your area. I want to make sure you understand how vital your existence is and that you’re never alone in your struggles.

Look for my upcoming posts based on the survey responses of people from all around the world on the various topics of mental illness in our personal lives and the healthcare industry! As a reminder, the link to the survey is at the top of this post.

Much love to all on this Friday afternoon!

The Great Glass House of Stigma

Mental disorders are one of the leading causes of illness and disability in our world today. In the United States alone, 1 in 5 adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives. With all of the research available and proven science available to us, how is it there is still such a stigma surrounding mental illnesses and treatment of such illnesses?

The answer to this question is both multi-faceted and complex, and in my writing, it’s my goal to break down these issues into easy to understand posts. I’ll also be providing links and resources for those seeking treatment/support for mental illnesses, whether for themselves or someone they love. I hope you’ll join me on my journey as I help reveal the real hindrances of present-day healthcare and the stigma tacked on to the terms “mental health” and “mental illness”.

I’m here to make sure people are getting correct and complete information with regard to mental illness. Additionally, as someone who has suffered more than my fair share of mental illnesses, I want to provide you with the resources I wish myself and my family/friends had when I was struggling.

If, at any point during my posts, there’s something I didn’t address or you’d like more information on, please contact me and I’ll be happy to do some research on it.

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There is no health without mental health; mental health is too important to be left to the professionals alone, and mental health is everyone’s business. – Vikram Patel