My journey with Mental Health & Special Needs advocacy. #MentalHealthAwareness

Hear me out…then if you agree please share it to support my journey with advocacy & my truths as I know them. #MentalHealthAwareness

I’ve learned along my journey with advocacy for Mental Health & Special needs, that my truth may not be yours but it’s my lived experiences that make me an expert in what I’ve encountered as a mom & caregiver. I’ve learned that I can no longer expect others who are either wilfully ignorant or misinformed or inexperienced, that ⬅”these” will likely NEVER get understanding or be able to accept the facts as I know them, which are: Mental Illness isn’t a demon that you cast out, nor is burning sage or other witchcraft going to help “fix” this. Mental illness is a medical condition and it is a brain disease, that impacts the ways a persons brain functions.

Individuals with developmental delays, down syndrome, special needs, autism, to name a few, are not cursed, and their family isn’t cursed. My own son has developmental delays and he is the most loving, kind-hearted boy, he loves Jesus! What he has isn’t contagious & he doesn’t deserve to be looked at like he himself is a disease just because he walks different and talks different. No one deserves to be mistreated. People are so quick to label and put stigma onto those living with mental health conditions and special needs conditions. They tend to think the family is cursed or in some cultures they will disown them. Mental illness is not evil. Mental illness is an unfortunate disease of the brain. I won’t expect anyone to understand this because it’s not their lived experience, they just watch tv or what media hypes up without complete and accurate education. In other words, unless you have experience what its like raising a child with a mental illness/condition or special needs than I no longer expect you to get it. Just as much as the flu hits you and you get very sick with symptoms, is similar to that of how someone can become sick with a mental health condition, it’s not something we want, it’s not anything we saw coming, but mental illness(es) are NOT contagious. They are NOT a spirit that transfers to someone else for all you deep spiritual people. They (mental illnesses) are hereditary and known to skip a generation but not always. They are treatable and they are medical conditions. Have you ever sat down and tried to talk to someone about something & their response lets you know within the first few words that this conversation is going no where. So you just stop. Let me just say this, unless you’re willing to learn & educate yourself, then don’t form an opinion based off what you heard or what you saw on a TV show or movie. Unless you live this day in & out, you can’t even begin to know what it’s like to feel isolated, scared, hopeless at times. Its especially hurtful when you can’t even turn to your own family because they just don’t get it. Let me just say this, you might know of someone who’s living with a condition, or you have a relative, or you work in a clinic or at a hospital so you think you can relate, well let me say this, it’s NOT the same & I believe anyone who’s walked a similar journey as me, will agree.

My other son, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder & he is also the most kind-hearted, comical, genuine, respectful young man. He has a heart for God & he is overcoming his battles, he is a full time college student, he is a college student-athlete. He’s truly a warrior. All Glory to God!

And let me also say to some in the church, Stop running people off because you’re uninformed and unequipped to handle someone who has any one of these health diagnoses, and you ignorantly take them to the altar and attempt to cast out a demon, cuz it ain’t going to work, and you wanna know why? Because their ain’t no demon to cast out. Pray for healing to take place instead, pray for doctors to find a cure, pray for medications to have no side effects, pray for restoration and clarity, Pray for them to have the strength to go through. That’s what you can do. Offer support & offer love, these communities of people already feel isolated and ridiculed. I said this because you have no idea just how many people I have met & sat down & listened to their stories about how the church hurt them & ran them off. As a believer In Jesus myself, we must do BETTER!

We need to educate beyond the common mental health conditions of depression & anxiety, and beyond the “acceptable” conditions like cancer, diabetes, dementia, autism, ect. Hopefully you get my point. I’m not dismissing these conditions at all, just desiring more public awareness for Mental health conditions such as BP, bpd, schizophrenia, PTSD, suicidal ideation, ect. Which are all attached to stigma! We must eradicate stigma! People are out here suffering in silence! Wearing masks so good they fool their loved ones because they don’t want anyone to know what’s going on inside. They won’t get help because of fear of stigma! They have no one to talk to because others won’t listen. Their feelings are dismissed by advice being given instead. They feel misunderstood because when the one person they hoped would offer support, didn’t. Their scared and scarred. This is why when someone takes their own life, everyone usually says they seemed happy and didn’t know anything was going on.

My thoughts on evil…Don’t get me twisted there are people who are evil, commit heinous crimes, do pure evil acts, and then we find out through media that they’ve been declared “legally insane” or “mentally ill” which makes every single person who has a mental health condition/illness viewed in a bad light. Which in my own opinion creates ongoing stigma because it’s not all the details, most times we just read, “school shooting and shooter has a history of mental illness”. Their behaviors are influenced by what they feed their thoughts not simply just because they have an illness. And there are always a whole bunch of other factors that play a huge part in someones health declining. Usually it’s because they either aren’t receiving treatment, or they haven’t found the right treatment yet, or medications arent being taken or medications need to be adjusted, ect.

What I don’t agree with is putting everyone in the same boat. Everyone’s journey is different. Even people with the same health diagnosis can live with completely different challenges & experiences. So my truth may not be yours. But this is mine!

My truth is my lived experience while raising children with various health challenges, and I’m not cursed and I did nothing wrong for those who think so. My family is blessed beyond measure. God has chosen to give us this journey, this purpose to serve on this platform. God is my waymaker. Jesus is my Savior. God is my sustainer. God is my EVERYTHING. Thank you Lord! #MyJourney #MyTruth #MentalHealthMatters #Unashamed #SpeakYourTruth #BeKind #EducateYourself #RespectTheJourney

Lastly, here are some resources that could help save a life or help you learn more.

Crisis Textline 741741 text (Home) 24/7
Suicide Prevention Line 24/7
(800) 273-8255
Pierce County Crisis Line
(800) 576-7764
24 hour crisis line
(866) 427-4747
Teen Link (6pm-10pm)
(866) 833-6546

Thanks again for being here. This was a post I wrote on my personal social media & wanted to share it here.

MORE can be done, but its little that is being done. #MentalHealth #Stigma

Sure no one should be blamed for a mental health problem. It is my belief that everyone has a mental heath problem at one time or another. The problem is that no one can tell a person has a mental health issue. No one wears a sign! Thus, until there is a way to notice someone has a mental health issue, there is little that can be done.

This quote above was actually a comment from a reader on my article “Words Matter“, whom I will keep anonymous. Below are my views that I have chosen to write in an article rather than to display it down my feed/page since its lengthy.

I will just state my views here and hope not to offend anyone. We can’t place blame what someone doesn’t know however, everyone can make a conscience choice to stop stigmatizing others and throwing labels around whether it’s a “visible or invisible” health challenge.

Just like no one wants others talking trash about their mom/self/loved one, or referencing them by derogatory words/labels.

Just as no one knows when someone is about to go into cardiac arrest until you see the symptoms/signs of the underlying issues, but you see it’s much more common to be trained in CPR after such crisis.

In fact, when my youngest was discharged from the hospital it was mandatory for me to become trained in CPR. However, through my own experiences with both cardiac arrest, and mental health crisis there isn’t much talk about Mental Health First Aid training or suggesting it afterwards.

When my oldest was being discharged from inpatient, there wasn’t any suggestion of mental health first aid, nor was it mandatory. Instead it was just like sending me home with a bandaid that wasn’t sufficient to help aid the wound.

And I had no idea that it even existed until I began researching and taking self initiative to seek out more ways to educate myself so I can help others who are still uninformed in my same shoes. Plus become better equipped to educate and inform others who are untouched by mental health challenges. I’m not a expert, but I have the actual experience that most professionals only read about or hear during a 30 min session. I have the experience of my own journey.

Stigma is one of the causes why some individuals choose to live in isolation and silence. It is why kids often choose to hide it from their peers, teachers, and feel alone to fight in silence. Not to mention why some adults won’t speak out.

From a mother who has experienced this battle with my own children & others whom I have met in my community, I will have to somewhat disagree that little can be done. The problem is that kind of thinking, “that little can be done”, so therefore no one does anything or they just do little from the outside looking in. MORE can be done, but it’s little that is being done due to lack of funding and simply it’s not seen as a priority yet. Maybe it hasn’t impacted the “right person” yet, that person who has the power and authority to make change happen. That person who’s “untouched” and who’s views are opposite of my own.

In my own opinion, The “little” that could be done would be to change the way others view mental health disorders, and unless a person is impacted with mental health challenges they most likely won’t ever get the full effects it has on a person who suffers as well as the family/caregiver/parents. It’s kind of like this, if your son/daughter/loved one was sailing along through life and suddenly a life-altering event came in and changed his daily living, you would likely NOT want others going around defaming their character just because they have a different way of life now and a diagnosis that they didn’t expect, ask for, or want to happen to themselves, all the while they themselves are having to readjust to the issues set before them and have to fight off stigma, labels from the media, and cruelty and insensitive ignorant comments from “untouched” people.

Most of us in these situations have already grieved the loss of the person’s capabilities prior to the impact the illness or diagnosis has made in their life. There’s been some progress with Mental Health, but still A LOT of work to be done here but if everyone would begin to shift their thinking and mental health became a higher priority to those in the appropriate positions with regard to funding, laws, etc., than maybe just maybe……..

However, in spite of it all, in my journey, I have my faith & God to thank for sustaining me and my family during various trials and tribulations.

Thanks for the support, candid feedback and views. I have respect for others journeys because everyone’s path is different.

This is why I created this website, my purpose is to be the voice they don’t have, in otherwords, advocating for others who don’t feel they can be heard, or would rather have someone speak on their behalf. My passion is to help others who need help on both sides of the fence.

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Blessings to everyone!

Words matter #MentalHealth #StigmasNoMore

When people have a Mental Health diagnosis they never even wanted themselves & others throw “words” around to stigmatize, it’s like sentencing a completely innocent person to death row for a crime they weren’t even present to commit. Falsely accused of a crime. And now dealing with consequences that don’t fit. The punishment doesn’t fit here in this scenario. Stop punishing, stigmatizing and scrutinizing people who have mental health challenges. Who knows where life will take you next. What if the tables were turned and you suddenly had a mental health diagnosis?

#EndTheStigma #StigmasNoMore #MyAnalogy

Mental Health First Aid #MentalHealthMatters #EndTheStigma #MentalHealthAwareness

I cannot stress enough how much everyone’s Mental Health is just as IMPORTANT as their physical health.

And knowing what to do during a mental health crisis, is necessary. What to do, what to say, what not to say, how to help, what actions to take, how to identify the type of crisis and treatment needed. Would you know where to turn for help, who to call, where to start, what to expect?

My husband and I took a mental health first aid training class. I have to say that being a mom of a child with bipolar disorder and a child that has had a psychotic break due to stress, this training was not only accurate, but informative, educational and eye opening.

There was even an exercise that the class did to attempt to give the idea of just how challenging and difficult it can be for an individual while experiencing psychosis. This really hit home for us, because although we don’t have mental illness ourselves, nor can we truly say this exercise exemplified what an individual actually goes through while in psychosis, it gave enough of the significant examples of how the mind is challenged to try and concentrate on outside things, conversations, ability to focus, while hearing auditory hallucinations at the exact moment that so many other things are going on at the same time. It hit home because we witnessed our children suffer through psychosis and it was admittingly so, a very difficult and extremely hard period of time to work through. All I can say, is register today and educate yourself.

It would be wonderful if it was priority to EVERY person, especially those in the line of work such as, first responders and public educators. EVERY parent, sibling, just EVERYONE.

It would be life-changing if we as a whole could END THE STIGMA that surrounds mental health. And if we could invest our time and money into finding a cure for these brain disorders. If we could look at them as medical illnesses and not just something to be dismissed and isolated.

Change is necessary. Mental illnesses are brain disorders in my own opinion. Mental illnesses don’t discriminate, they impact whomever they want, wherever they are, and without prejudice of a person’s religion, belief, gender, race, culture, weight. Mental health organizations lack in funding and this has to change!

The harsh truth is that people don’t support what hasn’t impacted their lives. People won’t support what they can’t understand. People only jump on board once their lives have been touched, my plead, is PLEASE don’t wait to be in a mental health crisis to finally get training, education, facts.

If you were experiencing cardiac arrest, and you flatlined wouldn’t you hope and want someone around you to call for help and perform CPR and do it properly? Allowing you the chance to be resuscitated and getting you help in those first few crucial moments?! Don’t wait to be in crisis, be prepared.

Thanks for listening! Remember mental health matters! Self care is important. End the stigma, educate yourself. I hope to change the way you see mental illness. Everyone has a journey, and their own walk of life. This is just a small part of mine. This is my experience, my views, my own opinions, my own plead for change. I’m NOT a doctor, NOT a mental health professional, but I AM A MOM AND ADVOCATE who has walked in my own shoes. I’m writing about what I know to be my truth, and not about what I saw in the media or what I heard 3rd party from someone else. Again thanks for being here!