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Mental Health…it’s SO BIG an issue !!!

I came across an AMAZING song around mental illness today. Seriously - I highly recommend you check this out -

I love this video! Do you realize that our even TALKING about mental issues is a recent thing? My cousin was bipolar…and/or manic depressive, and/or an alcoholic and/or a drug addict, depending on where in life you found her. She was (yeah, was, we lost her a while ago) only 13 days older than I was, and honestly, I see now that I was/am blessed to be the one that didn’t have that in my body.

She came to live with us when I was in college (1981?). She was in a bad place (her ex boyfriend threw her dog down the stairs, and her mother was an alcoholic) (of note – now that we have hindsight, her mother and maternal grandmother both had the same mental issues that she had), so we were pleased to offer her a place with us. She was with us for…3 years I think. And we saw things like her consuming a gallon (!) of wine in a matter of days, of her bringing very odd men into the house (drug dealers…who have a vibration that was SO foreign to us we could not figure it out until someone else explained it), and her (no joke) rarely seeming drunk or high. Partially because the alcohol and/or drugs made her functional. She told me once that with the manic/depressive thing – the mania had her in a place where she could not speak. The booze brought her “down” to reality. The thing was….we didn’t know enough to help her or get help for her. Interestingly, she found a GREAT guy, they became a family with two kids, and all looked fabulous…until it snuck back up on her and then her life just plummeted.

That’s making a long story short.

What I learned from her is that mental illness is a BIG thing, and what the sufferers need is support. Not just meds (though they are SO important), but to be heard, and included in the lives of others AND AND AND they need for us all to advocate (through voting etc) for more funding for mental illness support. In my life now are friends and relatives who are diagnosed schizophrenic, have obsessive compulsive disorder, depression…and that’s off the top of my head. It’s HARD! But she was the first time I saw mental illness…ever…and it was so foreign to me that I didn’t recognize it, nor did my parents. Today we have the advantage of talking about it and doing online research for more information. We can BE supportive in so many ways!! So lets do that!!

A few resources for you to ponder –

National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI advocates to improve the lives of people affected by mental health conditions. From the U.S. Capitol to state legislatures to local city councils, the NAMI Alliance uses the power of lived experience to shape how our country helps people with mental illness

Breaking the Stigma: How We Can Support Mental Health Awareness

Good discussion on support.

Mental Health Advocacy: Benefits And Limitations

Also a blog, and tells you how to be an advocate.

Photo by Katie Beale 2022

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