Mental Health Awareness Month

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According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 3.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a major depressive episode in 2016. That makes up almost 13 percent of the total adolescent population. While female adolescents are more likely to experience a depressive episode, teenaged boys are still at risk and are more likely to die by suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 81 percent of suicides among 10 to 24-year-olds are male…

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #Depression #Suicide

I Stare Into The Darkness

I stare into the darkness of my room,
of my mind.
Thoughts and images penetrate my consciousness,
moments, images, memories of the night I just lived.
My skin burns,
as my heart races buried within my chest.
What is this sensation, this feeling,
which consumes me?
Sleep, I must sleep,
things will make sense in the morning.
A scent, a whisper, a touch,
attempt to devour me.
My mind has become flooded,
drowning in moments from the past,
the present,
the possibilities that lie before me.
I hear the vehicles pass my house,
why are they so loud tonight?
The cat cries in the next room,
why can’t silence be mine, peace be mine.
I awake in a cold sweat,
my mind hasn’t been quieted.
I scratch for a semblance of sanity,
as I futilely attempt to sleep.
Enough, I cry out,
my eyes clenched shut.
The visions of his hands around my throat,
permeate my mind.
The tender touch of her cheek brushing mine,
supersedes my immortal nightmare.
A sigh in the darkness of my room,
and I am back.

Self-Imprisoned Into This Cell Of Orchestrated Ignorance

Self-imprisoned into this cell of orchestrated ignorance,
I eternally stare into the mirror upon the wall,
At the chance to see a reflection,
Of an isolated world from our preconceived notions.

All that forms the images before my eyes,
Is the deep, dark, backward memories of my life,
Carrying me back to the present moment,
Enabling me to analyze what I have evolved into.

My back braced cold against the table,
They place the ether mask across my face,
The fog carries itself into the corners of my mind,
Allowing me to be propelled among the world.

I follow the dark sky, by the slight moonlight,
Placing each foot in the trail I’ve created,
Careful not to touch too much emotion,
Careful not to experience too much.

Let us go past the deserted streets,
Fading memories long since fallen into dust,
Let us cross the fields of distant thoughts,
Releasing the manacles of time to manipulation.

Into our world’s forgotten souls I search,
Waiting cautiously for each moment of experience,
Tearing off the blindfolds of our innocence,
Tearing down the walls of our ignorance.

Mental Illness and Self-Harm / Self-Punishment

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Mental Illness and Self-Harm / Self-Punishment

When you hear of mental illness and self-harm most people immediately jump to thoughts of cutting or burning. The simple fact though is there are so many other ways people punish themselves, punishing yourself day after day because you feel like you are deserving of that because you truly believe you need to be punished.

Self-punishment has a lot of shapes and forms. It can go from not taking an umbrella when it rains because you feel like you don’t deserve to be dry, writing 100 lines saying “I am worthless and the world is better without me,” not adjusting the thermostat when it’s freezing cold or overwhelmingly hot, or walking two more miles because your legs don’t ache enough yet. It’s choosing chocolate over vanilla because you prefer the vanilla one, or writing an essay by hand because typing would be easier. It’s not allowing yourself to sleep, or to take your medication or go for a relaxing walk. It’s putting yourself in dangerous situations but it’s also is not taking that shower because you feel like you are so incredibly undeserving of kindness towards yourself.

You are enough just the way you are, and you deserve help coping…

#MentalIllness #MentalHealth #EndStigma #SelfHarm #SelfPunishment

(Mis)Representations of Mental Illness in the Media (Film & TV)

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When mentally ill people are constantly villainized, stigmatized, and stereotyped in the media, then society inevitably buys into that false image that has been painted. The media has irrefutably contributed to society’s negative attitude towards people with mental illnesses. This negative attitude has significantly built up the stigma around mentally ill people today that makes it so hard to discuss our experiences and feelings.

“The worst stereotypes come out in such depictions: mentally ill individuals as incompetent, dangerous, slovenly, undeserving,” says Stephen Hinshaw, a professor of psychology at the University of California–Berkeley. “The portrayals serve to distance ‘them’ from the rest of ‘us.’”

~ “Mental illness” is used as a catch-all phrase to describe someone’s condition, as opposed to specific medical terminologies such as “schizophrenia” or “anxiety disorder.” And even then, little variation is shown from patient to patient; one movie portrayal of bipolar disorder tends to resemble another. There’s no discussion that each disease is different in each person, because each person is unique. In real life, mental illness shows up differently in everybody. The media does not represent the complexity of mental illness in general. There’s this sense that it’s just a one-name-fits-everybody, or one-title-fits-everybody.

~ People with mental illnesses are childish and silly. Many movies and TV shows – for example, “Me, Myself and Irene,” starring Jim Carrey as a patient with dissociative identity disorder, or “Monk,” the show about a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder – make light of mental illnesses. They portray otherwise serious psychological conditions as mere quirks, or those who have them as silly, funny and childlike. These portrayals don’t convey the way most people with serious mental illnesses are in pain. In reality, they hurt. They’re struggling.

~ The idea that love, particularly in a romantic sense, can easily “cure” mental illnesses. Mental illness is portrayed as something that can be easily resolved by simply finding the right person. (Silver Linings Playbook, It’s Kind of a Funny Story)

~ The idea that psychotic people are inherently evil. While it is a fact that some violent crimes are carried out by people with psychotic illness, this is a completely inaccurate generalization. In fact, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators. Characters on TV who were identified through behavior or label as having a mental illness were 10 times more likely than other TV characters to commit a violent crime – and between 10 to 20 times more likely to commit a violent crime than someone with a mental illness would be in real life. (Split, Silence of the Lambs)

~ The general romanticization of mental illnesses. Bringing attention to mental illnesses is one thing, but glamorizing them and using them to spice up a story is another.

~ People with mental illnesses can’t recover. “Recovery is seldom shown” in the media. When people [are shown seeking] therapy, when they go to psychiatric hospitals – rarely do they get better. If they do get better it’s enough that they’re stabilized, but not enough so that they’re integrated with the world, and have friends and jobs. The resulting message is that individuals with mental illnesses have no hope for a “normal” life. The reality is that this isn’t true: Experts say not only do patients often recover from psychiatric illnesses, but they can live healthy lives with the help of medications, therapy and support networks.

~ Psychiatric hospitals cause more harm than good. Many films and television shows continue to portray psychiatric hospitals as bereft of comfort or care – empty corridors, bare walls and intimidating wings filled with manipulative doctors whose treatments cause more harm than good. Patients are often shown as committed against their will, or psychotic and out-of-control. While all medical facilities differ in quality and care, today’s psychiatric wards and treatments are different – even if the public’s perception of them isn’t. Despite the common television or movie theme of a patient being sent to a psychiatric hospital against his or her will, that’s often not the case. In reality, a great number of people elect to go to psychiatric wards dispelling the notion that most patients are involuntarily committed. Laws differ from state to state, but on average it’s difficult to send patients to a psychiatric ward against their will.

Vignette of The Past

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Vignette of The Past

I sit at the end of the bar,
A tattered copy of Percy Bysshe Shelley before me,
An ashtray overflowing with Camel Straight cigarette butts,
The fifth double Vodka-Tonic of the night resting upon a stained coaster,
Three shots of Jamison Irish Whiskey in a rocks glass,
I down a swallow of the whiskey, followed by a gulp of Vodka-Tonic,
And finally a slow drag from my cigarette,
Silent pleasures of a life already lived.

Guilt, Pity and Envy

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Guilt, Pity and Envy

I met Guilt, Pity and Envy in a black corridor,
They conceived a bastard love child,
He grows within my gut, tearing my belly asunder.

“Fuck off,” I screamed at the bastard buckling over,
His parents glared at me, surrounding me,
Their laugher echoes in my mind.

Guilt, Pity and Envy closed in on me,
I felt their breaths on the nape of my neck,
I smelled their foul air, the odor made me wretch.

I could feel the bastard consuming me from the inside,
Filling me up with a perverse version of his parent’s being,
Guilt, Pity, Envy and now Deceit.

“I will not succumb,” I cried, my eyes rolling into the back of my head,
I arched my back, contorting my body into a twisted mangle of flesh,
My body poured with sweat and tears, “You won’t take me without a fight.”

Their claws tore into my flesh,
Ripping my gut open,
Spilling my bowels across the floor.

“You can’t have me,” I snarled.
Their voices echoed in a gibberish I strained to comprehend,
Deep within my consciousness.

Guilt, Pity, and Envy swirled within me, whispering half-truths,
Deceit tears at me from inside, the bastard love child,
I see the straight razor glistening before me on the counter.

I hack open my throbbing wrists,
Spilling out all the Guilt,
All the Envy, All the Pity.

The bastard’s hands are around my throat,
Choking off my breaths, extinguishing my free will,
Deceit vanquishes my meager resistance.

I tear the bastard from me; he is not what I envisioned him to be,
The love child, Deceit, is a tall lustful shameless blond,
Dressed in a pristine glistening backless black latex gown.

“Stay out of my fucking head,” I scream, glaring at the bitch,
She smiles wryly, with a wink; she blows me a kiss,
I sigh deeply, Am I this pathetic?

Defiantly I raise the back of my hand to strike her,
Deceit’s talons burrow deeper into my flesh,
My hand drops submissively, pathetically, longingly.

Tears stream down my cheeks, my eyes smolder with an unfamiliar intensity,
“Enough whore,” I cry my eyes rolling back into my head,
I glare into her eyes, mine lowering to her neck, my fingers caress the razor.

Guilt, Pity and Envy, their laughter echoes in my mind,
Deceit steps forward grinding her body against my own,
I gasp as my body reacts to her touch, “Fucking bitch,” I mutter.

Her embrace is intense not quite tender; I feel her sucking my freewill.
“I despise you,” I whisper in desperation,
My eyes close to the clatter of the razor hitting the floor.

A silent sob,
The taste of blood on my lips,
She has won…