In My Opinion

june2016

Welcome to Mentally Speaking! My 2017 goal was to read the top 100 books on Mental Illness. Boy was I in for a treat! I started this bucket list a month ago and I am on book #9.  My diagnosis is Bipolar I with psychotic features. I also suffer from codependency. Recently, my psychiatrist told me I have the “severest case of insomnia he has ever seen.” This automatically sends my brain into overdrive! So I thought, hmmm, why not help someone else walk through their journey while entertaining yourself?

Hence, this blog was born…

Here you will find my bucket list on the topic of mental illness. I will share a brief synopsis (without too many spoilers) of my thoughts on books and movie reviews for 2017. I encourage you to be open and honest in sharing your opinion, good or bad, on my posts.

I won’t waste too much time introducing myself because I know most people only have an attention span for 140 characters lol. I am a mental health advocate. Proud open-minded Christian wife. I am 37. I am a mother to four amazing girls and I have a six-month old grandson. Yes, I know I still look young lol! In my free time I enjoy watching/reading anything that is thought-provoking. Anyway, thank you for visiting!

This a public blog for the mental illness community and your entertainment. Feel free to comment or share anything that interests you.

*Thanks for following*

You can email me at: lrbanks6@gmail.com

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His power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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This Fragile Life (Review)

By Charlotte Pierce-Baker

What is the measure of a mother’s love? For many mothers we will go above and beyond to protect our children. But, Mrs. Baker’s patience and perseverance got her son Mark through the most difficult years of his life. Charlotte walks us through the turbulence of her son Mark’s bipolar illness and his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. What I found so refreshing was that Mark was raised in a loving, two-parent household. His parents were upper middle-class citizens, highly-educated and very driven to give their only child, Mark, all the opportunities afforded an African American man in the 21st century.

Like many people who suffer from mental illness, his childhood and teenage years were considered “growing pains” and not taken too seriously. Mark excelled in academics and he proudly climbed the ranks to a promising young adult life filled with a prestigious college education and plans to start a family. But, like any illness that goes undiagnosed Mark reached his breaking point and recovery became an arduous uphill battle. There aren’t many stories about mental illness and how it affects black families. I was very excited to read something that not only shed some light on mental illness in the black community, but also provided a plan for wellness that included the whole family. Mark was not alone!

This Fragile Life was informative and compelling. Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of An Unquiet Mind and professor of psychiatry, said, “Together, mother and son make clear that bipolar illness is painful and often inexplicable to those who suffer from it, as well as to those who love them. But they also make clear that there is much that can be done to help and  that one need not be alone in one’s suffering. This Fragile Life is an important book.”

 

 

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His strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

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Bipolarized: The Movie

bipolarized-rethinking-mental-illness

http://bipolarizedthemovie.com

The movie follows Ross McKenzie on his journey to discover the reasons for his mental breakdown in his early twenties.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ross’ psychiatrist told him he would live with the disorder for the rest of his life and that he would have to take lithium to control symptoms. To Ross, taking the drug daily felt like a chemical lobotomy, leaving him in a foggy, drug-induced haze. Ross ultimately decided to resolve his symptoms outside of conventional medicine. He progressively reduced his use of the psychotropic drug lithium, at an experimental clinic in Costa Rica. What ensued was a self-exploration into alternative treatments to treat his condition and a journey delving into the root cause of his mental breakdown.

The film uses Ross’ personal experiences to tell a larger story about medication. It will reveal how we are labelling more and more people with mental illnesses and how, in tandem, we are prescribing more and more toxic psychotropic drugs to treat these illnesses.

BIPOLARIZED weaves together a series of interviews with activists, psychiatrists and other psychiatric survivors who have challenged the status quo as well as recounts some of the alternative therapies Ross uses to maintain his mental, emotional and physical health.

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His strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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A Fractured Mind

afracturedmind“When I have a difficult decision to make I always convene an inner committee meeting I allow all parts of me to air opinions; that way I know that all of me owns the decision.” Anonymous

A Fractured Mind, tells the story of Robert B. Oxnam. A highly-intelligent, distinguished scholar with 11 personalities. This was my first time reading a memoir on someone who struggles with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as MPD). I was disappointed that I couldn’t finish the book, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be beneficial to someone else. The reason I couldn’t read it is because when I’m coming out of a manic episode, it’s hard for me to comprehend too many storylines all at once. But, I will do my best to share my thoughts in a manner in which you (my audience) will understand.

I was four pages into Robert’s story when the above quote caught my attention and even though I wasn’t able to follow his story to the very end, it gave me a new respect for DID and what people go through. Oxnam built his career on perseverance and competitive determination. While climbing the ranks of Asian Society his dedication and outer persona was everything society trains us to be. By 1984, his life began to unravel. He no longer had the passion to succeed and this led to blocks of memory and fits of rage.

Fast forward to March of 1990, we meet Bob…

Robert is diagnosed with DID by Dr. Smith, a renowned psychiatrist, who uses the method of integration to merge Robert’s personalities into one dominant individual. “Bob” introduces himself as a sensitive, open-minded personality who seems to be very concerned with finding the solution to his elusive problem. Then we meet “Tommy.” A younger personality that comes across as defensive and very sarcastic. I tried to get to a point where I could distinguish between the first two alters, but by Chapter 5 I was unable to focus and follow the succession of events that led to the other storylines. So rather than trying to read the story in a state of confusion, I decided to put it down and read something more similar to my own struggles.

So in the end, I decided to review the book anyway in hopes that it would shed some light for people who may be trying to discover the cause of the madness and inner conflict that results from this particular mental disorder. I was intrigued by the conflict that arose from each individual and the differences they added to the making of the author. If you have read this memoir please feel free to share your comments and insights for further discussion.

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His power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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The Center Cannot Hold

thecentercannothold

The title couldn’t have been more true! The 10th novel on my reading Bucket List, Elyn Saks takes you inside the mind of the criminally insane without ever committing a real crime. It started off slow and quickens its pace by the time you reach the middle of the book. What exactly is insanity? Science cannot fathom a world totally beyond its control.

Just when I was ready to chalk this book up to something to simply pass the time, I realized it was written during a level of psychosis I longed to understand. Different forms of therapy work for different people and the case of Elyn Saks is certainly severe. Her descent into madness coupled with a need to belong and fit into society was very relatable. If you truly have an interest in people who suffer from schizophrenia The Center Cannot Hold is the book for you! I will continue this review when I finish reading…

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I have included a few Questions & Answers from the back of Elyn’s book that may give more insight into her memoir, present life and the challenging world of schizophrenia:

Q: What are the most commonly held misconceptions about schizophrenia, and what are the actual symptoms?

A: The mind of the person with schizophrenia, though, is best thought of as shattered, not split. Schizophrenia is called a thought disorder or a psychotic disorder and involves symptoms like delusions, hallucinations and incoherent speech.

Q: How does your illness impact your life on a daily basis?

A: With psychosis its easier to get overstimulated. I am very vulnerable to stress so I need sometimes to simply withdraw from life, as it were, if only for a short time.

Q: What made you finally accept your diagnosis as a schizophrenic and why did you resist it for so long?

A: It is hard to accept that you are ill, and even harder when the illness is a mental illness that reaches down into you personality. I finally accepted it when two things happened: I made my best effort to try to get off meds one last time and utterly failed; and I got on a new medicine that left me much clearer than I had been. With these developments, my deep belief that everyone had terrifying thoughts like mine-but they were just better at hiding them-left me.

Q: When was the last time you experienced a psychotic episode?

A: I guess the last very profound and long lasting time of psychosis was when I was changing meds in the fall of 2001.

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His power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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Readings for Mental Health

readings-for-mental-health-vol1

Maladjusted or Inadequate?

The first step in the GROW program is admitting you are inadequate or maladjusted to life. Maladjusted can mean mentally, socially and/or spiritually out of tune with reality. To be effective it is necessary to help people before they self-destruct. There are many stages of decline before a serious disorder becomes manifest. Every inadequate person joins the maladjusted at some point on the road to recovery and maturity. To say someone is bad is to reject him. That one word can be devastating. By one word you can torment him with the worst side of himself. Your rejection of him stirs up something in him that makes him reject you also. If a person has lost all true self-esteem and has only injured pride left he will lash out with that. Nobody is completely bad. Nobody is irredeemable. People who have done much wrong have also done some good. Everyone has good qualities. It may only be partly developed, but it is there.

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His power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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