Mental Illness Awareness Week and Other Stuff

I’m actually a little late in writing this post because it’s almost over, but the first full week in October is, indeed, Mental Illness Awareness Week. (This is different from May, which is Mental Health Month.) I don’t know exactly how (or if) it should be celebrated, but for those of us who carry a mental illness diagnosis, it’s another way our voices can be heard. So much stigma is still attached to MI, but we are making progress.

Look at all the commercials we see on TV nowadays for psychiatric medications. There’s one for bipolar depression; another for bipolar 1 specifically; still another for schizophrenia. Who would have thought even 10 years ago that these illnesses would come out of the shadows under the auspices of the drug companies? I’m no fan of pharmaceutical advertising, but if it gets people talking about mental illness, so much the better. I’d like to think the American public is smart enough to know that you don’t just take a pill and get cured, but given the uncommon-ness of common sense, I’m not sure. So, I educate whenever and wherever I can; and I love it when I talk to someone about MI and their eyes are opened because I look and talk like a “normal” person. I’m not the one-eyed purple people eater many people expect when they meet a person with a mental condition (or two).

Meanwhile, I’m going to be getting a new psychiatrist soon. I’ve been wondering about that and was just about to call the office yesterday to find out where they were on getting patients in to see the new doctors. Then I got an e-mail from one of the regular ones letting me know he was going to be filling my medications while I’m waiting. That’s nice to know. I’m not in any real need of a quick appointment, but someone with bipolar 1 really should never be without meds. I used to be so resentful that I had to take so many, but now I can’t even imagine going off this cocktail. I hope the next pdoc won’t want to futz with the magic formula, because I am doing as well as I could possibly ask for. I do hear the faintest whispers of seasonal affective disorder, but that’s perfectly normal for me. At least I recognize it now and can take action to mitigate it (thank you, HappyLight) before it gets out of control. I never want to be where I was in October 2014 ever again.

Fall is definitely here. We’ve had rainy and windy, sunny and warm, foggy and dreary. We’ve had to light the pellet stove a couple of times since this month began, and I’m back to sleeping in socks. I don’t really mind sleeping in socks—when my feet get cold, I can’t sleep, and when I can’t sleep, I’m not a happy camper. I love sleep. I also love wrapping myself up in warm blankets and sitting on the sofa with a little dog or two.

Speaking of dogs: we have a new resident hound thanks to Clint’s son, who brought him along when he moved back in with us. He’s only a pup, but he weighs 50 lbs. at least and he seems to think he’s a lap dog. Next to his “dad”, he loves me almost as much and has his ways of letting me know it. One of those ways is jumping into my lap and spreading himself across my legs as he tries to lick my face. I like it that he’s so affectionate with me, but he can be rather…overwhelming, to say the least. And he’s still got some growing to do!

I also should mention that I made it through my 40th wedding anniversary on the 27th of last month. I think I was a little depressed before and during, because we always wanted a 40th wedding anniversary and I still hate it that we didn’t get it. I see old couples walking around and I’m almost angry that Will and I didn’t get to do that in our old age. He’d be almost 70 now, can you believe it? I can’t picture it, even though he’s been gone only a little over four years. I never really saw him aging, just like he never noticed that I was no longer the 21-year-old girl he married. So, I spent the day in bed, watching football and shirking my kitchen duties. It must have worked, because I felt better the next day and have not cried any more since then. I think maybe subsequent anniversaries won’t be quite so difficult.

We shall see, anyway. Thanks for checking in and reading my stuff. 🙂

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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