Coffee and Contemplation: Mad Pride Month

While it can be celebrated anytime, Mad Pride Month is celebrated in July. Mad Pride began in 1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It formed in response to the negative stigma from local communities towards people with mental illness. The purpose of Mad Pride is to reclaim terms like “mad,” “nutter,” “psycho,” etc. from misuse. The goal is to educate the general public on mental health, and it’s causes. It took more than 20 years for depression to be recognized as a disease. Mad Pride doesn’t mean accepting one is crazy and moving on. It means recognizing that not everyone falls into what society calls “normal.”

I have struggled with my mental health for several years. I have often felt alienated by others because I didn’t fall into their definition of normal. They never realized that they didn’t fall into my definition of normal. As Morticia Addams from The Addams Family (1991) said, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” I like the idea of saying something like I have a mental illness and I’m recovering and I’m proud of that. I don’t think it means being proud of awful behavior. It’s about being proud of your own journey. Be proud of your normal. Take pride in your madness but don’t let it control you. 

PTSD Awareness Day

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day and June is National PTSD Awareness Month. There is a misconception that only service members in the Armed Forces can get PTSD. Anyone can have Post-Traumatic Stress. This can happen after any type of trauma such as being robbed or assaulted. It is not exclusive to military combat. People who experience consistent trauma for several years, such as Prisoners of War (POW) or children who grow up with abusive parents, can develop Complex-PTSD. This is not recognized as separate from PTSD but more like a subcategory. Though most of the symptoms are similar there are a few differences.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder. Sufferers often deal with both anxiety and depression. Symptoms can be severe making it difficult to find medication or treatments that work. I suffered childhood trauma and have lived with PTSD most of my life though I was unaware for most of it. I often use writing to cope with many things I struggle with. I have had difficulty making friends and more difficulty keeping those friends. Most of my struggles I brought on myself. Its only in the last year that I’ve tried to change how I talk to and about myself.

Last year, I self-published a collection of my personal writing from different blogs into one book. Mushaburui: A Mental Health Journey. I shared many things I went through at those times. Many people would comment expressing how much they could relate or how much they appreciated what I wrote. So, today and tomorrow, June 27 – 28, the eBook is free on Amazon Kindle. I hope my thoughts I shared in the book will help others. Click the title in this post or check my Projects Page.

To anyone living with PTSD or any mental illness, you’re not alone. Never give up. Never surrender. It does get better, but first you have to be kind to yourself. That means changing how you think about and talk about yourself. Good luck.

Coffee & Contemplation: Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I have dealt with my own mental health issues for many years. I have a long way to go in my recovery, but writing has always been helpful and therapeutic. Not only do I write for my personal blog, fiction, and poetry, I also write on occasion for another blog. I don’t get paid. I write because it helps me, and I hope it helps others who read what I share. It’s called The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog. I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I am allowed to write about my experiences.

I have also written for The Mighty. A site that covers many different kinds of mental and chronic health issues. I deal with childhood trauma and many other traumatic events. This has caused anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. I spent years trying to make sense of these things. Early on, I wasn’t aware of all my symptoms. I wasn’t aware of how I allowed these painful memories to impact my daily life. As I overcame one obstacle, another would take its place. A never-ending battle. I continue on doing as much as I can and trying to stay positive. 

After two years of writing for these sites and on my own, I decided to compile many of these blog posts into one collection. I share my thoughts in my collection Mushaburui: A Mental Health Journey. It’s on sale in paperback and Amazon Kindle. My hope with that book was to help others realize they were not alone. I hope others read my experiences and they get the desire to keep fighting. Calling myself a mental health warrior helps build confidence in myself. I want to help build confidence in others. I want others to know they still have a fighting chance.