Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I won an award! The Liebster Awards: passing along to some mental health bloggers

The lovely Chelle, over at Life on the Domestic Front, has given me a blog award:  The Liebster Award. The rule with this award is that I have to pass it along to five other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, and then let them know they won. First I want to say, thank you so very much to Chelle for her kindness and generosity in thinking of me in regards to this award and deeming my blog worthy of this honor. I really appreciate the recognition, and Chelle is always one who posts thoughtful comments on my blog.  Having had this blog up since 2005, but not keeping it updated much for the entire 2006-2007 period, it has taken time over the past four years to find readers, and I appreciate each one of you who comes by, reads a post, comments on a post, or comes around and comments regularly like Chelle. Her blog discusses her life with mental illness, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and how she manages to live with all these lovely disorders, be a parent, and come up with strategies to declutter and organize her home, all done with a sense of humor to boot. You should definitely check out Life on the Domestic Front.

And now,  to pass on the Liebster Award, here are five blogs I like that could benefit from more readers:

Nod if You Hear Me: A Bipolar Blog is Afton (In the Pink)'s excellent diary of her life with Bipolar Disorder, where she discusses the trials and tribulations of medication land, and her desires to have more happiness and fulfillment. She also shares the happiness and fulfillment she does have, and she brings lots of humor to her posts, so it's never a dull read over there. You will enjoy Afton's blog, so be sure to check it out.

Define Functioning is an excellent blog, where Backward E gets input from the readers, who contribute, in a community of sorts, all about, well, "functioning". What does functioning mean to you? How does it occur in your life? Is it overrated? Some of us are considered "higher functioning", and this blog is the first place where I've been able to discuss that with other people in the same boat. For that reason, I love this blog, and I think it is noteworthy. You should stop by and join in on the conversation if you happen to have a mental illness.

Stalled at 12 is Mary's (Frank and Mary) hilarious, and incredibly well-written blog that I love. "Witty" is the word that comes to mind whenever I think of Mary. She has a way with words, and a mind that spins an interesting story out of a tiny tidbit of conversation. I think Mary will write a book someday, and people will buy it. In the meantime, you should visit her blog where she discusses her illness sometimes, but the funny things that make up life all the time. Mary takes the time to leave many thoughtful comments here which I appreciate too.

Yin and Yang is my friend Kate's blog on Schizophrenia, life, and Buddhism. She is a brilliant artist who sometimes posts her artwork on her blog or sells it online. She is also a writer who enjoys expounding on interesting topics, often related to Buddhism and living a fulfilling life. I admire Kate's tenacity and how she overcomes adversity. She is a gifted person, and I think you will find some interesting pieces of writing on her blog.

Confessions of a Serial Insomniac is Pandora's blog. I'm pretty sure she has more than 200 followers, but I couldn't find anything on her blog that said so for sure, so I'm giving her the award anyway, because anybody can always use more readers. Pandora has crafty, witty writing, and she's very funny too. In fact, what I like about everybody I've given this blog award to is their wit and their  sense of humor. Pandora  tells it like it is, and pulls no punches. She says what she thinks and doesn't give a damn if someone is going to disagree. I love that about her. I think you would enjoy her blog.

And now these winners can pass the Liebster Award on to some other folks....and we'll all get to check out some new blogs...be sure to come back here eventually too though, of course - I hope!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

People Say I'm Crazy (documentary)

I just finished viewing the film, People Say I'm Crazy, by director John Cadigan, who lives with Schizophrenia. It is a documentary about the illness, and I must say it is poignant and insightful. Perhaps, if I had seen this film a few years ago, it would have been even more helpful than it is now that I'm more recovered than I was then. I never knew about the film until a week ago, though, so I bought the DVD from the website peoplesayimcrazy.org where it so for sale for $35 plus shipping. I bought it because there's nowhere that you can probably rent it from and I really wanted to see this film, as it was being called the only documentary about Schizophrenia by a person who has the illness.

Cadigan was at once honest and shy, forthcoming and hesitant, pained and funny, paranoid and very well aware of his paranoia with great insight. The film depicts his journey leaving college after his first psychotic break to ending up getting electroshock treatments, to becoming catatonic, and then getting on Clozaril and recovering remarkably from his previous state (albeit also with gaining 100 pounds exactly like I did from my medication). He is an artist, and a very talented, productive one, but in the film he is unable to hold a regular job, although one could say creating a documentary is probably a lot of work. He showed his art at the Capitol Building Rotunda in Washington at an art show of artists who have mental illnesses, and that was one of the highlights of the film for me. The film also shows how he tries to maintain friendships with other people pained by mental illnesses, and how he tries to find affordable, decent housing.

I have to say I highly recommend this film, because if you do not understand Schizophrenia now, you will come away with a better understanding of it from watching this, and if you do understand now, you will come away from this knowing for sure that you are not alone in your illness. This statement also pertains to other mental illnesses like Schizoaffective, of course, and Bipolar Disorder.  It is as good a film as Out of the Shadow, another documentary I bought a few years ago about a woman with Schizophrenia, made by her daughter.

I wish that people I know at work, or in my family would watch this movie sometime, and understand this illness. I wish these movies, both of them, were shown on PBS or NBC or ABC or CBS. Perhaps something similar has been shown before, but I haven't seen it. Thanks to the internet, I got to see these by purchasing them online. You might want to check your local library to see if they are stocked there before making this purchase.

One of the things I have wanted to do for a long time is write a book about my illness and how it started, and how it was to be floridly psychotic, and how I recovered from that state. I do not know if I'll ever do that. I want to do it, but for one thing, I waited too long to get most of my medical records from my hospital stays and they would likely not exist by now. So a large part of the record I would be needing to use is gone. I also lost all of my journals when I threw them into a dumpster years ago, thinking the Illuminati would be using them against me in a concentration camp. So I don't have those either. I might still work on a book, but the idea of getting one published is pretty difficult to conquer. I'm not sure I could do that. But we shall see. In the mean time, there are other books, some of which I recommend on the Frequently Asked Questions page at the top of this blog and there are films like these two, People Say I'm Crazy, and Out of the Shadow.

One of the hardest things about illnesses like Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder is that, when you're in the thick of it, you can't really describe it to people. You become too sick to even know you're sick. And you don't know you need help, or if you do, you don't know how to explain what kind of help you need or where to find it. They're very isolating illnesses, and a lot of people lose their lives to that fact. I hope that this blog, in some small way, sheds light on these illnesses, and that it helps explain what I've been through so that people who have been through similar things can know they're not alone, and so that people who have never experienced it can come to understand at least a little bit. I hope it has accomplished that much.

In the beginning of the film, Cadigan talks about symptoms, and they are so similar to symptoms I experienced, thinking that people were saying things they were not really saying, making threats to me with their hand gestures, and seeing things differently. He forgets to bathe and wash his hair; he gets depressed. He feels separate from the world, and he feels that people are out to get him almost all the time. I lived like that a lot. So it is important to me to try to help explain it, as he did with this film.