“It’s a Beginning”: The Journey of Building a Grassroots Mental Health Chapter

January 25, 2018 / Danei Edelen  / 
NAMI, grassroots

“It was good talking to you. I look forward to the meeting” his text said after my phone call with a potential support group participant. “This is really happening,” I said to myself. I was so grateful to [Nick] who had referred him. We just had our first evening support group the Thursday prior. After wrestling with my own mental illness, I am finally at a place in my life where I am able to constructively help other people. These days I often say to myself, “It’s a beginning.”

A lot of people with mental illness are looking for a safe place and having trouble finding it. This is a series about building a safe place from the ground up.

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The Genesis Clubhouse

December 8, 2017 / Matthew Diehm  / 
genesis house

The word “genesis” can vary slightly in meaning and usage; however, its most commonly used to denote a specific thing’s origin or beginning. So for me, on the cusp of my 30th birthday, acknowledging and dealing with what, looking back, felt like such a heavy burden of unintended self-destruction and hopeful “repair”…to be invited to a place specifically called “Genesis House” sounded at once, both intriguing and frightening. Having little information pertaining to what exactly this place was or it’s exact function, not knowing what being a member of a “clubhouse” actually meant and not to mention the foreboding social implications of joining such a place, I found myself agonizing for weeks just to take my first steps into “Genesis House” for a tour. It seemed the more I blindly wondered at the potential benefits of the clubhouse, the more I questioned myself and my will to try again.

The longer I waited, and more aptly, avoided stepping foot into the modest, gray, two-storied building in tiny Fowlerville, MI, the more deluded and anxious my thoughts became. But…I knew that I needed more than just an occasional visit to a therapist. I knew that I needed more than the benefits medication could provide. And what’s more, I knew that I had disappeared into myself for months and with each passing day the more removed from being what I used to call “on track” I became. When I could finally no longer justify my hiding, with support from a peer, I conjured up enough gumption to step out and just…try. Finally pulling up to that modest, gray, two-storied building in tiny Fowlerville, I remembered that the origins, or genesis, of many great things start from modest and humble beginnings. And that’s exactly how I took my first steps into “Genesis House”.

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An Evening of Hope Speech

November 14, 2017 / Danei Edelen  / 
danei edelen, nami, hope

What Began as a Joke, Became My Personal Nightmare

When my husband and I first moved to Brown County, we jokingly called our beloved acreage “Edelen Acres” after Green Acres. Green Acres was an American sitcom starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. A couple from New York City move to a country farm. Recently relocated back to Ohio from Silicon Valley, I did so tongue-in-cheek. Both being high technology professionals, I was in earnest that we could turn our hand at organic farming. But as life would have it, my dream home became the set for my own personal nightmare.

My Mental Health Journey

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Let’s Celebrate A Hopeful Recovery from Dual Diagnosis

November 7, 2017 / Amy Krolak  / 
hope

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are affected by substance use. In addition, 37 percent of alcohol users and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.

Double trouble but there is hope because researchers are looking into the connection between these disorders and Physicians are developing treatments integrating the recovery program and treatment plans. Also, researchers are looking into the relationship between early substance use and the increases in likely future problems with alcohol and drugs. I believe the more we know about something, the better we are able to find solutions. I started on the path of substance abuse as a young teen. I have continued to work through this along with the mental illness conditions I am experiencing.

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Who Moved My Life? Change is Coming

October 16, 2017 / Amy Krolak  / 
change

Why does it seem like just when I have my life figured out, it changes?

One of my first part-time jobs, after my children were all in school, was as a Library Aide at the public library working in the Children’s Division. As an avid reader, I hoped that bringing books home for the kids would propel them into reading even more. During my four-plus years there, many books were read, however not everything in my work was that easy. In my second year, our library went digital and started using PC’s. For those of you like me that grew up without computers, this was scary. My own children were right on the cusp of the internet. One of my responsibilities was a daily shift on the circulation desk. When I first started, we were still using “dumb terminals.” The transition to an Internet-based program and using new tools to do all of the work of the library was met with mixed responses. Boy, did some people resist. To some degree, the age of the employee was directly correlated to the response, as the older workers showed much more resistance. Several of the women I worked with in my department were basically computer illiterate and were okay with that. One of the techniques used by the administration was to hold several seminars and workshops on change. The one that stuck with me was the “Who Moved My Cheese” mindset, based on the book of the same name. There are six steps to move through on your way to acceptance of the changes you are facing.

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Living a Life Uncharted

October 10, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
map, uncharted

We all live a life uncharted. Whether you go through life with a mental illness or not, our lives are always changing and we are always adapting to those changes. We have no way of knowing what tomorrow holds in store, and maybe it’s better that way. The uncertainty brings a certain zest to life that would otherwise be lost.

The journey uncharted

A long road has led me to where I am today: a road full of ups and downs, twists and turns. And to be honest, I never knew where I was going. Sure, I blindly pointed in a direction and walked down a path, but I never knew what was in store for me. I never knew whether the path led to danger or fortune. And the truth is that none of us know. We all walk down different paths in life, not knowing where they are taking us. But because we don’t know what is down the path doesn’t mean we need to be afraid. Life is lived one foot in front of the other. 

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