Your words make a bigger impact than you think

April 25, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
makeitok, make it ok

Recently, I submitted a story of my own struggles with anxiety and depression to makeitok.org in hopes of having my story shared with another outlet. I’m proud to say that they accepted the story and it is now published here. But for your convenience, here is my story.

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

Mental illness is no joke. It sucks. Suffering with anxiety, depression, and ADHD has made “adult life” rather challenging. Not to say it was easy as a child either. For me, an always-busy childhood helped keep everything in check. I would spend the school year going 100 miles per hour between school, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Then the summer, I would work six days a week, work out seven days a week, and do all of the AP class preparations and college preparations needed to continue the high octane life I had built. Then when I had the opportunity, I would utterly crash. Zero miles per hour, clutch disengaged, rolling wherever gravity would take me.

After college, I joined a high octane consulting firm to keep up the heat. 15 hour days? On the road 250 days a year? You bet! I still didn’t realize what was going on. Work became my outlet for two years, affecting nobody but myself (or so I thought). Marriage changed that quite quickly. It became very apparent (very quickly) that my all-over-the-place-ness, which I regularly combated with bouts of extreme cleaning and organization or full-on, days long “me” time, was not just affecting me. It affected my wife. And I couldn’t stand to see her hurting like she was. It is easy to have your dress shirts hanging the “right” way, ordered by color, immediately removed from the dry-cleaning plastic when you are alone. It is easy to not have a single dirty dish in the sink when you live alone. No one else is affected by this.

It is so easy to be blinded by naivety when you are only looking at yourself. When others are affected, especially other who you love, that’s when the light of reality shines the brightest. The pain in their eyes is the most haunting sight anyone can envision. When I saw that pain, I knew it was time to act. She kindly and lovingly supported me throughout the process of finding a doctor (even booking me appointments when I was resistant).

She owed (and still owes) me nothing. Her help getting me help saved me. Her undying, and unyielding love saved me.

Years later, she remains my rock. We’ve hit bumps along the way, but she has never doubted what we have, she had never doubted my love for her, and she has never doubted the future we are committed to sharing together. Even through the most challenging of times, she reminds me who I am. She helps me understand who I am. She never lets me forget who I truly am.

Anxiety, depression, and ADHD: they are a part of who I am. I live day in and day out with these illnesses. But they do not define me. I am me. And while they occasionally have more say over my life than I prefer, I will not let them win. Even if I fail today, there is always tomorrow. There is always tomorrow.

How did you overcome this experience?

To overcome is to completely extinguish. I am, and will forever be overcoming mental illness, every single day. Share your story and do not be ashamed that you have a mental illness. There are more of us out there than we know, but who are afraid to talk about it. Your words make a bigger impact than you think. You never know who may be reading, and whose life you may save.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

No matter what happens in this crazy world, there is always a brighter day ahead. There is always tomorrow.

The sunlight shines –
Shines so bright.
After the darkest –
Darkest of nights.
Your tired or fighting –
Fighting this fight.
But tomorrow brings hope –
Hope of new light.

My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Week 4

February 27, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
pebble stack, healthy habits, balance

I’m on a road: a road to developing a set of healthy habits. And as you read in week 3, this is an uphill battle to which I commit myself. I am finding, however, that I am being kinder to myself as I go along the journey – something we all can do a little more of (in my ever-so-humble opinion).

Routine behaviors – healthy habits – are a great way to establish a set of regular practices that carry benefits to your mental and physical health. The goal is to make these a natural part of your schedule – as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning. At that point, these natural activities – your healthy habits – can provide a regular stream of feel-good hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) that keep your mood up, and your mind engaged on positive emotions. Sounds pretty useful. (more…)

My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Week 3

February 20, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
alarm clock, healthy habits, routine

I’m on a road: a road to developing a set of healthy habits. And as you read in week 2, this is an uphill battle to which I commit myself. 

Routine behaviors – healthy habits – are a great way to establish a set of regular practices that carry benefits to your mental and physical health. The goal is to make these a natural part of your schedule – as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning. At that point, these natural activities – your healthy habits – can provide a regular stream of feel-good hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) that keep your mood up, and your mind engaged on positive emotions. Sounds pretty useful. (more…)

What is a Mental Health Technician?

October 26, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
mental health technician, mental health

Zach Good is a Mental Health Technician with a degree Political Science from Penn State University. He also has a double minor in Sociology and History.


mental health technician, zach good, mental health

Alex Hanna: What is a Mental Health Technician, anyway?

Zach Good: A Mental Health Technician, or MHT, is an inpatient psychiatric hospital employee who works directly with patients suffering from mental disorders to verify their safety and ensure that the therapy plans created by the psychiatrists and social workers are followed. That’s a summary for an MHT job description you might find online; but to describe it in simpler terms, an MHT is someone who spends the entirety of the day working with psychiatric patients—facilitating activities on the unit schedule, leading group discussions, addressing patient concerns, and generally keeping the peace. MHTs are a psychiatric hospital’s frontline employees in that they live in the trenches and do everything from serve as informal counselors to take out the trash. I like to say that the doctors make the hospital money but the MHTs run the show [laughs].

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Why Did He Have to Ask A Stranger?

October 22, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
stranger, we listen

Losing the battle with my morning headache I awoke late one morning to see this email from a complete stranger (Names have been changed to protect anonymity), “My 26 year old daughter [Mary] is back in the hospital… As a parent I feel so helpless. Thank-you for helping to bring it out of the shadows. My daughter would rather die than to live with the side effects of medication… help us, please… [John].” (more…)

From a Nurse’s Perspective

September 18, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
nurse, help, support,

A psychiatric nurse, Sue Brammer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ohio State University (OSU), completed a Master of Arts in Health Education from OSU, a Master of Science from University of Cincinnati (UC), and a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing from UC.


Danei Edelen: How did you know you wanted to be a psychiatric nurse?

Sue Brammer: My mother was a nurse, so nursing was a logical path for me. I remember early in college talking to my mother about the fact that nursing didn’t seem to fit. By the time I finished my rotations, she said, I would know. She was right. After I had my psychiatry clinical in 1978, I knew it and I never looked back.

 

(more…)

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