NAMI Metro Suburban Blog

Being Part of the Change

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  Being diagnosed with any mental illness is, at some point, hard to digest. I was first diagnosed in November of 2009. What may seem odd or strange is that all I felt was feeling of relief. I finally knew what was wrong with me and it was not just because I was some crazy person. I had an illness, a sickness that could get better. On the othe...
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Finding Purpose

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I literally took the long road home to find my purpose in life, and it rode in on a bipolar diagnosis and a lifetime of long-distance running. My discovery road included many twists and turns in order for me to notice what matters most in life, and then it delivered me to exactly where I needed to be. Along the way I learned that what fuels my soul...
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#mindfulness: more than just a trending term

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Mindfulness. I see this word everywhere—on my social media, in the news, in blog posts and articles. Sometimes I feel like as common as this word is, its meaning is starting to get lost. For example, many of the platforms where I see "mindfulness" mentioned are part of the problem. They contribute to the overwhelming proliferation of content via so...
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From Isolation to Advocacy

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A lot of what I experienced at the height of my illness was accompanied by isolation. The year was 2002. And I was at home. The basement walls were moving and I felt the cabinets beginning to open. I was laying on the couch and had the feeling that I would not be able to get up. Even If I wanted to I could not shift my legs into a position to ...
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Turkey, Pumpkin Pie and Giving Tuesday

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The temperatures are finally dropping and the leaves are changing colors. The cool, crisp air lets me know my favorite time of year has arrived. I've been to the apple orchard, gone on a hay ride, and put out Halloween decorations at home. But through all of it I'm really thinking ahead the best holiday of the year. I'm thinking about Thanksgiving....
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The Voice of Change

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Mental Health is a hot topic these days. More people are speaking up, telling their stories and showing compassion for those who struggle. Celebrities like Stephen Colbert, Demi Lovato and Kanye West are sharing their experiences with mental health conditions. Just yesterday, Chance the Rapper pledged $1,000,000 to support mental health services in...
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Say It Out Loud: Are You Having Thoughts Of Suicide

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When I was in college, I talked about suicide constantly. Just saying that word-suicide-in a safe and well-informed space, then saying it again, and again, has completely transformed the way I speak and think about suicidality. If you were in the right place at the right time, you could have walked down a hallway and heard twenty different students...
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Take Your First Step

First-Step
I can say now that I have a mental health condition but back in 2008, that was my secret to keep. I always felt shame and thought that I was somehow different, or less than, those around me. I wanted to explain, to have people understand this was passed down through generations of my family and was not something I controlled. I wanted to speak out,...
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This Year Will Be Different - Six Tips to Stress Less

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Every August, as the back-to-school sales start rolling out, and the temperature drops a few degrees, I start getting the back-to-school jitters. I stockpile accordion folders, 3-ring binders, and gel pens to color-code my notes; I pick out the perfect planner, which will soon hold my entire life together. I try to make use of the advice I get ever...
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What is Hope?

Hope
Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines hope as "desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment or success." Hope is a word we throw around frequently at NAMI. We even use the tag line "Find Help. Find Hope." While attending the NAMI National Convention in New Orleans, the question popped into my head, how would I define hope? Is it the woman sitting t...
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What My Recovery Looks Like

Recovery
Recovery, it has been such an adventure to find my path towards it. I decided to try to take control of my mental health on March 16th, 2017. I have Bipolar 1 and ADHD. My journey towards recovery has been a very short one but very eventful. I started with an idea of recovery that has changed with time. My original goal was to be functioning and me...
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Mental Health and Substance Use - Two Problems, One Recovery

MISA
Imagine how it must feel to be labeled a substance abuser. A substance abuser is discriminated against. A substance abuser is called weak, immoral, incapable of succeeding in society, an outcast and a criminal. Because of the way that substances like street drugs are viewed in our society there is a huge stigma attached to them. They are "criminali...
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Summertime Strategies for Self-Care

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With Memorial Day behind us, summer is officially here and that means for many of us, the next few months will be jam-packed full of festivals, cookouts, beach days and sporting activities through Labor Day weekend. Graduations, vacations, weddings, engagements, parties and household moves are also more likely to take place during the summertime. A...
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Gardening as a Tool to Maintain Wellness

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Feeling a little wilted this season? Add green care to your self-care routine. Green care is defined as self-care where one engages in any activity that surrounds you in nature and green care is completely free. Research supports findings that working in, with and around nature has been shown to provide significant improvements to symptoms in stres...
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The Good in Everything

Good
It's been a little more than a year since I decided to really work hard towards being mentally healthy. It's such a learning process. It's all so new to me. I take my medication and go to therapy and I recently started writing a journal of my daily experiences. I have had manic symptoms for the past couple weeks and I am trying to stay in control o...
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She Said Yes

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  It was at one of our first dates when Nikki told me she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I would not call that admission a test, however I knew that the way I reacted to such an admission would determine the course of our relationship, and even if there would be another date. When I met Nikki, I was no stranger to mental illness. I had b...
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Wherever You Go, There You Are

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At 18, I had it all planned out. I was going to start college in the Honors School of Eastern Michigan University. That would be followed with a job as a middle school teacher. Then would come a husband, children, and of course the puppy and the house with the white picket fence. Yet, here I am, 20 years later, with no teaching certificate and no m...
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We Need to Talk

MHAM
I had two experiences in one day that reinforced how important a few simple words can be. The day began at the Hinsdale Metra Station, where, along with several partner organizations and volunteers, I was offering mental health information, green ribbons and a hot cup of coffee to commuters headed into the City. Most people took what was handed to ...
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Responses

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I find being open about my bipolar spectrum disorder to be very helpful. For many with a mental illness, it feels appropriate to maintain privacy. This decision is your own, and it is made for the sake of comfort and safety. In this piece, I will present some of the responses I have received, the most dramatic of which I will tell first. I was in a...
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Why Join NAMI

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The reason I joined NAMI was simple - I was singlehandedly going to change the world and its perception of mental illness. Easy enough, right? I had recently had an experience with that dreaded " S word " (stigma) and decided that since I was blessed enough to have found my way to recovery, it was my job to show the world the real face of mental il...
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