July 2013

No Comments

No Comments

 

I’m so very excited to have joined the ranks of people from all over the world who are fighting hard to remove the stigma of mental illness and mental health issues!

It is truly an honor to be one of so many courageous people who are coming out of the shadows and doing whatever they can to help us move forward; from ignorance, prejudice, stereotyping, and misunderstanding, to compassion and realization that all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity, and that includes those of us with mental health issues.

When I was first diagnosed in 2000 with Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, & Agoraphobia, I felt a great sense of relief to have finally found out what was going on inside of me. It wasn’t my soul, it was my brain!

For many years, I thought my life was so chaotic and unstable because I had a bad character and was “soul sick”.  One day, when I was about thirty, my mother looked at me and said, “Whatever defects you have in your character, they came from your father.” I’ve never forgotten those words. Many times, when I was indulging in a glass of wine and a huge dose of self-loathing, I’d say to myself, “Mother, you’re right!”  I would find out, many years later, that my father’s side of the family had two other members, also diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder: a parent & child. (I’ll write about that in a future post.)

I believe I began to experience depression when I was seven years old. It was lonely enough, being an only child, but from an early age, I yearned to have a family that was more like my schoolmates. I did what a lot of only children do. I created an imaginary big brother, with a crew cut and a letterman sweater. (Remember, this was the 50’s!) I used to talk to him before I went to sleep. It was really hard to get to sleep in the summer, when all the other kids were still out in the street on their bikes, hollering at each other and having a great time, fitting in as much fun as they could until they were called in for the night. Why couldn’t I be out there? Why did my mother make me go to bed a 6:00PM in the summer? I’d learn why many years later.

My mother became a professional singer when she was 18, chaperoned by her mother, the grandmother I’d never have the opportunity to meet.  Mother was a contralto and studied briefly at the Metropolitan School of Opera, but was called home to care for my grandmother, after she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Mother took care of her until she passed a year later, at age 48. After World War II ended, my parents married and my mother  continued to sing on weekends because she was paid well and her gigs were steady. When I was five, she sat me down on her bed one day and told me I was the best thing that ever happened to her and she loved me more than anyone in the world. But she had a temper and I had to learn at an early age how to navigate around her, so I wouldn’t get swatted across the face or sent to my room without dinner.

Mother was well known in our city, and I knew that  she was a person with special talent, but I wanted my Mommy to be home with me on Friday and Saturday nights. Before I was old enough to understand that she really was working, at a real job, I’d get upset when she began applying her makeup, slip into a beautiful dress and fancy jewelry, then leave me alone with my Daddy.  “Mommy, you don’t look like you’re going to work. You always  look like a beautiful princess who’s going to a fancy party.” My heart sank every time she kissed me goodbye. I’d smell her perfume on my skin. She always sprayed a little on me before getting dressed.  I’d follow her from the bathroom, to the bedroom and finally to the door where she’d give me a big kiss, tell me go be a good girl for Daddy, then drive away into the night. I would take the funny smelling glass in the bathroom and rinse it out, then dry it with a towel and put it away. I didn’t like the smell. I knew what alcohol was.  It was something the grownups drank, and if they drank enough of it, they’d start to laugh a lot and sometimes they’d yell and laugh at the same time. And then they’d turn the music up on the stereo, and it was so loud it was impossible to sleep until everyone went home. In other words, they drank, got drunk and acted like kids.  And I knew it wasn’t good for my Mommy to drink that stuff and drive. I’d go to bed and pray Mommy wouldn’t drink too much at the nightclub so she wouldn’t get hurt on the way home. So she would come home to me.

It was hard to sleep. I rarely fell asleep until my mother came home,usually around 1:30 in the morning. Dad blasted Sinatra all night long. I learned all the lyrics to every Frank Sinatra song just lying in bed when I was a kid. Some of his songs were so sad, I’d feel like crying. But, in 1958, my first pocket transistor radio, drowned out The Chairman of  Board, with Elvis, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Fabian, the Coasters, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Brenda Lee, and on and on.   I just wanted my mother to be June Cleaver, but she couldn’t be. She got all dressed up like a princess to put food on the table, give me toys for Christmas, my Buster Brown shoes, my school tuition, my prom dress, and so much more.

At an early age, I understood my mother was the main breadwinner in the family. And I remember my father’s words, during an awful fight, “You sing because I let you!”.

That’s when I began experiencing anxiety.  Too young.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to hear from you. I’d like this website to grow into a place for friends to stop by and visit. Please feel free to share whenever you’d like or feel the need to.

Let’s share our stories and Smash Stigma, Together! God Bless Us All…

Peace of Mind &

Love,

Nana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Goal

Through blogging, I want to share my story, life experiences & give hope to others struggling with mental health issues & the stigma that goes with it.

Although diagnosed late in life, and with many challenges through the years, I'm finally living life fully and gratefully, with my grandchild, family & friends! I hope to make some new friends here.

 

img_1428 img_1445 img_1429 img_1494 img_1468 img_1446

Follow Me


Visit BP's profile on Pinterest.

Resources

Feeling suicidal? Please dial 911 or contact the following:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline toll free:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Veteran's Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-8255

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Psych Central
Mayo Clinic
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Disclaimer

Information presented on this blog is not a substitution for professional medical care and a treatment program. If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder or any other mental illness or mental health issue, please immediately seek the services and advise of a medical doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.