Showing posts with label mental illness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental illness. Show all posts


10 Newspaper articles on Homelessness, Crime and Mental Illness

10 Newspaper articles on homelessness, crime, and mental illness

  From 2005 09 14 to 2006 10 24, I worked as a columnist for a small street paper,"Our Voice." The writers made very little money while vendors (usually homeless people) sold the paper for extra monies. Our audience was around 6,000 people within the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada region.

  The paper focused on,'empowering the marginalized' often spreading awareness on the subject of homelessness, and other relevant social injustices.

  Although the following 10 articles are over a decade old, their content still remains worthwhile. Thankfully I was able to scan the following articles into PDF's, and share the links via my Google Drive. Simply click the link below the pictured article to read the article. And thank-you again for your interest. 

2005 09 14 - (mental illness) Lifelong Learning for survival

2005 11 11 - (Rememberence Day) Destiny may choose un-willing and fearful to become next Hero

2005 11 11 - (Edmonton - City of Champions) Are you a champion?

2005 12 16 - (Homelessness) True Champions Found within our city

2005 12 16 - (Social Injustice) Size of one's heart measured by others' perspectives

2006 01 26 - (Fictional Story - Homelessness) Earth or Mars, survival dependent on heart of many

2006 03 10 - (Life & Philosophy) Sorry there are no answers, only resolution, love and faith

2006 04 27 - (Horrible Teenage Crime) Crime and the Will Conley effect

2006 07 09 - Black Foot Donald crosses dimensions The Dance of man vs himself (part 1)

2006 10 24 - Destiny in motion The Dance of man vs himself (part 2)


Standing Up for Mental Illness

Standing Up for Mental Illness

  If you have just one message to convey in a medium such as YouTube - how would you proceed? Is it simply enough to display a poster with your message written on it - to force the viewer to engage the video enough to read your message?

  Probably not, YouTube is already saturated with people telling their story through written cue cards. A single message would be nothing less than a reason to click unto the next video.

  I chose an unusual tactic; I stood for 4 hours, 5 minutes, and 9 seconds holding a poster that read,"Living with mental illness is painful enough...without the judgement," for my YouTube video.

  All that standing is the point, I wanted to take an unusual amount of time impressing my message upon the viewer. I wanted the viewer to mention my video to others, and how I took an un-necessary excessive action to make my point. Surely I did not need to stand there for 4 hours - 15 seconds would have been more than enough time for any one to read my poster.

  I don't expect anyone will watch the whole 4 hours, but I suspect some will see the video player timeline of 4:05:19 and wonder what am I doing for all that time. And subsequently start skipping through the video timeline.

  I think, its a video that is not only unique but also invokes thought. And making people think is part of spreading the message.

Living with mental illness is painful enough ... without the judgement

"What do you do (what do you do for a living)?" It's the question that strikes terror into my heart. I usually reply with, "I live on disability for anxiety, and depression."

  I do my best to hide my escalating anxiety as I wait to see if they accept my answer with approval or they decide to further interrogate my position.

  If they decide to go through with the interrogation, it becomes a most nerve wrecking experience. One were I'm forced to face feelings of shame, guilt, and my many insecurities. There have even been a few people who have verbally assaulted me with condemnation upholding the theory that I am a parasite enjoying the vacation of a lifetime at tax payers expense.

  Do people not realize that I have been assessed, tested, and diagnosed by a multitude of doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and counselors?  Or are they quick to forget that working 9 to 5 requires a certain degree of emotional and psychological stability. Not to mention coping skills that allows one to effectively deal with social interaction, and the stresses associated with work demands.

How I really feel

 I remain psychologically fragile, which brings into question just how much about myself I should reveal in a public forum. My esteem, and confidence can and have been devastated with a single negative comment.

  But this blog post is my contribution to society; the sharing of my experience with mental illness for the benefit of others. However, there remains an inherent reluctance within me to share my plight for fear of judgement.

  During my worst moments I have felt as if I were the ugliest, and most worthless man on Earth. Its an awful feeling. It feels as if no-one would ever perceive any true value within me. Like I am genetic garbage that falls short of all the qualities everyone else values and shares.

  Not only do I feel socially awkward in the company of others, I also feel a real disconnect with people. A lot of that disconnection can be traced back to being bullied in high school (My Blog about how bullying impacted me).

 Its truly difficult for me to explain this,'disconnection' with people in general. Part of it is that there is a lot I simply don't understand about people, and conversely a lot people don't understand about me. Often I've felt like an alien in this world. A lot of times I simply feel as if people are naturally dis-interested in me and I am under appreciated.

  I find it increasingly difficult to make friends, although I do have a few good friends of which I trust. I fear that if people learn about me in my entirety they will look down upon me with contempt and/or disapproval.   

  I reckon this would make a fantastic online dating profile (joke).

  These are just a few of the thoughts associated with my ongoing depression. This is my existing state while I face the world of which I'm part. However, I do my very best to conceal my damaged self in my day to day life.

Anxiety, Paranoia, and Worry

  My anxieties and subsequent paranoia motivate me to avoid certain social situations. I really don't feel safe in public alone without my wife or a friend. Anxiety also interferes with those things of which I wish to do, like working-out, going swimming, my daily routine of cleaning myself up.

  Simple tasks like taking a shower become a real chore for me, I think about undressing, getting my new towel and clothes ready, all the body parts I have to wash, drying, putting my new clothes on, fixing my hair, shaving, brushing my teeth - ugh! 

 Many times I find myself lost in indecisiveness, should I work on this or work on that. There's no shortage of things to do. And too many times I find myself paralyzed with mental anguish, confusion, and being overwhelmed.

  Last summer my anxiety was so bad day after day, week after week that I simply could not relax. It would start in the morning with a rapid heart rate, and a deeply uncomfortable emptiness in my chess (which could be best described as an electrical storm of stressed nerves) which would eventually become tolerable in late afternoon. It was the worst summer of my life.

  I'm no stranger to panic attacks, which have lead me to the hospital a few times, and an eventual cardiac stress test (I learned that my heart was indeed healthy).

  Because I don't respond well to stress I have had many sleepless nights tossing and turning, praying that I'll eventually sleep. 

  I have too many worries, I worry about bills, money I owe on credit cards, my health, the mess in the house, what my step son is doing, my relationship with my daughter, crime in our low income neighborhood, my wife who needs to be on oxygen, and has a crippling arthritis, and whether the future will be good or not.

  I even worry about what time I have left on this Earth, and what i should do with that time.

  There have even been many times, when I have truly felt like I couldn't appropriately take care of myself and considered checking myself into Alberta Hospital (short term residency for the mentally ill). I even have thought that maybe someone should take care of me if I were to find myself living alone.

  Because my life, at times is barely tolerable.

  Please understand that this post is not a plea for help or advice. But rather this is a snap shot of my life with mental illness. There are other issues and challenges of which I did not mention because of possible consequences to other people involved in my life. And other challenges which are hard enough for myself to come to terms with.

  More importantly, I don't need the judgement. I'm not a criminal, I have not broken any laws. I don't drink or do drugs. I have achieved a few notable goals in my life. I take care of what I need to take care of. I've done my share of volunteering and helping others. I'm a good husband to my wife. I participate in my therapies. And I strive to be productive in my own capacity. I'm a good person.

  Mental illness is painful enough...without the judgement.

  If your interested on reading my article to do with bullying you can click on the following link;







A guide to surviving mental illness

  I have not updated my blog until now - the reason being is that I wanted my last post,"How being bullied changed my life forever" to get its much deserved attention. 

  And my next post was going to be about proactive ways to curb the bullying problem in schools, but that post has yet to be edited by my friend Mark. That particular post needs to be near technically perfect to be seriously considered by its intended target audience (High-School Teachers, and Principles). 

  However for now I will write my guide to surviving mental illness. This guide will be the product of my suggestions I personally follow within my own life.

  As mentioned in my previous post, I live on disability for chronic depression, generalized anxiety, social paranoia, and Attention Deficit Disorder. I've also had my share of insomnia, and panic attacks. 

  Aside from suffering and struggling with the symptoms listed above, I struggle most with the judgement I face from society, and my own self doubt. The problem is that my disabilities are only visible to those who have lived with me for some time and have consequently witnessed the gravity of my personal struggles. 

  As a result I have been accused of being a parasite in society, and perceived as a criminal who masterminded a disability pension after fooling dozens of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, and nurses, and countless tests and examinations. 

  The reality is horribly unfair, I have suffered enough because of my disabilities - and I'm judged on top of it all. 

  And because of this judgement, I live a lot of my life in shame, and the mentally ill should not have to live in shame. Which brings me to my first point - recognize and accept your limitations.

  1. Recognizing and accepting you limitations. 
  The longest I have ever successfully held a 9-5 job is 2 weeks (my personal best), so it's highly unrealistic that I am going to start working tomorrow and keep a job for the next 5 or 10 years. 

  My limitations restrict me from being part of the never ending working force. It involves a lot of positive self talk on my part, and pushing myself to ignore my paranoia and social awkwardness. It is a truly uncomfortable position for me to hold. 

  That's what I appreciate about volunteering, I can work within my own schedule and comfort, and all of my efforts are appreciated. Best of all volunteering provides the greatest sense of purpose because you give without reward.

  I ultimately settle for odd jobs found through networking through friends and family. 

  Accepting my limitations relieves me of the guilt I would otherwise feel for (quote) not contributing to society. 

  2. Sense of humour. 

  A sense of humour is absolutely critical to survival. It brings great relief and levity to otherwise overwhelming problems the mentally ill face. 

  3. Don't do drugs and alcohol. 

  Whether or not you take my word for it - drugs and alcohol and mental illness do not mix! Even smoking marijuana will become a coping mechanism for boredom, stress, anxiety, and any other emotional problems - soon nothing will seem enjoyable without it.

  Drugs and alcohol will soon define how you miss-manage your problems, your identity, and what you ultimately stand for. 

  The critical point is that it requires a lot of effort, self-awareness, self-examination, and trial and error to properly manage the mentally ill mind but drugs and alcohol will distort all of these efforts. 

  4. Medication and treatment. 

  It's critical for those afflicted with mental illness to take their prescribed medications. However what tends to happen is that the mentally ill start to feel better while on their medications, and consequently stop taking their medications. Of course this is proof that the medication 'was' working but eventually the brain will return to its previous troubled state. 

  And of course it needs to be impressed that psychiatry is very much a process of trial and error. And because of this fact many patients will be deterred from the psychiatric process of prescribing medications - too many pills with too many negative side-effects. 

  In lieu of the above mentioned, all I can suggest is to pursue more testing to target the problem more accurately because once the problem is better understood - the more accurately it can be treated with fewer complications.

  And patients should never shy from changing their psychiatrists, some psychiatrists and patients will never work effectively together. 

  5. Pursue a purpose. 

  The popular ideology of our society is that our job is our purpose in this world. However just because some one does not have a job does not mean they have no purpose in life. 

  My purpose in life is the same as any one else - it's to help and serve others, for a life not lived for others is a life not worth living. 

  Currently I am pursuing my new purpose through sharing my own experiences with bullying, and mental illness.  Perhaps others like me will feel some comfort in knowing their not alone and/or even benefit from my knowledge shared. 

  But my most important purpose it attending to my physically disabled wife, and being a father to my daughter, Raven.

  Personally I think everyone who has suffered because of mental illness should publicly share their experiences. For the public needs to be educated, and too many people like myself feel completely alone and misunderstood. 
  There is great purpose to be found in volunteering and not necessarily through a non-profit organization but simply helping people in your life that needs to be helped. 

  6. Choose your friends very carefully. 

  The most damaging people you can have in your life are judgemental people. People inflicted with mental illness like myself are so fragile that harsh criticism from judgemental people can destroy us to the point of possible suicide. 

  There is a distinct difference between concern and judgement, and people speaking out of concern and simply judging. 

  In judgement there exists little to no empathy for your fellow human being. In concern there exists a wanting for a better life for your fellow human being. 

  Judgement is not proactive, it is simply destructive.

  7. Challenge yourself. 

  If you know me, you know I have a Guinness World Record, and 3 other world records with RecordHolders, and have been published in 2 books (one being the, Ripley's Believe It or Not, 9th annual hard cover book). 

  And it all started with documenting my progressive record bests. 

  Challenge yourself academically or athletically or spiritually - every new accomplishment you achieve will bennifit your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence greatly.

   8. Be receptive to input.

  In many things I do - I ask for input from those I trust. It is an effective measure in keeping a proper and effective perspective and balanced ideology. 

  It's a good means to relieving self doubt, and growing as a functional and impacting human being. 

  These are all simply suggestions from my own learned experiences.