Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspiring Words

I love this quotation. It's a great reminder when you might not be feeling your best. A year ago I could not have imagined all the success I am now experiencing with my blog. I feel that it is nothing but God.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Root Article

I'm published again!

This time in The Root, an online publication geared toward the black community. It was founded by Harvard University's Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

I wanted to be published in a black publication. But I haven't heard back from Essence or Ebony magazines so I'm glad to have gotten The Root.

You can read my article here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Future Mental Health Plans

I'm at a very exciting point in my career. In fact, I already have a career. I've been an educator for seven years and have a Master's in Education. But inspired by my experiences with bipolar disorder, I've decided to go back to graduate school for Social Work. I don't want to be a social worker per se. There are a few careers that do interest me though: a mental health care advocate, a group clinician, or an emergency room crisis worker.

I'm also hoping to turn this whole bipolar thing into a part-time or full-time gig. I'd love to be a bipolar spokesperson. I'm young, energetic, educated, and lucid. I want to be the person the news interviews when they're discussing bipolar disorder.

A college classmate suggested I write a children's book for children of color on mental health. The funny thing is that when I was in high school I thought about writing children's books. The idea of writing for young people still holds some interest for me. But not right now. I need to plan my time wisely. My big goal that I wanna focus my energy on is going back to graduate school in a year. I know it's going to be hard, teaching full-time and going to school part-time. It'll take me four years to finish the degree part-time.

I'm also interested in mental health policy. When I was in the hospital last year, I had a severe skin reaction to one of the medicines they gave me. It burned like a sun burn and peeled like one too. It was on my face. Don't you know I couldn't get a dermatologist to see me? They limit the number of consults you can have on the behavioral health unit. Last year in the hospital I planned on going before Congress to argue that not all cosmetic procedures should be elective, meaning insurance doesn't cover it. If you have a mental illness (even if you don't), physical beauty can seriously hamper your self-esteem. I've now had two skin reactions from psychiatric medications. The cystic acne flare-up made me feel like a freak. I had to have cortisone injections directly into my face to shrink the cysts; the injections were painful.

NAMI's (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has an advocacy page that gives you options of how to become involved politically. When I have more time I'm going to check it out.

I'm so glad that I've found a second passion in mental health (my first passion is education and teaching).

Literature Workshop Summer Camp

For the past three years (this summer will make four), I've taught a 5-day literature workshop summer camp for elementary-aged campers. Grades 2nd to 5th. I teach high school English during the school year, but my master's is actually in elementary education.

I've worked at the following grade levels: Kindergarten, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 11th, and 12th. High school is definitely my favorite. The students can have adult conversations. And I find the curriculum more interesting and stimulating for me.

Although I do miss elementary school sometimes. But not enough to do it full time. You have your students all day and can't even take a bathroom break!

This is where summer camp comes in; it gives me a nice dose of the little ones. I usually teach one or two sessions (5 or 10 days) during the summer. I'll be teaching summer camp soon: July 21 to August 1.

 My camp supplies: pencils, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, notebooks, construction paper, paint, yarn, post-it notes.

A list of all the topics I cover in my camp. I treat it like AP English! I've found that the campers rise to the occasion.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm Not A Doctor, Nor Do I Play One on TV

Last week the nurse told me that during the weekly meeting the providers have to discuss the patients I was brought up. Some of the therapists felt that I was trying to pawn myself off as a professional via my blog. She told me that she said that she didn't think that was what I was doing. She spoke on my behalf and I am grateful. She said that I am a consumer sharing my personal experience. I am glad that she defended me.

To say that I was upset and frustrated by these comments would be an understatement.

I have never misrepresented myself! The only degrees I have are in Political Science, African American Studies, English and Education.

But I do feel that I am more qualified than most psychiatrists and therapists.

  • I have lived intimately with bipolar disorder for seven years. 
  • I am an expert in me and how I respond and act when both depressed and manic. 
  • I know how I respond to medicine. 
  • I know about the side effects for the medicines I've had to take. 
  • I can list the symptoms of the disorder with my eyes closed. 
  • I didn't need to study the disorder in a book or take a class to learn about it. By the luck of the draw, I was born bipolar.

One of the patients said it sounded as if the therapists were territorial. I agree.

And for this exact reason, I will be going back to graduate school for Social Work. The credentials give you credibility and validity.

I will be both a consumer and a provider.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Huffington Post Article

My first blog post was published today to the Huffington Post!

You can read it here.

Please leave a comment and become a "fan." Also, please share it widely on your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

Thank you in advance!

You can check here for the archives of all my future articles. I plan on blogging once per week.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Writing Updates

I have great news!

Over the past few weeks I've contacted about a dozen publishers.  I've heard from three: Glamour Magazine, CNN, and the Huffington Post.

I submitted Op-Ed's to The New York Times, NPR, CNN, and the Huffington Post.

I wrote about the following: the need for bilingual mental health workers, the link between creativity and mental illness, the misconception that the mentally ill are violent, and how to recover from a hospitalization. They're all really good, if I must say so myself! I'll be sure to post them on my blog once they get published.

I should know in two weeks if the newspapers will be publishing my writing.

The last great news is that the Huffington Post has invited me to be a blogger for their website! I'm going to see if I can blog simultaneously on here and the Huff Post. If I can't, it'll be double the work to create two blogs.