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Talking About My Depression

I cry when I am tired or need something to eat. I also cry when things are amazing, all aligned in the world. Basically, I’m a person who’s pretty open to feelings. Despite the predictability of all the tears, my two sons still get concerned when they hear or see me cry. They’re seven and ten now, a bit young for heavy topics unless you happen to live with these short people. Then you realize seven and ten are practically men a good portion of the time.  (more…)

Why Mental Health Recovery Can Take Years

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I get messages from people all the time about my work. Many times, they’re looking for advice on how to help a loved one with mental illness. Sometimes I feel that, through me, they are trying to find some magic cure that can help immediately. The only advice I give is to be there and, above all else, give it time. That can be hard to come to terms with when your world seems so chaotic, but time is truly the only thing that can heal in situations like these.  (more…)

We’re All Mad Here: Claire Eastham & Anxiety Recovery

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Come on, you can do this. Just keep it together. You’ve been practicing all night, you’ll be fine. Why haven’t they arrived yet? This room is too small. Oh God, it’s happening againHeart is racing and chest is tight. Why can’t I move my arms properly? I won’t be able to speak, I’ll faint. I’m going to make a fool of myself. I have to get out of here now.

This is the day I walked out of a job interview, moments before it began. I say “walked,” but it was more “frantic run.”  I really wanted this job.  But, instead of getting the job, what I got was a panic attack, the worst one of my life.  (more…)

Having Hope After Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

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This is the story of Shireda Thorpe.

As a youth, Shireda Thorpe craved attention. One sure fire way to get attention, she realized, was to do things that got her into trouble. Her actions were a cry for help that went unrecognized. For years she acted out on this negative energy. It was all she knew, and it caused a great deal of pain and trouble in her life. She seemed to be running from something, but she didn’t know what that something was.  (more…)

In Discovery With Bipolar Disorder

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“How was the class trip to the aquarium?” asked my husband Steve at dinner that night. “The bus ride was crappy, with all the loudmouthed kids screaming their freaking heads off,” I replied, casually. “But when we got to Baltimore it was better. I was in a small group with one of the dads, and at least he kept his goddamned mouth shut.”

I still remember the variety of reactions around the table. Julie, my fifth grader, who had actually been there with me, looked scared. High schooler PJ barely glanced up from his plate. Our Swiss exchange student, Maurus, looked puzzled. (A lot of things about the US puzzled him. Maybe he thought all American moms swore like sailors.) Steve looked sad, and resigned. Throughout the rest of the meal, my frequent comments were shot through with profanity and negativity—in other words, the new normal for me. (more…)