A guest post by Lisa Triche

The Holiday Tune-Up

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

For the start to the holiday season, I'm excited to share a piece with you by my friend, Lisa Triche. Lisa lives a bountiful life that includes managing bipolar disorder. I asked her to share a short story to shine a light on how hard it can be for loved ones living with a mood disorder to face the holiday season. She also identifies warning signs that might indicate trouble is brewing and methods she uses to cope and to keep herself on track. For family members, this is an inside perspective on thoughts and feelings that are sometimes hard for our loved ones to share with us.

She writes, "I tell you this story because like the family reunion that summer, the holiday season is approaching and it’s even worse. It’s 'Hurricane Season.' For people with mood disorders, such as myself, the holidays are comparable to high school reunions, yet with more at stake."

Click the photo to read more. . .

  • 25 November 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2787
  • Comments: 5

My top ten tips for a smooth IEP process

Individual Education Plans or IEPs

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and a great time to think up one idea you could do to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness or to advocate for a friend or family member.

Two weeks ago, I volunteered to go to a local high school and present the NAMI signature program, Ending The Silence, to three sections of freshman health classes. The presentation's purpose is to combat stigma, raise awareness of mental illness and its warning signs, to break the taboo of discussing suicide, and to provide guidance on steps the kids can take if they or someone they know need help.

Twenty percent of youth ages 13-18 experience a mental health condition in a given year. As a parent, you may find yourself in the position of needing to get help for your child from the school.     

Click the photo to read more about IEPs.

There are so many ways to help! Get involved and spread the word. Hope is real. Recovery is real. Help is real.

  • 5 October 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 4415
  • Comments: 5

A guest post by F.D. Raphael

Depression, The Hyperendemic That We Don't Understand

The CDC defines hyperendemic as persistent, high levels of disease occurrence. Figuratively, I would argue that depression is hyperendemic.  Just ask a mother, or brother, or lover of any 1 of 5 people it seizes upon and you will know its contagion; how quickly it can spread throughout their family, and to their friends. . .

Click the photo to read more.

  • 14 September 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2568
  • Comments: 8

And a few words about labels. . .

Meet Dr. Insel, NIMH Director

Tom Insel, M.D. is the Director of the Nation Institute of Mental Health. He's working to change the way we think about mental illness because changing the way we think about mental illness will change the way we treat it.

As with other diseases that over the last several years have seen dramatic decreases in mortality rates, his message regarding mental illness is clear: "Early detection, early intervention is the story for success." There's something that comes along with early detection and early intervention that can be tough for parents and patients alike: a label.

Click the photo to watch Dr. Insel's TED talk, read more about it and to read a few of my thoughts about labels.

  • 31 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 18859
  • Comments: 2
A comment that moved me. . .

Shortly after I published my post entitled Before and After (read the full text here), I received a comment from my cousin, Evelyn. Her words are filled with painful honesty and truth, and I wanted to share them with you. I contacted her first, and she gave me permission. Click the photo to read her comment and my responses, one of which is below:

And let me add, relative to my Before and After post, that I hope my writing never ever comes across as an oversimplification of such a complicated and complex issue. If love could heal mental illness, there would hardly be any left in the world. Every family member of every loved one suffering from mental illness I have met has deep love and respect for their ill loved one. Love alone does not cure mental illness. I believe in our power to positively influence one another, but there is as much or more negative out there as positive and its influence is as great or greater. Plus, love does not cure chemical imbalance and faulty wiring. There is, of course, so much for us to learn and so much to change as we navigate life with mental illness, it's not going to perfect. But I want to apologize here and now if my words came across as making the solution sound like all we had to do was join hands and sing Cumbaya a few times and problem solved! These issues are so multi-layered and complex. The system is making progress, but it is slow and inadequate and too late for some.

  • 26 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2759
  • Comments: 8
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