Favorite Mental Health Related Books

I’m not great at reviewing books but I thought I’d at least but together a list of books that I’ve enjoyed and have helped me in with dealing with my mental illness.

These are non fiction, with the exception of one

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Here are some of my favorite mental health related books

Hearing Voices, Living Fully by Claire Bien 

Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi 

Bulimia a Guide to Recovery by Lindsey Hall

The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolyn Costin 

What a Life Can Be: One Therapist’s Take on Schizoaffective Disorder by Carolyn Dobbins, Ph. D

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey 

Maintaining Recovery from Eating Disorders by Naomi Feigenbaum

Coping Skills: Tools and Techniques for Every Stressful Situation by Faith G. Harper 

The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney (graphic novel)

The Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder 

also, anything by Geneen Roth relating to eating disorders is good 

 

Here are some workbooks that are very helpful:

The Dialectical Behavior Skills Workbook for Bulimia by Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher and Michael Maslar

The Bipolar Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz

The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook by Carolyn Coker Ross

Thoughts and Feelings, Fourth Edition: Taking Control of Your Mood and Your Life by Matthew McKay Ph. D, Martha Davis Ph. D and Patrick Fanning 

 

Fiction Mental Health Books:

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awake and Alive

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The above image is a sketch I did a few months ago.  I really enjoy nature! 🙂

 

Hello!

I know my posts have been very sporadic and not very interesting.  I had some serious struggles with my mental health the past several months and am going through med changes and adjustments.  I’m beginning to feel normal and actually happy for the first time in quite awhile.  I’m able to sleep too which is always nice!

Right now I’m reading a book called Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (6th Edition)  It’s very interesting and strange at the same time.  I’m reading about this stuff and looking back and seeing how things progressed over my teen years to the first major episode when I was 18.  I had no clue back then, didn’t recognize any of the signs and symptoms as they slowly crept in.  Even years later I had trouble figuring out how it all happened,  to me looking back it seemed like all the sudden I lost my mind but that’s definitely not how it actually occurred.  There were major signs and problems leading up to the onset.  Things I could never explain or even knew there were terms for.  Even up till now I’ve always assumed in addition to the schizoaffective I was just a really bizarre person but they were actually signs and symptoms I wasn’t aware of.

I don’t feel disoriented right now, I feel peaceful.  I really am hoping this lasts.  I’m feeling motivated to get back into my artwork as I’m able to concentrate now.  Trying to do things to take care of my mental health.  Staying in somewhat of a routine at least with sleeping and eating.  Getting some exercise and going out of the house everyday, cleaning, keeping up with personal hygiene, doing things I enjoy. Yes, personal hygiene.  That’s embarrassing to say but it’s a struggle with many mental illnesses and tends to really decline when a person isn’t doing well.

So, I hope to start making posts at least somewhat regularly.  I hope my readers are doing well!

I also wanted to share two links that I’ve found helpful to refer to when struggling with hearing distressing voices

https://www.rw.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/hvnwa-coping-stratigies-poster.pdf

http://www.hearing-voices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Hearing_Voices_Coping_Strategies_web.pdf

 

 

 

I’ve Come to the Conclusion…

That it’s important to take my meds. It’s also important that I keep up with my day treatment program and appointments.

I have been trying to deny this for a long time but the fact is I have a mental illness. It doesn’t matter what it is called. It impacts my life in various negative ways.

I have a long way to go to reach a good stable period but that’s what I’m aiming for.

Time for positive thoughts, time to make a drastic change in my lifestyle.

 

These changes start tomorrow.

  • No giving into or dwelling on urges to cut, or drink cough syrup.
  • Better hygiene
  • Positive thinking
  • Taking my meds
  • Being honest with my treatment team
  • Use coping skills to get through difficult feelings (color, journal, pray, play with cats etc)

    In a months time I will be living in my own apartment for the very first time, time to get my **** together

Recent Hospital Stay {trigger warning}

I was recently in the hospital following a suicide attempt.

Long story short, I was inpatient for about a week and my meds were increased now I’m home.

If you don’t know, I have Schizoaffective Disorder.  The paranoia and depression was really wearing me down.  Sometimes you don’t even realize anything’s wrong until you get to that point.

I started working through a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) book I got awhile back and it seems to be helping me  a lot.  My anxiety levels are much better now and my mood feels a lot more stable.

Also starting therapy at a local clinic, I just moved here and it took awhile to get set up somewhere.

If you’re feeling suicidal please talk to someone or ask for help, life is to precious to be doing the stupid things I’ve done like overdosing for example.  There is help out there, you may have to push to get it and it may take a lot of work on your part as well but you can do it.

Inpatient Tips

I have been having trouble coming up with posts to make which is why I haven’t written anything new in quite some time.  I guess I’m just not that creative, so if anyone has any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.

This topic came to mind today and I felt it is important to go over.

I have been in psych hospitals several times starting when I was a teenager.  Both voluntarily and involuntarily.  If you have the choice, choose to go voluntarily.  You get treated pretty much the same regardless at the hospital but the police will likely treat you like a criminal if they have to bring you there.

Here are my tips:

  • Bring clothes (stuff that doesn’t have strings attached) bring something warm because most hospitals are cold.
  • Don’t bring any sharp stuff
  • Participate in group.  You generally have several groups a day, at least that’s how the hospitals around here are.  Make sure you are active in them.  If you’re there involuntarily they will be looking to see your progress in the groups.
  • Advocate for yourself.  If you feel like something is wrong don’t hesitate to talk to the director of the program about your concerns.  I once had an incompetent psychiatrist who tried to get me sent to a residential facility even though I was doing 100 times better and it was only my first time being hospitalized and all the staff members agreed that I was doing much better.  Thankfully he discharged me once I was there for the max time.
  • Bring something to read.  There are several hours in the day where you aren’t doing anything, a book can help you escape mentally and make the time go by faster.
  • If your doctor says they’ll put a hold on you if you decide to sign yourself out (if you’re there voluntarily) listen to them and just wait until they decide to discharge you.  The last thing you want is to be there on an involuntary status, it will just keep you there longer.
  • Take the meds they give you, complying with the treatment is a big part of recovering.  If you have issues with any of your medications be sure to voice your concerns to the doctor.
  • Do NOT start dating another patient you meet there.  It is not the place nor time and you each have your own problems you’re trying to resolve.

I’m just putting down things that come to mind right away when I think about my inpatient stays.

It can be a wonderful experience.  Take advantage of the therapy and groups.  Get the help you need and most importantly be honest with your doctor.  If you’re not feeling better, don’t tell them you are, tell them the truth so they can help you.

Your Illness Doesn’t Define You

It’s common for people to say things like “I’m Bipolar” or “I’m Schizophrenic” but I think a better wording would be something like “I have Bipolar disorder or “I have Schizophrenia” Now, you can say it however you want but what’s important is what you believe behind it. Are you just Schizophrenic or whatever your diagnosis is, or are you a person, beyond a diagnosis.  Sometimes we get caught up in our labels, A lot of times people try to label and diagnose every behavior as some sort of episode that is caused by their illness.  It’s completely normal to have sad days, to have a bad week, to get angry, to get a little hyper or over enthusiastic.  That is within the normal range of emotions.  It’s concerning that people want to medicate away any emotions they have, they are part of life, remember that life is full of ups and downs, it’s learning to cope with them that will get you through.  It feels good to experience a full range of emotions and not be totally numbed out, that’s the point of life, to experience it.  Of course your illness is serious and may need medication, but that doesn’t mean it defines you and is all there is to you.

Meds and Weight

So, I haven’t updated in awhile.  A lot has been going on.  Some wonderful stuff and some horrible stuff.  I won’t get into to details as I want to keep that stuff for my private journal but I wanted to make a post about weight gain and meds.  I’m being tapered off a medication, Depakote specifically, due to the weight gain I’ve had while on it.  If things go well, I won’t have to take a mood stabilizer and will just continue with my other meds. Anyway, I have a hard time eating healthy.  I always have but it’s gotten much more out of control, and I think part of it is from the Depakote.  I’m ravenous.  I realized how bad it was getting when I started eating so much I had to start purging once in awhile because I felt physically sick from the amount of food I ate.  I started fresh yesterday attempting to eat healthier, I know this is gonna be difficult but I think once I’m off this med it should be a little easier.  What are your experiences with meds and weight gain?

Accepting That You Have a Mental Illness/Being Med Compliant

I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that I have a mental illness, specifically the Schizoaffective/Bipolar part,  The anxiety/and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are a given, but the things that happened when I was manic or psychotic seem so unreal now that I’ve been stable for some time..  I look back at it and it just seems so obscene. Sometimes I wonder if what happened was a singly crazy episode that will never happen again.

I also have a hard time with the idea of being on meds, I always think I should stop them because I feel great and am doing very well in life, but like my doctor and family always say, it’s because of the meds I’m doing so well.  Nobody wants to be reminded that they have a disorder every day and that’s what happens every time I get my meds out,  I am trying to learn to not think about it, just accept it as part of my life and move on.

Have you accepted that you have a mental illness?  Do you have any issues taking meds?  Feel free to share if you would like to in the comments/

You Can Succeed

Well, the title is pretty cheesy but it’s reality,  You can succeed in life no matter what mental illness ails you.   There is help out there, reach out to a school counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist if necessary.  You can get to a point where you are stable, it may take time and several med adjustments but you can accomplish your goals.  Whether it be going to college, learning to draw, learning to play an instrument or getting a job, you can succeed just like any other person, it will just take more time and patience.  I started college right out of High School but wasn’t currently diagnosed with this illness yet and didn’t even make it past the first week due to distracting symptoms.   Now, a few years later, I am stable enough to try again.  I am taking 2 classes and am doing very well in both of them.  What are some of your goals?

10 Quick Tips: Coping With Anxiety

Whether you have a full blown anxiety disorder or not, everyone has anxiety to some extent. Stress affects everyone and in different ways.  Here are some coping skills to help deal with anxiety.

  1. Journaling: This is the one I use most often. It feels good to get my thoughts out on paper.  It’s also a nice way to record and track progress.
  2. Coloring: It’s time consuming and very therapeutic
  3. Doing Puzzles: Crosswords, word finds, things like that plus it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
  4. Stress Ball/Tangle toy: These are both things you can fidget with that can take your mind off what’s bothering you for a little bit.
  5. Tea: Drinking a warm cup of tea or cocoa can be very relaxing.
  6. Showering/Bathing: Again, both very relaxing.
  7. Listening to Music: Even sing if you want to, put on some happy music
  8. Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathe in and out slowly, try to get your heart rate to calm down if you’re having a panic attack.
  9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This entails tightening your muscles for a certain amount of time, releasing, and so on.
  10. Websites: Going on support forums like http://forums.psychcentral.com/  Or really any site like Pinterest, something that takes your mind off things and gets you to focus on something more positive.