Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Guest Post #2 - Mental Health Awareness Month - Featuring John Poehler from The Bipolar Battle

1)How old were you when you began to experience symptoms of mental illness

12 or 13

2)Did you have support and seek treatment immediately? If not, why?

I had support, but I did not seek treatment immediately.  Being so young, I

did not know what to do.  Those around me thought I was just being a teenager.  I felt different. 

3)What would you tell your younger self knowing what you know now about

mental illness?

Do not let others minimize the severity of your diagnosis:  bipolar disorder. 

I have heard so many myths throughout the year.  For example,

“everybody is a little bipolar”.  Only a small portion of the world suffers

from bipolar disorder.  It is a real diagnosable illness that has serious r

epercussions if left untreated.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle of daily exercise and good eating.  Exercise is
extremely important to my overall treatment plan.

Self-care needs to be a daily routine.  

Do not falter.  It contributes to a positive quality of life.  

I used to think medication management was enough, but that is not the case.  

You need to find daily activities that contribute to your overall well being.  

4)What do you think are the biggest misconceptions those with mental
illness have to face?

There are so many misconceptions that those suffering with mental illness have to face.
Recently, the big discussion has been about the potential violent

behavior of those with mental illness.  Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they are violent.  In fact, i have read and have seen various articles explaining that the vast majority of those suffering from a mental illness do not have a violent bone in their body.
The book “Gun Violence and Mental Illness” published by the American

Psychiatric Association in 2016, states that those with mental illness represent

only 1% of all gun homicides each year
Another misconception facing those with mental illness is that they cannot function.  
With the proper treatment and support, they can function like anybody else. 

5)How do you feel about the stigma surrounding mental illness?

Do you feel we’ve taken positive steps? In your opinion, what needs to be

done in the future?

I think there will always be a stigma surrounding mental illness to some degree.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1 back in 1999.  At that time, no one

really spoke about bipolar disorder.  It had recently changed from manic depression to bipolar disorder.
It was not spoken about in the public.  There were a few celebrity figures

that were talking about it, but nothing like today.  
Today, many celebrities and well known figures have come forward and
disclosed they are dealing with bipolar disorder.
I feel like the public has received more exposure to the types of mental
illnesses out there.
In that respect, I feel like we have taken positive steps forward.  However,

I do not think people in general know enough about mental illness. Yes, they have

hopefully heard the different diagnoses, but let us educate them further!
For the future, let us continue to educate, but to a greater degree.
What is the reality of mental illness?
How does a mental illness affect the individual suffering from them?  

6)What do you do to get through the bad days?

I recently had one of the worst days I have had in quite some time.
To get through the day, I made sure to take it easy.  I reduced and
eliminated stressors that could potentially make me worse.

Writing helps to keep me focused, so I did a little of that.  I also

watched some movies and relaxed in bed.
To help me further, I broke down the time throughout the day, to
5 and 15 minute time blocks.  When I would get through a block of time,

I would look at the next block and tell myself, “I can get through this”.

7)Do you have any projects that you’re working on that could benefit the
mental health community?
I currently maintain a blog specifically for those suffering from bipolar disorder.  
My goal is to empower those who have it so they can lead a life they deserve.
I have also started a new website focusing on lifestyle and travel.  

One of the topics will be mental health. 
My goal with this blog is to impact those without a mental illness,
so they can see what bipolar disorder is all about.  Also, how it affects my lifestyle.
8)Please give us some of your social media screen names in case
someone wants to get a hold of you.

Twitter:  @BipolarBattle
Instagram:  thebipolarbattle
Pinterest;  The Bipolar Battle
Facebook:  Search for “The Bipolar Battle Group


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