Rural Mental Health 911

There I was, minding my own mental health business when someone I know (read my husband of the last 20 years who is growing on me) suggested I travel with him through rural South Africa.  He is doing a review on the state of rural health, whether there are sufficient doctors, nurses and other necessary stuff for health to be delivered in a context where everyone – let alone people with mental health challenges – are vulnerable.  At first I wondered why on earth he would want me, the multiple mental illness disordered someone to travel with him, as I’m not really the kind of gal you can take pretty much anywhere (and who has consistent unreasonable demands that cannot be met).  For example, I was completely outraged that they did not have a cappucino (extra shot of espresso with cream) at a petrol station in the very rural parts of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.  I mean honestly, rural health is a challenge, but no proper coffee?  This could lead to war and I am the most concerned for these coffee poor people. Anyone with mental illness within a 500 km radius is clearly suffering – if you can’t get over your pill hangover with proper coffee what can you do??

More seriously what struck me was a number of stark, non mental health friendly realities that exist in this environment.   Firstly (in no order of priority):  everything is FAR (like really far) and that means that healthcare (regardless of the reason) is difficult if not impossible to access.  If I think about the times that I needed to go to hospital, urgently (cryingly / psychotically etc) needed to see my psychiatrist / psychologist, the mind boggles at how you would access these kinds of services in rural areas in Africa when you are EXTREMELY vulnerable. Second:  I know for a fact (and it’s confirmed by research) that mental health / illness awareness is low if non-existent.  Coupled with this, as we all know, there are also many mental illnesses where insight into your own illness is low (and most likely to be some of the most severe illnesses).  Thirdly:  even when you know you’ve I dunno, felt sad and manic your whole life, and would like treatment, you are likely to be made to feel worse by way of reception from your local family / community / health workers (or all of the above) whom you may or may not be able to access after travelling loads of km’s with money or food that is in very, very short supply.

And then my personal favourite:  let’s assume you’ve been able to jump all these hurdles: if you need to be hospitalised, a “bed” is usually on a first come about to die basis, so if you’re not in the act of death and / or dying there usually isn’t a bed,  an actual psychiatrist on call, or available, approriate medication to treat you with what is often considered to be a rather minor, made-up ailment.   I have personally been told on admitting that I was suicidal and needed hospitalisation that I should come back later.  Insert witty comment here, as I have no words.  This was certainly my experience in urban areas, so I imagine that in rural areas, this must be very, very much worse.  Added to this, Emergency Medical Services in the Province has been known to go on STRIKE.  Yes.  All available ambulances were on a um, go slow.

If I lived here, I would participate in the strike and my own mental health by asking them to put me out to pasture with the cows, and hope that I be struck with lightening as a manner to reset my clearly broken brain and body.  Better than waking up without coffee, to have to walk / hike far to a facility that would be too full, or to be “turned away” by an ambulance that wasn’t working that day.  Am I making fun of this situation?  What would I suggest in this deplorable state of affairs?  I really don’t know.  I don’t know how many people with mental illness live here, what they need, and how we can help and make sure that things change.  After all – we live in the country with one of the most enabling constitutions in the whole world – and further rights that are enshrined in our bill of rights.  Unfortunately though – in the past couple of days, I have seen that this means very little if anything – to people who don’t even have their basic human rights respected, let alone access to health.  We need help, we need to make a noise, and not stop until it changes.  And YOU need to be part of it. African Mental Health Matters Too!  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

Stigma: The Thorn in My Side

Since I was a young child there was a thorn in my side–a thorn in my flesh that penetrated deep into my heart and soul. I couldn’t pinpoint what the prick was or where it originated from, but something was wrong.

As time progressed, more thorns found their way into my flesh pricking me throughout the duration of my life–reminding me I didn’t measure up.

Soon a mental illness cactus threw out its painful thorns of stigma and pierced daggers into my life and psyche. These thorns stuck into my skin permanently with painful reminders of their existence each time stigma resurfaced and slapped again.

Eventually I removed my thorns from my flesh one at a time and gave them back. They were not mine to keep. Upon my thorns removal I realized what my thorns were.

The thorn in my side and thorns in my flesh were shame. Shame penetrated my heart and soul for years and interfered with the quality of my life. I realized after many years that stigma of mental illness caused undue heartache and shame–a shame I did not want or deserve so I gave it back to the originator. I gave my shame to the many people who stigmatize people with mental illness.

I am not ashamed of my mental illness–they are. They may keep their shame and wear it. Shame is not mine to wear.

After I gave back my shame and stopped being ashamed of myself, my mental health improved. It was like a bed of nails was removed from my heart and a light was lit and shone through me. I could see everything clearer. Life was brighter–I was brighter with no dagger like thorns in my side darkening my spirit. I was and am free of the thorns of shame.

I removed the painful thorns, washed off the tarnish and am applying my polish. Too many years of stigma and shame tarnished my soul, so I have a lot of polishing to do. I will not let the reflections of mental illness stigma stain me anymore and I will continue to apply my polish until I shine brightly.

Don’t let stigma or shame tarnish your shine or be a thorn in your side.

Give back their shame.

~Susan Walz

But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.’ (Numbers 33:35 King James Version)

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When Mental Illness Can Be Difficult to Accept

It is difficult to accept when you first learn you have a mental illness. Sometimes it’s a shock when the doctor tells you, but you believe and trust the doctor and begin exploring options towards recovery. What if it’s not a doctor? What if your family is telling you to get help or telling you why certain behaviors make them think you have a mental illness? Will you accept it when your friends or family say you have a mental illness? I have seen some people reject the idea and run from it instead of considering getting a professional opinion.

I can understand why some people have this reaction. When I first looked into the symptoms of Complex PTSD, I was shocked to learn how much of what I thought was my personality derived from symptoms of this disorder. While I learned many of the things, I didn’t like about myself were symptoms, I also learned many of the behaviors and traits I identified with most were symptoms. This was a hard reality to accept. The inner image I had for myself was wrong and I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

It took some time, but I eventually started to accept this new self-image. Certain things were reidentified in different ways, but I am still the person I have always been. This new information only made me understand myself more. I know myself better than I did. It takes time to get to know another person and this is true of knowing oneself. The hardest part is accepting and learning how to move forward. I’m still struggling with moving forward. Most of my life I didn’t have a support system. I have a small group of people now, but the path forward is still difficult.

Anyone who feels their family is attacking them with accusations of mental illness, my advice is to see a professional if for no other reason than to prove everyone wrong. Don’t argue. Offer to see a counselor and get an official diagnosis. Too many mental disorders have similar symptoms and behaviors and it can be hard to determine what is causing certain behaviors. Even from a psychiatric professional, the news is difficult to process and accept. Remember that, despite the stigma, mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and does not make you less of a person. It is one more battle you weren’t expecting, but it can be won. Don’t give up.

Photo Credit: <unsplash-logoPriscilla Du Preez

What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle?

Hi, I’m Chelsea. I drive a minivan.

I didn’t want to drive a minivan. When people learn that I do drive one, they start assuming other things about me. They also assume: I drive slow, am distracted, have no taste in vehicles, have children, will make a bad decision whilst driving because I’m probably turned around yelling at said children, and that I shop at Costco every day.

Now…. some of those things might be true. But, guess what? am not the minivan. I just drive it. am a person. My name is Chelsea. I am not slow, distracted, tasteless, children, bad decisions, or Costco. I am a human and I am also worthwhile.


When you go out into the world, what sort of vehicle do you drive? Van? Jeep? Truck? Bicycle? Bus? Sedan? Train?

Are you large, difficult to turn, and roomy like that van? Are you fun outside but hard on the joints over speedbumps like a Jeep? How about pushy and a bit too high off the ground like a truck? Maybe you can’t really afford much in life or are environmentally conscious like a bicycle.

Our mental health struggles are our vehicles.

Say that you go out to the workplace after a difficult morning, only to snap at someone because they echoed a mean thought your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder chugged and chugged and chugged. That wasn’t you, though. That was the OCD you have to take to work.

What about the night that Depression was your ride? That dark interior, battered trim, and iffy transmission was only how you got to the party, not who came inside.

And let’s not forget the lunchtime meeting you had with Anxiety. Your mechanic still shakes his head over the number of ‘strange noises’ you swear it kept making, the sudden stops, and its refusal to even start when you were at a traffic light.


Thinking about mental illness as a vehicle might make you say, “Well, then, why can’t we just get another car?” Money, mostly. Circumstance. What your insurance will cover. What you need for your size of family, parking space, parking expenses, and (again) budget.

That’s not to say you’re stuck forever in your quirky transport, nor that you can’t address some of its more-limiting issues. In fact, you really need to address them.

-If you are repeatedly blocked from getting the engine to even start

-If you are constantly arriving late

-If you cannot seem to ever get out of the seatbelt when necessary

It’s time to see a mechanic -er, a therapist or mental health doctor of some sort.

No matter the age or condition of the vehicle, they can always help. No, your car will not be the same as when you first unknowingly signed that crappy contract and drove it home -but, do you want it to be?

And, sometimes, you do get a different ride. Sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse. But, the car you drive is still not you.

You are you. Most importantly, you are always the driver. Never forget that.

Photo credit:
Rodolfo Mari
James Sullivan

Tweenager Teachers

For a while, I have not been able to write.  I was consumed by working to save lives (through amazing organizations), buying beads to make awesome jewelry in the future, discovering double chocolate coffee and awesome stuff like that.  And then as to be expected in a comical existence such as mine, life took over me.  It started by my kids being held at gunpoint for their phones, an immediate emergency extraction of teeth (x3), a dose of severe gastro which meant I couldn’t take my medication, followed by being robbed at home, of three of MY most prized possessions:  kettle to make coffee, my NEW phone (that took amazing pictures of my children), and my speakers that lifted me with mom cooking tunes, which usually brought about (never show anyone) mom cooking showstopping dance moves, whilst making supper before my family would usually get home.

At first, I was overcome.  Disabled even.  Angry, sad, a lot of things.  I put my development hat on and argued that crime was a result of so many years of pain, impoverishment and racial segregation and that it would be addressed if we worked harder to address poverty and inequality.  That argument lasted a good three minutes until I profoundly missed my so carefully compiled biscuit baking board on Pinterest, and the opportunity to take a selfie where my ex-phone automatically added lipstick and eyelashes.  Which self-respecting girl with mental illness doesn’t want a phone that makes her look like she has made up on (which she never wears) and makes her look awesome even better than other filter adding apps we’ve come to know and love.  NONE.  No.  We all want to look like we’ve spent hours applying our faces, when in fact, I usually prefer to get up after nine, stay in pj’s ’til five minutes before my family gets home, and then I run and shower and pretend like I’ve been um, clean, the whole day.

If you thought this was enough – the mental illness gods thought they’d add another dose of  “humor” into my life by bringing about an impromptu sleepover of nonstop eating/ talking/walking/playing / loud 12-year-old girls.  x 4.  And I will say that I loved my coordinator of the sleepover – my own 12 years old – less.   But what unfolded, was a number of tweens teaching me what was really important and what I needed to remember.  Being multi-racial, different aged, different voiced, different body shaped, they told me about being bullied for being fat, for having a skirt too short, basically anything that set them apart from others.  Well, these others were pretty unscrupulous – they could even tease you for being thin. They talked about the popular girls who set the rules in the school, who issued nicknames that were scrawled inside the toilet doors of the school.  That was heavily branded on the very vulnerable hearts and minds on whom they were issued.

A lot sounded similar.  A lot sounded like the playground we found ourselves in as people with mental illness.  The loud and silent taunting of ourselves because we are other, too extra, and in my case, much fat, chocolate inhaling someone, who is the most socially awkward person around.  And I realized something as I was talking to them, attempting to offer advice:  the bullies are usually less than those being bullied because let’s just been honest, most of us are in some way socially awkward whether we admit it or not.  And that if we all stood up, mental illness or not, that if we all shouted stop at the same time, maybe just maybe, we’d be able to call out the bullies, and cut what could be and is the most emotionally damaging in its tracks.  Because no-one should ever, ever keep quiet when someone else is made to cry.

For any reason whatsoever.  So instead of being sad, instead of being silenced, or taken out by what life’s dished my way, I am reminded that friends and family are the most important, that material possessions don’t matter, and that being extra is ok.  It’s more than ok.  It makes us better than anyone else. ’cause alongside that extraness is a whole lot of empathy that my tweenager taught me today.  I am reminded of what matters.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.

I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoThought Catalog

The Stigma Bubble – a poem

I once lived in a bubble

the mental illness kind of bubble.

I didn’t know the truth, only what I saw on TV.

Pretending it wasn’t real. Refusing to see

the truth of mental illness and the reality

of its huge prevalence from sea to shining sea.

One day I became the statistic, the one in five.

Forced to learn. Jumped in head first. Took a dive.

I became what and who they stigmatize.

A shameful deplorable vision, right before their eyes.

Surrounded myself with rubble,

a mental illness kind of  muzzle.

Soon became tired of the negative, hurtful stuff.

Learned to survive and thrive. Enough was enough.

I was no longer ashamed.

My new life reclaimed.

There was beauty in knowing the magnitude and scope

of the endless possibilities of a future full of hope.

We must all realize, sometimes it’s okay not to be okay.

It happens to many and you will make it through one day.

~written by Susan Walz

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~Anais Nin

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved

The Wall of Silence

People are afraid to intervene with someone who is having mental health issues or is in crisis. Sometimes it is fear of the unknown and/or a fear of not knowing how to help. They do not know what to do or say, so they sometimes do and say nothing. Nothing and silence hurts, destroys, isolates, wounds and shames.

Silence forms a wall between the people who desperately need help and the people who could help. Silence builds a wall between illness and wellness. Silence creates a wall between life and death.

We should not fear helping people who have mental illness or are suicidal, we should fear what happens if we don’t help them. The lack of doing and saying nothing is not working. We need to help, We need to care. We need to love and support others. We need to talk about it. We need to listen.

We need to make beautiful noises. The silence is too loud.

Image result for silence is the most powerful scream

The Wall of Silence

The wall of silence trembles ferociously as it cries out in pain

and no one comes

no one answers

no one sees

no one cares.

The wall of silence shakes incessantly as it is shamed

from the stares,

the whispers,

the glares,

and the cruelty of their silent words.

The wall of silence







and kills.

The wall of silence prevents







and wellness.

Tear down the wall of silence by

talking about suicide and mental health issues,

sharing your story,

listening to others,

supporting and caring,

and accepting and loving EVERYONE.

~written by Susan Walz

Tear down the walls of silence by reducing the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

Image result for silence is the most powerful scream

One conversation can change a life.

Image result for suicide prevention month 2018

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

So, I will write and share a post every day during the month of September containing important facts, statistics and educational information about suicide and suicide prevention. The name of my campaign is called…

Remember in September.

Today, may be too late.

Prevent suicide yesterday.

Don’t let there be anymore “what if” or “if I only” yesterday statements.

Make your today never become a yesterday you will regret. 

Save lives. Talk about it. Don’t wait. Get help. Don’t let yesterday become too late.

If you have any stories or information about suicide prevention you would like me to share on my blog, please let me know. I would love to share any information you have. Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Together we can do this.

It takes a village…

and this wonderfully beautiful blogging community…


suicide 25

Copyright ©2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved


A New Kind of Stigma

My writer’s ink has literally dried up in the last few weeks.  At first it was a “I’m too busy” thing, then it was a “people are helping me access treatment” thing, then it was a “I’m too happy” thing and then, believe it or not, it was a “I am accepted” thing.  And like the things that are peculiar and do everything in the opposite in Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss, I do not know how to speak or write happy, treatment access, acceptance stuff.  No.  I can write volumes about what is wrong with mental health services, how people are not accessing the life-saving support they need, how discrimination and stigma crush and damage the people who are living with a chronic illness that changes the course of their lives forever.

Yes.  I can describe depression, psychiatric wards and healthworkers who are as sensitive as I am after taking my Serraquel and heading for bed (that’s not very).  And I think I have done that within this very space on The Bipolar Writer.  Amazingly, many of you wrote back and said what can we do, how can we help.  My response a few weeks ago, was that people with mental illness globally should stand up, talk, talk, talk, take action, scream and shout, document and show what’s really happening EVERYWHERE until we see the changes that need to happen.  And we are assured that those changes would be sustained.  I still think that needs to happen.  But my experience – and these niggly things I’ve come across – make me want to add a lot more.

Not only do we need to highlight the darkness, the human rights transgressions and anything that fundamentally affects mental health – we also need to celebrate, and shout loudly about people, organisations, companies, communities that are accepting, that help, that accommodate, that assist people with mental illness.  We need to show that it can be done.  And that the results are awesome where it works.  That we can “function” just as well as our environment allows us to.  No, I don’t believe functioning is on a scale of 1-10 – but rather what is best for a particular person at a particular time, and BUT a lot of that depends on how they’re treated and received.  What they are provided access to.

One example of the acceptance I received was in a job interview.  After a great discussion (which is generally how it goes) I decided after a heave ho in my mind that I needed to disclose that Bipolar lives with me.  For the first time since I was diagnosed a good long decade ago.  That I would only be prepared to work in an environment that was accepting of that.  And that Bipolar wasn’t a matter of running between two poles of sadness and happiness, as I’m built for comfort not for speed (and that would be exhausting).  More seriously, I said that my wellness at work was dependent on the relationship with the employer, and not “special allowances” but rather an understanding of where I am, what I need, and what would contribute to wellness going forward.  That my treatment team could participate (obviously without disclosing anything) in analysing and assessing what contributes and detracts from staying well.  That it was possible.  And even more importantly, that I was so, so, so worth it.  I have never believed that a day in my life.  Never.  Until now.

I don’t know if I got the job yet.  Maybe they were just being nice… I am, based on experience, skeptical.  But they have given me something I could not pay for already.  The belief that that a world where I – and people like me – can be accepted, loved, happy.  What can we do?  What can we change?  Our minds, our behaviour, our reception of people who are vulnerable, of people who need help, no matter what affects or ails them.  And, maybe, just maybe, we can do that with a smile on our faces.  I’m going to.   Be part of those who support us as opposed to those don’t.  I am 4M’s Bipolar Mom.

Olena Sergienko

Owning the Shame

I’ve wanted to talk about shame for a while, for shame and mental health tend to walk hand-in-hand, yet I haven’t known how to address it. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition or illness has also experienced the ‘shame’ that comes along with it and it is this which I want to talk about today, for I no longer believe in shame. Uh-uh, not a bit.

My history with mental health goes back over ten years, prompted by a violent incident in a park and escalated by years of abuse (which I speak about here, if you’re interested: The Adult Looking Back). The earliest memories I have regarding my mental state at the time (depression and anxiety, FTW) pertained to how my mother reacted to it and her default reaction was that of shame. It wasn’t outward or deliberate. This was 2006. Despite only being twelve years ago, the world has moved forward rapidly, as anyone born before the millennium can tell you. But back in 2006, mental health wasn’t spoken about in public in any kind fashion. Cruel words were tossed about far more frequently than they are nowadays. If someone heard you had a mental health condition, they assumed ‘the men in white jackets’ were on their way. I still hate that phrase to this day. Henceforth my mother decided that my diagnosis would stay ‘in the family’ and the given reason for my rapid change in mood was ‘stress’. The exam period at school was coming up and I was under a lot of ‘stress’.

Good friends, I was not merely stressed. I was suicidal. I was a fourteen year-old planning the quickest and easiest way to die. But even the mention of suicide doesn’t shock people into kindness. It didn’t then and, sadly, it doesn’t now. If mental health walks hand-in-hand with shame then suicide and the word ‘selfish’ are best buddies. I cannot tell you how many disagreements I’ve had with misinformed people who believe suicidal people are just selfish.
My mother didn’t even want to talk about suicide. It wasn’t something she was comfortable with (still isn’t) and as such, she didn’t want it in her world. That part of me was so shameful it couldn’t even be spoken aloud.

But depression and anxiety are not the only the mental health conditions I have suffered from. There are three beings in my marriage; my husband, myself and my good old friend, OCD. OCD and I have been trotting along through life together for many, many years. For several of those years, OCD disguised itself so I wouldn’t recognise it was there. It’s a marvellous shape-shifter. It still catches me out these days, even though I know what its ugly face looks like.
You’ve no doubt heard of OCD, with your earliest hearing of it pertaining to people who wash their hands too much (me) or who have to check the door a thousand times before leaving the house (also me). Unlike other mental health conditions that’ve only been making appearances in public conversation in recent years, OCD is well established. People have been talking about being “a little OCD” for years. It’s become an excuse for someone’s extreme cleanliness or any odd habits. “It’s just my OCD!” In fact, people are so comfortable with OCD they laugh it off when I tell them I have it and insist that I don’t.

I will write a post about my OCD in full, so fear not if you’re interested in that story. I want to show you a snapshot of a time in my life when OCD was not at its worst, but gaining momentum: The house was old, there was bound to be lead in the paint. The paint would kill my baby. Had my husband washed the cups up properly with a fresh sponge and dried them with a clean tea towel? Actually, did he remember to hang the tea towels inside so no bugs could get on them and make me ill? Did I actually shut the fridge door or did I only think I did? If I hadn’t, the food inside wouldn’t be fit to eat and I’d have to go without. But if I went without, the baby would go without, too, and maybe it would die! But if I ate the bad food, I’d get ill…and the baby could die! I could go to the shop but then I’d have to go on the germ-riddled bus and touch germ-riddled money and how could I wash my hands before getting back into the house? Everything I’d touch – my bag, my keys, the door handle – would be contaminated! I’d have to disinfectant everything! But then I’d have to touch the cleaning products and what if inhaling their odours hurt my baby?

I hope you can tell, via that small inset of thirty seconds in my brain, how easy it is for OCD to spiral completely out of control. You’ve probably noticed that I try to fix things; the food is bad, buy more. The door is contaminated, clean it. The cleaning products are dangerous…the next step would be to ask my husband to clean it, then himself and throw the towels into the washing bin. But occasionally the situation could not be fixed. Once I ate half a sandwich without realising the bread had started to go mouldy and fell into a depressive state, convinced I was going to lose my baby. OCD latches on to what you fear most and, during that period of my life, it was miscarriage/stillbirth and after she was born, it became SIDs. OCD is a shape-shifter and, if you don’t recognise it for what it is, because it is clever, it becomes an instigator of shame. I was terribly ashamed of myself. I considered myself to be a relatively intelligent woman, so why was I convinced that a tea towel could hurt me? Why didn’t I trust myself to close a fridge like I did every day? Why didn’t I realise that it was all in my head? I was so ashamed of myself that I decided others would be ashamed of me, too, and refrained from telling anyone my problem. But the time the problem was realised and addressed and I was sitting down to my first therapy session, it was five days before my due date.

Shame has accompanied my mental health every step of the way and, frankly, I’m fed up of it. I do not feel ashamed by my past or by the mental health issues created. I’m at a place in my life where I feel the time is right to own them. I like to tell my stories not because I am looking for pity (I cannot abide the idea of pity) or sympathy but because it allows me to own them. My mental health took as readily as it gave. While my mind fought to protect itself, sacrifices were made along the way. I missed out on opportunities I could have taken, places I could have seen and people I could have met. Of all that is on Earth, time is the most irretrievable and the most bitterly lost. But as those experiences were lost, I was saved and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Back when I was fourteen and researching suicide, I came across a page no doubt many of you have encountered. It told me to stop and to think. It pointed out all the things in life that I likely hadn’t experienced, from trivial things like my favourite ever song to the love of my life. Potential was out there, but only if I stayed around long enough to let it find me. I hold that memory very close to my heart and am eternally grateful to the person who created that page. It allowed me to accept that, yes, this was my life now and these things were happening, but everything in life is temporary and I will see the sun rise again. I prayed for strength every night and, as is clear, I did not die one night in 2006. Nor any day in 2008, when I tried again, or in 2016, when I so desperately believed that my baby deserved far better than me.

I could easily banish those years, hell that entire decade, to the dark corner of my mind where bad stuff tends to gravitate, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided to embrace my past. What happened happened and led me to where I am now. I am not ashamed that I was swallowed by a depression prompted by years of abuse. I am not ashamed that OCD ate up the best parts of my pregnancy and the first year of my child’s life. These dark plights upon my record are mine to own and own them I do.

My name is Lola Deelay. I have experienced depression, anxiety, suicidal inclinations, PTSD and OCD, these are my stories to tell and I am not ashamed.

Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash

Tears of Stigma—Listen to Our Cries

Cancer they empathize,

but don’t hear my cries.

Heart disease they empathize,

but won’t see my cries.

Diabetes they empathize.

but hide from my cries.

Even the flu they empathize,

but are afraid of my cries.

 Mental illness cries

they do not empathize.

Instead we’re blamed, biased and shamed

for having an illness we did not cause.

Mental illness survivors deserve much applause.

Accept, understand, and sympathize,

show respect, support, love and empathize.

Please listen and hear our mental illness cries,

so stigma will end and we can overcome, conquer and rise.

~written by Susan Walz

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved