Creative Questions 9 – Mental Health


CQ9: How has mental health impacted on your life?

When I hear the words “mental health,” I automatically think of someone with a healthy mental state, or advocates for the mentally ill. I do not have a healthy mental state, but I do advocate for those with mental illness, mainly because I have suffered from mental illness since I was a child. I had minor depression beginning around age 10 which lasted until I was around 16. Then again in my early 30s – I was finally diagnosed as Bipolar around then. But I also showed the reckless behavior of Borderline Personality Disorder beginning in my 20s and lasting through my mid-40s. I’ve had Social Anxiety Disorder since my early 30s and suffered Agoraphobia in my mid-30s until my early 40s. I’ve rarely known a time when mental illness hasn’t affected my life. Mental illness even runs in my family on my mother’s side. My mother had some form of it and I had an aunt who committed suicide. I’ve witnessed almost all of my other aunts suffer from depression or phobias.

In the Mental Health community, I was fortunate enough to end up in some really great hospitals, have some good doctors who worked to get me the help I needed and even a few therapists who took the time to understand me and work with me. But there are still stigmas out there about the mentally ill. People think most of us are deranged or dangerous and that isn’t always so. The only danger most of us pose is toward ourselves. And yet anytime something really bad happens, the government and the media always declare that the person or persons was mentally ill. We cannot even discuss our illness in workplaces because we get stigmatized or, as in my case, fired – though I was never directly told it was because I had a mental illness, but I knew why I was fired. And because there isn’t enough knowledge about mental illness, relationships get ruined.

So how has Mental Health impacted my life? Negatively for the most part. My only success in dealing with my illness has come through Mindfulness practice. Without it, I would most certainly be dead.

The Sandbox Writing Challenge #36 — Lonely

For this week, Calen has asked a question that has forced me to stop and reflect – probably longer than I should have, but it was necessary:


What makes you feel lonely?

Most of the time, I don’t get lonely. I guess it is because I am an introvert and I enjoy my own company. It probably also helps that I have all of these voices running around in my head and it often feels like a gathering of friends in my mind. As a middle child who learned early on that is was useless to fight for attention, I was forced to deal with myself. I found companionship in books and music. Even now, I am most comfortable when I am by myself.

I will admit that there are times when I wish I had friends closer to me to spend some time with, like when I was in college and we would go out for coffee and listen to slam poets. When I reflect back on those days, loneliness does sometimes invade my mind. Or when a close friend talks about all of the places she goes with her parents and I realize that I stay at home most of the time, loneliness creeps in then too.

The only other time I’ve ever felt true loneliness was during my marriage when my husband and I moved to OK and I suddenly had no family or friends and had very little of either for the 9 years I lived there. The entire time, I only had two friends – the husband didn’t approve of either and made my life miserable while I was friends with them, which resulted in my ending those friendships. I was only really close to two of his family members – his oldest sister and one of his sister-in-laws. I’ve had very little contact with them since moving back home, so I guess I never formed a real friendship with either of them.

I just find loneliness to be a soul-sucking pity party and I don’t do that very well. If I even begin to feel slightly lonely, I read a book or listen to music or I hop online to chat with someone. It’s better than feeling sorry for myself for not putting myself out there more, but as an introvert, it would suck the energy out of me to do that too.

How about you, dear readers? What makes you feel lonely? Share your thoughts with me in comments.


#atozchallenge – Queen Latifah Inspires Me


latifah-copy__140501191244I am not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop unless there is great music and other singing mixed in with it (like some of Prince, Eminem, and Linkin Park’s songs), but in the early ’90s, I fell head over heels for one such rapper, Queen Latifah. There was something different about her and yes, I will admit, I was attracted to her as a woman. She is a feminist, beautiful, inspiring, and has an amazing voice. The first song I heard of hers was U.N.I.T.Y. about how men treat women and the names they call them. This became an anthem of sorts for me because of how boys had treated me in High School and the names they had called me. Since this is generally a PG blog, I won’t post the lyrics, but you can watch the video here (note: foul language!):

Queen Latifah would go on to win a Grammy for that song. What I love so much about Queen Latifah is that she doesn’t limit herself. She is not only a rapper/singer, but she is also an actress, songwriter, model, comedienne, producer, record producer, and even had her own talk show for a while. She inspires me to pursue my dreams, no matter what they are, and not to limit myself to just one field. The world is indeed an oyster and I should definitely be looking for the pearls. Whenever I want to try something new, I think about her and all of the great successes she has had and I know I can do whatever it is I set my heart and talents to. She is an amazing role model for every young woman.

Here is Queen Latifah performing her song, Just Another Day, which is a mix of smooth jazz and rap:

And here is a soulful jazzy song titled Mercy, Mercy, Mercy:

Interesting Facts: Queen Latifah’s real name is Dana Elaine Owens. She is 5’10”. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006. Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, an Academy Award nomination and sales of over two million records. (source)


Thank you for joining me for the A-to-Z Challenge. If you’d like to see who else is participating, check them out here.
Each day, I will be posting about People Who Inspire Me.