Blog Archives

Autism Awareness Month – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Autism Awareness Month
There are many ways you can raise awareness for Autism during this month. These are just some of the few ideas you can use to raise awareness.
1. Place a Autism Logo on your facebook page, twitter, instagram or any other site you wish
2. Share Mental Health Awareness Retreat group, blog or Facebook page with others or any other organization you wish. This will help those in need of information be able to find their resources
3. Have events and/or activities that shares Autism facts and information with others
4. Share you own experiences with others
5. Wear outfits with Autism logo or make your own
6. Write about Autism in your blog, webpage, forums or other groups
7. Start your own movement or campaign
8. Share movies with others that will help educate on Autism
Take a look at what I am wearing in the photo HERE

Agoraphobia – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Agoraphobia
Take a look at what I am wearing from Sabotage and more HERE


Dress And Bald For A Week For RFL – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Dress And Bald For A Week For RFL
Mental Health Awareness Retreat bidded 10k Lindens to have me wear a dress and go bald for a week. All of the money went directly to relay for life. So far we have managed to raise $45,657L for relay which is $183 USA dollars. Above is a collage of all the dresses I wore this week *chuckles*. Mission accomplished!!!!
Mental Health Awareness Retreat relays because cancer affects people mentally as much as physically. Depression is very common with a diagnosis of cancer. In fact, 1 out of 4 people will be diagnosed with depression after being told they have cancer. 
There shouldn’t be any stigma attached to getting help with depression. Through out these months while we relay, we will provide information and resources for those who are battling cancer or are caregivers and are affected mentally.
We are also raising money for relay for life in second life until August. Here is the location of the Kiosks inworld : http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Labor%20of%20Love/173/68/22

We need to let people know they are not alone. It is ok to reach out for help <3

Manic/Hypomanic Episode – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Manic Episode
Manic/Hypomanic Episodes are part of a Bipolar Disorder. 
It is a period in time where a person’s mood is irritable, elevated or expansive and it usually lasts about a week. 
Some of the common symptoms a person may experience during a manic/hypomanic episode are but not limited to:
1. Grandiosity or Inflated self-esteem. “I have been send by God on a mission to accomplish a goal”. “I am the chosen one”. “I am the center of attention and love it” Those are just some of the examples a person may feel when feeling Grandiosity. 
2. Decrease need of sleep. During a manic episode, a person can go without sleep for days or need very little sleep yet still feel active and productive.
3. Excessive talking or rapid talk.
4. Racing thoughts.
5. Rapid ideas.
6. Increase in activities. Suddenly there is this surge of energy where the person can accomplish many task without feeling worn out.
7. Excessive Spending Sprees, Gambling, Hypersexuality (increased sexual activity with one’s partner, pornography, sexual telephone services or multiple partners) and other risky behaviors.
The difference between Mania and Hypomania is that Mania is more severe in symptoms and lasts longer in days.
Take a look at what I am wearing and items in the picture HERE


A Breathing Technique – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

A Breathing Technique
Regular breathing exercises never helps me. Due to my intrusive thoughts the breathing patterns are broken by the thoughts themselves. This is why breathing while counting is very important for me and unlike regular breathing, it helps me.
How Does It Work?

I inhale while counting to the number 6. Hold for 2 seconds. And exhale while counting to 6. It looks like this….
BREATH IN, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. (counting in my mind)
HOLD, 1, 2. (counting in my mind)
BREATH OUT, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. (counting in my mind)
I repeat as needed to help me calm from a panic attack.
By counting while breathing, the mind concentrates on the number counts instead of the intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or trigger while relaxing the body. How cool is that?
Some people do this exercise counting to 4 instead of 6. Everyone is different and everyone has different physical health. For me, this breathing technique has been of help from severe panic attacks. 
Have you tried this? And if so, has it worked for you?
Take a look at what I am wearing and the decor HERE

Be Willing To Take Risks – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Be Willing To Take Risks
I have a favorite quote from Rocky Balboa that literally has helped me in my recovery with mental health. At times when I felt like quitting because of people in my past or present who treated me wrong, I would look at this quote and continue to fight. I continued to find options and solutions to my problems.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward! How much you can take and keep moving forward! That’s how winning is done!!! Now, if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, her, or anybody. cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”
That quote has literally helped me push through some obstacles in my life. 
I was talking recently to someone who said they were depressed. I offered them resources to which they said “oh I can’t call those hotlines because I don’t have a phone”. So I got them a chat room hotline, where people can chat via online versus using the phone. But that resource was met with “well, they aren’t going to be so friendly and they are just going to give me more resources that might not help me”. 
I really wanted to help this person, so I offered hospital resources, financial resources, government resources and yet resources after resources, ALL were met with some excuse. “I can’t do that because I will be in debt…..I can’t do that because I don’t want to rely on the government….I can’t do that because my parents hurt me and that has affected me in life…..I can’t do that because I am afraid….I can’t do that because I get too anxious….I can’t do that because I don’t trust therapist well enough to tell them about my problems….I can’t do that because self help requires time and energy and work that I simply don’t have”
But yet this person had the guts to complain. “Life is miserable because of my parents. Life if miserable because of my finances. Life is miserable because of xyz.” Everything and Everyone was at fault except for them.
How can you complain when you don’t even TRY? All you have to do is TRY! No one is asking for perfection. No one is asking you to be your best. No one is asking you for anything but to try.
I remember when I was so severely ill. I did my OWN research in between voices that were not real telling me they were going to kill me, in between horrible hallucinations, in between my anxiety, my ocd, my intrusive thoughts, my nightmares, my night terrors, my panic attacks and the list goes on. There was no mental health awareness retreat group for me. There was no one offering to help me with the resources. 
I did have two amazing friends though who helped me a lot with coping skills but even with that I had to put of MY part in order to heal. Them simply telling me to ground was not ever going to be enough. I had to do the work! I had to practice those coping skills. I had to search for my own therapist and get the help I needed. I had to TRY and do something. I had to try things and test my options. I would not be here talking to you about my recover if I had never even tried different options.
Just the other day my friend Maximillian Merlin (second life name) send me a notecard which contained a damaged pizza inside a microwave and a step by step on how to make such damages. By the way Max has done scripting for free for some of our educational hunts and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for all of his donated work.
Anywho, the damaged pizza made me think of how we trust our appliances many times without question. We hop in our cars daily and don’t question things until we hear some weird noise coming out of nowhere. We put in our foods in microwaves and don’t stop to think that this might be the day it does some weird random thing and blows up the house in a fire. Everyone knows that any electrical appliance has a chance to cause a fire but we go about our day just fine. Why is it so hard then to apply this to other aspects of our lives? To just trust even though we might face disaster? To trust despite the thought that we may fail, that it may end up chaotic and messy? No matter how much we know these appliances can break down, we trust them. Why not do that with life? Why not trust even if we might get burned? 
Taking risks might prove to you that things can turn out to be more beautiful than chaotic. The worst case scenario would be that you have a story to tell to a friend later on and have learned a few things from a bad situation. No lessons are ever learned by doing nothing. As Max would say “Lots of these bad things make excellent party stories”
At one point or another in life, we must trust things if we want a change to occur. We must take risks. And in order for that to happen, as the saying goes “Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same”. 
Take a look at what I am wearing HERE


Fake Friends Are Like Shadows – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Fake Friends Are Like Shadows
 
“Fake Friends Are Like Shadows,
They follow you in the sun,
But leave your side
When it gets dark”
 
 
One of the great things about having a mental illness and/or mental disability is that you learn who your true friends are. You learn that there are many wonderful people in the world who won’t judge you just for your illness. You learn that some people will love you just the way you are.
 
If you lose “friends” due to your illness/disability, realize they were never your real friends to begin with. I don’t know about you, but I rather have one true friend than a bunch of fake ones.
 
I want to thank my dear friend of 21 years, Adelle Adored (her second life name), for being there for me when it got the darkest and scariest. I remember how badly I wanted to die and how determined I was to give up but this girl did the simplest of things such as going on a drive with me, listening to my struggles, and sending me friendly texts. It was those simple things that saved my life!
 
I wish more people knew the power of a phone call, a text, an email or im. It really can save a life.
 
Who are your true friends? And have you been a true friend to someone else? Your phone call or text can save someone.
 
Take a look at what I am wearing HERE

 
 

Fight Stigma Like A Ninja – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Fight Stigma Like A Ninja


First I’d like to apologize for not making a post in a while. I have been very super busy with real life matters and other projects taking place for Mental Health Awareness Retreat. We will actually be expanding very very soon to Real Life. Thank you all for understanding =]

Now on to today’s post….

Imagine if Martin Luther King didn’t speak up for civil rights.
Imagine if everyone else who stood up for white and black equality also remained in silence.
Imagine if Rosa park did take that seat in the back of the bus prior to the civil rights movements. Would she still have been seen as a change or would she had been killed or punished?

Imagine Women never taking a stand and speaking up for equality.

Imagine all of the HIV/AIDS advocates in silence.

Imagine all of the other illnesses advocates in silence.

Imagine all of the gay right movements not taking a stand and speaking up and every single gay person walked in shame…in silence.

Do you really think there would be change? Do you really think that people in silence would have made a difference?

I don’t know about you but I strongly believe NOT!

This post is inspired by reading Bremen’s post One Mans Wish. Mental Health Awareness Retreat had chosen to honor Bremen for his advocacy work as he spoke to students about mental health, wrote blogs and did other advocate works. But I never in a million years thought he was telling students “never to say a word to their employer or anyone else that they don’t absolutely trust that they have a mental illness such as depression”.

Due to this, Mental Health Awareness Retreat has decided to stop all honors unless we completely know for sure what a person is really advocating. 

Silence as we have seen through history solves nothing and does nothing.

If we wonder what speaking up equals to just look at the changes in civil rights, women rights, gay rights, HIV/AIDS rights, and many other countless of movements that created changes. Is there room for growth in all of these areas? I am certain there is room. But one thing is certain….things have changed for the better in all of these areas.

When it comes to mental health, there has! been many improvements and we need to celebrate those victories. Thanks to advocates like Howie the Harp, we have outpatient programs and peer specialist counseling training and jobs, which gives people with mental illnesses a job to help others recover as they have done the same. In fact, studies show that peer to peer help is very productive in recovery and healing from mental illness. I can go on and on about many changes that were made in mental health all due to the amazing advocates that decided to take a stand and speak up. 

The problem is that lately more people are ashamed due to stigma or organizations sell themselves short all in the name of making a profit more than making a change. And some have a fear of losing people in their life or losing their job or anything else, but what if speaking up meant that you will gain more than you will lose?

I personally have spoken up about my issues and I have YET to experience losing someone over it. To be honest I lost more people when I was not educated on the matter and I, myself, pushed all my friends away. I was the one who didn’t call my friends due to shame. I was the one who didn’t want to go out with my friends because I had hallucinations (auditory and visual) and thought they would judge me. When in fact, when I finally decided to tell a friend they totally supported me! loved me! and included me in many of their outings.

I took it a step further (after educating my family who also loved me and accepted me just for me and didn’t judge me) and I started spreading the word in SL. I thought to myself, alright this is it….designers are going to call me crazy, people are going to publicly shame me, I am going to get harassed and so forth. But I knew I wanted to be the change I wanted to see. I wonder how many other people felt shameful about themselves and so alone due to it. I wonder how many others felt they couldn’t talk to someone else because they wouldn’t truly understand them. I wanted to see people love a person with a mental illness like they do cancer and other health issues. I knew silence wouldn’t make that difference.

Today more then 100 SL designers have joined the cause of supporting mental health. Thousands of life have been touched, transformed, and educated on mental health via Mental Health Awareness Retreat. And I look back and wonder….what if I had done what Bremen advises his students and had remained silent unless I truly, truly trusted. I look back and see all of the changes made and I am very glad I spoke up. I found that countless of people were feeling just like I did. That it really is true that 1 out of 4 people experience a mental health issue and therefore they can relate to some of my symptoms. I found out that I was not alone. And most importantly I found out that I really can make a difference, even if with one person.

Every time I get discouraged because thousands of people chose to be silent and not stand up to fight against mental health stigma or for mental health rights (hence why I wrote My Wish Right Now), I always remind me myself that if it helps one person then this was all worth it. 

Bremen is right about one thing…many mental health organizations out there if you take a close look, will NOT do anything to help the mentally ill. In fact they are the ones that further help create stigma. Perhaps is because they pocket money from these corporations and companies? 

Take for example NAMI who posted 60 Minutes: Here’s the full story just recently. Almost everything in this video is center on the violence of mental health illness. NAMI goes on to saying “NAMI applauds CBS news for the report and especially those individuals who courageously participated in the interviews.” If you go on reading you will realize WHY they support such a stomach turning (at least that is how I feel since it is highly stigmatized) interview. “We are also grateful that CBS news included on the 60 minutes website at the end of each story’s text the following editors note: Families in need of help with a mentally ill child can find resources at (NAMI).” They support this highly stigmatizing interview because in turn they are supported by a multi million dollar media. Sad!

In the end this doesn’t help end stigma, it only helps further spread it. And this is why I stand up and speak up, and you should too.

We should fight stigma like a ninja =] 

I still stand by my wish…that one day we will all stand up together, united as one, like other great movements to bring about positive changes for mental health and not sell out to companies and corporations for money or use an organization just to profit and yet not do anything that equals change. 

Will you join me today to take a stand and speak up about mental health? Will you spread the word and educate on mental health? Will you be the change that you wish to see?

Take a look at Zombie Suicide’s limited edition mask and more of what I am wearing HERE







How To Search For A Good Doctor – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

How To Search For A Good Doctor
The last post shared with you guys discussed how you should find a doctor that really listens to your concerns and validates them. After reading that post I know that a few of you are asking yourselves “how do I find a doctor who listens to me?” “Where do I even search for the good ones?” Here is how I personally found really amazing doctors.
The first doctor to really listened to me (who was the one that diagnosed me with the benign tumors), I had found her years ago but had forgotten all about her. Long story short she began my care when I was 21 years old but I had to let her go and see another doctor when I started to have severe issues with my gallbladder at the age of 23 (which ended up in surgery). Unfortunately she was on vacation and couldn’t see me. From there on I just hopped around from doctor to doctor never looking back until recent events. I remember how good the care was from that doctor that I searched for her until I found her. The rest you already know and till this day she is my wonderful primary doctor.
Here is where it got tricky for me…
I had to find a cardiologist because during my begin tumor time I had severe increased heart palpitation due to the anemia (hence why doctors kept blaming my PTSD/Anxiety for my heart racing). Unlike my primary doctor where I finally remembered her wonderful care and searched for her, I couldn’t do that with a heart doctor. It took me about a month to find a way but I finally figured it out.
I used http://www.zocdoc.com/. Now keep in mind I live in the USA. You can enter your zip code in this site and search for doctors in your area by their specialty and what you need. (cardiologist, gynecologist, dermatologist. etc). The site gives you a picture of the doctor, the overall review of how patients felt with them, how their manners are, the wait time, how their office is handled by their workers, and additional comments the patient may have.
There I searched for a 5 star doctor. I don’t settle for less. You can enter your insurance on that site as well and it will narrow down which doctors works with your insurance. I also pay close attention to what people have to say about the doctor. For example some comments made in regards to my cardiologist are “He is very passionate about his job which shows he is genuine about helping his patients”, Great at explaining the reasons for your concerns and how he will further examine what problems you may have.”, “He is an amazing doctor. I never feel rushed and he always takes the time to listen to all my concerns.”, and “He did not rush me and was actually very patient, empathetic, and funny for such an early morning.
Some of the comments for another doctor I found via that site are: “She was an awesome doctor”, “She makes you feel comfortable and doesn’t rush whenever she is with you.”, “easy to talk to about my health concerns.”, “She was great!! Listened to all my concerns and tried to find a solution.”, “made me feel very welcomed and comfortable, even with my anxiety visiting the doctors office.”, “Absolutely amazing, I haven’t gone to the doctor in three years because its hard to find a GOOD doctor who listens and truly cares. And now I have found one.”, and “She sets the bar for the way doctors should treat their patients. Not many go out of their way to help people feel better….Great listener to one needs. Bottom line, she’s the best doctor one could hope to find.”
I have used this site many times and so far the comments have nailed exactly! who the doctors are. I have yet to say the site has disappointed me or the comments shared have been false. In fact! I am always! shocked at how precise the comments are to the doctors personality and way of treating the patient. I now look for key words when reviewing a doctor “Not rushed”, “listens to concerns” and “patient”. If those words are not found in the review along with a 5 star rating, then I am most likely not visiting. 
Remember that this is your health and your money. Even if you are under a government insurance, it is still your rights to find the best care you deserve. You wouldn’t keep going to a restaurant you dislike, a hairdresser or barber that cuts your hair the wrong way, or a mechanic that keeps cheating you of your money but never fixes your car problems. So then why feel guilty for searching for the best doctor you deserve?
The best doctors won’t care what other doctors have shared about you and how “problematic” you are. All they care about is taking care of your concerns and providing you the best health care you should get. 
A simple google search along with your insurance should be able to pull up a review site for doctors in your country. Go out there and find the best health care you are entitled to <3
Take a look at these freebies from Poche HERE

Find A Doctor Who Really Listens – Mental Health Awareness Retreat

Find  A Doctor Who Really Listens


I remember about 2 years ago feeling extremely depressed, fatigue almost all the time and I had a lump right below my stomach. By then I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) and due to my high level of anxiety and the severity of my symptoms I felt there was a need to let each doctor I visited know of my condition. I thought that by letting them know of my condition (them being professional and all) they would work better with me such as giving me early appointments where there was less traffic outside, allowing me to wait right outside the office if a panic attack was setting in, or just simply being patient with me when my anxiety kicked in. Boy was I wrong!

Someone needs to train these ordinary professional doctors in regards to mental health! It almost seems to me that many of them are clueless of what mental health is, like a foreign subject. What do they teach them in medical school I wonder.

For a whole year I went through many doctors telling me that all of my symptoms, including the lump, was due to me sitting for long hours in front of a computer and my PTSD. I kept searching for a doctor that would listen to me though, knowing in my heart that something was wrong with me. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had gave up on my search.

I finally found a doctor who took my issues seriously. It was benign tumors. Huge ones too! They were sucking the life out of me. The doctor knew I had PTSD but yet she treated me with respect and truly listened to my concerns. The good thing is that although many doctors are ignorant to mental health, there are plenty of good doctors who are educated on the matter.

Thanks to that doctor I had a procedure done and I felt a whole lot better. Don’t give up on your search if you don’t feel heard by a doctor. Find a doctor who would really listen to your concerns and validate them.

Take a look at what we are wearing HERE

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