NAMI Metro Suburban Blog

Never Stop Learning

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According to a 2017 article in Science Daily "less than half of Americans can recognize anxiety. Most people don't know what to do about depression even when they spot it." That was based on a national survey on issues surrounding mental-health literacy out of Michigan State University¹. Could improving our mental health literacy decrease stigma an...
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Take Life One Cookie at a Time


When looking for inspiration to get going on a bad day, the words of the popular children's book come to mind. If you are not familiar with"If you give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff, the story begins with "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw." It c...
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A Season of Darkness


It happens every year like clockwork. The days get shorter and the air gets colder. The leaves change colors and then the trees become bare. Warm walks in the sun turn to hayrides under the moon and, finally, to snow falling from a dark and dreary sky. Many welcome the turn of seasons as a pleasant change from the heat of summer but others look at ...
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Did NAMI Really Strike Down Stigma

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Last weekend 60 NAMI Metro Suburban members and supporters, along with their friends, neighbors and relatives, could be found Striking Down Stigma at Striker Lanes in Berwyn. We bowled some high scores and some gutter balls, had a lot of laughs, and enjoyed some great munchies. Did we rid the world of all mental health stigma? No, I cannot say we d...
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Ask The Question: How to talk about your own mental illness in the presence of fear, shame or embarrassment


Talking about mental illness is hard. Stigma is prevalent among us and can be scary to face. I believe in order to get ahead of stigma we must talk about mental illness and our feelings openly. I know this may feel challenging, especially if feelings such as shame or embarrassment arise, so I've come up with some ideas that may help. I hope my tips...
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The Mental Monster


Survive and Outlast. Etched into my back are three simple words that encapsulate a lifetime of struggles only unearthed four years ago. A lifetime of struggles but only discovered so recently, how does that work?For the majority of my toddler years, anytime we would have a babysitter, I would cry until I threw up.In first grade I was in the health ...
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The Meaning of "Give and Take" in a Recovery Context

The Meaning of "Give and Take" in a Recovery Context
"Give and take" can be a wonderful thing! In the context of recovery, it can be used to enhance a session, understand a person more deeply and balance the relationship between consumer and provider.When I was nine years old my first acting teacher taught me about the importance of give and take. I learned that when I gave energy to the other people...
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From Shame to Self-Compassion

From Shame to Self-Compassion
Even before I got formally diagnosed, I felt that there was something intrinsically wrong with me and that I was defective. I blamed myself for everything that ever happened to me, including childhood trauma. I knew rationally that it wasn't my fault and that I was just a child, but I had convinced myself that I was responsible. On top of that, dep...
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On Empathy in Healthcare

On Empathy in Healthcare
Healthcare providers strive to be excellent clinicians, and to use their knowledge built upon years of reading and clinical experience to help their patients get better. Sometimes, I think too much time is spent focusing on perfecting the clinical aspect of healthcare, and not enough time is spent on the human aspect. I don't think anyone disputes ...
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Mental Health Stigma and Health Care Practitioners

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~ The one thing more exhausting than having a mental illness is trying to pretend that you don't have one ~When mental health patients seek non-mental health medical services, sometimes being 'seen' by medical professionals can be both unusual and paramount to your care. Most of us simply want to be seen by others as the authentic and multi-layered...
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What is a Volunteer?

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According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a Volunteer is: a person who does something, especially for other people or for an organization, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.According to the values we hold at NAMI Metro Suburban, a volunteer is a key component of our success and a champion for our cause. As Volunteer Appreciation Week...
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The Stigma Trap

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I recently encountered a simple, unintentional act that reminded me of the stigma that still surrounds mental illness; not just stigma placed on those of us living with mental health conditions but the perceived stigma that we place on ourselves.In this case I had written an article to be used as a promotional piece for a non-profit that focuses on...
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Take Good Care: Anticipating Symptom Triggers

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Here's the truth. Sometimes I fib. I turn down invitations and say that I'm busy. I am busy, but not in the way that most people may understand. I'm busy tending to my own equilibrium in any way that I can. I'm busy silencing the racing thoughts; busy sitting in complete solitude to calm my irrational fears; busy feeling my feelings so that they wo...
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What I Really Needed to Know About Raising a Child With Mental Illness

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Elizabeth Stone compared having a child to making the decision to have your heart forever go walking outside your body and I could not agree more as neither education or experience could prepare me for the emotions or challenges that come along with raising a child who fights through life with a mental illness. I myself have battled with mental ill...
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The History of the Recovery Movement: What can be done?

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The history of the recovery movement is the history of the elimination of stigma. Mental health still needs to be made a priority today. Language will and has played an important part of the anti-stigma movement. Education and knowing the facts help people to understand mental health. Groups like Family to Family educate family members about unders...
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Setting Goals: My Vision For 2019

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 This past December 14th I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science. This is a huge deal because I had started my journey 12 years ago and like most things, I never finished. It was hard managing my bipolar 1 and going to school full time. I graduated with honors and I am very proud of myself.Now the question lingers in my min...
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Is Grief Real If Nobody Died?

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"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear" - (C.S. Lewis)I learned the truth of these words early on in the first few years of struggling to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. I also was reminded at this time that the condition of grief is nearly universal, and yet its forms are exquisitely personal for each of us.At its heart, t...
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Being Part of the Change

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 Being diagnosed with any mental illness is, at some point, hard to digest. I was first diagnosed in November of 2009. What may seem odd or strange is that all I felt was feeling of relief. I finally knew what was wrong with me and it was not just because I was some crazy person. I had an illness, a sickness that could get better. On the other...
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Finding Purpose

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I literally took the long road home to find my purpose in life, and it rode in on a bipolar diagnosis and a lifetime of long-distance running. My discovery road included many twists and turns in order for me to notice what matters most in life, and then it delivered me to exactly where I needed to be. Along the way I learned that what fuels my soul...
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#mindfulness: more than just a trending term

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Mindfulness. I see this word everywhere—on my social media, in the news, in blog posts and articles. Sometimes I feel like as common as this word is, its meaning is starting to get lost. For example, many of the platforms where I see "mindfulness" mentioned are part of the problem. They contribute to the overwhelming proliferation of content via so...
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