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NAMI Metro Suburban Blog

What My Recovery Looks Like


Recovery, it has been such an adventure to find my path towards it. I decided to try to take control of my mental health on March 16th, 2017. I have Bipolar 1 and ADHD. My journey towards recovery has been a very short one but very eventful. I started with an idea of recovery that has changed with time. My original goal was to be functioning and me...

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Mental Health and Substance Use - Two Problems, One Recovery


Imagine how it must feel to be labeled a substance abuser. A substance abuser is discriminated against. A substance abuser is called weak, immoral, incapable of succeeding in society, an outcast and a criminal. Because of the way that substances like street drugs are viewed in our society there is a huge stigma attached to them. They are "criminali...

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Summertime Strategies for Self-Care


With Memorial Day behind us, summer is officially here and that means for many of us, the next few months will be jam-packed full of festivals, cookouts, beach days and sporting activities through Labor Day weekend. Graduations, vacations, weddings, engagements, parties and household moves are also more likely to take place during the summertime. A...

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Gardening as a Tool to Maintain Wellness


Feeling a little wilted this season? Add green care to your self-care routine. Green care is defined as self-care where one engages in any activity that surrounds you in nature and green care is completely free. Research supports findings that working in, with and around nature has been shown to provide significant improvements to symptoms in stres...

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The Good in Everything


It's been a little more than a year since I decided to really work hard towards being mentally healthy. It's such a learning process. It's all so new to me. I take my medication and go to therapy and I recently started writing a journal of my daily experiences. I have had manic symptoms for the past couple weeks and I am trying to stay in control o...

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She Said Yes


 It was at one of our first dates when Nikki told me she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I would not call that admission a test, however I knew that the way I reacted to such an admission would determine the course of our relationship, and even if there would be another date. When I met Nikki, I was no stranger to mental illness. I had be...

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Wherever You Go, There You Are


At 18, I had it all planned out. I was going to start college in the Honors School of Eastern Michigan University. That would be followed with a job as a middle school teacher. Then would come a husband, children, and of course the puppy and the house with the white picket fence. Yet, here I am, 20 years later, with no teaching certificate and no m...

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We Need to Talk


I had two experiences in one day that reinforced how important a few simple words can be. The day began at the Hinsdale Metra Station, where, along with several partner organizations and volunteers, I was offering mental health information, green ribbons and a hot cup of coffee to commuters headed into the City. Most people took what was handed to ...

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I find being open about my bipolar spectrum disorder to be very helpful. For many with a mental illness, it feels appropriate to maintain privacy. This decision is your own, and it is made for the sake of comfort and safety. In this piece, I will present some of the responses I have received, the most dramatic of which I will tell first. I was in a...

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Why Join NAMI


The reason I joined NAMI was simple - I was singlehandedly going to change the world and its perception of mental illness. Easy enough, right? I had recently had an experience with that dreaded "S word" (stigma) and decided that since I was blessed enough to have found my way to recovery, it was my job to show the world the real face of mental illn...

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Managing Anxiety With Acupuncture


I am a 35 year old woman that was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and ADHD about 5 years ago. After inconsistently trying different medications and a hospital stay I realized that I needed to work on my mental health. On March 16th, 2017 I started my journey to a healthy Me. I take my medication every day and at the same time, I go to therapy once per wee...

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The Phenomenon of Hearing Voices


"I can create stellar castles and recovery dreams." At first this seems to be a quote created from a thought. This quote speaks to the broadening of the imagination. More imagination is something we could use more in this world. As we move forward through time and space we discover that the sky is the limit. It takes a lot of imagination to believe...

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Just Be Nice For Once!


The stigma and misunderstanding of mental illness affects adults, teenagers and children alike. Please Stop Smiling by Richard Carlson, Jr. is a story geared toward children who have no idea when a loved one is affected by a mental illness. Jose's brother Alejandro had a mental illness. Jose's friend Sebastian makes fun of Alejandro and laughs at h...

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The Effects of Self-Stigma on Recovery


Self-stigma comes from the shame of thinking that I cannot succeed because of my illness. "I'm too tired, I'm too unmotivated and I'm too fatigued." Self-stigma can lead to us making false assumptions about our state of mind. Even to say, "I can never get better," would be an example of self-stigma. One of the worst parts of self-stigma is that it ...

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There is a method to my brain chemistry: the mental descents that detrimentally impact the way in which I interface and engage with the world. I did not always understand this. At first, I was convinced I had a neurodegenerative illness or a tumor, a purely physical phenomenon that was stripping me of my personality, muting my emotions, and renderi...

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With Tea There Is Hope


A strange correlation I know, especially coming from a Midwesterner far from the tea lovers of England.My reason for relating to this quote is probably quite different from that of Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, the British actor and stage director of the early 1900s, to whom those words are attributed. There was a time in my life when that cup of tea was...

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Exercise and Mental Health


We have all been told that exercise is good for the body, but did you know it is also good for your mind? Doctors have argued that exercise can actually be one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and the good news is, you don't have to spend hours at the gym to reap the benefits. Even a modest amount of exercise can do the tric...

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Raising Awareness of Mental Illness: NAMI Family Support Group Facilitators


Although many individuals and larger grassroots organizations like NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness continuously work to raise awareness and combat stigma related to mental illness, many people remain in the dark as to how mental illness affects all of us. Many people do not know that in this country, as many as 1-in-5 adults are livin...

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Recovery Happens


Often, when we think about living in recovery as it relates to mental illness, we look at it as an elusive point at the end of a long road. With a combination of different types of treatment, recovery becomes a journey and that journey can take individuals to a healthy and productive life. Tim can testify to the trials and triumphs of working towar...

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Express Yourself


The Role of Creativity in RecoverySome say recovery is an art form. I say creativity is one of the channels that can help you to achieve recovery. Along my recovery journey, I remember acting in plays like The Glass Menagerie and Fiddler on the Roof. When I was sixteen years old I participated in The Glass Menagerie. I channeled my emotions into th...

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