People


Today’s Music: Sly and the Family Stone – Everyday People
Note on Today’s Music: When the idea for this post came to me, this song leapt into my head. At least it took it;s shoes off first…

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a month to draw attention to what mental illnesses are and how the people that have them deal with them, what symptoms are, and what can be done to help.
It isn’t hard to do. They’re just people.

I know a woman who has ADHD. And a husband and kids who are all at that age. She has a wicked sense of humor. She is insane, in the non-clinical, best sense of the word.
Every so often, she breaks down and just needs to talk about her struggle with the illness. Much like the rest of us sometimes just need to vent about what’s going on in our lives.

I have a friend who’s bipolar. She gets upset about things. Just like the rest of us. She gets happy about things. Just like the rest of us.
The fact that she has a mental illness doesn’t take away from struggling with the same problems as we all do. It just adds another layer to it.
But she also has a hilarious outlook. Even when she’s swung to the low end, she can say something that will make me laugh out loud, which makes me say something that makes her laugh, and back and forth we’ll go.
The conversations often end with “Thanks”, because both of us find them good conversations. Both of us will say it. It’s the conversation that matters.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
It’s funny, there’s a lot of stigma attached to mental illness. People that have it often try to hide it and avoid it.
The two people above have openly admitted it. They’ve said when they’re going through a reaction to it, invited questions, and explained what it means.
They’ve said that the biggest help in dealing with it is knowing that they don;t have to hide it and that their friends are accepting.

Poke around. If someone you know has Depression, is Bi-Polar, has OCD, even something like an eating disorder, look into it. Find out what it means.
Think about the people that stuck by you when you were having difficulties in your life. Think about how when you’ve revealed something you were deeply ashamed of, those close to you just said “Ok”, and went on being close to you.

We’re all just people. we all have baggage.
Doesn’t make any of us any less worthwhile than anyone else.

So please, take a moment to find something out about Mental Illnesses and the people that have them.
People. Just like you and me.

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114 responses to “People

  1. I did not that. I can and I will.

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  2. Perfectly stated. Sometimes, just hearing, “Are you okay?” can be the difference.
    Great post, Guap!

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  3. I did not KNOW that. Stupid wine

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  4. Thanks for this post. Yay for tolerance and understanding!

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  5. I think we’re all a little crazy. Excellent post and I love Sly and the Family Stone! Now that song’s going to be in my head.

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  6. Thank you. …. I don’t know what else to say.
    just..thanks πŸ™‚
    You F**** Rock!

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  7. Gold star shiny!

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  8. Awesome El Guapo! We all have our issues, and talking about them helps everyone!

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  9. Hi,
    I didn’t know it was mental health awareness month, but you are so right with what you have written, it only takes a bit of understanding on our part this can make the world of difference.

    Great song you chose as well, I listened to it right to the end, had a very good beat to it I thought. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Magsx2. I also didn’t know it was mental health awareness month. Probably means they aren’t doing to good a job of making people aware.
      Fortunately, we have a pretty good supportive blog circle!
      /gushing

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  10. Wow EG. Really liked what you had to say, and trust me I have been on the receiving end of the ‘oh you’re bi-polar’ stigma. Even lost out on a house share last month because I admitted to the home owner -who was looking for a roomie and had a lot in common with me- that I was bi-polar.
    After several really great exchanges she sent a scathing email that practically screeched her remarks that all mental illness is bullshit, bi-polars are lazy and slothful, etc etc. Best part? She was a pharmaceutical rep. Now that’s psycho.
    Try to do what your above mentioned friend does: no matter if I’m suffering from suicidal ideation I’ll still make the people around me laugh.
    Diagnosed with dysphoric mania, as opposed to what most people consider mania.
    Hell, wish I had the more common variety. This house would be re-painted, I’d drop 20 pounds, walk 5 miles a day.and play piano until dropping from sheer exhaustion. Those who suffer from standard mania? Lucky fuckers!
    But seriously folks… This is an important issue and you EG have made my day by posting on the subject.
    Great tune to start it off, as always.
    ~Love and Lithium

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  11. Is this national or international? I’m going to read this to Mr. 12: we’re about to embark on a years therapy and he’s feeling anxious.

    Great post! As always πŸ™‚

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    • I believe it’s just national (U.S.), Kanerva, but the message applies worldwide.
      When I was in therapy at that age, I learned that you get out of it what you put in. With you supporting him, I’m sure it will be a good experience!

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  12. Great post. I dream of a society where kindness and compassion is the main currency and it is truly equal in all ways.

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    • Well said, curtain raiser! I share that dream, where the only people that are judged harshly are the deliberately, willfully stupid.
      And people that like gummi bears. Blech.

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  13. Because it’s a “hidden” illness and not readily visible it often is assumed that the person is fine or at least coping πŸ™‚

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    • Very true, Roly. Out of sight, out of mind. Where the truth is more like they are hiding it deliberately because of the stigma.
      Which isn’t good for anybody.

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  14. Beautifully put, thankyou for this post x

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  15. Great post. Great song. Great guy.

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  16. AgrippingLife

    I love mental illness so much that I made it my profession! ha! You shouldn’t have any more shame about having mental illness than you would if you had physical illness.
    Great post, Guapo!

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    • hahahaha. My father was a psychiatrist, and at age 50 I’ve still yet to meet a child of psychologist or psychiatrist parents who hasn’t been through years of therapy πŸ˜‰
      My own daughter has decided to go for her PhD in clinical psychology.

      Thank god for those people like you who understand, empathize and work hard to help so many others.

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    • Good on you, Lisa! We are who we are. People do plenty of things we can be ashamed of. Having a mental illness isn’t one of them.

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  17. Nice post, Guap. Well done.

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  18. free penny press

    People are people.. we all are just trying to make it through this thing called life.. I never understood the stigma of mental illness yet we can freely discuss other illnesses..
    Great post my friend!!!!

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    • Thanks a lot, FPP! And another funny thing is that some people with mental illness have a clearer perspective on the struggle to get through life than many normals.

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  19. whiteladyinthehood

    Guapo, it’s nice to know that there are sweet, kind-hearted, and understanding people in this world like you. You make the world a better place.

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  20. Hey the box wasn’t automatically clicked this time! I wonder if they changed it…
    I love your outlook, compassion and understanding of your friends. The world would be a much better place if everyone had your amazing way of looking at mental illness. Excellent!

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  21. Powerful post, Guap. Thanks for the reminder — it is easy to forget, isn’t it? Even when we try not to.

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  22. Thanks for the wonderful post Guap from a survivor of panic disorder & chronic depression!

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  23. Thank you for this post, El Guapo.

    I’ve suffered from depression from a very young age. I’ve been through periods of utter blackness that I don’t wish on anyone. Therapy, diet and medication are a winning combo for me. I’m not ashamed of talking about it, especially if it helps someone feel less stigmatized.

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  24. “Awareness” – I think that’s they key to erasing the stigma attached to mental illness…which was one of the themes in a novel I wrote. My character said…”mental illness is not a choice.” There is no stigma attached to physical ailments; there should be none with mental illnesses. Thanks for raising awareness, Guap. ❀

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  25. a wonderful post EG. you da man. continue…

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  26. Outstanding post and a whack with a velvet hammer that each of us need. Thanks for the reminder.

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  27. AMEN! THANK YOU! I’m manic depressive, PTSD, some other alphabet soup. I’m very open in my poetry about this because I’m also a NAMI Stigma Buster. Lots of homeless in Madison simply don’t have access to meds, because they are so off the grid anyway… I buy them coffee and sit down and talk to them.

    I consider myself lucky – a good doc/therapist mix (can’t have one without the other, really) and born two generations later than Grandma Blanche, who was electroshocked (also bipolar) into a permanent depression. I have meds, I can be open about things. Thank you, God.

    And thanks, Guapo, for posting this on behalf of others. This is the heart of activism… promoting education! Love you, really. Amy
    A poem about how I view creative types with mental disorders:
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2011/09/24/autumn-the-other-minded/

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  28. I agree with everything you’ve said here Guap. And in the first two examples–as with any of life’s challenges (and happy things, too) I think one of the best tools is humor. Can’t lose the sense of humor, even for (especially for) difficult things and problems. That’s why I like this blog so much–so much humor, but not the mean, biting kind. I think that for folks in relationship with others who have mental disease or personality disorders, awareness is key. It’s no fun to ‘find out the hard way’ when another person is unaware of his/her limitations. I married someone like that and it was a very painful lesson. Expecting a hug from someone with no arms.

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    • Humor is definitely a great tool. As is being smart enough to know (and understand) your own limitations and accept those of them close to you.

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  29. You have a good heart — thank you for posting this! People need more awareness of life through someone else’s eyes. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Asplenia! Sometimes you (I) are lucky enough to get a glimpse through someone else’s eyes, and it turns out they’re the same as us (me).

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  30. Good post, Guap. I get perplexed at the line between natural depression and problem depression. Kind of like phobias. Who isn’t afraid of clowns? All kidding aside, thanks for bringing this subject to the forefront.

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    • Thanks, bestbathroombooks. When you’re in the middle of it, that line is probably irrelevant.
      And I’m not sure where I’d fall in the DSM. I kind of like clowns…

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  31. Sly stole that song from Arrested Development!

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this post, for reasons I’d care not to get into.

    Also, in case there was any doubt, I was being facetious about Arrested Development. I may be a moron, but I’m not THAT much of a moron!

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    • Glad you don’t think the post was out of line, Smak.
      And as a source of cool stuff, I steal from Arrested Development all the time. Hey, it;s the sincerest for of flattery!

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  32. Well said! I can’t even think of something to add!

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  33. Very supportive, El Guapo. This is very true. We are all just people, and everybody deserve love and dignity.

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  34. Wonderful post. Great reminder. Wow…so glad I “met” you — love your blog baby! (gotta steal that from above…ha!).

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  35. springfieldfem

    Thanks for writing this! I have struggled with severe depressing for the past twelve years and I’ve been lucky enough to have a great support system. But I know that there are those that aren’t as lucky. 😦 Great post, Guap.

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    • Thanks Fem! If asking isn’t too forward, how does the depression affect your writing? And if it is too forward, just bip me in the back of the head.

      One of the nice things about the blogosphere is that I’ve seen support from absolute strangers for them that needed a hand for a moment…

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      • springfieldfem

        My mood effects my writing tremendously. I suffered really badly last year and I know a lot of pieces I wrote were really dark. On one hand, I like that it’s creative, but on the other, I refer to it as my Sad Bastard Writing and sometimes, it frustrates the hell out of me.

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  36. I made you an award. Thanks for making great porn. http://wp.me/p2pR2U-1iL

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  37. I didn’t realize it was mental health awareness month. Ironic because this is the month my mental health has been the worst so far…. ever. I keep waffling on whether or not I “need” help or just need to change pace for a bit. Tried “help” for a bit this winter, but I don’t think it really works. I’m introspective enough to know what I should do, but actually going through the motions are a lot harder. It is totally weird when it appears that a person has pretty much everything they need/want and can still hate life so miserably.

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    • I hear you, Quirky. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to do what you know you should, and that makes it even more frustrating.
      I hope it turns around for you soon, and I’m pretty available if you need an ear or just want to vent.
      And if you’re lucky, I’ll tell you my chicken joke.
      Ok, maybe not that lucky after all…
      πŸ˜‰

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  38. Your friend is lucky to have you in her corner.

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  39. Wow that was really well said. Not preachy but from the heart. Great post. I think as a society we have a lot to learn to be more compasioneate and gentle with each other your right everyone has baggage.

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  40. Extremely true. And I think not being considerate is a more rampant problem in India where going to a counselor even for a normal bout of depression is considered as a sign that you are crazy and need to go to an asylum. We need to learn to be tolerant and considerate and love whoever that comes our way.

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  41. I like what you said. Here here! So many more people know about Mental . .. . let’s call it Mental Illness Awareness! Thanks to Lizzie and Ginger and you! πŸ˜€

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    • I hope everyone hears it, Linda. And finds ways to help!

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      • So true El Guapo. How to really, truly help. I think the first thing is to make a conscious effort to be understanding with the people we interact with in our daily lives who are dealing with brain chemical imbalances. If we could educate ourselves on how they see the world. I wonder if there are any You tube videos that could help? I’ll have to explore that! πŸ™‚

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        • That’s a great idea Linda! An excellent approach for all our daily interactions with everyone! Just another reason why you are first in our hearts.
          (One reason is the names you come up with for the characters in your stories.)
          (And your Pottery Barn commentary.)
          πŸ˜‰
          Looking forward to seeing what you find.

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  42. You always do that. You always make me change up what I was going to say in the comment section. And this time more than any thus far. You’re a good man.

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    • Thanks Cayman. And if you think I’m a good man, I’m going to have to give my PR department a bonus.
      Feel free to say whatever you like around here! And I gotta ask – what were you going to say?

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  43. Gah! I came here for Friday Foolishness and guess what? It’s not Friday! I’m bummed.

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  44. Weenie Girl

    Not this that this has anything to do with your topic, because it doesn’t. But I was wondering. We’ve been in spring for a while now. Do you miss the counting? Are you counting something else? Or are you enjoying each day of spring to the fullest?

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    • Nope, not counting anything else. The spring countdown will start again on the first day of winter, like it does every year…
      I am enjoying spring, despite the fact that I’m spending way too much time at work, Got in a great surf day last week, going to be out this weekend, and there is a bunch of stuff I’m looking forward too.
      How is yours going?

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  45. Nice to know that you are not just a cool rich dude. But also a man i can respect. GREAT,GREAT post!

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  46. I tried to comment on here the other day, via my phone, but it wouldn’t let me. So all my clever comments have gone & it is just me.

    I absolutely love this post. Although we’ve never met and I am in the U.K and you America, I feel like you’re my friend. You made me feel better after I posted about my depression. And you make me laugh.

    Since posting about my depression, a lot of people have stopped taking me for granted. Not that I did it for attention, but knowing people care means a lot.

    You are one of those people, thank you.

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    • Always a pleasure to see you, Kirsty!
      I’m sorry you have to live with depression, but I’m happy a “Hi, Howyadoin” could help.
      I’m glad people have stopped taking you for granted, and that you can talk about it so more people can understand.
      And I’m honored to be your friend!
      (Seriously, I get to meet the coolest people online!)

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  47. Really nice post, about understanding and compassion. We all need to express more… of both!

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