Show Image
   20 episodes
 

more

Comments

Bipolar and Surviving

bipolarandsurviving

20 episodes

Jul 18, 2020

#27 - Law enforcement and mental illness 

I share my thoughts on the findings from the study "Road Runners" via Treatment Advocacy Center.  Key findings can be found on:

https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/road-runners

  • An average of 10% of law enforcement agencies’ total budgets was spent responding to and transporting persons with mental illness in 2017.
  • The average distance to transport an individual in mental illness crisis to a medical facility was 5 times farther than the distance to transport them to jail. 
  • Nationwide, an estimated $918 million was spent by law enforcement on transporting people with severe mental illness in 2017.
  • The amount of time spent transporting people with mental illness by law enforcement agency survey respondents in 2017 sums to 165,295 hours, or more than 18 years.
  • 21% of total law enforcement staff time was used to respond to and transport individuals with mental illness in 2017.
  • Law enforcement officers waited significantly longer — almost 2.5 hours longer — when dropping a person off at a medical facility than if transporting to a jail.
  • Some officers reported having to wait with the individual for 72 hours or more until a bed becomes available.
  • Survey respondents drove a total of 5,424,212 miles transporting individuals with serious mental illness in 2017 — the equivalent of driving around the Earth’s equator more than 217 times.

The report was released in partnership with the National Sheriffs' Association and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and funded by the Achelis and Bodman Foundation.

May 10, 2020

#25 - Music is my life, and my refuge. What is your refuge? 

Any mental health blog will tell you that having a creative outlet is good for the mind.  Whether they are trying to sell you a gratitude journal in their store, or want you to fit their model of how someone should live their life, there is still truth in their words: having a creative outlet is great for mental health.  But, having a creative outlet isn’t the focus of today’s episode.

 

Today’s episode focuses on refuge.  In my case, my creative outlet happens to be my refuge.  But you can find fulfillment and joy in anything that captures your attention.  For some people it is hiking.  For others, it is fixing cars.  For others, it is programming computer games.

 

Why is it important to have a refuge?  It is important to have a safe haven for your mind to allow yourself a place to regroup in times of trouble.  In this case, since this blog focuses on real stories of hope and survival, I will use music as an example of the lifeline that kept me hanging on when the delusions of my mania overcame me as an adolescent.

 

As a child, I was heavily involved in music.  I suppose you could call it musical training, but really music was, and still is, just another part of me, like another arm that can pull me in different directions and grasp things that are intangible.  I didn’t really train in becoming a musician; rather, music reached out to me and raised me as its own.

 

I’m not saying I’m super talented; I just have an instinct in music that makes me realize that music and I are one.  And so, when my mania started attacking me and deluding my mind in high school, and when my depression made me suicidal in college, the one consistent thing in my life outside of my family was music.  And that was the only refuge I had that I could retreat to that was inside of myself.  When everything else in my head was either a huge mess or completely obliterated by mood swings and medication adjustments, I knew I always had music to pull me through.

 

And that’s what I mean by a refuge.  You will always hear music at the beginning and ends of these episodes, I imagine sometimes for a little too long for some listeners’ tastes.  While I cannot please everyone’s musical preferences at the same time, this music is composed and produced by me entirely, and it is one form of the essence of who I am.  And, since this is such a personally-oriented podcast, where I discuss personal struggles that we all go through and invite guests who experience deep, powerful illness, it is important to me that music--my one constant source of strength throughout my entire life--be at the beginning and end of each show.

 

So, music is not filler material. It is rather the fabric of my universe.  It is not my passion; I am a part of it and I cannot begin to call it something other than  who I am, and therefore it cannot be a passion I hold, because I cannot really hold myself.

 

But I think I’m getting a bit too metaphysical with this.  The point of this is that you can find your refuge.  Whether it is cooking, working with animals, or spending time with your elders, you can find a refuge that allows you peace and comfort.  In my case it is a bit extreme, where I am not separate from my refuge.  And maybe that can be the same for you, and maybe not.  

 

A refuge is oftentimes a passion, even though it doesn’t have to be.  As a note on passions, we are taught that if we find our passion, we can invest ourselves in it fully, become a master at it, and make a living off of it.  I urge you to not do that.  Instead, once you find your passion, invest yourself fully into it, but not to become a master or to make a living off of it.  The thing about passions and refuges are that you will do them because you love them.  In Buddhism, we use the phrase “the path is the goal”.  In other words, walking towards a destination is the same thing as arriving at the destination.  Pursuing your passion is the same thing as realizing your ultimate potential in your passion.  They are one in the same.  So, a refuge can be a passion.  And for the purposes of the episode at hand, I have focused on passions because my refuge is my passion.

 

But, a refuge can be something as simple as a cup of coffee each morning.  It can be a daily walk to the mailbox.  And in the case of some, it can be the reassurance that “this is temporary” in times of trouble.  Because in the end, despite my rambling episode of this podcast, “this is temporary” is the story of everyone’s life.  And having a refuge like my passion for music allows me to get from point A to point B, knowing that I can find refuge in music until things pass from point A and move to point B.

 

Let your refuge help you weather times of trouble, doubt, despair, and suffering.  Remember that this is temporary--and everything is.  Find your refuge and make yourself a part of it.  Find shelter in it.  And enjoy life in the good times too, with the help of your refuge.  Whether you have bipolar or not, this is a universal truth.

 

I hope you were able to get something out of this.  I can’t fully express many things, but I hope I got to the gist of my message in a way that most listeners can digest.

If you like these episodes, please share them with others.  I am grateful that more and more people keep listening, and I look forward to any feedback you may have.  Please email me at bipolarandsurviving@gmail.com if you ever have any questions, concerns, or feedback.  As always, keep on surviving.

May 3, 2020

#24 - Instagram 

I run an Instagram account for another blog of mine.  I sometimes get emails asking me to sign up for this or that service, or have someone re-post my images, so that I can get more followers.  Apparently my images could get more views, or so they want me to think.  The Instagram account is for fun; it is mostly pictures of my cats anyways and doesn’t drive a whole lot of traffic to the blog, so it’s rather lighthearted and really is enjoyable.

 

These emails telling me that I should have so many more followers has made me realize just how insidious this culture is.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posting pictures of my cats and laughing at funny things, but I don’t do it for the likes or comments.  I feel, though, that so many people lead a curated life to show only their best moments, that they put up a facade and don’t show their true selves.  And, that causes them a lot of suffering beyond what they are experiencing already behind the facade.

 

What I am really getting at is, Instagram culture is really bad for our mental health.  So, don’t stay on that platform, or any social media platform with images, too long.

 

You’ve probably heard this before--that social media is bad for mental health.  But why am I singling out Instagram right now?  For one, it is the latest craze to be enduring.  There’s a reason Facebook bought Instagram; Facebook knew that eventually Instagram was going to take over a huge amount of its market share and user base.  And why is it doing so?

 

Images play a central role in our lives.  After all, seeing is believing.  We put up images on our walls, along our highways, on our bodies, and most advertisements that one remembers have images or video in them.  Face it, podcast ads don’t usually make the memorability cut as compared to image or video ads.

 

And there is the mental “image”--the “mind’s eye”.  There is the image of perfection, the images on our news channels, and the image of good and the image of evil.  There is also the “self image”.  And this sense of self can cause a lot of hurt and suffering.

 

Instagram feeds on our need to fantasize about our self image.  Whether it is a selfie of us looking our best, our cute dog, a cuddly baby, some tantalizing food, the latest exotic vacation, or the coolest drawing, we portray a self image that is really a fantasy.  It isn’t really about who we actually are; rather, it is a projection of how we want others to see us.

 

There are many consequences to this.  A particular consequence happens when we fool others into thinking we really are as stunningly gorgeous, masterful at cooking, or filthy rich as we want them to think.  Even if the picture is awesome, we are hoping to project that onto someone else.  We do not want them to see the bad and the ugly--just the good.  So when we fool others into thinking that we are just as we portray ourselves, others compare themselves to us.  

 

We all do this to each other.  You have a cute dog.  Man, I wish I had a cute dog.  Or, you have a smart child.  Damn, I wish my child got grades like that.  Or you have a wonderful husband.  Crap, I’m a terrible husband compared to him.  OR--I have crazy cats.  I bet you don’t have as crazy and funny a life as me, I mean, right?!

 

See, we trick the other person into feeling less about themself by trying to feel better about our own self.  And that is called a zero-sum game.  Let me give you a tip: Life is not a zero-sum game.  What I mean is, if I am doing well, that does not mean you are doing badly.  Instead, I do well because you do well.  You do well because I do well.  There doesn’t have to be a winner and a loser.  We all move forward together.

 

So, in the name of protecting our own mental health, in the name of weakening our depression, the name of calming our anxiety, just stop.  Please stop.  Stop putting up a false image.  Stop fantasizing about who you wish you were, about who you wish others would see you as.  I’m not saying stop posting to Instagram, or stop reading it.  Just be aware that when you read other people’s posts, your mental health is in jeopardy unless you realize that they are either trying to put on a show, or have decided to stop themselves.  For now, do your part by stopping to put up a false image.  Be yourself, not your curated self.  No need to pretend.  Have fun, be careful, but don’t make yourself out to be someone you’re not.  Not only are you making yourself insecure, but you could be making someone else’s mental health worse.

 

Be aware of who posts what, why they post it, and to whom they intend it to be seen.  If they post it to get attention, especially from a certain group of people, take that into consideration.  I’m not saying don’t look at it; just know that this could hurt your mental health if you take it seriously.

 

If they post it in an honest, genuine way (which is extremely hard to determine, but be wise and use your best judgment in determining this), then enjoy it!  You have found someone who you might want to interact with.

 

And, be that person posting in an honest, genuine way.  Be a mental health activist in that sense.  Everyone deserves peace of mind, and the closer you can help someone get to peace of mind by being judicious with the self-image you put online, the better.

 

Be tactful, skillful, and kind.  You may make someone’s day brighter by being the most honest version of you you can be.  And someone else’s honesty could give you a mental health boost, too.

 

As always, keep on surviving.

Apr 22, 2020

#23 - Anger 

I have a long history with anger.  As a child, I was very easily frustrated.  I threw a bike at a kid in preschool.  I used to pound my feet so loud when I couldn’t play a passage on my cello that the whole house shook.  I once broke a large wooden pole by smashing it against rocks.  I cursed my parents out for the first time in third grade.  I’ve lost friendships, broken trust, and destroyed things because of my ease to be frustrated and my quick temper.

Anger continues to be a key topic of mine for achieving peace of mind.  I hope you can deal with it well, and I appreciate you listening to me tell my story and history with anger.

 

If you like this podcast, please share it with your friends, family, coworkers, and on your social media.  I am so glad this is resonating with other people and I look forward to spreading this awareness of mental illness with others.

If you want to support the work I am doing on the podcast, head on over to danlis.com.  That is my personal website where you can listen to and buy copies of my music.  All of my albums have extremely low prices so that anyone with $3 can have access to my music.

Stay safe in these times, and stay healthy.  It isn’t easy being cooped up in quarantine, but you can do this.  You can stay healthy and live a (fairly) normal life in these circumstances.  Know that you have a mental health community standing besides you; all you have to do is know that we love you and appreciate you keeping on surviving even when times are tough.  You are worth something, and you deserve kindness and love.  Be well, and please do keep on surviving.

:: / ::
1.0x 1.5x 2.0x