MESSAGE FROM PAT

Love is an Action!
The fairy tale is that love can overcome anything, and that we should strive to have unconditional love. Yet love always has conditions and it should, or it risks becoming an obligation or putting us at risk for abuse. For instance, if you are abusive towards me, I can release you in love, but I am not going to put effort into creating a loving space where you will continue to batter me. My conditions are that you treat me well. And batterers love to use the, "It's because I love you" excuse for their very unloving behavior. If love is an action, you need to perform better and treat me with kindness and respect. Sometimes we stay in relationships that are unhealthy for us because of love, so we tell ourselves, yet when we really look at why we stay, we stay for other reasons. Security. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not being able to go it alone. Maybe I'll never find someone else. We get other social currency out of being in the relationship. And so on. It's not actually love if love is an action and you've ceased to perform it. If love were a feeling it would be a good start, but it's not enough to build a healthy relationship. Love requires so much more of us. Amy Jo Goddard

DID YOU KNOW...?

FEBRUARY is Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Dating violence is a widespread issue that had serious long-term and short-term effects.
• Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
• 1 in 3 girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that exceeds rates of other types of youth violence
• 1 in 10 high school students have been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The 6 Blessings of Mental Illness

Yes, you read that title correctly. I could not have written those six words 30 years ago, when panic episodes, anxiety disorders and Tourette's syndrome clouded my view. But now I see that though the fog was exceptionally dark, good things were developing, good things inside of me. Conventional wisdom states that certain environments lend themselves to the formation of certain character traits. Team sports, for example, are credited with fostering cooperation and commitment. In exchange for service in our armed forces, soldiers learn the essence of duty, honor, sacrifice and discipline. In recent years, we have expanded our understanding of "formative experiences" to include seasons of medical struggle. We honor cancer survivors for their dignity and strength, while young children living through childhood diseases receive recognition for their tenacity and resilience. And they should. What we are really acknowledging is that during the intense and painful parts of life, some very good qualities are born, qualities that don't just occur on their own.

However, when we speak of mental illness, there is no talk of a formative experience. The identified mental disorders carried by many, myself included, are not credited with creating anything of value in us. Our lives exist under different headlines, where we are seen as weak and unfortunate, fragile and unpredictable. Granted, many of our behaviors are. But when there is a call to count blessings, do not imagine for an instant that we have none to number. Within the mental health community, we too have discovered that our storms have silver linings. Our "weaknesses," like battlefields, create in us the realization that we can more than survive mental illness. Mental Illness has its blessings:

1. Generosity
Think of the most generous friend you have. I will tell you what you already know: They are not proud or self-important. What they have, they can give because unlike the self-important person, they don't view their possessions and time as personal entitlements. Mental Illness shatters the altar of self. When minimal mental stability is hard to grasp, of what use is this item or that? Besides, when I give, for a little while, I control the direction of my world, and control is not something I often feel.

2. Spirituality
True spirituality begins with one of two desires. We are driven either by the longing for a transcendent experience or the desperate hope that someone greater than ourselves exists to meet our needs. Those struggling with mental illness rarely question that they are needy. Life makes this rather clear. This allows us to reach out our hands without reservation.


 
3. Empathy
The phrase "hurting people hurt people" rings true. So does this corollary: "Those who know they need know when others need." The experience of helplessness is one of the most universal realities of the mentally ill, and meeting a perceived need in another is one of the most potent ways to feel empowered.

4. Accepting spirit
It becomes quite difficult to condemn when it is consistently obvious that my own life is not all together. Awareness of my own confusion allows me to accept you freely. Ironically, although I can accept you with ease, I don't show the same grace to myself. Here is where I need you to help.

5. Courage
Many formative experiences create courage. But few of them involve Herculean steps of courage before your feet hit the floor. Getting out of bed to begin the day can be a sweet victory, and strings of victories create confidence. Courage to wake. Courage to rest. Courage to live in between. It isn't a bad mantra.

6. Creativity
There are societal norms for living. We call people who adhere to them "normal." I sincerely doubt the presence of normal actually exist; nonetheless, those of us who clearly live outside the lines find our square-peg existence in constant conflict with how the normal operate. Living, then, becomes an exercise in creativity. If the world walks from A to B, but my mind doesn't allow me to, it takes creativity to reach my destination.

If you could be guaranteed that your child would grow up to be a generous, spiritual, empathetic, accepting spirited, courageous, creative adult, if only you would consent to their experiencing this formation through mental illness, would you make the deal? I believe few would. But this I know: Those of us already on that road can be grateful for our blessings. Jonathan Friesen, Award-winning author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Minnesota. His latest book BOTH OF ME is now available. Become a fan!

 

ABOUT MEMBERSHIP

PCMHC strives to make this a community welcoming to all individuals, and to accomodate as many varying comfort levels as possible. Therefore, we have highlighted the following points:

  • Membership at PCMHC is free
  • Membership gives you access to being able to post events on the calendar, opinions or even articles in discussion groups, and to communicate with other members.
  • If you wish to stay anonymous use your first name and the letter "Z" as your last initial when filling out the membership form. By doing this, other members will know to be sensitive to your comfort level.
  • Posting a picture to go along with your profile is recommended but the picture can be of anything that makes you smile. It could be flowers, a sunset, your pet, etc. 
  • ALL MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION IS KEPT WITHIN THE CONFINES OF PCMHC AND IS NEVER GIVEN TO OUTSIDE ENTITIES.

It is our hope that this information helps encourage more individuals to become a part of the community we are building here in Placer County, because as this community gets stronger so do we. Why not join today

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    HIGHLIGHTED VIDEO LINK

    At the heart of NAMI's mission is our grassroots and the sharing of information with people with mental illness, their families, friends, mental health professionals, and the general public. NAMI strives to offer hope, reform and health to our American community through support, education, and advocacy efforts. Research is constantly providing us with new information about the brain and the nature of mental illnesses and, consequently, more effective treatments.  This web site can greatly assist in our efforts to protect our greatest human asset – our beautiful minds.

    We are a local affiliate of NAMI (National) www.nami.org and NAMI California.

    Family Support Meetings: Held the third Thursday of each month except July and December, from 6:30PM to 8:30PM at the Auburn Main Library, 350 Nevada St., Auburn.  

    Programs Offered:
               Family to Family Support Group
               Family to Family Education – Free, 12 week course offered twice a year.
               Please contact NAMI Placer County for more information
    Warm Line:  916-554-0554
    Email: namipc.gayle@yahoo.com

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