I recently planned my Drug Treatment Court Graduation. In July I will successfully graduate; the courtroom will be full of my guests and other participants. Each member of the seven panel treatment team — including the judge — will take time to give me accolades, followed by a recess in court so that everyone in attendance can congratulate me individually (it’s mandatory). After court, we will take pictures of me with my support team and my certificate of completion and my family and I will go out to eat.
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I recently watched as a friend deteriorated as a result of a new medication. She was having an adverse reaction to it and within days was manic. Everyone else saw a happy-go-lucky her, while I saw the irritation building in her, as well as her frustration as she tried to deal with the growing symptoms. Within days the mania turned into depression and she became more irritable, angry and more frustrated.
When I'm doing day-to-day things, it is very common for other people to ask me why I have a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist. A semicolon is defined as “a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.”
As someone in recovery from both addiction and bipolar disorder, I often find it difficult to know when to share this part of my life with someone else. I recently ended a three-year relationship and began dating again. I try to be upfront about the addiction because I am still very involved in daily recovery from that disease. In addition, substance addiction is more stigmatized even than mental illness.
“Mentally ill persons increasingly receive care provided by correctional agencies. In 1959, nearly 559,000 mentally ill patients were housed in state mental hospitals (Lamb, 1998). A shift to "deinstitutionalize" mentally ill persons had, by the late 1990s, dropped the number of persons housed in public psychiatric hospitals to approximately 70,000 (CorrectCare, 1999). As a result, mentally ill persons are more likely to live in local communities. Some come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally designed to treat individuals diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder (which I was), but has skills and tools for everyone. DBT has been, notably, successful in individuals with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD as well. I have /have had all three diagnoses, so I started trying to find DBT therapy for myself about 2 years ago, when I first heard of it. Initially it wasn’t covered by insurance and was rather expensive, so I stuck with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and got what I could get out of it.
“They are opposite states... Solitude is usually actively sought after and is a personal choice that comes from an inner yearning. Isolation is usually actively avoided and is forced from the outside. Solitude allows for expansion and freedom of thought, providing the chance to soar above the ordinary in order to come back to the world refreshed and reinvigorated. Isolation contracts the walls and makes a prison, draining the will and leaving you exhausted.” Source
Though problematic or compulsive internet use has been debated as far as validity and scope, it is not currently recognized as a psychiatric disorder. However, a cautionary word from my Mom: “Anything in excess is a problem. Everything in moderation!” With that disclaimer in place, let me welcome you to my world of social media and internet research as a viable source of highly relevant information, hope, inspiration and support.
I woke up sad and nervous before drug treatment court this morning. My friend, Cee, was going to be held today in county jail until a bed opened up at a nearby drug treatment facility: she kept failing drug screens and this was her consequence. It would be meted out at court, but she knew already. Everyone in our group knew. Cee said a tearful good-bye to us last night at group therapy.
There has been an increased interest in the judicial system among advocates for people living with mental illness: