I Finally Got my Bipolar Disorder Under Control and Then Started Experiencing Uncontrollable Movements

I Finally Got my Bipolar Disorder Under Control and Then Started Experiencing Uncontrollable Movements

JCheang

Thu, 08/19/2021 – 13:18

By Angi, Full-time child-care worker (last names have been omitted to protect identities)

When I was in my early 20s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder but looking back, I definitely started showing symptoms in my teens.1 It took me years and a lot of trial and error to find the right antipsychotic treatment regimen that worked for me, but then I started to experience the uncontrollable movements of tardive dyskinesia (TD).2

Learn about TD: https://mhanational.org/conditions/tardive-dyskinesia

When  I first started experiencing TD, I thought I had restless leg syndrome because my legs and hips would not stop moving.3 My hips would thrust uncontrollably, and I couldn’t sleep at night. During the day, the movements were so bad I couldn’t even sit down. Then TD started in my face – it caused twitching and long, involuntary blinking that would make me scrunch my face into a weird position. I felt very frustrated because I could not control what was happening to me!4

The TD movements were disruptive and embarrassing.5 I was self-conscious and thought people were staring at me when I left the house. My family and I didn’t know what to do, and I was becoming depressed.

My Diagnosis

Eventually, I found a psychiatrist who immediately recognized the uncontrollable movements in my legs and face as TD. This was the first time I had ever heard of TD, but it was comforting to know what I was going through was a medical condition. 

When my doctor wanted me to try a medication for TD, I was very hesitant. The thought of possibly changing my medications or adding another was scary. I didn’t want to take another medicine because I didn’t want anything to jeopardize the progress I’d made with my bipolar disorder. I put off treatment and told my family I would start taking medicine when the movements got worse.6

For more on TD visit: https://www.tardiveimpact.com/

My Treatment Journey

One day, my husband and sister sat me down and said it was time for me to consider treatment for my TD. It had been six months, and my TD was now impacting my life. I realized my family was right. After several conversations with my doctor and encouragement from my family, I decided to start TD treatment. Now I feel so much better, and my symptoms have improved.7 Luckily for me, I also didn’t have to make any changes to my current bipolar medication regimen. I have regained my confidence and don’t feel as embarrassed to go out anymore. With TD under more control, I have one less thing to worry about.

Getting a mental health condition under control is tough, and TD symptoms can be frightening. To anyone currently living with a mental health condition and experiencing uncontrollable movements, I would encourage you to talk to a doctor. There may be treatment options available to help you.8

For more information about Tardive Dyskinesia and medications that may help, visit:

What is tardive dyskinesia?
How do you treat tardive dyskinesia?
For more resources on TD visit TDImpact.com

1Bipolar Disorder in Teens: How to Spot the Signs and Symptoms. Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. https://www.houstonbehavioralhealth.com/blog/bipolar-disorder-teens-signs-symptoms. Accessed August 2021.

2Tardive Dyskinesia. Medline Plus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000685.htm. Accessed August 2021.

3Warikoo N, Schwartz T, Citrome L. Tardive dyskinesia. In: Schwartz TL, Megna J, Topel ME, eds. Antipsychotic Drugs: Pharmacology, Side Effects and Abuse Prevention. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc; 2013:235-258. Accessed November 2019.

4Tardive dyskinesia (TD). Mind website. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/tardive-dyskinesia-td/about-tardive-dyskinesia/. Accessed August 2021.

5Sharing the impact of tardive dyskinesia. NAMI website. http://notalone.nami.org/post/97568253959/sharing-the-impact-of-tardive-dyskinesia. Accessed November 2019

6Finding the Right Medication. International Bipolar Foundation. https://ibpf.org/articles/finding-the-right-medication/. Accessed August 2021.

7Tardive dyskinesia. Baylor College of Medicine website. https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare/care-centers/parkinsons/conditions/tardive-dyskinesia. Accessed November 2019

8Tardive dyskinesia. NAMI website. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Tardive-Dyskinesia. Accessed December 2019.

 

TD-40888
September 2021

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7 Ways to Support You and Your Family’s Mental Health When Returning to Work

7 Ways to Support You and Your Family’s Mental Health When Returning to Work

JCheang

Tue, 09/21/2021 – 13:49

This article was originally published by FlexJobs and has been re-published on Mental Health America’s website with permission. Click here to read the original article.

Well over one year ago, the pandemic shifted the way in which people work and live, with no shortage of “pivot” situations. Employers and employees alike are constantly adapting to the changes brought on by the pandemic, including returning to a physical workspace or a revised schedule. In addition, employees who are also parents are grappling with their children returning to the classroom.

We may not have complete control over these changes. However, we can control how to best respond to these changes, particularly when it comes to our mental health and the well-being of family. Below are seven ways in which you can support you and your family’s mental health during this time.

1. (OVER) COMMUNICATE WITH COWORKERS AND FAMILY

Frequent and effective communication will continue to be an important skill for employees at work and at home. As employees return to work and children return to school, be sure to communicate your schedule, obligations, and expectations with your supervisor, your team, and your family members. Clear communication on all fronts can help alleviate some disorganization, forgetfulness, and anxiety for employees and their families.

2. ADJUST HABITS TO MEET NEW DEMANDS

With a shift in physical workspace or schedule, it is time to reestablish the healthy habits that helped you stay engaged and productive while working from home. For example, it may be helpful to budget time for lunch and short breaks during the workday, represented by blocks on your calendar or a temporary away message on communication channels. In addition, set an example for your peers and family by modeling and practicing self-care. Examples of self-care include staying organized and prioritize taking frequent breaks; practicing meditation, breathing, or expressing gratitude; or meeting someone for coffee.

3. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED AT WORK

If you are returning to a physical workplace, it might be the right time to ask your employer for flexibility in your schedule or to work from home one day a week, if possible. Research shows that employees who work flexible schedules are more productive and loyal to their employers. In addition, asking your manager for support can include regular check-ins, increased opportunities for bidirectional feedback, and the ability to talk openly about stressors. Help your manager understand your needs so that they can provide the appropriate support. 

4. RECONNECT WITH COWORKERS YOU TRUST

According to past reports, having positive relationships with coworkers and supervisors is the top reason employees feel satisfied at work. Connection will be crucial as workplaces return to normal. Seek out opportunities to reconnect with your manager, team, and coworkers. Examples include scheduling coffee dates or happy hours—any activity that is in person (while maintaining physical safety measures). If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, talk to a trusted coworker about it. It’s likely that your coworker is also dealing with their own pressures and can share similar concerns.

5. CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES

Children and teens pick up on anxiety and tension in adults around them. Be open about your own feelings, and lead by example in how you deal with them by modeling healthy behaviors and coping skills. If you are experiencing the common signs or symptoms of a mental health condition, it could be helpful to take an anonymous and confidential mental health screening online. MHA has 10 online screening tools, including one that is youth-focused and one for parents. Once you get the results, MHA will provide you with more information and help you to figure out next steps. Addressing the early signs of mental health conditions can dramatically increase the likelihood of positive outcomes and recovery.

6. RESEARCH MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AT YOUR WORKPLACE

Many companies offer resources through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or similar wellness program, which can save you precious time by providing guidance on issues like where to find a daycare center and caretaking for an elderly parent, as well as referrals to mental health and other services. In addition, be familiar with options for support available through your child’s school to help accommodate them if they are struggling emotionally or academically. You are your own and your child’s best advocate!

7. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IF YOU NEED IT

Chatting with friends and family can be important to your success at home—or at work—and can even improve your health. People with stronger support systems have more aggressive immune responses to illnesses than those who lack such support. Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.

If you are interested in learning more about how to care for your child’s mental health, download MHA’s 2021 Back-to-School Toolkit: “Facing Fears, Supporting Students.” The toolkit aims to help students, parents, and school personnel recognize how feeling unsafe can impact mental health and school performance, and what can be done to help young people who are struggling with their mental health.

If you’re looking at returning to work, a flexible job can help with finding a healthy work-life balance. FlexJobs has over 50 career categories hiring for a range of flexible and remote jobs.

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10 Young People Changing their Communities for Mental Health

10 Young People Changing their Communities for Mental Health

JCheang

Wed, 09/29/2021 – 11:12

By Kelly Davis, Associate Vice President of Peer and Youth Advocacy at Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to announce the members of the 2021-2022 Young Mental Health Leaders Council (YMHLC). YMHLC identifies young leaders from across the U.S.  who have created programs and initiatives that fill gaps in traditional mental health services in their communities. Through YMHLC, members connect with other leaders, share their work with MHA’s audiences, and expand their ideas into new communities.

This year’s cohort is working to address mental health across many areas including faith, policy, research, schools, and peer support. YMHLC members will contribute to MHA’s annual Young People’s Mental Health Report and will share their ideas and initiatives with our audience throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

Learn more about them below!

Want to stay up to date on our youth and young adult mental health resources? Sign up for our email list at mhanational.org/youthalerts.

Jaden Stewart (he/him) is an 18-year-old freshman at Kenyon College looking to make a positive change in the world by using his social media platforms to inspire others to strive for greatness each and every day!

Currently, he’s at the Division III level playing football and is in the process of working his way up the depth chart. THE PROCESS. Even with all of his accomplishments throughout high school, being a star athlete and valedictorian, he wants to make a bigger impact on people he may encounter day by day. By being a part of  Mental Health America’s Young Mental Health Leaders Council, he hopes to bring much positive energy and encouragement to people of all ages.

Prameela Boorada (she/her) is an artist, researcher, advocate, and social-impact storyteller.

Growing up in India, Prameela was raised on a wonderful selection of fables, mythology, biographies, and experiences. Moving to the United States opened a portal to identity and existential crises. She started college at 16 and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Psychology. Through college, she suffered from depression, social anxiety, panic attacks, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. In an attempt to find healing and community, Prameela got involved with on-campus mental health advocacy. That passion stayed with her well beyond college — in fact, it compelled her to quit her corporate job to learn more about digital well-being and social impact entrepreneurship. During this time, she did a fellowship with HeadStream Innovations where she researched how visibility and vulnerability on social media can impact well-being. She published a digital magazine featuring stories from 22 entrepreneurs/advocates/artists.

Alongside this project, Prameela got involved in grassroots advocacy through MannMukti. Given the stigma around mental health in South Asian cultures, her primary focus was on creating a space for youth to discuss mental health concerns safely. In June 2021, she launched MannMukti’s nationwide Youth Fellowship Program. It’s a six-month program featuring lectures from educators/activists, 1:1 mentorship from mental health professionals, and support to build a social impact project. The inaugural cohort has 18 students with a plan to expand the cohort size in 2022.

Mahmoud Khedr (he/him) is, above all, human-first. He’s a proud Egyptian immigrant passionate about building equitable and scalable solutions empowering underserved communities addressing mental health and education. For the last 10 years, he’s been working at the intersection of technology, government, health, and social impact. He is a social entrepreneur who is currently the co-founder and CEO of FloraMind, an organization with the vision of empowering young people to flourish through the most diverse mental health movement. Mahmoud previously worked at Facebook, Google, Echoing Green, and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech & Innovation. Everything Mahmoud has been involved in throughout his career has been to end unnecessary suffering and empower people to flourish.

As a global advocate and speaker on mental health, youth empowerment, and social entrepreneurship, Mahmoud has received fellowships, awards, and recognition from former President Bill Clinton, General Colin Powell, Forbes, and Stanford d. School. In 2019, he delivered his TED talk, “How Toxic Positivity Leads to More Suffering.” 

Sophie Szew (she/her) is a Jewtina and mental health warrior from Los Angeles who is passionate about advocacy and social justice on all fronts. Since recovering from an eating disorder in 2019, her writing (both poetry and personal narratives) has been published in a number of outlets, including FEAST, the Dillydoun Review, Channel Kindness, Jewtina y Co, and Detester Magazine, among others. She was also the inaugural poet to the Mayor of Beverly Hills. This year, she founded the Youth Latinx Leadership Conference, a student-run organization that connects Latinx student leaders to the resources to succeed as future changemakers. She was able to help connect over 500 foster families to undocumented and unaccompanied child immigrants. She also spends her time bringing awareness to issues that affect BIPOC communities through her work with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and her Congressional internship!

Anthony Sartori (he/him) strives to bring people together. After earning a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Anthony led mindfulness programs at an outpatient clinic for youth with mental health challenges. In March of 2020, he launched Evolving Minds with a purpose: to connect. He’s raised over $20,000, developed impactful mental health programming for students, educators, and businesses, and has graduated over 400 alumni. He currently leads the development of mindfulness content for health care workers with Vitalize and sits on the Equity and Interdependence Committee at iBme.

Joseph Sexton (he/him) is a 20-year-old junior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where he is studying Psychology; Statistics; and Medicine, Health, & Society with a concentration in critical psychiatry. A Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship recipient, Joseph has centered his advocacy around a need for systemic reform, specifically through policy efforts and a deep commitment to research. He leads a Mental Health Policy Working Group that brings students together to learn about and advocate for policies relevant to mental health outcomes, and he also serves as a Rising Leader for the Tourette Association of America, speaking for the rights and awareness of those with tic disorders.

For his research on suicidal thoughts and behaviors, Joseph was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship in April 2021, recognizing high talent and potential for impact in science. He believes the commercialization of academia and medicine endangers American mental health and is fervently committed to open science and psychiatric reform, working to clean and publicize CDC data on suicides from 1960 to 2020 through his forthcoming U.S. Suicide Compiler project. In conjunction with Mental Health America of the MidSouth, Joseph is also organizing the inaugural Vanderbilt Critical Psychiatry Conference to bring together academics, clinicians, and students in order to understand what is and is not working in the current state of biological psychiatry. He plans on pursuing a career in academia, researching and teaching clinical psychology.

Catherine Delgado (she/her) is an 18-year-old from San Diego, California, and uses she/her/hers pronouns. She is a first-year Public Health student at George Washington University. Growing up, Catherine watched those closest to her struggle with their overwhelming stress, anxiety, and desire to self-harm. She believed that an unwillingness to hold safe conversations about mental health prevented young students from developing the life skills needed to support themselves emotionally throughout their lifetime. It became Catherine’s mission to tackle the educational system and create strong mental health support for all students.

This mission led Catherine to found the Student Wellness Education And Resources (SWEAR) Committee at the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). A student-led mental health advocacy group, the SWEAR Committee is leading the effort for formal mental health and wellness curriculum development. SWEAR’s biggest achievement is the passing of a resolution with the SDUSD Board of Education to provide comprehensive, research-based mental health education on an annual basis to all secondary school students at SDUSD. Catherine is now part of the committee that is designing the curriculum for implementation within middle and high schools.

Melanie Zhou (she/her) is a sophomore at Stanford University studying Computer Science and Creative Writing. Seeing a counselor 10 years after a traumatic childhood experience helped her recognize the need to destigmatize the mental health conversation. In the next few years, she hopes to see her nonprofit, Oasis, expand to schools across Colorado while partnering with mental health programs that are proven to help students. She serves as the Youth Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Community Service of Colorado. In her free time, Melanie loves to hike, swim, and skydive.

Breanna Kennedy (they/them) has suffered with mental illness since 6th grade alone due to growing up in an environment where mental illness was often ignored, stigmatized, and even considered taboo. They want to make sure other individuals and youth do not feel alone or silenced during their mental health journey.

Breanna is currently a sophomore Pre-Veterinary Sciences Biology major at the University of South Carolina-Aiken (UofSC). Breanna currently works on campus at their Wellness Center as aStudent Coordinator for IMPACT Community Service. They also serve asUofSC Aiken Circle K International President in order to not only serve their school, but also their community.

In addition, they serve as the co-Director for Enrichment for Yellow Tulip Project, a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate the detrimental stigma that often surrounds mental illness and to open safe spaces for individuals to talk about their experiences with mental illness. They are currently working on events at UofSC Aiken and the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club in order to teach students and children the importance of mental health and also fun activities that allow them to practice self-care, self-love, and self-growth. Breanna is very excited to smash the stigma of mental illness and change lives.

Marissa Byers (she/her) is a future eco-therapist who is passionate about connecting people with the natural environment to improve mental health and well-being. She graduated from Butler University with an Environmental Studies degree in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at IUPUI in Indianapolis. Her current collaborative work aims to help college students take advantage of the natural resources around them and get outside to connect with themselves, others, and their environments!

 

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