Tag Archives: #mentalillness

Unwanted Birth

Warning, this post may be triggering to some.

It’s my turn to speak for the unwanted birth of a child. I struggled to tell this story. It’s not a pleasant one. Many years ago, when I was 12, I’m 52 years old now, a man broke into our apartment and raped me and my mother. I was already traumatized. I had already experienced every form of abuse. I already had dissociative identity disorder. I was pretty fucked up at the time. Still, even though I blocked it with dissociation, I would relive this moment and many other moments of sexual abuse and molestation over and over and over again. Out of this rape, my mother was impregnated. She already had five children, two at home. She did have a 6th child many years before this, but he died from SIDS. However, my mother didn’t want to keep the child from the rape, so she had it aborted.

For most of my life, until I started healing, I wondered why I was born. I desperately wanted to die. I suffered so much, I wished my mother had aborted me. Anyone ever feel that way? Life hurts so bad, you’ve been through so much shit, you wish you had never been born? I know many people do. I tried to commit suicide many times. I was a mess. My mother had schizophrenia. I don’t mean it like the people who nonchalantly call someone crazy because they’re different. I don’t mean it like when people say, “that’s so schizophrenic” which I find insulting. No, she seriously had schizophrenia.

For the people who say, God doesn’t condone the taking of a life, well God doesn’t condone rape, abuse, molestation of a child or any other thing children are subjected to, yet it’s done! Something else, I need to say is God is not in it. God’s not in the rape, or the molestation, and God’s not in the abortion. God’s not in it at all. So leave these women and children alone and let them do what they want with their own bodies! On a side note, the church doesn’t need more children to abuse! Society doesn’t need more throw away children to mess up their heads, to use, abuse, and exploit their minds, bodies, and souls.

I have healed from my own wounds, I have been empowered, I am on the other side of my years of mental illness, just to let you all know that it’s a woman right what she does with her body. Oh, God wasn’t in my sickness, and wasn’t in my healing either. Don’t make this about god because it isn’t. It’s about a woman’s right to choose. My mother, she was very sick, i went through a lot of heart ache with her, and not bringing another unwanted child in this world, was the most sane thing she could ever do.

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Second Chance

One of my favorite pastime is self reflection, introspection, and gratitude for all I’ve been given through the years whether pain, sadness, loss, happiness, triumph, and gain. I spent a good amount of time in self contemplation on my birthday this last weekend. Self reflection is a great way to improve upon my life to learn and grow from missteps and to break cycles. During my 52 years of life, I have had many rebirths and restarts. My greatest rebirth, and truly second chance, was losing the label of mental illness. Now I wear the label of mental health and mental wellness.

Without looking back on what it meant to have mental illness, I want to share about being given a second chance at life on my terms, in my own unique style, in total consciousness, and knowing I get to choose each step of the way. Before, I used to live like a zombie, all of my emotions shut down, I felt so dead since I was heavily medicated because life felt so bad and painful. I couldn’t face the feelings of all the bad things that had happened to me. I was numb to life.

Now, post medication, I live with all the feelings and emotions I want to feel. It’s like a smorgasbord of feelings! Woohoo! It feels good to be alive, even when I cry, it feels good to cleanse my soul! I love a good cry. I don’t cry like I used to. I cried like it would never end (when the medication wasn’t working). I cried like my soul was eternally broken and fractured. Now I cry just because something is beautiful, happy, or sad. I’m a deep feeling soul in a human body that is touched by life as I allow it into my conscious awareness through daily experiences. I allow in as much as I want to, participate when I want to, and how I want to.

It’s never too late for a second chance. There are many opportunities for a do over, if you are willing to recognize it, willing to accept where you are then find a way to move forward. One of the most important lessons I learned in therapy is I always have choices. Wait, no the most important one is to love myself. I don’t know, those two are very big lessons for me! It’s hard to say which was the most important lesson. Lol.

I’m just saying life is full of second chances. There is always another choice, pathway or decision to make. Life is full of experiences and I don’t want to miss a second of it. I consciously choose where I’m going, who I’m going with, what I’ll be doing, and how I will interact with my environment. This is the ultimate power anyone can have over one’s life. To live life consciously and passionately and in love with every single moment whether it’s a positive one or challenging one. Everyday, every moment is an opportunity for a second chance to do life differently, and on your own terms. Let love lead the way. Listen to your heart.

Experiencing Life!

Over the last week, I’ve been on a wild adventure to Australia! It’s so amazing here! I worried about the 15 hour flight but I managed it alright. I meditated, read, listened to music, and slept most of the way. I was also sneezing a lot. When we got to Australia, I was sneezing and my nose running almost nonstop so I had to pop antihistamine medication. I was just a freaking nose of a wreck! Knowing I have severe allergies and even allergies back home, I wondered if this was even a good idea! I worried I would not adapt to the environment here in Australia.

However, after two days, the owner of a cottage we rented, told me to try the local honey. She said the local honey should help with allergies. I had no idea where I would get some local honey, but she offered to get me some. She brought over 1/3 cup of honey. I took a couple of spoonfuls. It didn’t work right away. I went to bed tired and still sneezing. I also took another antihistamine because I didn’t know if the honey would work. The next day, I woke up to no sneezing and no running nose! I took another large spoonful of honey just for good measure. Literally, over night, walla, I went from sneezing around everything to nothing! I was so amazed at this wonderful turn around! I didn’t have to carry boxes of tissue paper with me everywhere. Hehe.

One day, I was walking through the forest looking for wallabies, koalas, and birds when I suddenly was very emotional. I’m a very emotional person, and highly sensitive. I was filled with gratitude that I had healed from my mental disorders. Years ago, as many of my readers know, I had very severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a dissociative disorder. I was a mess. My life revolved around medications, therapy, and doctor’s appointments. I was on so many medications, I was like a zombie. There’s no way I would have gone on a trip like this. I was also very fearful. Just the flight alone, I would have had to be medicated with extra anti-anxiety pills. I had child alter personalities that would have presented and been very scared and crying. People would look at me strangely and wonder why I was acting this way. I just didn’t go many places during a very dark period of my life. Anyway, I suddenly said to my husband, “I’m so glad I healed because I can take trips like this now!” It’s not that I couldn’t experience life, it just took a lot more effort, and it was very stifled.

It was many years ago that I got better, but I still marvel and am amazed at the wonders of my new life. Since I got better, I’ve taken many trips around the U.S. I went to Canada one summer, and now we’re in Australia. What’s next? Oh we’re definitely coming back here again. Two weeks is just not enough time to take it all in but just the experience of being here, taking in new sights, experiencing another culture, and way of life has been absolutely exhilarating. The more I take in life, the more I experience life, the more I want to take in life and the more I want to experience it! Life is truly amazing and it’s a wonderful gift. I love myself by taking in more life. I intend to make the rest of the years of my life, the best years of my life!

New Year, New Choices

Today, while walking down the street, I saw someone who looked like one of my former Psychiatrists. I smiled as i walked by the person and inwardly felt a great sense of wonder and gratitude as I recalled all that I had overcome. It’s been about 7 years since I took my last psychotropic medication. I used to take antipsychotics, antidepressents, antianxiety medications, including Adderall, a stimulant! I was a huge mess! I took these prescribed medications for nearly two decades. I was a typical mental patient, I had a Case Manager, and I also had Severe Mental Illness status due to numerous suicide attempts.

Today, I’m an entirely different person. I’m no longer plagued by debilitating anxiety, triggers, depression, and suicidal ideation. It was a long road but I am happy to be where I am today. I was like a zombie back then, though. Now, I just blissed out on meditation and positive energy! I had someone tell me that I probably wasn’t really crazy (and I wasn’t), but that I was just misunderstood. I looked at him oddly because he has no idea where I used to be. It’s easy to understand this mentality because I am not who I used to be, at all.

Over the years, I faced my fears, I faced my trauma, I faced my feelings, I learned skills training, and did lots of grief and processing work to get to where I am today. I am not saying that everyone is going to do it the way I did it, but this is how I did it for me. A huge part of it was learning to love myself, talk therapy, meditation, writing, and also letting go of lots of fears.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are taking any type of medication that helps you to function. Don’t let that trip you up. I know it bothered me for a very long time. Not only that, but I was expected to be on the psychotropics for the rest of my life! Well, I’m not on them and I’m just fine. I’m not suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD or any other mental illness symptoms. I’m just me.

I’ve always been quiet and reserved. I’m very introspective and like to daydream. I don’t do life the way other people do it, and there’s nothing wrong with my version of reality. I’m a very sensitive person and sometimes this is mistaken as weakness or weak willed. I’m not that either. I have a tender heart and have no intention of changing it. I’m not going to toughen up, I’m not going to grow thicker skin, I’m going to keep on being gentle, kind and sweet, especially to me! Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and is the beginning to creating a new you, a new life, and new possibilities. Love yourself!

This year, I’m planning to release my second book. (My first book is called, “Dear Sophia, Love Yourself!”) It’s going to have more details than my first one, and will be about my spiritual awakening as I was healing from mental illness. It will be about overcoming a lot of fears, learning to meditate, and use metaphysical tools, like crystals, for my healing. Yes, it will be a lot of woo-woo stuff, and I’m here to tell you it’s not crazy; it’s empowering and liberating! I’m excited for the next phase of my journey, and the positive things I’m bringing into life this year.

This all represents personal choices that I made over the years to assist in my healing by changing my thoughts about illness, learning to master myself, and live consciously every minute. Sometimes I do have ups and downs which is the nature of human life, I just don’t stay down. I learn my lessons and get back up. There’s no shame and blame, I am responsible for what I do with this precious gift of life I’ve been given. Happy new year everyone!

Dental Woes

Today’s blog is in support of mental health awareness month!  I recently went to the dentist to get a crown.  I have a love/hate relationship with dentists.  I love to have my teeth looking nice and shiny but I know over the years I have had very poor dental care.  Some of my dental problems stem from neglect growing up that continued into my adulthood.  I also didn’t care for my teeth because I was not always mentally aware that I even needed to!  I was very severely mentally ill for a while.  I took Wellbutrin, Zoloft or others, Zyprexa or other antipsychotics, Adderall and Armour thyroid.  I was on some heavy duty medications!   I had a steady cocktail of psychotropics that involved two antidepressants, an antipsychotic, a stimulant and my thyroid medication.  I was like a zombie basically.

When I went to the dentist, it always because I was in some dental pain, I would not intentionally seek out dental care otherwise.   On all of the forms, at the dentist office, they ask if you are now or ever been treated for a psychiatric disorder.  I always answered truthfully.  I could never figure out why they needed to know this.  They even asked if you had ever been in a psychiatric hospital.  Why do they need to know this?  What difference does it make?  I need my teeth fixed.  They’d even want to know the dates you were hospitalized.  I was always a bit embarrassed to admit all the meds I was taking and the different hospitalizations.

There came a time, when I was no longer on psychotropic medications.  I was healing.  I didn’t need them anymore.  I didn’t even have a psychiatrist.  I was still in therapy but I was well into recovery.  I had some dental pain so I scheduled a dental appointment.  I didn’t have a regular dentist so I had to call around to find one on my plan who could see me ASAP.  I found one, they took the xrays and assessed what was going on in my mouth.  I needed a lot of work done and I was in horrific pain.

However, the dentist saw that I had been a psychiatric patient.  She asked about why I wasn’t on medications.  I told her I didn’t need them anymore.  She said I had to get clearance from a psychiatrist before I could have the dental work done.  I was beside myself.  I told her I didn’t even have a psychiatrist, and sometimes it can take more than a month to get in with one!  She informed me there’s a special place for people like me to get dental help.   People like me?  People with former mental illness or someone you think is not in their right mind because they have a history of mental illness?

I still get sad when I recall this story because this is the plight of people with mental illness.  They get looked at funny or judged and misunderstood.  People with a mental illness are still people, they are worthy of dignity and respect from all health care providers.   No matter what healing modality you are serving, remember these people are special, they are sensitive, and need your services.  I went to another dentist.  I also found a psychiatrist who gave me clearance for the dental treatment.  She did offer an anxiety medication that is commonly prescribed for people, whether they have mental illness or not, who fear seeing the dentist.

Believe it or not, I do not have major depression with psychotic features anymore.  I do not have post traumatic disorder anymore.  People do heal.   There’s no reason to treat someone as if they are going to be mentally ill for the rest of their lives just because they had a mental illness at one time.  Even if I did have a mental illness, there’s no reason to treat me like I’m a freak, or crazy, or like I’m just a lost cause.  I healed.

Seasons Change

I keep going back to the turning points in my life. I turn a corner and I realize there’s yet another corner to turn! I build my momentum and excitement to get to the next corner. Sometimes there’s a huge celebration, other times, I’m thinking, “why did I bother?” Every time I think I’m enlightened, I realize there’s more enlightenment or levels of awareness. Lol. Then I realize, I know nothing about enlightenment!

I’m just very excited. I’m excited about all the twists and turns my life has taken. I’m excited because I was stuck in a downward spiral and now I’m just constantly going upward and just when I think I can’t go any higher, I’m lifted even higher! I seem to be constantly gauging my reactions to the stimuli that life presents to me. I wonder if I’m over reacting, overly excitement, or if I’m not excited enough. I’m naturally analytical and introspective mostly towards myself and the things I’m engaging with in my life.

There have been some very defining moments in my life when everything changed. I’m talking about changing from someone who took numerous psychotropics to none; someone who was very depressed, psychotic, and suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. I have recently discovered that most of the changes in my life, although they came about from a specific catalyst, the biggest factor that took me to a mentally healthier version of me, was letting go of fears. I let go of the fears of the unknown. I stopped worrying about what others would think. I stopped worrying about being judged. I stopped wondering what if something went wrong and instead dreamed about things going right. I stopped the fearful thoughts that swirled around and around in my head. They certainly weren’t working for me!

I also decided to believe change is possible. I decided to bet on me. I decided to try anything and everything to radically switch the direction of my life instead of going with the same old status quo. There really are seasons of our lives. It’s important to recognize what season I’m in, in order to switch between seasons with grace and ease, and fearlessly. It’s nice to add a bit of inquisitiveness. What is around the corner? What is just around the river bend? Where is the bend in the road leading me to? Can I just peek a little bit as I hurry over there? I’m not afraid, simply because I’ve turned so many corners, despite sometimes not even knowing what to expect (although I did expect something good, at least).

The biggest factor which effected the direction I took, as the seasons changed, was questioning my fears, my self talk, and fear mongering. I especially like to question when someone else tries to tell me what is best for me. I definitely question prolific fear mongering in all of it’s forms. Pretty soon here, I’m going to start a rant about fear mongering. The biggest fear mongering that annoys me is the fear of judgement. I will be the first to admit that I used to be very fearful of judgement, especially judgment from God. However, I don’t live with this fear anymore. It was a very long season of my life, in which I feared judgement from God. However, the season has changed. I am happier and freer since I let go of this fear and many other fears. Every now and then, someone will do a little bit of fear mongering to suck me back into it, by telling me that God’s going to come judge me, but I don’t buy into it.

The final indication of the season changing is that I’m willing to write and talk about letting go of fears! I no longer fear what people will say about my changing my mind about fears. I changed my mind about God’s judgment. It’s a brand new season! This is a huge step because it’s sort of the precursor to another book I’ve been writing. The message here, right now, is that people change their minds about things, their beliefs and their ideas, and it’s totally okay! It’s okay to question my beliefs. It’s okay to say, “That sounds like bullshit!” I used to be afraid to question things, and I loathed myself.  Now, I love myself and I allow myself to have different beliefs than others. It’s about being true to me and what works for me. I live from the heart. I ask myself, “what would love to do?” I do this because I personally believe, love is the answer.   Seasons change.

Everybody’s Crazy

Many years ago, I was very depressed and taking numerous medications for my condition. It was complicated by personality disorders and PTSD. One time, my sister called me around my birthday and asked me what I wanted. I told her, “what I want, you can’t buy.” She asked, “what is it?” I told her I wanted a right mind. She said to me, “Oh, Sophie, everybody’s crazy!” I quietly cried feeling very misunderstood. She didn’t know how bad I was feeling. She didn’t know I just wanted to die. About 20 years later, I finally understood what she meant! This is about how long it took for me to get myself together, too, in order to start making changes in my life so I could heal. I started to realize everyone was crazy so I wondered, What the hell am I trippin’ on???

There is a difference between someone who is going through a chemical imbalance of some sort and the normal everyday crazy.  However, many people don’t understand this. They don’t understand a person who feels they are not in their right mind feels crazy, out of control, like something has taken over, as if they are lost without a body, just wandering around like a lost soul. So many people throw around phrases like, “that’s so crazy” without understanding how it effects people who think they might be crazy. I used to just go “crazy” when people used phrases like, “that’s so schizophrenic” or would cavalierly call something crazy. It would embroil me and get me all worked up. I try not to use the word “hate” ever because it’s a serious word and I hardly truly hate anything or anyone, but I do hate the “crazy” word. Although, sometimes, I’m known to sing, “boom boom, ain’t it great to be crazy!”

Once I woke up to the reality of everyone’s general craziness, it wasn’t so bad. I could relax and not try so hard to be “normal” whatever the hell is normal! Lol. Relaxing, I’m able to be a bit more objective, understanding and compassionate towards myself instead of constantly striving to be something or someone else to fit in.

Today, many people strive to be themselves, start their own trends, wear whatever colors they want, do what they want, without checking to see if it’s the current fad or craze, nor seeking anyone’s approval. Everyone is not striving to fit into some category or box. There is a bit of chaos and craziness involved! However, in my mind, trying to look like others or fit in, is a bit of craziness, too! There’s just no other explanation. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be outspoken or quiet. It’s okay to be upbeat or sad. There’s nothing wrong with being human! There’s nothing wrong with feeling your emotions deeply. There’s nothing wrong with not feeling your emotions. Why must we constantly look at someone and judge whether or not they are behaving normally? Normal simply doesn’t exist. I realize there may be some signs that someone’s life is off balance and maybe they need assistance with it, or not.

What I know is that many people suffer in silence out of shame or guilt. They don’t want to be pointed out, don’t want to be judged, don’t want to be called, “crazy” or “insane” so they keep their own opinions and preferences to themselves. I know I did. Starting from when I was little, someone would ask me what I want, I’d say, “I don’t care.” I was afraid to make a choice or to state my preference for many reasons, but that was my general answer. Mainly because I had seen others teased for liking something different. I’d seen people ridiculed, laughed at or picked on for wearing different clothes, liking other music, choosing other foods, etc…

Nowadays, the “c” word doesn’t bother me so much, but back when I was struggling with my mental illness, it was very disheartening. People who are different are not crazy. People with different perceptions of reality are not crazy. People who choose to live their lives on their own terms are not crazy. People who dance to the beat of their own drum, even if you can’t hear the drum beat, are not crazy. People who are sensitive, delicate, or don’t fit into a boxed category are not crazy. People with a mental illness are not crazy. Oh, yet, everybody’s crazy!

Live, Breathe, & Laugh!

Opening up myself to spend time with other people, naturally, I learned of different practices to further grow myself. One person I met is a laughter leader, Joan. She talked about the benefits of laughter. I was immediately in love with the idea! I didn’t know how to laugh much, I was so serious all of the time. I was serious about improving my health, and overcoming my past, not realizing the seriousness was hindering the healing! Lol. I had been clinically depressed for so long, I had to learn a new way of being! I no longer identified as “mentally ill” and definitely didn’t like labels of any sort. Yet, I didn’t know another way.

So, I went to laughter club to check it out. At laughter club, we sit around and just laugh! Hahaha. We do fun stuff. One of the laughter leaders call it “kindergarten for adults!” We just learn to play and be lighthearted again like little children.  It really does cut down on the stress and helps to change my perspective. It’s just being in the moment. Does it solve all the issues I might be dealing with? No, but it helps to clear my mind and thoughts so I can make better decisions from an empowering position rather than fear or worry.   Laughter is a form of releasing like tears.  You release what is weighing you down.   It raises your energy!  Laughter is good medicine!

Shortly after I joined the laughter club, I heard about World Laughter Day. All the laughter clubs around the world do something to celebrate it. Ours rode the lite rail, sharing brochures, laughing with others and doing some of our laughter exercises. At the time, I was still very shy. I worried I wouldn’t be able to laugh or smile at others in the general public. However, I knew I would not be happy if I was not fully into it. So I decided I would be fully into it. I let go of my fear of people and let myself be happy around others. It was the most wonderful and fulfilling time of my life. Just sharing the gift of smile or laughter with others!

I was also in the process of publishing my first book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! I had written it, had it professionally edited, formatted it and had the sample copy in hand. It was ready! But I was so afraid to press that button to go live! After my day of riding the lite rails, being open and free with the public, I had nothing left to fear! Nothing at all! I went home and courageously went live with my book. It was one of the most exhilarating and freeing moments of my life (next to giving birth to my children!) Hehehe. Ho ho ha ha ha!

There will be sad days days but I have learned to laugh at the absurdity of life. I don’t think it’s meant to be so serious. We are meant to play and have fun as we go about our days. Little moments of sadness, is just that, little moments and not meant to go on for years. It took me many years to learn to lighten up! I experience all the feelings and emotions of life with the understanding that, “this too shall pass.” It helps to let out a whopping belly laugh! Hehehe. No, I’m not positive all of the time, I just don’t let sad times define or color my whole life. Life has many arrangements of experiences.  Live, breathe, and laugh!!!  Boohoohahahaha!!!

Gift to Readers

amazon.com/author/sophiasimo

I’ve got the “f” word on my mind!  F is for family, friends, fans, and most importantly free!  This holiday season, the kindle version of my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! is free to download from December 23-26 on amazon.   My  book is full of short stories about dealing with mental illness, and healing.  I had depression with psychotic features.   It’s my commentary of the mental health system, friends, and family who helped me through a dark period in my life.  It’s inspirational and a primer to think differently about mental health issues.

From the back cover:  Since I was a teenager, and for much of my adult life, I have been in and out of the mental health system, and have had various physical conditions for which I needed assistance.  This book is a compilation of stories about what I have overcome and how I did it.  These stories are my commentary on the help, or non-help, I received and various life experiences from which I learned valuable lessons that I want to share with the world.   I hope to inspire others who feel like there is no way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, or who just want to take positive steps to change the direction of their life.

Enjoy!