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Old 01-24-2013, 11:03 PM   #1
Bob148
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600th They Call Me Mad

Much has been said lately about mental illness. One thing's for sure: we have at least one sick member of our community. I figure there must be more. To our sick members and lurkers, I say this: REFUSE TO LIVE IN FEAR! This is easier said than done for some. I know this fact all too well.

This thread is intended to be more than a self indulgent rant, and more than a coming out party for the mentally ill. Sickness touches every one of us at some point in our lives. I'm not a doctor. I can't cure you, but if I can help just one of you a little bit, then my goal will be accomplished.

You might be thinking, "But Bob, what does this have to do with poker?" Truth is: not much, but we have a little community here. We should work to build a stronger community. There have been times in my life that I wouldn't even have considered sitting down at a poker table. At those times I found it difficult to eat, sleep, go to the store, use a phone, etc. Now, thanks to medication, experience, willful ignorance, and the support of great family and friends, I can play this great game that we gather here to discuss and study. Unfortunately, many sick people are left out in the cold, literally and figuratively. I feel that the rash of shootings this past year has worsened the social stigma associated with mental illness. This is the time when it's most important for us to stand up against this stigma. We should be educating the public, instead of hiding the truth.

I realize that I might be burning some bridges here. Truth is that many, or most, of you wouldn't associate with me in real life. I don't blame you. I've been told before that I'm "clearly throwing the net out of the wrong side of the boat." Did it hurt my feelings? Meh. What that poster did for me was that he made me realize that even a joking post can influence the way others perceive me. We're not just talking poker here, but building relationships and communities. Let's just say that I've learned the hard way how not to post. You new guys paying attention?

Rewind to 1998:

I had been doing some soul searching over the previous few years. I studied Catholicism, Taoism, and a few others, but I couldn't find one that fit. I didn't believe in God anymore. I turned to science. I found quantum theory interesting and read more than a couple books about it.

I started college in the fall. My grades sucked. I didn't take it seriously. I dropped out. Then in the winter I did some experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs. This, coupled with a failing grip on reality, no thanks to quantum theory, led to early onset schizophrenia.

"Then they sent me away, taught me how to be sensible, logical....."

The hospital was uneventful, except for this one guy. He got hold of a lighter and lit his bed on fire while I was in the shower. I came out to the hallway, wearing nothing but scrub pants, to find it full of smoke and firemen. I held my breath and walked through the smoke to the community room where everyone looked at me like they had seen a ghost. When you're the schizo in the psych ward, you're the one that everyone's afraid of.

I was young and dumb and I told the doctors what they wanted to hear, instead of the truth. I left the hospital unmedicated, but stable.

The next twelve years were tough, but I managed to ignore the paranoid thoughts and hallucinations.

"The smell of hospitals in winter"

Now it was 2010, Christmas was approaching and I was dating a hot 22 year old. To make a long story short(too late I know), I thought that she and her friends were out to get me, one way or another. I came clean with my family. I told them about my paranoia and hallucinations. I told them that I never recovered from my psychotic breakdown in 99. A few days later I was back in the hospital.

I had matured a lot since my last trip to the psych ward. I took it seriously. I was honest with the doctors. They put me on medication. After my ten days were up, I requested discharge. They let me go. When I got out, Christmas and New Year's had passed. It was 2011.

The last two years have been the best of my life. I take my medication. I play poker. I've held a job ever since. I'm in love.

Well I hope this reaches someone, somewhere, in the way that I intend. Learn from my mistakes! Doctors are there to help you. Let them help you. You have a life to live.

Questions or comments are always welcome.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

congrats on 600 posts and thank you for sharing your story!
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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Thx!

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Old 01-25-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

brave post. well written. thank you.

i believe i may have asperger's syndrome. not a mental illness, but still different than most of society.

are you in anyway related to bob147?
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

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Originally Posted by rodeo View Post
brave post. well written. thank you.

i believe i may have asperger's syndrome. not a mental illness, but still different than most of society.

are you in anyway related to bob147?
Thanks, and you're welcome. Yeah that's me. After the hack I reregistered as Bob148 because I just had to talk some poker.

Good luck with that. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Ditto on the brave post. I've had close family with similar issues and I know how difficult it was for them to talk about, I appreciate your sharing.

PS Have always enjoyed your well thought insightful strat posts.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

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Originally Posted by nyrugby View Post
Ditto on the brave post. I've had close family with similar issues and I know how difficult it was for them to talk about, I appreciate your sharing.

PS Have always enjoyed your well thought insightful strat posts.
Thanks for the complement. It used to be really tough to talk about. The fear of losing friends or girlfriends because of it really hampered my growth. Remember the shooting in July? I was dating this girl and I really wanted to tell her the truth. Then that happened and I thought, "oh ****, can't tell her now." I told her eventually, and she rejected me because of it. Those are the breaks I guess. I have a different girlfriend now who knows all about it and she accepts me. I hope all is well with your family.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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Thank you for sharing your story. I think it's important for people to hear, and I wish you the best.

1. At what point in a relationship (romantic or platonic) do you tell people? Do you feel it's similar to some kind of physical issue, e.g., diabetes, or is it more personal, or less personal?

2. What do you expect people to say or do? What do you hope people would say or do?
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Quote:
Originally Posted by callipygian View Post
Thank you for sharing your story. I think it's important for people to hear, and I wish you the best.

1. At what point in a relationship (romantic or platonic) do you tell people? Do you feel it's similar to some kind of physical issue, e.g., diabetes, or is it more personal, or less personal?

2. What do you expect people to say or do? What do you hope people would say or do?
Thanks for the kind wishes.

1) This really depends on the person and how much I feel I can trust them. Sometimes, like with my present girlfriend, it just comes out early. Other times I don't say it at all. I went to a home poker game for a few years and no one there knew.

2) Think "parallel universes." Any and all outcomes are possible. Maybe they'll say they love me. Maybe a brown trout will fall out of their mouth. Realistically though, I expect people to be "cautiously sympathetic." The responses I've had so far in this thread are great examples of the kind of reaction I've come to appreciate and hope for.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:32 AM   #10
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob148 View Post
Much has been said lately about mental illness. One thing's for sure: we have at least one sick member of our community. I figure there must be more. To our sick members and lurkers, I say this: REFUSE TO LIVE IN FEAR! This is easier said than done for some. I know this fact all too well.

This thread is intended to be more than a self indulgent rant, and more than a coming out party for the mentally ill. Sickness touches every one of us at some point in our lives. I'm not a doctor. I can't cure you, but if I can help just one of you a little bit, then my goal will be accomplished.

You might be thinking, "But Bob, what does this have to do with poker?" Truth is: not much, but we have a little community here. We should work to build a stronger community. There have been times in my life that I wouldn't even have considered sitting down at a poker table. At those times I found it difficult to eat, sleep, go to the store, use a phone, etc. Now, thanks to medication, experience, willful ignorance, and the support of great family and friends, I can play this great game that we gather here to discuss and study. Unfortunately, many sick people are left out in the cold, literally and figuratively. I feel that the rash of shootings this past year has worsened the social stigma associated with mental illness. This is the time when it's most important for us to stand up against this stigma. We should be educating the public, instead of hiding the truth.

I realize that I might be burning some bridges here. Truth is that many, or most, of you wouldn't associate with me in real life. I don't blame you. I've been told before that I'm "clearly throwing the net out of the wrong side of the boat." Did it hurt my feelings? Meh. What that poster did for me was that he made me realize that even a joking post can influence the way others perceive me. We're not just talking poker here, but building relationships and communities. Let's just say that I've learned the hard way how not to post. You new guys paying attention?

Rewind to 1998:

I had been doing some soul searching over the previous few years. I studied Catholicism, Taoism, and a few others, but I couldn't find one that fit. I didn't believe in God anymore. I turned to science. I found quantum theory interesting and read more than a couple books about it.

I started college in the fall. My grades sucked. I didn't take it seriously. I dropped out. Then in the winter I did some experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs. This, coupled with a failing grip on reality, no thanks to quantum theory, led to early onset schizophrenia.

"Then they sent me away, taught me how to be sensible, logical....."

The hospital was uneventful, except for this one guy. He got hold of a lighter and lit his bed on fire while I was in the shower. I came out to the hallway, wearing nothing but scrub pants, to find it full of smoke and firemen. I held my breath and walked through the smoke to the community room where everyone looked at me like they had seen a ghost. When you're the schizo in the psych ward, you're the one that everyone's afraid of.

I was young and dumb and I told the doctors what they wanted to hear, instead of the truth. I left the hospital unmedicated, but stable.

The next twelve years were tough, but I managed to ignore the paranoid thoughts and hallucinations.

"The smell of hospitals in winter"

Now it was 2010, Christmas was approaching and I was dating a hot 22 year old. To make a long story short(too late I know), I thought that she and her friends were out to get me, one way or another. I came clean with my family. I told them about my paranoia and hallucinations. I told them that I never recovered from my psychotic breakdown in 99. A few days later I was back in the hospital.

I had matured a lot since my last trip to the psych ward. I took it seriously. I was honest with the doctors. They put me on medication. After my ten days were up, I requested discharge. They let me go. When I got out, Christmas and New Year's had passed. It was 2011.

The last two years have been the best of my life. I take my medication. I play poker. I've held a job ever since. I'm in love.

Well I hope this reaches someone, somewhere, in the way that I intend. Learn from my mistakes! Doctors are there to help you. Let them help you. You have a life to live.

Questions or comments are always welcome.
I have constant paranoia, delusions, intense visions that may/may not occur and have hallucinated with the help of prescription medications for at least 5 pills. I seem to enjoy terrorizing my bankroll at every available possibility, always finding myself constantly busted. And sometimes, I do feel as though I should take myself out to save others from the pain and drama I bring into their lives.

What would you say is the best way to begin addressing these feelings, since when I tried before, I felt I was given simple lip service (rah rah) because I claimed my best skills and employment were in earning money from playing poker, even though I carried a corporate positions for the last 6 years ending last January 2012. Maybe I was deluded or not, but I've not met a professional willing to truly help me bury or release these failings, mental states and feelings I have. Would you suggest a simple plan to start, and what I should look for in a professional? TIA -vaw
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:03 AM   #11
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAW View Post
I have constant paranoia, delusions, intense visions that may/may not occur and have hallucinated with the help of prescription medications for at least 5 pills. I seem to enjoy terrorizing my bankroll at every available possibility, always finding myself constantly busted. And sometimes, I do feel as though I should take myself out to save others from the pain and drama I bring into their lives.

What would you say is the best way to begin addressing these feelings, since when I tried before, I felt I was given simple lip service (rah rah) because I claimed my best skills and employment were in earning money from playing poker, even though I carried a corporate positions for the last 6 years ending last January 2012. Maybe I was deluded or not, but I've not met a professional willing to truly help me bury or release these failings, mental states and feelings I have. Would you suggest a simple plan to start, and what I should look for in a professional? TIA -vaw
Hi vaw,

If you're having suicidal thoughts you really need to check into a hospital asap. There is a difference between thinking about hurting yourself and wanting to hurt yourself. I've struggled with both. When you go to the hospital, one of the questions they'll ask you is, "Do you want to hurt yourself or anyone else?" I suggest that you answer honestly. You're not going to get in trouble. They're trying to help you.

What to look for in a professional? Remember that they're only human for starters. They might have studied your condition for many years, but they don't know what it's like to live it. The most important thing is that you should be honest with them. I've found that the best doctors are good listeners. They don't feed you a bunch of bs analogies. At my meetings with my doctors, we talk about things that involve moving forward. We pretty much talk about what I want to talk about, and they interject with insightful things to say. They call me out when I'm out of line, and they ask me to do the same when they're out of line. They're encouraging, but not badgering. They're sympathetic, but not sappy. You won't get any "aw you poor thing" from a good doctor. I know it's tough even just to find A doctor that will see you. A good doctor will push you to be the best you can be, and if you put in the effort then you should see some results. Unfortunately there is no cure, but there is treatment. Refuse to give up. It might take years to learn how to ignore the hallucinations, feelings and thoughts you have. If you can do that, you'll be well on your way to a better life. It'll take a lot of patience.

Good luck.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:37 PM   #12
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Thanks for sharing, Bob.
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:53 PM   #13
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Hello psychology forum. I was inspired by the President's speech about mental illness so I asked the mods to move this here for more exposure.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:35 AM   #14
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

PTSD and what my shrink calls "Dissociative Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)" -- a sort of watered down multiple-personality thing whose most apparent symptom is a major inability on my part to parse compliments and gestures of kindness. (For example, once a friend whom I hadn't seen for a while handed me a book, a facsimile of an early-twentieth-century instruction manual for card mechanics. I looked it over, said "This looks really cool," and handed it back to my friend. My friend looked at me really strangely, said "It's a gift!" and handed it to me again.)

Thanks for posting, Bob.

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Old 06-06-2013, 11:36 AM   #15
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBostick View Post
PTSD and what my shrink calls "Dissociative Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)"
I only have a slight understanding of PTSD. Does it involve panic attacks? Do you find meditation useful in avoiding these attacks?

I've been guilty of having an inability to recognize social cues and graces as well. At my sisters wedding, we're all sitting around the table. The music was semi loud. A pet peeve of mine is "far talkers," or people who try to have a conversation with me from another room or, as in this case, across a large table with other conversations happening around us and music playing, making a good conversation nearly impossible. My cousin's boyfriend introduces himself from across the table and all I could muster as a reply was a slight acknowledgement of his presence. Then I went back to eating. I knew it was rude, but I just didn't have any thing to say to the guy.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:02 PM   #16
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

2k posts and about a year later, things are going well. I'm always looking for more exposure and the possibility of helping people. If this post hits home for you, then I strongly suggest that you seek professional help. It can change your life.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:02 AM   #17
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Thank you for such a wonderful, brave and honest post.
If it helps even one person it was worth it.

Glad things are going well. God bless and good luck.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:51 PM   #18
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Good luck with it all BOB. Travelling well.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #19
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Great story, much love.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:28 AM   #20
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Thanks for the feedback all.

In my crusade against ignorance and self denial, I encountered a spot the other day that left me a little sadfaced. The conversation occurred in a casual and friendly setting with the father of a close friend, both of whom I've known for about 15 years. My friend knows about my illness, but his father did not.

Him: "self exposing truth inserted here"

me: "oh, well I'm schizophrenic, in case you didn't know."

him: "well let me ask you a question: are you gonna sneak into my house some night and murder me?"

me: :/

It's not his fault for seeing headlines on the news, which obviously have shaped his opinion. I could've quoted statistics and the fact that people that are currently in treatment and taking the appropriate medications very rarely do the horrible things we all see on the news and in the papers, but I didn't. I just shrugged it off and chalked another one up for ignorance.

This wasn't the first time that I've been asked such a question, and it probably won't be the last. At this point, I'm well aware of the general opinions associated with mental illness. The problem is that mental illness isn't going away, and with it come opinions, denial, assumptions, and ignorance. This disease hits about 1% of the population, seemingly at random. For every mentally ill person that we hear about on the news or in the paper, there are many more who are just trying to live their lives as best we can. You don't hear about the recoveries. Those don't make the paper.

So here I am on my crusade. I've developed quite thick skin over the past few years. The tough times made me who I am today. I'm ever grateful for the permission that I've been granted by 2+2 to have such a thread with which I can continue my crusade.

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. If you're suffering, there's help. There's tons and tons of help out there for you. You just got to suck up your pride and come to grips with the state of your life. It took me a long time to break through the denial, but it was the best thing I ever did.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:50 PM   #21
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Good luck with what you are trying to achieve Bob.

With DSM-5 "widening the net", it is probably closer to 10%+ of the population with some sort of mental illness (temporary and permanent). Fortunately many countries in the world reject DSM-5 as a psychiatric bible; it's certainly influenced way too much by the major pharmas.

And oddly, of all the employment genres, to me, the one group that stands out as being permeated with mental disorders is ironically, psychologists. Occupational hazard? I only know of one who is grounded and balanced, but she is only a recent entrant and I haven't seen her for 3 years. She might have fallen into the quicksand herself by now.

But you have "broken through" and your willingness to help others is a redeeming quality which may well give a new twist to your future. If a opportunity arises that is comfortable and you think you can grow into - "go for it!" as we say downunder. Education is where the future re-defines: you may well find you can participate in this process with an insider's perspective.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:39 AM   #22
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Well I've racked up another thousand posts or so and I haven't been banned yet. So I thought I'd bump this for a variety of reasons.

I've had encouragement from a few different people in my life to become a peer counselor, but a little research and self reflection revealed that I'm probably not ready due to my inability to resolve some inner conflicts of my own which are too personal to get into here. I'm working on it though and I'm much stronger emotionally than I was just a year ago.

I've managed to stay out of the hospital for over a year and I feel really good about that. I spent over a week in a mental hospital last year at the end of June into the beginning of July. It sucked to say the least. Some things happened in my life and I became so depressed and angry at the world and myself that I wanted to hurt myself, so I checked in. It was the best possible thing that I could've done for myself considering the state of anger and depression that swept over me. However, once I was in the hospital, I was assigned a doctor, who went on vacation the very next day. Each day after that for the duration of a week, I was assigned a new fill in doctor. Basically they upped my meds in the hopes that they would make me feel better. I think the meds helped, but what really turned it around for me was finding something inside myself that I loved. I was without that feeling of self worth and I had to find it somehow. I buried my face in my hands and cried for a while until I found it. Who knew? I found that feeling. It was hiding in my hands the whole time! After about a week, I was feeling much better, and I was harassing the nurses and doctors so badly about seeing a doctor that had the authority to discharge me that one finally came to see me. "When am I going to see a doctor with the authority to discharge me?" I asked. He raised his hand and looked me in the eyes and I knew that I would be going home within a matter of days.

So nowadays I'm doing well. I've managed to hold onto that feeling of loving life for over a year. The past few months have been particularly enjoyable, mostly thanks to being in love with the same woman that is mentioned in the op. We happened to break up a few days ago, which I'm kind of sad about, but I think it's going to be for the best. I'm going to miss her though. She's the love of my life up to this point and I'm forever grateful for the time we shared together.

Well I told myself that I wouldn't turn this into a blog. Too late I guess as I've rambled a bit. Though perhaps this could generate some psychological discussion. Have at it.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:15 PM   #23
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Four years ago tonight must have been one of the loneliest nights of my life. I had plenty of company, but I was without my family and friends. Now, as they're eating, drinking and being merry downstairs, I'm in my room thinking that there are people out there feeling very lonely and helpless tonight. Some are out on the streets. Some are in hospitals. Some are surrounded by friends and family and yet still they're feeling alone in the world.

This bump is for you. I hope you find the strength in my words to get help.

Merry Christmas.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:03 AM   #24
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

thanks for sharing
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:59 AM   #25
Bob148
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Re: 600th They Call Me Mad

Wow time flies. It seems like I made this post just a short time ago, but here I am over two years later. I have exactly four thousand posts racked up since I wrote this op.

I'm doing well. I've managed to stay out of the hospital for almost two years, which I'm quite happy about. At this point though, I just consider it a sort of "luck of the draw." I've been lucky in the past two years to say the least.

It's not just about staying out of the hospital though. Now, maintaining the good relationships and my social network are especially important to me. I have some great friends and family that are always there if I need them. Unfortunately, a lot of others are not so lucky to be so blessed as I have been. Whether it's because of things that happened which ended up burning bridges or if it's because of the stigma that our society puts on mental illness, is none of my business I guess. However, I believe that the more open we are about mental illness, the better we can dissolve the stigma. If we can stop focusing on the bad things that happen because of mental illness, and put more attention into openly dealing with it, then less and less people will remain in denial about their own mental problems. The better we deal with it and accept mental illness as a society, the easier it becomes for people to admit that they have a problem.
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