For my mental health blog party post, the topic encompasses the following 3 important questions:
1. How can you help people recognize the importance of good mental health?
2. How to overcome stigma?
3. Where to seek out professional mental health services when needed
How can you help people recognize the importance of good mental health? I believe if we speak out about our personal experience and are willing to put a face and a name to mental health, people will look at it as real and not something “your friend’s mother gets” – to quote Joey Pants.
How to overcome stigma? I hate the use of the word stigma, it is stigmatizing all on its own, but it is a familiar term for people when they’re talking about mental illness. However, I like the way actor Joe Pantoliano describes mental illness: a “brain dis-ease.” I think he is on the right track. Changing something as simple as a term for “mental illness” is a huge project and I think, without a doubt, it will lead to overcoming the “stigma” of mental illness.
I thought I would take a different approach and let my 4 kids draw a caricature of me. Then tell you about me and my mental illness from their vantage point and in their own words (with a little help typing it up from Mom.) This post, I’ll call “Bipolar Dad: Out of the Mouth of My Children.” I figured it would be simple, but it turned out to be very enlightening… letting them draw me, then color their works of art in and write a story to tell you about their Dad.
We’ll start with my oldest LP. He just turned 12 and loves drawing, Star Wars, Legos, Pizza and reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. Here is his caricature of me.