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Mental Health

World Mental health day, Mental Health is the Cure to Generational Trauma

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Today is World Mental Health Day and I’m here for it. I’m here to tell you that I crawled on glass to get mentally healthy so that my girls could casually and nonchalantly get the help they need without stigma or hesitation.  You see, when I was growing up, everything was “rub some dirt on it” and “just calm down” and “ADHD? My kid doesn’t need meds for ADHD, she’ll outgrow it.” No one thought that mental health is the cure to generational trauma. Seeking mental health help was about as taboo as sodomization. Yep, I said that too.

Growing up the daughter of a depressed, introverted mother with a people-pleasing complex and an alcoholic father prone to fits of rage, tumultuous was an understatement. Most of my childhood felt like I was stuck on a tiny, deserted island prone to excessive erosion and every day was hurricane season and when it wasn’t hurricane season, it was surely typhoon season. Any wrong step in any direction could surely make this house of cards childhood crumble.

I was prone to stomach issues from anxiety, from a very early age. I remember frequenting the pediatrician’s office and even the emergency of our local hospital often because no one could get to the bottom of my constant pain and diarrhea. The kept up until high school and then I fell into a deep, dark hole of depression. Still, with six kids, a raging alcoholic and a depressed mom…no one really noticed and if they did, they chalked it up to teenage angst and hormones. My eating disorders went unnoticed for years, as did my body dysmorphia, depression and subsequent bipolar.

They say that people can be born genetically predisposed to mental illness disorders but without trauma to activate that illness, they may never develop one. I wasn’t that lucky because if there was one thing I had a plenty of, besides brothers and sisters, it was triggering trauma. Most people who know me today, think I am an eternal optimist. In fact, in my house, the Big Guy and my girls think I’m practically delusional with my “where there’s a will, there’s a way” attitude but when you’re raised with so little, you have to believe that you can to survive the despair.

But back to my depression, it was the kind where you feel like you’re so far deep in a hole that even when you’re looking up all you can see is more black. I was suicidal. I don’t say that lightly but with reverence and honesty. It wasn’t a cry for attention or help. I felt so helpless and hopeless and stuck that I really wanted to just go into a deep, dark corner and disappear. I had thought it out thoroughly. I had several ideas of how to do it quietly, without a chance to be caught before I was done and how to make sure that it was final. I wanted to be dead because living was torturous. It was so painful to live that I just couldn’t see enduring it any longer. That was my existence between the ages of 15-17. The only thing that kept me from doing it was my mom. She never intervened, in fact, she had no idea I was even thinking about it but I knew that if I were to kill myself; it was the same as murdering her so I could never go through with it. Her love, literally, saved me from myself.

Fast forward a few years later and at the age of 27-years-old, I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. I was relieved. I know some people would be embarrassed or ashamed but I was just relieved to give a name to the brokenness I had suffered since I was in my teens because giving it a name, gave me the courage to face it, process it and move through it. My diagnosis was, in a way, the power to heal and the chance to realize that I was not broken, just bent.

It may seem from reading this that I was sick and then I was better. Obviously, that was not the case. The years in between were the things that drug-fueled nightmares are made of. I was out of control of myself and I couldn’t stop any of it. I was just along for the ride, as my brain chemistry held me hostage and nearly killed me in a myriad of ways while destroying many relationships, obliterating opportunities along the way and all I could do was hang on for dear life.

Meanwhile, I had no idea what was happening to me. I just knew I was impulsive, reckless and irrationally irritable and angry. I waxed and waned between manic elation and extreme irritability almost daily. I blew things up in my mind. I cried a lot. I got angry. I hurt the people I loved with my words, actions and deeds. I was selfish but I thought I was magnanimous. I was narcissistic. I was mean when I wasn’t the sweetest person in the room and you never knew who you were going to get. To be honest, neither did I. To the people who knew and loved me through those dark and twisty times, I apologize and for those who remain, words will never be enough to express my love and gratitude for your love and care.

It took multiple diagnoses, years of behavioral therapy, psychiatric care, a cocktail of medications, a lot of education, a handful of clinical psychology classes in grad school, a shit ton of self-acceptance, a healthy devouring of the DSM and learning to let go to become the woman I am today. I have been practically non-episodic for almost 20 years save for a couple of hypomanic episodes, the most recent during this pandemic. The Big Guy and I are constantly monitoring my moods and sleep habits because hormones and big life changes can trigger an episode. I’ll spend the rest of my life being the guard of my own mental health. To be honest, after recently speaking with a therapist, maybe mom should have treated that ADHD because you don’t just grow out of it. But that’s a story still in progress.

My point is that I had to do a lot of work on myself, really look inward, and learn about my illnesses, embrace them in order to become part of the solution. Knowing my own mental health challenges, I have always been very open and honest about mental health with my girls and, I am always looking for the signs because mine was missed for so long. Mental health is just as important as physical health in our family. In fact, in April of 2020 I put both of my girls in therapy because the pandemic was very negatively affecting their mental health and, to be honest, I’ve always thought that every single human being could do with some therapy.

My girls had no qualms about talking to a therapist. Though we are very open, I know that there are things that maybe they would feel more comfortable with, as teens, speaking with a non-biased professional and I’m fine with that because their mental health is more important than my pride. The goal is to be mentally healthy, comfortable in their own skin and happy. I never want them to feel shame and stigma about a very normal issue that so many people are affected by and avoid getting the help they need.

The thought of my girls lying in their bed at night alone in the dark, feeling such despair that it hurts to go on living like I used to, breaks my heart. So I talk to them about their days and their feelings, sometimes more than they want to and reassure them that I am here for them always and if it’s beyond my capabilities to help, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep them healthy in every single way.

I believe that mental health is the cure to generational trauma but it takes lots of work. How can we make it easier for our kids, and each other, to get the mental health help we need, when we need it?

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Tips to Help your Teen Survive

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

We’ve all been so worried about keeping our kids safe from Coronavirus that we’ve forgotten to keep their mental health safe from seclusion. Check in on your teens and little ones, they are not alright. Not even close. I put my girls in therapy last April at the beginning of the pandemic and they are still struggling. We can’t shelter them from the world but we can try to ease the weight of the world so many of us are feeling. Below are some Tips to Help your Teen Survive Depression, Anxiety and Pandemic Burnout.

It’s not fine. We’re not fine. They’re not fine. The kids are not alright.

We’ve been quarantining since March 9th. Our life went on pause and everything we had planned for the spring and summer was canceled. Nothing is like it’s supposed to be. The new normal absolutely sucks. We are a family of huggers and kissers. Friends are family and family is everything. We’re explorers and adventurers. We celebrate life in the small moments but this past year has been hard to find the silver linings.

Disclaimer: Firstly, let me start by saying I am not a therapist or a trained mental health professional. I’m just a mom who is very self-aware, has years of therapy under her built and pays a professional to treat her children. A good licensed mental health professional to follow for great tips is Katie Hurley.

Bella turned 15 last March 10th and 16 this year. March 14th , 2020 was supposed to be her quinceañera. We planned for years for her big day. Everything was ready to go. The dress, the court, the venue, DJ, photographer and videographer. It was going to be the quinceañera she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl. Friends and family from around the country were flying and driving in to celebrate our special girl. I can’t even put into words the devastation I felt taking that away from her. It hurts to even think of it now, especially since we rescheduled it to August 8th and had to postpone once again. Instead of getting the quinceañera of her dreams, she didn’t even get a proper birthday celebration. Her birthday was basically skipped for the past two years thanks to CoVid.

Gabs turned 13 last May, the day after what was supposed to be last day of school. There was no party. No family and friends to hug and play with. There’s no theme or games in the backyard. There was no bbq with 50 of her favorite people. There was a birthday drive-by parade which made her pandemic heart break with gratitude for those who showed up. She felt alone and forgotten. The smallest gestures mean so much when human contact is few and far between.

But how do you help your teen survive pandemic burnout?

https://youtu.be/gXFjjwGlVsw

We’ve learned not to take things for granted. We know the worth of our freedom to move throughout the world safely. We know the value of a hug and human interaction in real time. Virtual is a poor substitute but it may be the only thing offered at the moment.

Our kids are resilient. They are strong and they are amazing. They carry on even when they want to give up but everyone has their breaking point, even you and I. I’ve been doing everything that I’m supposed to do and still, people I love are getting sick. People I know are dying. My heart is breaking but I’m trying hard to keep my mental stability. Manic mom has even made an appearance this pandemic and I was hoping to never see her again. I’m trying to be strong for the Big Guy and the girls but even I notice that while I’ve had to adopt the let it go, one day at a time mentality, I am also holding on to things. I’m holding on to things and anxious about things I don’t even realize.

I’ve started clenching my jaw and my fists in my sleep from stress. I wake up sore. I’ve started finding myself angry for no reason at all or maybe it’s for every reason under the sun. Why would I think my girls are any different? They are younger with less life experience and more hormones. How could I forget that?

Check in on your kids. They are not alright.

https://youtu.be/BrP9UW9eOts

My girls have been overly silly. At first, I was annoyed by this but then I realized this silliness is what is allowing them to get through this unbelievably stressful time. If they need to regress and find joy in the simplest things, who am I to judge? Right now, all bets are off. We’re all just trying to get through this pandemic. We’re in survival mode and that’s ok. Unfortunately, all that silliness has begun to give way to anxiety, depression and burnout and not just for them. I am burnt out too.

I’m so over virtual learning. Not only have my girls been virtual all year long, so have I. I had the bright idea to get a masters and enrolled a month pre pandemic. I’ve been struggling with burn out myself for the past couple months but watching my girls buckle under the pressure and anxiety of this non-stop pandemic life is too much. I hate it for them and can do very little to make it better other than pay for therapy and give out random hugs and encouragement all day.

Worse, I feel like I’m failing at that because I’m struggling myself. I hate all of this. There’s 2 weeks left of school for the girls and I feel like we’re all drowning. There’s no down time and days and nights are just one long exercise in never ending lists of shit to get done. I want to scream but I’m afraid if I start, I’ll never be able to stop. F*ck you pandemic and all the people who aren’t doing their part. I’m tired of my cage. I know this will pass but watching my girls struggle is the worst.

https://youtu.be/F_9K8Pgekwo

Tips to help your teen survive depression, and anxiety and overcome pandemic burn out.

  • Create calm times of the day, preferably an hour or longer.
  • Spend time with them doing silly and fun things like playing a game, being outdoors, cooking a fun meal (this helps kids calm down their nervous system so they aren’t so triggered by stress), or just plain talking.
  • Structure helps kids know what to expect which always improves stress.
  • Sleep and eat well (less sugar).
  • Help them write about their feelings.
  • Get them a therapist, many are offering virtual right now. Do it.
Tips to Help your Teen Survive  Depression, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Anxiety, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Pandemic Burnout

Anxiety specific simple but effective grounding techniques

Grounding Techniques
Grounding is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. They help reorient a. person to the here-and-now and in reality. Grounding skills can be helpful in managing overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intensely emotional state. 

Grounding skills occur within two specific approaches: Sensory Awareness and Cognitive Awareness.

Sensory Awareness
Grounding Exercise #1:
Begin by tracing your hand on a piece of paper and label each finger as one of the five
senses. Then take each finger and identify something special and safe representing each
of those five senses. For example: Thumb represents sight and a label for sight might be
butterflies or my middle finger represents the smell sense and it could be represented by
lilacs.
After writing and drawing all this on paper, post it on your refrigerator or other safe
places in the home where it could be easily seen and memorize it.
Whenever you get triggered, breathe deeply and slowly, and put your hand in front of
your face where you can really see it – stare at your hand and then look at each finger and
try to do the five senses exercise from memory.

Grounding Exercise #2:
• Keep your eyes open, look around the room, notice your surroundings, notice
details.
• Hold a pillow, stuffed animal or a ball.
• Place a cool cloth on your face, or hold something cool such as a can of soda.
• Listen to soothing music
• Put your feet firmly on the ground
• FOCUS on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.

Sensory Awareness Grounding Exercise #3:
Here’s the 54321 “game”.
• Name 5 things you can see in the room with you.
• 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on floor”)
• 3 things you can hear right now (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”)
• 2 things you can smell right now (or, 2 things you like the smell of)
•1 good thing about yourself

Cognitive Awareness Grounding Exercise:
Re-orient yourself in place and time by asking yourself some or all of these questions:

Where am I?

What is today?

What is the date?

What is the month?

What is the year?

How old am I?

What season is it?

Tips for parents

Build coping skills. One thing kids and teens need to hear on repeat is that all emotions are okay. There is no right or wrong way to feel about this global pandemic. Parents should get in the habit of checking in with each child privately throughout the day to give them an opportunity to verbalize feelings and talk about triggers.

Learn how to manage anger. Now is the time to figure out some techniques to decrease negativity in the home. In other words, stop yelling. Parents have a lot on their plates, and it is difficult to juggle work responsibilities, parenting responsibilities, keeping the family physically and emotionally safe, and running a distance-learning school. Chances are, you feel like you might snap at times.

Adjust expectations. To hear social media tell it, this is a time when everyone should be enjoying every moment and learning new things as a family (a privilege not everyone shares). And parents suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat for their children’s education, expected to manage distance learning regardless of resources, finances, work schedules and child-care struggles. Then there are the expectations parents have of their kids regarding learning, training for extracurricular activities and being “productive” during this time away from school.

Practice empathic communication. There’s a lot we don’t have control over right now, and that can trigger negative emotions, but we can control how we respond to and communicate with others. One thing I hear on that tiny screen day after day during my sessions with kids: I just want my parents to understand me.

Tap into technology, and stay connected. Many parents spend a fair amount of time trying to manage and limit screen time. There are positives and negatives to technology, though, and now is the time to tap into the positives. It’s still important to focus on balance and make sure that kids and teens are getting exercise and engaging in activities that don’t involve screens, but technology can be a source of support, connection and education.

Parents, don’t forget to take care of your own mental health. It’s hard to help your teen survive depression, anxiety and pandemic burnout if you are holding on by a thread yourself. Believe me, I know. Find yourself some coping mechanisms and a licensed therapist.

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Disney, Credit Repair, financial security, financial freedom, quinceanera, My why, why I am working to reverse my diabetes, family, Signs of diabetes, diabetes, diabetes symptoms, type 2 diabetes, how to reverse diabetes

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Look at me. I probably look just like a lot of you. Most days, I look a little tired, wearing yoga pants, an oversized sweatshirt and a messy bun and some days, I look cute. But, there are subtle differences, ones you can’t see, bubbling right beneath the surface like well-placed Botox. Lately, I’ve been feeling a sort of way; like I’m walking a tightrope of mental health. Any wrong move could send me toppling and it’s exhausting. I feel like my bipolar diagnosis has been standing at the back of the room hanging out and suddenly, the pandemic has got behind that diagnosis and begin to nudge me uncomfortably forward. This might not make sense to you, if you’re not a person with mental illness but if you are, you know exactly what this feeling is. This is my diary of a manic mom.

My diagnosis of Bipolar 1 came the year after I got married, from the unlikeliest of places, my gynecologist. I know, her specialty is cervixes and uteruses not mood disorders with a side of mania but lucky me, I met a gynecologist who also happened to be the mom of a daughter with bipolar. This is where my journey from broken to bent began. Let me tell you, it is a relief when you realize there is a diagnosis and you are not in fact broken.

The diagnosis was terrifying at first. I had no idea what that meant, which made it even scarier considering everything I’d ever heard about the illness up until that point was limited misinformation and worst case scenarios. The consensus from my doctors is that I started having episodes in my teens and by college, they were at their peak. I can only speak to my particular flavor of mental illness but for me, it waxed and waned between full mania and extreme irritability. My “low” is the extreme irritability that comes from not being able to slow down. It’s like racing towards a brick wall going 125 miles an hour. I see the wall. I know it might kill me. I want to slow down but my mind keeps pushing the gas pedal. It is so bad that I get on my own nerves. That is a new level of irritability.

When I’m in a manic episode, I lose my ability to think rationally. I become reckless in all the ways you can imagine. I also feel invincible mentally, physically and spiritually. I’m naturally an optimist but when manic, its beyond reason and consequences were never considered. I am also inspired because all boundaries are null and void.

My diagnosis was not easy on the Big Guy, myself or the marriage. It took a lot of therapy, medications, research and willingness to embrace my disorder. I had to put everything into accepting my diagnosis, otherwise, I could not have learned to live with it. My husband also had to learn about and come to terms with my diagnosis. From that point on, he became my accountability partner, meaning we’ve discussed it and he knows the difference between my normal moods and reactions and when I’m becoming episodic. I need him to tell me if he recognizes the train going off the tracks, in case I’m not aware.

My experience with a mental health diagnosis has made me a mental health advocate. I had to learn about bipolar disorder. I believe every single person could use some therapy, especially during this pandemic, children and adults alike. My family knows this and we’ve all been in therapy at one point or another. I don’t believe in needlessly suffering when help is available.

I don’t have episodes like I used to. In fact, since the onset and diagnosis, I can only think of two other occasions when I’ve experienced a full manic episode. However, thanks to self-awareness, education and all the work I’ve done over the years to understand my illness, I’ve been able to find my way through them without losing total control.

With the pandemic and some of the situations that has brought with it (quarantining, best friend is a doctor who keeps me abreast of all the latest CoVid news, virtual learning, masks, an election, going back to school, deaths in the family, constantly worrying about the people I love and never being able to hug them), I have felt anxious. I’ve been able to deal with the anxiety. I’m aware it is happening but I push it to the side and move on. However, that constant state of anxiety has triggered what I’ve felt like was a manic episode.

What did it feel like? It felt like running in high heels across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Other times, it feels like I’m stuck on a roller coaster perpetually going up, violently coming down and going right back up again. When this happens, all I can do is try to process my feelings while separating the noise and chaos from what must be done. Sometimes that means shutting completely down and being still until the attack of everything of the world is hurling at me can pass. I need to make things digestible or I will be swallowed whole. The most important thing is knowing myself and being aware of the symptoms that accompany my illness.

Giving myself over to those old reckless and self-satisfying behaviors is no longer an option for me. I’m a mom. Not only do I need to be mentally healthy for myself, I need to be healthy enough to take care of and love my family. Being mentally healthy is for my family. Knowing how to recognize, treat and work through my illness is the only way that can happen. There is no room for ignoring and denying in mental health because in the end it can mean the difference between life and death. Also, our children are always watching. I want them to know that there is no stigma to being mentally ill, seeing a therapist, taking medications or whatever needs to be done. The important thing is that we can embrace our disorder and love ourselves. 

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K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama ,4 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

I’ve never needed streaming television more than I do now. This coronavirus pandemic has begun to affect me in ways that I never could have expected. I’ve watched everything in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish and Belgian that I could find. I’ve always loved Asian horror because it’s simply the scariest. What I never expected my heart would need is Asian Rom Coms, all Asian Drama, K-dramas, C-drama, J-drama, coming of age series and kPop soundtracks. I’m not even a Rom-Com girl. But Asian Rom Com series just hit in a different way than their American counterparts. They are pure and innocent. I find myself smiling a lot.

If you’re not familiar with this genre, acquaint yourself. These series can also sometimes fall into the categories of K-Dramas, J-Dramas and C-Dramas. If you’re wondering why I am out of the blue recommending these shows, I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I’ve been really stressed during this pandemic but I’ve been keeping it all neatly bottled up inside because this issue is so huge and insurmountable that keeping a lid on my feelings about it is the only way for me to mentally survive it.

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 when I was 27. I haven’t had a manic or depressive episode in over a decade. To be honest, the only “depression” I’ve truly ever experienced was the result of an overly stressful coming of age time in my own teens when my dad was a volatile alcoholic and again in 2012, when I lost our third baby. I actually feel like both of those instances were completely normal responses to the situation however, I am not trusted to assess my own emotional well-being. My point is that this pandemic has me terrified for my own mental health.

READ ALSO: Best Horror Movies to Watch with Your Teens

Rather than feeling like I’m depressed, at least not anything like I’ve ever known, I’m feeling anxious (again, I feel under these circumstances is a pretty normal reaction for anyone) but what’s scaring me is this walking a tightrope feeling in my gut that feels like mania is lurking right beneath the surface, just waiting to break through. That terrifies me because I’ve never had an episode since becoming a mom. But, I’m also not who I was in my 20’s, I know the disease I’m battling. I know it well. I’ve researched it, made peace with it and embraced it. I’ve had extensive training on how to move through it and how to get myself off the ledge. Still, it’s scary. The feeling that any wrong move can send me freefalling and crashing towards earth as my daughters and the Big Guy watch on. That scares me the most.

Luckily, I just had 2 weeks off of school (Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that I’ve gone back to school to get another Masters of Science (this time in Digital Marketing) during a pandemic?) but today, I went back. It gave me the time I needed to look more closely at the situation and realize what’s happening; to get my bearings. When I had my miscarriage, I had this same walking a tightrope feeling, I survived it with binge-watching the UK version of Shameless…all 10 seasons. I’m the kind of person who needs to feel her feelings and I write to process but when it gets to be too much, I start to short circuit. Recently, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to write. I can’t even will myself to commit my thoughts to keyboard. That means for my own mental health, I have to let go of the overthinking and I have to relinquish control and numb myself to relieve the pressure.

READ ALSO: The Last Goodbye

Before I knew what my diagnosis was, I used to drink to do this. I was in college so it seemed pretty normal. Didn’t every anorexic 100 lb girl drink 6-12 beers a night? I did. I don’t do that anymore. Seldom do I have even 3 drinks in a year these days. Caffeine and alcohol are on my “in moderation” list. Sleep for me is supposed to be 10-12 hours a night, to maintain normal. I live on 4-6, if I’m sick, I can force 8. My insomnia is my constant companion. I’ve noticed it’s gotten worse these past few weeks. My bedtime is frequently at 4 am. I know this is not normal but nothing brings the sleep, not even the sleep medication. This is a trigger warning for me.

My point to all of this is that Asian Rom Coms are currently saving my sanity. I need their quiet, sweet, romantic, coming-of-age endearing storylines to focus on and laugh and cry with to process my emotions in small quantities. These series are literally my emotional support series’. When I’m in a manic episode, I become obsessive so binge-watching is better than eating or shopping. The alternative is giving myself over to the erratic, reckless and self-satisfying darkness. Instead, I’m choosing to quiet my mind by anesthetizing it with the calm voices of Asia’s finest young actors. I’m enjoying them so much; I’m thinking of trying to learn Mandarin (because speaking 4 languages is not enough) …this could be the mania talking but I’m going to give it a try with no expectations (that’s how I know I’m still aware of my behavior).

READ ALSO: How to Love Forever

I know that the pandemic has brought about its own unique challenges for everyone, I’m not the only one whose mental illness has been reactivated in the wake of the world being on fire. I’m not special (look at me not having grandiose thoughts of self-importance). I’m not saying that Asian rom coms are the answer to saving the world’s sanity from the Coronavirus pandemic, but I’m not saying they’re not either. They are very entertaining, add levity, laughter and cathartic sobbing when needed and unlike the typical American teen dramas we are used to there is not any of the excessive drinking, juuling and sex scenes. It’s just endearing and thoughtful naïve first love, the kind we had in the beginning and wish for our own children to someday experience. Plus, the people, the music, the language and the culture are so beautiful to watch and learn more about. Right now, I’m truly thankful for Netflix and Rakuten Viki.

For me, I know that Asian rom coms can’t fix mental illness but just like psychiatric drugs, behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy, in my recovery, they definitely have their place.  Here are my favorite Asian Rom Coms for beginners. For reference, my top 4 are the first 4 on the list below. Also, this list includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese recs. Don’t worry if you don’t know the languages, that’s what subtitles are for and honestly, even without subtitles, you can enjoy these shows. Seriously, Asian Rom Coms can help us all survive the pandemic. TBH, the worst thing about Asian Rom Coms is that they end and I want more seasons.

Top Asian Rom Coms to watch for beginners

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama ,14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Meteor Garden

Chinese/ Netflix /2018

Dong Shancai is determined to excel at her dream university, where she encounters an elite clique of dashing, popular high-achievers — and finds love, Dao Ming Si. Starring Dylan Wang and Shen Yeu.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama ,14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

A Love so Beautiful

Chinese / Netflix/ 2017

The ups and downs of school, family and growing up test the love between a budding artist, Chen Xiaoxi, and her handsome but indifferent classmate and neighbor, Jiang Chen. Starring Hu Yi Tian and Shen Ye.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Go Go Squid

Chinese/ Rakuten Viki/ 2019

At 19, Tong Nian, a brilliant IT programming student with stellar grades and an equally impressive social media following, is winning at life. She never has a problem meeting new people. But all that changes the day Han Shang Yan walks into her life. Starring Li Xian, Yang Zi and Hu Yi Tian.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

I Hear You

Chinese/ Netflix/ 2019

Love blooms between a bubbly, aspiring voice actress and a cool, enigmatic violin-maker after they cross paths on a reality TV show. Starring Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi and Zhang Jiongmin.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Miss In Kiss

Taiwanese/ Netflix/ 2016

A quirk of fate sends an ordinary, sweet-natured high school girl and her father into the home of the school genius, on whom she has a huge crush. Starring Dino Lee and Esther Wu.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Put Your Head on My Shoulder

Chinese/ Netflix/ 2019

As Si Tu Mo’s graduation is nearing, she is confused about her future plans. She tries out all sorts of things all the time and is unable to make her own decisions. Starring Lin Yi and Xing Fei.

14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

The Liar and His Lover

South Korean/ Netflix/ 2017

Love Story of a genius composer and a high school girl who sings. She falls in love at first sight but it’s never that easy. The drama is based on the popular Japanese manga Kanojo wa Uso o Aishisugiteru by Kotomi Aoki.  Starring Lee Hyun-woo and Joy with Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Second 20s

South Korean/ Netflix/ 2015

Almost 40, Ha No-Ra’s son is about to go away to college and her husband wants a divorce the moment the kid’s out of the house. Ha No-Ra goes back to school and meets Cha Hyun-Suk, an old schoolmate who is now a professor. Unknown to her, Cha Hyun-Suk had the biggest crush on her in high school but she never noticed. Starring Choi Ji-woo and Lee Sang-yoon.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

My First First Love

Korean/ Netflix/ 2019

Due to various personal reasons, some of Yun Tae-o’s friends move into his house, where they experience love, friendship and everything in between. Starring Ji Soo and Jung Chae-Yeon.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Hello, My Twenties

Korean/ Netflix/ 2016

Five female housemates and college students meet and live at the Belle Epoque. While strangers at first, they are able to bond and connect over the traumas they experienced while growing up. Together they juggle the perils of adult life. Starring Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park and Shin Hyun-soo.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Good Morning Call

Japanese/ Netflix/ 2016

A teenager has finally gotten her own apartment. The only problem is that she’s sharing it with the most popular boy in school, and they have to keep it a secret. Starring Shun’ya Shiraishi and Haruka Fukuhara.

 K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama , 14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian

Love Alarm

Korean/ Netflix/ 2019

In a world in which an app alerts people if someone in the vicinity likes them, Kim Jojo experiences young love while coping with personal adversities. Starring Song Kang and Kim So-hyun.

14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair,Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian, K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama

Shy Boss

Korean/ Netflix/ 2017

The quiet life of an extreme introvert is thrown upside down when his company hires a cheery and outgoing new employee who’s not all she seems. Starring Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo and Yoon Park.

14 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi Tian , K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama

Accidentally in Love

Korean/ Netflix/ 2018

A popular singer decides to go back to school, becoming the center of attention there and meets an ordinary female student who is more than he ever imagined. Starring Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin and Yuan Hao.

K-drama, kpop, c-drama, j-drama ,4 Asian Rom Coms that can Save You from Your Pandemic Pit of Despair, Dylan Wang, Shen Yeu, Meteor Garden, Guo Junchen, Amy Sun, Zhao Yiqin, Yuan Hao, accidentally in love, shy boss, Yeon Woo-jin, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Park, Love Alarm, Song Kang, Kim So-hyun, Good Morning Call, Shun’ya Shiraishi, Haruka Fukuhara, Yosuke Sugino, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, Sun Qiang, Hello My Twenties, Ryu Hwa-young, Park Hye-soo, Park Eun-bin, Han Seung –yeon , Han Ye-ri, Yoon Park, Shin Hyun-soo, Netflix, Rakuten Viki, My First First Love, Ji Soo, Jung Chae-Yeon, Second Twenties, Choi Ji-woo, Lee Sang-yoon, The Liar and His Lover, Lee Hyun-woo, Lee Jung-jin, Lee Seo-won and Hong Seo-young, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Lin Yi, Xing Fei, Miss in Kiss, Dino Lee, Esther Wu, Riley Wang, Zhao Lusi , Zhang Jiongmin, I Hear You, Go Go Squid, Li Xian, Yang Zi, Hu Yi TianThis is just a beginner’s list of some of my favorites. There are so many more and I encourage you all to check them all out. I highly recommend you check them out and if you do, please come back here and leave me some comments. I’m fairly new to the genre but would love to discuss it with all of you, especially if you’ve watched them or have recommendations of K-Drama and Asian Rom Coms that I should check out, bonus points if they have Li Xian, Dylan Wang and Shen Yeu in them.

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Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian, I am Kanye West

Kanye West is in the middle of what appears to me to be a shit storm of a manic episode and I should know because I’ve lived through my own fair share of shit storms of manic episodes. They’re not pretty and coming out of one is the worst part. It’s like being held hostage while your mind spins out of control and explodes all of your relationships. Surviving marriage with a bipolar partner is one of the hardest things anyone can experience. Of course, I never had my manic episodes in full view of the public. I was never a celebrity and thank God for that because what an asshole I was. I am Kanye West.

Bipolar is a mental illness. I don’t even know how to accurately describe it as I’ve only ever known it from the inside out. When I’m non-episodic, I can look back with a clear vision and see the outrageousness of the manic me but in the throes of it, I couldn’t recognize it if you paid me. This is why the Big Guy and I have a system in place.

He doesn’t blame every bad mood on my bipolar 1 and I don’t get away with bad behavior because I have a diagnosis. We both know that when I’m flying high, the last thing you can do is try to reason me down, so when/if I have a full manic episode, he’s my rock to keep me grounded. He agrees to be my reality check and I agree to give him that power. It’s the greatest trust you can give to anyone else. This is surviving marriage with a bipolar partner. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this. There is a point.

I’ve seen what Kim and Kanye are going through. More importantly, I see what Kim is going through. It breaks my heart because I’ve been Kanye. I’m telling you this because I read Kim Kardashian’s Insta Stories posts and they got in my head and in my heart. You see, I’ve been watching Kanye and I see myself. I’ve been him. This is mania. Mania is a gift and a curse. It’s like having wings; you feel invincible. You just keep rising higher and higher until no one can touch you. And then, just as suddenly and unexpectedly, you come crashing down in one of 2 ways, you either fall into a pit of despair and depression or (like me) you get stuck on “ON” and you can’t stop and your body gets exhausted but your mind won’t turn off and you are trapped in a mind and body at war and you’re the hostage. It is exhausting, it’s irritating and in the end, it’s terrifying to never be able to turn off your on switch.

READ ALSO: How my diagnosis saved me

You’re asking yourself, why not take medicine? If only it were that easy. We’d all be chemically balanced. Well, I did take medicine and many years of behavioral therapy because after accepting your illness, you have to learn to live with it. But it’s not easy figuring out the drug cocktail to a definitely not one size fits all mental illness.

If you do get the right drugs, you have to get the right amounts and you have to constantly monitor for changing moods and chemicals. Think of it as having an imaginary balance scale that you’re constantly needing to adjust so that you don’t chemically topple in one way or the other. On top of all of that, you have to be cognizant that your actions can be catastrophic to the people you love. It’s a lot especially when we are usually known for our creativity, so we’re assholes from the beginning.

It’s like being Icarus, you go so high you touch the sun, you get burned, catch fire and turn to ash and the world watches on. You watch on, held captive by your manic mind, only to come down to be confronted by all the destruction you caused while eclipsing the sun.I went through the worst of mine as a college student and newlywed before I had kids and before I lived my life online.  Still, even without kids, for the Big Guy surviving marriage to a bipolar partner was almost impossible. Our marriage would not have survived if I hadn’t gotten help.

I am Kanye West

Kanye has had to live his Bipolar episodes under the scrutiny of the public eye and I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Anyways, back to why I am writing this, Kim Kardashian. She wrote some powerful words about the disease. Words that only a person whose been through it or watched someone they love descend into madness could write.

 Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

Kim’s words of love and compassion are a true commentary on what it’s like loving someone with bipolar. It’s brutal. Like seriously fucking hard. My husband, I don’t know how he stayed but I’m glad that he did. I was as difficult as anyone could possibly be. I had no boundaries and no respect for consequences. If you know me now, you wouldn’t think that about me but I am who I am because I went through what I went through to become who I am.

Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

READ ALSO: I am Robin Williams

 

Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

So when I say that Kanye is acting crazy, it’s not an insult. It’s not me being flip about mental illness, which I think some people thought that from a post I put n Facebook. I forget that not everyone knows my business. I’ve written about it quite a few times on here and I guess I take it for granted that everyone’s a fan.

It’s me recognizing my illness in someone else, having compassion and empathy for Kanye. Hoping that his marriage can weather this storm because of all the things we are forced to sacrifice to our illness, our partnerships shouldn’t have to be one of them. It’s rooting for him to come through this on the other side without damaging too many relationships or ruining his career.

Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

Kim deserves to know the road map for surviving marriage with a bipolar partner.

The thing with mania is when we’re manic, we don’t think beyond the moment. We’re not capable. It’s a very id serving illness and you can’t tell us any different because we can’t be reasoned with because we are not in a rational state of mind. This is not a choice we make. Honestly, the recklessness is something that comes along with the mania and drags us along for the ride. The easiest way to recognize someone with bipolar is reckless behavior. It’s a red flag. Pressured speech. CHECK. Speeding. CHECK. Spending a lot of money. CHECK. Insomnia. CHECK. From the outside, I was fun on steroids and then I was hell on wheels. There was never an in-between for me. I was all or nothing and it ruined relationships, friendships and opportunities.

READ ALSO: Carrie Fisher the Warrior Princess who gave me hope

Now, I live in the in-between with slight ticks up and falls down but nothing like before I was diagnosed. It’s still hard. There is no cure. You learn to live in the in-between. I have moments when I can feel the mania coming on but I don’t give myself over to it anymore. Instead, I hold on and I do whatever I can do in my power to minimize damage and destruction to my life, to my family and to the person I am today.  The luxury of just riding the wave and feeling it all isn’t an option because the price is too high. I say all this with the clarity of education, therapy, wisdom and experience because I’ve been living with this illness most of my life but diagnosed for the past 20.

My diagnosis did not scare me. Hope is in accepting the broken. Relief came in knowing. Ready to embrace the disease by the time I received it because I was so weary from surviving it. I read everything I could to learn more; immersing myself in understanding. Giving myself forgiveness and grace because it was the only way to move forward and separate myself from the disease was the only thing to do. Otherwise, the shame spiral would have been too much to overcome.

We all do things that we otherwise wouldn’t, especially when chemically imbalanced. We have no control before we know what the problem is, we accept it as it is who we are. Just because we are bipolar doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be loved. But it’s not easy to love us. We’re difficult even on our good days. I am Kanye West and this is what surviving marriage with a bipolar partner looks like.

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

I grew up in a big family with an even bigger extended family. Our family wasn’t just the people we were related to. It was also the people in our community whom we loved and who loved us and cared for us, too. I am grateful for those people who were there when I needed them most. 

My parents are good parents. They’re even better grandparents. When I was small, they were new at parenting and, like all of us, they didn’t always know the right thing to do. I’ve made mistakes as a mom, just as all of us do. But I survived those moments thanks to good intentions and the village that was there to help guide me when I was a little lost and couldn’t find my way. In many ways, I’ve thrived because of the positive childhood experiences I’ve had.  

I did however live through my fair share of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life, including death, pandemics, or natural disasters, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

The ACEs that I experienced were physical and emotional abuse by a father who was an alcoholic. He has since stopped drinking. He has been sober for most of my adult life, but those early days have left their scars. His alcoholism sucked all of the air out of the room. This isn’t to say he wasn’t a good dad. When he was sober, 5 days of the week, he was a devoted, loving, and involved father. But when he was drinking, he was selfish, mean, quick-tempered, unpredictable, and volatile. He was scary, maybe even more so because when he was sober, he was so good.

His behavior had ripple effects. His instability caused my mother to spend a lot of her time distracted, overwhelmed, afraid, and unhappy. She loved us so much, but it always felt like she was withdrawn, even though she was always physically there. She teetered between being emotionally removed and overly emotional. For me, I never felt like she was completely present; putting out fires while awaiting the next crisis. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

In turn, this caused me to pick up the slack, and that impeded my childhood. With 6 children, a volatile father who drank, and a mom who was always overwhelmed, worried, and afraid, I was left feeling abandoned even when I was living in the house with both of my parents. They were physically there, but I felt very alone. I needed to talk. I needed to be seen. But I was just one more thing on their lists of things to survive, and sometimes, my needs were too much for their patience that day. 

Each day was an unknown—maybe it would be a day at the beach followed by a cookout and laughter, or maybe it would be a drunk dad, an overwhelmed mom, and a slap or a belt buckle for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just never knew, and that was my entire childhood until I went away to college, which may have never happened if not for a few special people who saw me drowning and threw me a buoy. University was my escape plan, but these people were integral in helping me get through some of the rough patches. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThankfully, for as many adverse childhood experiences as I had, I also had many positive childhood experiences with my parents. Luckily for me, a few very special people’s simple acts of kindness towards a little girl in crisis helped me to grow into the person I am today. They’re the reason I’ve always made myself available to lift children up when I can, to advocate for my children’s friends, and to be a champion and cheerleader for my girls. I learned from the mistakes and the kindnesses of the adults in my life. Our actions, good or bad, have ripples and can make a difference in other people’s lives, especially a child’s. 

There were many but these are the three that I would like to thank:

Mrs. Vrabel, my 2nd-grade teacher who took a special liking to me and saw me at a time when I needed to be seen. She nurtured my gifts and praised me at a time when I was one of five children under 7 at home. She made me feel special when my parents were too busy, tired and overwhelmed to do it themselves. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My Tio Narci and my Tio Ramon, who both made the time to talk and listen when I was trying to understand what was going on with my parents’ fighting and my dad’s drinking. They made me not feel alone, and I felt safe knowing they were there to intercede when my mom couldn’t. I felt heard when my voice felt small. They stepped in on my behalf to remind my parents we were still there watching—afraid and confused. They made me feel normal at a time when my life felt out of control.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My friend’s mom, Linda, who I will never forget. To this day, I adore her. A lot of things were happening at home when I was a senior in high school. It was all so much that I was depressed and, at one point, suicidal. School wasn’t very important to me. I knew college was my escape plan and I got good grades, but I was depressed and I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodBy that point, I was suffering from eating disorders, and that was just one more thing I had to hide. I suffered from a lot of stomach issues from anxiety from my home life, so I missed a lot of school. My mom let me stay home because she knew what was going on and that was the only thing she could do to help. My English teacher tried to fail me for the last quarter of my senior year because of my attendance issues despite my grade being an A. 

He would have succeeded. I was terrified when he gleefully told me. Yes, he smiled. He didn’t know what was going on at home, and he didn’t care. That wasn’t his job. He just knew that I missed his class a lot, and he felt that deserved punishment. Did I mention I was #3 in my class? Did I mention that I had been in journalism, yearbook, and newspaper for all 4 years of high school? Did I mention I took 2 languages, all 4 years? I was the nerdy girl who worked her tail off to get accepted to every college she applied to. I got a gold seal on my diploma. But he tried to fail me, and I had no one to advocate for me because my parents were otherwise engaged.

I didn’t know what to do. Then my friend, Laurie, stepped in with her mom, who happened to be on the school board. The teacher was overruled because all of those journalism classes counted as English coursework, so his one quarter was not going to affect my overall requirements. She saved my future when no one else could or would. 

I’ll never forget what these people did for me. They saved me at pivotal moments in my life when I could have been lost. It’s so important to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments in childhood, which are essential to lifelong health and success as well as the prevention of ACEs. Prevention or mitigation is possible when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. That’s the idea of preventing them directly. You can help other people and stop ACEs from happening, and other people can help you and stop ACEs from happening. That’s why support networks are a necessary component of preventing ACEs. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThese three people changed the trajectory of my life. I am who I am, in part, because they were in my life when I needed them most. Are you one of some child’s three people? Are you a  resource that children can rely on to create those safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments? How can you be part of someone else’s “three,” and provide that vital support that every child needs growing up?

 

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new normal isn't normal at all, coronavirus, pandemic

We’ve been sheltering in place for 10 weeks. It’s been challenging in some ways. In other ways, there’s been peace in knowing that I’m doing my part to keep everyone safe. I’m not a doctor, nurse, first responder or healthcare worker. I can’t save lives on the front lines like some but I can do my best. I can shelter in place, wear my mask and social distance. It’s been hard mentally, physically and spiritually and the new normal isn’t normal at all.

I’m an extrovert. I’m human and I need people. Even more than that, I care about people so while it feels completely unnatural to shelter in place, I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing I can do, anything else would be selfish. So while my soul may be craving the attention of an audience, my brain knows better.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

Last week the Big Guy had to go back into the office as Indiana is reopening. His job can be done from home, and that is what the governor’s guidelines recommend, but his company is “essential” so they require that everyone needs to be back in the office.

My husband is one of 3 people wearing a mask, out of 600 people. Working in a cubicle leaves him exposed. Others aren’t observing social distancing so he wears his mask because he is hypertensive, I am diabetic and our daughter is immunocompromised. He wears his mask because if he contracts Coronavirus he doesn’t want to pass it on to us nor does he want to be responsible for passing this potentially deadly virus to one of his coworkers and their families. Unfortunately, most are not extending us the same courtesy. So he wears his mask, despite others not wearing theirs.

This new normal isn’t normal at all and it hangs in the air like a death sentence when you try to ignore it, just waiting for you to let your guard down.

It’s difficult for him to breathe wearing his mask for 10 hours a day, at his desk, on the computer (doing what he’s been doing from home for the past 8 weeks) but he goes in because we need an income. His glasses fog up so badly that he can’t wear them. He’s getting sores on his face from the mask rubbing the bridge of his nose from talking all day. Still, despite the weird looks he gets from all of his coworkers and as uncomfortable as it may be, he knows that being dead or killing someone we love would be worse.

READ ALSO: I Miss You Most at 6 Feet Apart

His choices are to prioritize our health or our livelihood. We can die from coronavirus or we can die from starvation. The choice is ours. I did not want him to go back into the office. He asked if he could work from home. He reminded them of our conditions and his. They were not moved. His attendance at the office was mandatory.

Every day, I’m afraid for him. I worry about him. The thought of him in his office being physically and mentally uncomfortable, having trouble breathing, feeling jeered and dismissed for being cautious is horrible. He’s doing the right things but sometimes doing the right thing is hard. He’s doing hard things every single day, for his family.

New normal isn’t normal at all.

Despite the world being upside down right now and our entire way of living being turned inside out, we try to do our best. However, is our best good enough? I’ve found that there is a false sense of hope that is born out of feeling “normal”. You see, when we went into lockdown, I got really stressed out. I’m not talking about your everyday run of the mill stress eat carbs. I’m talking about forgetting all the rules, we’re all going to die, release the cortisol, this is fight or flight. “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father prepare to die” kind of end of the road dire straits.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

But then the Big Guy went back to the office and I lost 3 pounds almost immediately. I was walking again and, despite my allergies being out of control, I could finally exhale and feel “normal” in the “new normal.” My brain subconsciously sent a message to my body that everything was going to be alright because today resembled some random Wednesday back in 2019 before all of this bullshit happened.

Even though I know we’re right in the middle of a pandemic and my new normal is wearing a mask and not touching people and who knows when my children will be able to go back to school, that simple act of the Big Guy leaving the house tricked my brain into a false sense of safety and I think that’s happening to a lot of people. They’re not seeing the people they love die so it doesn’t feel real to them. I know it’s real. It’s a silent, deadly killer that walks up on you in broad daylight. Maybe you’ll get lucky and be asymptomatic but while you’re not exhibiting symptoms, you’re giving it to everyone around you.

New normal isn’t normal

The weather is changing. Sure we had snow last week (in May) but now the warm weather is coming and everything in the Midwest is blooming, the governors are opening the states (the public is skipping over steps and ignoring others) and from the inside of my house, it’s beginning to feel normal.  We’ve been hiding indoors from coronavirus for so long, we’ve almost forgotten it’s out there. Not really but in a way, I feel safe because it looks like a normal day in May.

The quietness of it, the hushed whispers and contradictory reports are confusing and they fool you into having hope that the worst is over but then my brain kicks in and I remind myself that this virus hasn’t gone and is going nowhere anytime soon. We have no cure, there is no vaccine and, really, there is still so much that is unknown about how coronavirus works long term. What we do have right now is common sense, some basic precautions to take to stop the spread and flatten the curve and we have choices to make but unfairly we have a false sense of security that might lead us beyond our reason and into danger.

READ ALSO: How to Enjoy Your Summer Together while Social Distancing

All the doctors can do right now is best guess treat the symptoms. The scary part is the tests are still not meeting the standard of care we need. There is still a huge percentage of false negatives. An ED doctor friend of mine told me that she had 2 patients who were obviously infected with CoVid19 test negative. The test isn’t working guys and we don’t know how or if reinfection is going to hit someone who’s already been there and done that or how hard it’s going to hit if it does.

There’s security in normalcy even when it’s not safe. But there’s no safety in the new normal because the new normal isn’t normal at all. Enjoy the quiet moments in the sun with your family. When it starts to feel like things are all right in the world just remember to be safe. Don’t forget that right around the corner a silent killer is lurking but you can save yourself. All you need to do is practice social distancing for a little while longer and wear a mask. That’s it and you can be a hero, not just for yourself but for the people you love too.

What are you doing to protect yourself and the people you love in the new normal?

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carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia

Today, in some bizarre twist of fate, the moment Rogue One began to play on the screen, my Apple watch flashed the breaking news, Star Wars icon, Carrie Fisher, dead at 60. Her big, beautiful heart just stopped beating. Just like that, she was gone and all the air was sucked out of my lungs. It was a cosmic punch to the gut. I sat there in shock in the dark theater as the words, in a galaxy far, far away flashed on the screen. It was surreal and the most ironic thing I’ve ever experienced.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

I spent the duration of the movie watching from behind tear-filled eyes, stifling inappropriate sobs. I wasn’t crying over the loss of Princess Leia, that was just a character that she played in a movie. I was devastated by someone that I felt a kindred spirit in so many ways.

Carrie Fisher was a hero to me for her outspoken, feisty, live out loud female empowered way that she lived her life but she was particularly my hero because she was a survivor. We survivors, we recognize scrappy in one another and we admire it. I admired her.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

She survived addiction and Bipolar, and believe me, if you’ve not had to survive either of these you have no idea just how strong this woman was. She faced it head on and said, “Fuck you! I’m not going down without a fight! Bring it on, bitches!” (That’s NOT  a direct quote but a sentiment sort of an inner warrior princess battle cry.)

When we are children and young adults, we naturally gravitate towards heroes to emulate that we recognize glimpses of ourselves in. I saw myself in Carrie Fisher. I loved the way she just told it like it was. There was no time for bullshit. Life is too short, especially when your mind takes you on a perpetual roller coaster ride.

She came out publicly about her struggles with addiction and her bipolar diagnosis in the mid-90’s. She inspired others to do so too. Soon after, I was diagnosed bipolar 1. When you are suffering undiagnosed and self-medicating just to try to feel “normal” it’s like you’re not even really living; you’re getting by. You feel broken and to find out that there is a name for it, to find out that you are merely bent and not broken, is sweet relief. I could identify on so many levels with her on this. We shared that experience and its sort of like sharing cancer or war together. It etches that person on your heart in a way most others can never be.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

After I was diagnosed, I made it my mission to learn everything I could about the disease. Not only did I see my psychiatrist and psychologist weekly and religiously, I read every book I could get my hands on, including the DSM. I gave books to my family and friends so that they could educate themselves and understand why I was the way I was. I learned all of my comorbid diagnosis and how to cope with them; some with medication and all through behavioral therapy. I learned what made me tick. I embraced the madness. I even took it a step further and took a few graduate clinical psychology courses just to wrap my brain around it as much as possible. I learned how to diagnose not because I wanted to diagnose anyone but because I wanted to recognize, educate and help anyone else who was feeling broken.

Every time Carrie Fisher spoke up about mental illness and advocated for mental health, she made it easier for the rest of us. She also inspired us to be honest to tell our mental health truths. Having a mental illness diagnosis is not like having a physical illness diagnosis. When you have a mental illness, somehow the world sees you as defective by your own choice; as if you did something to deserve it or it was some punishment for being weak-minded but no one would ever say that about someone with diabetes or cancer. Carrie fought those stigmas at every chance because once you can separate yourself from the disease and see with that intuitive clarity, you just want to help anyone you can.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

Carrie Fisher’s bravery inspired me to share my own stories; my diagnoses. I told the world things I hadn’t even said out loud to most of my friends because I was ashamed they would somehow think less of me or make every fault about the diagnosis. I was terrified to tell you my deepest, darkest most stigmatized secrets but I wrote them out and became an advocate because by being open it destigmatizes it just a little bit for the next generation; the next group of sufferers. That’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. I saw myself in her and I will miss her. She gave me hope.

In the last 5 seconds of Rogue One, just when I thought I couldn’t possibly hold it together for one more second, there on the screen was Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) turning around to face the audience, beaming in the way only Carrie could, and she said, “We have hope.” It was one last serendipitous pep talk from a woman who has inspired me to be strong and brave when I was at my most vulnerable. Rest in peace, my fellow warrior.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

 

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Amanda bynes, mentally ill, mandatory psych hold

Last week, I read in the Daily Mail that Amanda Bynes‘ doctors are seeking to have her held in a psychiatric facility for up to one year and force her to take medication. ONE.YEAR! 365 Days of her life. Her doctors were planning to ask a judge to allow them to hold her for up to a year, during which they’d be allowed to keep her confined and, if necessary, restrained and force her to take medication

“A judge will only grant this type of hold if the person is deemed “gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism.”

So, hopefully the judge will find another way to help Ms. Bynes without needing to confine her to an institution for an entire year. Maybe they could make a stipulation of freedom be that she is medication compliant. A simple blood test could be used to check for compliance.

I feel like the media is reporting this matter of factly, as if having a mental illness diagnosis warrants immediately being locked up. Would we ever consider locking up a diabetic against their will, withholding sugar and forcefully administering insulin? I think not.

Media rubberneckers find this to be an entertaining topic of conversation. “Oh that “crazy” Amanda Bynes with her “crazy” antics, setting things on fire, tweeting out salacious photos, doing the most off the wall behavior for attention.” The thing is, this is serious and this is scary.

 

Amanda bynes, mentally ill, mandatory psych hold

When I see this photo, the only thing I think is maybe she looks a little thin…not crazy.

If you’ve ever had a mental illness diagnosis, as many people do these days, you know that our biggest fear, aside from outing ourselves as “mentally ill” because then everyone just attributes everything you do to being “crazy” and having it undermine and tinge every single thing you do for the rest of your life, we.fear.being.locked.away against our will. This is why mentally ill people keep their mouths shut, don’t take meds, don’t share with friends and family and don’t get better because if the price of help is being locked up against your will, it simply is not worth it to us.

Why the world thinks it has the right to banish her to an institution or condemn her to a life of being “crazy”, I don’t know? She is young. She has made some mistakes. She has exhibited some bad behavior but that doesn’t mean that she should be written off as a lunatic.

I was diagnosed at 27,with BiPolar 1. If you knew me then, you might have thought that I was “CRAZY” if you had spent any extended amount of time with me. In small doses, I could pass for funny and enthusiastic but if you spent a substantial amount of time with me, like my husband did, you would have quickly realized that there was no off button.

I was reckless, careless, I drove fast, I shopped a LOT, I was hyper sexual, I drank almost constantly, I did very outrageous things simply because I was bored, I was the life of the party and then I was the meanest bitch you’d ever have met. Luckily, I was not a celebrity nor were Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat or Pinterest in existence or maybe I would have been the token crazy online.

I got help. I didn’t need institutionalized. I never became psychotic. I was able to control my mania with medication, reducing triggers like alcohol, caffeine and sugars, behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. I made every effort to know and embrace my illness. I did this privately, with the help of my husband. My family knew but I didn’t live near any of them. It wasn’t something I told strangers. I was allowed the dignity of keeping my mental illness private and this allowed me to not let it define me.

Years later, I came out about my mental illness on my blog because I was ready to share my story in hopes that maybe it could help someone else know that you can get through it.

Maybe Amanda Bynes needs to be institutionalized for help but a year is a sentence. She’s done nothing wrong. She is being punished for a crime that she didn’t commit. Mental illness is not a crime, it’s an illness.

I understand  72 hours or 2 weeks to get meds stabilized  and make sure someone is not a danger to themselves or others but  isn’t a year a bit extreme? If this happens, this could happen to anyone with a diagnosis, including you or I. Consider that.

Do you think doctors should be able to ask for a mandatory 1 year psychiatric hold to a mentally ill Amanda Bynes or anyone?

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