Why Fight for those with Mental Illnesses?

A friend asked me today why I cared so much.

This was my reply:

Because I went through it, still go through it, and there is a huge stigma around mental illnesses. 1/4-1/5 people suffer from a form of mental illness in their life time (that is a huge number). Many of them do so silently because they are afraid of being judged or misunderstood- and for good reason. I even suffer from that time to time. I’m pretty open about it, but I’ve had people treat me differently after I opened up to them. I just don’t want people to suffer in silence. I want them to be heard, to get the help they need, and feel secure in seeking that help. How many people die/commit suicide because they didn’t feel like they had anywhere to go or people to talk to? How many people do not seek the help they need because they feel like it makes them look weak or “different?” It shouldn’t be that way. It should be treated like any other illness, something that occurs and is manageable. There is no reason why people with mental illnesses shouldn’t live normal lives, or at least as normal as possible. I want to make lives better, educate people to understanding, and love. Just love everyone I can <3. haha

Is that too much?? :-p

Because that is how I really feel baha

I mean we all have problems. I feel like having gone through those things just makes me a better person and more able to connect and understand. Empathy overload :-p But I have always been like that, why I allow myself to get hurt, and over think EVERYTHING. ❤

Why else live this life if you can’t make a difference in the world?

Nothing else will live on except for the imprints you make in the lives of the people around you.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisa.rogne.1

Instagram: fightwithfitness

My personal Beachbody website:

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fightwithfitness

I am here for you as always if you ever need anything. Just message me .

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Woke Up Feeling Full of Potential <3

I FINALLY got a good nights sleep without the aid of medication.

I hate having to take my meds to sleep. But alas sometimes my brain will just not shut off and I either stay up all night, or I wake up multiple times during the night. So I do what I have to do in order to make sure I am well rested. 🙂

I am also going to finish completely cleaning my room today. Anyone else just feel sooo much better when their room is clean? It is almost like a weight taken off my shoulders. Just sucks that I am so talented at messing it up again lol 😦 I just have so many things from my entire apartment that I had to shove into my old room. Let’s just say it is a tight squeeze and I am struggling to make it organized/neat.

Well today I just want to say carpe diem!!! Seize the day!!!!

I plan to:

  1. catch up on all things Beachbody today
  2. Apply to jobs
  3. finish my 3 day refresh with a bang!!!!
  4. spend family time with my sister and her family (maybe I can take my niece to the playground and get a little “workout” action in haha)

What are you planning for your day! Get up, get going and kill it! You got this!

My personal Beachbody website:

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fightwithfitness

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisa.rogne.1

Instagram: fightwithfitness

I am here for you as always if you ever need anything. Just message me <3.

Beauty and Dreams

Take a moment to reflect on how beautiful you are! List the positives!

If you aren’t doing everything you can to be the best you can- make changes today!!! Set a goal list!! Dream BIG!

My goals are:
1. Start a charity to help those with mental illnesses have better accessibility to fitness facilities and or programs. Exercise and nutrition plays a huge part in being mentally healthy. It isn’t a cure, is it just another method that really works! Sometimes the only good part of my day is when I walk into that gym and go for it!
2. Do as many 5ks as I possibly can this year. I also want to set up a booth at everyone and help raise funds/awareness for mental illnesses. I want to play my part in breaking then stigma.
3. Get a good job and work hard. Save up money, and reward myself with a vacation.
4. Do a bikini competition. This is my goal I have set for myself, so hopefully in a year I will!!
5. Focus on myself. I need to take care of me for a while. Take the time I need to accomplish my goals.
6. Last but not least! I hope I can inspire and help people in being a Beachbody coach. It’s a great company! I love it so far. .

 My personal Beachbody website: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fightwithfitness

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisa.rogne.1

Instagram: fightwithfitness

 Ask me anything. We are all on this journey together, the least we can do is support one another!!

HELP

Check this out ❤ More to come. I will be starting to be more active again starting today! Love you, and hope everyone has been doing well!!!

This is basically a PowerPoint calling for action.

There are millions of people suffering around the world with Mental Illnesses who are posting on social media sites just waiting for people like you and me to notice them. To love them. To give them hope. Please take the time to go through the slides ❤

Mental Health

(click me lol ^^)

Let’s Go!

So I am finally almost home.

Gave up on the struggle here because honestly, besides a few friends, I had nothing left here to keep struggling for. I was working three jobs, working out when I could, and trying to maintain relationships with friends (who turned out to not really be my friends anyways). So I officially said f* it I am going home.

This past weekend my daddy and my niece (she was a big help lol) came to help me move most of my things. I have to sell or give away the rest. I am so blessed to have such a supportive and caring family. He would have came that night if I had really need him that badly. How many people can say that their family loves them that much? That they would drop everything immediately to be there for you.

My sister also was a huge factor in my decision to come home. I had no idea how much my troubles were affecting my family as well. She told me she was tired of seeing me struggle and being so unhappy. Until then I hadn’t ever heard her really talk to me like that. It reminded me that I was loved unconditionally, and sometimes family is the best place to find it.

Dealing with the depression of relationships lost, and failing to maintain a sufficient lifestyle here is hard. However, I am going to make the most of it. I am going to go back home, get some skills, find a good job and move on. Who knows what lies ahead of me!

Thank you to all of you for your support and I hope if anything I can inspire and reach at least one of you.

Honestly I have had to take my clonazepam the past couple of nights to sleep well. I am so hesitant to take them now because some unkind man I know (no names) basically tried to tell me I was going down the road of a pill popping alcoholic. <– I most certainly am not but oh well it still hurts/bothers me. But I gave in after being unable to sleep really for over a week. I was so tired I actually got sick and ended up sleeping for 14 hours the day before yesterday, and 8+ hours yesterday. I feel much better, but I have a lingering cold.

I shouldn’t be ashamed to take my medicine. No one should. It is the cruelty of other people who do not bother to really understand the affects of mental illness. I swear, whenever I tell someone I am slightly bipolar and have anxiety and depression issues they view/treat me different. It almost always gets used against me in a relationship. Which isn’t fair at all. I wouldn’t hold it against a diabetic, or a cancer patient that they  needed to do certain things to survive and live day to day Why do people judge me. STUPID STIGMA!!!! ❤ lol Ok enough of my rant.

It is leg day tonight. Will post my workout later.

Stay strong

Don’t be afraid to love yourself for who you are.

p.s. The picture is because I got my first blender bottle today! So I can mix my shakes by hand since I will probably not be going to a gym that offers to blend my shakes for me (I have been spoiled!!!). It is a milestone!

NAMI Recognition Dinner

So I was lucky enough to have off last Friday night so I could make it to the first NAMI Rensselaer County Recognition Dinner and Art Show. It is always great to meet with people who accept you and understand you, and to see them get rewarded/recognized for all the great work they have put into the organization. Specifically touching was Gail Moore who spoke about her life and childhood, and who was recognized for her many years of dedication to helping people with mental illnesses. I also got to meet the Dean of Public Health at the college I attended: SUNY Albany. He was sitting at my table! What a small world! If you want to help support your local NAMI group, get involved, or reach out you can find them at the following website:

http://www.nami.org/

It is such a great organization filled with compassionate and skilled people waiting to reach out and do whatever they can to help you get through the tough times. I hope that I can make the time to get involved, sometime in the next few years.

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They also featured art from some of the members which you can see below:

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Stephen Piorkowsk: Running from the Past to Run to a Brighter Future

I had the privilege of living near Stephen’s wife, Pam a few years back and I am so glad I met them. They were the ones to introduce me to NAMI, and it is really nice/refreshing to talk to other people who really truly understand your struggles.

I can personally attest to how helpful it is to read about others struggles, strategies, and recovery etc.. We need to get mental illnesses out in the open, and eliminate the stigma that makes people feel like they have to hide. I just found out from a friend that her college professor recently committed suicide. Who knows if such a heartbreaking tragedy could have been prevented if maybe she felt she could be more open, that it was okay to seek help, that she wouldn’t be judged.

Being depressed is an illness that needs to be treated, just like the flu or cancer.

I hope I can make a difference in this fight, even if it is just a small one.

I asked Stephen if he would be willing to share his story and here it is 🙂


If you would like to share your own story, please feel free to e-mail it to me and I would be more than happy to share it!

Fightwithfitness@outlook.com


 

Stephen Piorkowski                                                                                        July 2, 2014

Running from the Past to Run to a Brighter Future

 

 

Years go by and your memories of the past are shaded by what seemed to be great, and memories that were bad. I was around 17 when I was caught in a whirlwind of events that changed my life forever. My brother was in the army and stationed around Boston. Our family received a call that he was A.W.O.L. I thought that going up to find him would help and get him to safety. Little did I know that my safety was in jeopardy. I found my brother and convinced him to return to his base. I was still up in Boston and staying with people who offered me a place. One night, I came back home without any knowledge of a curfew. I left the subway train and, as soon as I left the station I was caught in the middle of a riot between the Boston police and the Black Panthers and the Weathermen Underground. I was surrounded by police and was battered with clubs on my head that resulted in me receiving a traumatic brain injury (T.B.I.) I could only see blood around me and was taken to a hospital. I could not get out of bed and I could not speak, no words left my mouth. I could not remember things. My parents brought me home from Boston in mid-August and my Senior Year in High School was going to start. I could not bring myself to even thinking of going to school in the shape I was in. My parents argued with me about this, they found out by going my doctor I could get home nurse care. The nurse that I had, helped me by getting me out and found me a job with the County. It was a job that I shared with others and it was not challenging for me and motivated me to move on to better places to work. I still was suffering from the Brain Injury:I started having Grand Mal seizures, and on top of that I became depressed. I just existed by working different jobs and going out with friends. I had no plans and was just caught in a whirlwind of depression and epilepsy .

I started to see my life and independence was declining. I wanted to find a way to become healthy and change my life. I went to the library and researched epilepsy. No internet at that time every piece of information was found in libraries. I found that there were people who saw improvement by running. I started to run and I was a smoker at the time. I stopped because my breathing was so affected. I remember running a 5 mile race and I saw black and stars. I decided to stop. I also changed my friends. I could not be around people who used drugs. I stopped taking drugs and I started running about 5 miles a day and running races on weekends by 3 to 4 months I was running 50 miles a week and I decided to run my first marathon. It was the 1982 Jersey Shore Marathon and I finished under 4 hours. That was a great time for a first time marathon. I worked and trained for the New Your Marathon in 1983 and I ran 10 consecutive New York Marathons and did not miss a running workout for years. The decision to change my friends and choose a healthy lifestyle was my decision based on research that I discovered. I also found that my depression was not an issue. My seizures were controlled. I had a couple in those 10 years but I believe running gave me strength to handle stress by me controlling stress (long distance running) and going to great distances to become strong.

I was married in New York and I lived in Brooklyn. I worked at Columbia University as a Production coordinator for the College. I also worked for the New York Road Runners Club as a race event coordinator. I received money from people who ran races but as soon as that was finished I was able to run all races for free. I became the Prospect Track Club runner of the year by finishing over 400 miles of races and I am not even saying how many training miles that I ran.

Eventually after being married we decided to have children. We tried to have children but miscarriages happened and we decided to adopt. We traveled to Hungary to adopt our twins and we came back home after 5 weeks. We had plans to have a nanny to take care of our children but that fell apart. With not many options we decided that I would take care of the children. Twins from an orphanage was very challenging but I did well. I found programs that they could belong to that would address the issues children from orphanages face. Physical therapy, speech therapy and head start programs to give them extra care. After 6 months of taking care of my twins I decided it was time to return to work. I decided to change my career from a production coordinator of printing to a chef. I was hired to work for the prestigious Whitney family of Saratoga. I worked from 7 in the morning to about 7 at night and loved the job and did well. I wanted to continue but my former wife had no interest in taking care of the children and decided that I should not work those hours. Well I was hired to work those hours and even more because they wanted me to travel to Saratoga, Georgia , England to cook for the Whitney’s and their staff. Eventually I left not felling happy and depressed. I also did not mention that I was not supported by my former wife to even get a break. I stopped running when we adopted the children. I also stopped taking my epilepsy medication because during the time that I ran. Running and exercise made me strong both mentally and physically. I took care of my twin sons at home and participated in school events and activities. My former wife did not but after 8 years of taking great care of our sons she decided that she wanted me to leave. I searched for work but it was hard because over those years I was a stay home dad. No one wanted to hire me and I became depressed. Suicidal thoughts started to emerge I felt lost and without support more than ever my former wife threatened to throw me out and the more I heard that the more depressed I became. I felt trapped and I had to think quickly. I was weakened by my former wife by her way of making me feel useless. My moral sunk, my confidence was gone and the only thoughts I had were how I was going to survive. We had a home in Brooklyn and a home in Ocean Grove NJ. I took my sons to the Jersey Shore home in Ocean Grove all summer long and on holidays and weekends. My former wife argued with me about moving out and one weekend she said she was going to her mothers with the boys. I decided that this was the time for me to leave I packed everything I could in a van. Moved to Ocean Grove and that was my freedom returning. But at a cost I moved in with hardly any money and had to find work. I turned manic and started losing sleep maybe lucky if I could get a couple hours in. I wasn’t eating well and started to feel freedom from my depression that held me captive when I was abused by my former wife. I did so much but did not have a stable concrete foundation and never felt any comfort.

I started having seizures during my depression just before I left my former wife I just did not know what were the causes. Then I found out because during the years that I ran I was not depressed or having seizures. I was healthy because I trained and worked out. I ate well and slept well.

I left the Jersey Shore and my former wife in Brooklyn and moved up to Albany eventually settling in Delmar NY. I had started my routine again running every day and training for races. I became strong and seizures stopped. I started to work at RPI after working as a customer service representative. The hours in the kitchen were sometimes 60 hours and even when they were 40 hour weeks I was too tired to run. I worked hard to become a good baker and chef but had a supervisor who just was terrible to me and other staff members. I had my hours reduced and was in such bad shape because of the worry of my finances. This set me in another depression. I was not sleeping worrying about work and money. I was worried because of my lack of sleep that I was going to have a seizure. I was getting better because I was prescribe medication that helped after going through some trial and error. I asked Pam to marry me and we set the date for June 9th 2012 and got married in Providence RI and left to Iceland on our honeymoon. Well everything caught up to me and when we landed in Iceland I had two seizures, one out on the street and then when I was sent to our hotel, I had one in the room. After 30 hours on intravenous valium and resting we were able to go on. We came home back to Delmar and I had two more. One at home with my wife Pam calling the first aid and the ambulance taking me to Albany Med. When in Albany Med I had another and it was a severe one. One that had the doctors hospitalize me. I was released and was told to not drive and I was noticing some mania. I was so upset that I was unable to drive that I biked over 40 miles every day to Troy NY from Delmar. I also wanted to be independent, so I walked biked everywhere. When I was out sick from the seizures and had a lot of time so I set a room up in my house that connected a complete stereo system, TV, computer, tape player, record player CD player, DVD player and desk with art work in one night. I did not sleep again. I seems the seizures that I have and the bipolar symptoms are related. I sometimes are fearful of their return.

I considered therapies to become healthy again and I decided that it was time to go to a outpatient treatment center at Four Winds at Saratoga. . I went for 8 weeks and I believe it improved my mental health but I had to make things better. It took me time to find a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. The Psychologist helped Pam and me work out our problems and the Psychiatrist eventually prescribe Lithium that was so vital for my recovery. I started going to Schenectady College last September and since then I have been on the Presidents List for the Fall and Spring Terms. I also was awarded a scholarship. I have been seizure free for over a year and my doctor said I can drive again. I started running again and I feel better than ever.

Healthy Minds and healthy bodies are both as important to enjoy life. I will go on sharing my stories and look forward to brighter days.

My wife Pam

She has been through a lot . Having to witness and help me when I had a seizure on our honeymoon I shared the trauma that she experienced. I feel that it’s just as hard for a person to see as it is a person having a seizure. I wanted to get help for her and the epilepsy foundation gave her counseling. I received counseling also. I started putting my life together and Pams thanks to them. Pam worked extra hard to go to workshops at NAMI and get support for caregivers of people with mental illness. I still struggle with the stigma of mental illness and epilepsy and hope education and awareness will free those of us mislabeled.

 

Thank you Stephen

 

Coming out of the Closet: Mental Illnesses (Bipolar Disorder)

Special thanks to the International Bipolar Foundation for this article, and the Huffington Post!

http://www.ibpf.org

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-hark/living-with-bipolar_b_5475387.html

Please read this article if you struggle with any kind of mental illness. Some parts can apply to all and I even thought most of what was said really hit home. My condition is by far nowhere near as bad as what is mentioned in the article. It is still mild, thank God for that.

🙂

Even before I was diagnosed I felt “crazy.” I didn’t understand why I just couldn’t finish school. Why I couldn’t be like everyone else. I would have bursts of energy where I could do things all the time, but then I would shut down and just want to be at home with my computer games. Warcraft, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Age of Empires, Zelda, League of Legends, and many more are my escape. The plus side is I can make online friends on the side. Several people on my Facebook friends list I met in game. I even met the boyfriend I am currently dating on Warcraft (long story but I ended up moving from Virginia to NY for him etc…). The fact is that I just plain don’t want to go out and brave the crowds of people. I want to sit at home with my headset and joke around with my online buddies while enjoying a decent game.

I no longer really have that choice because as of next week I will be working 40+ hours a week (thank GOD seriously). Just wanted to point out the role gaming has played in my life. They may be an escape from real life problems, but these people online can’t see you. They don’t judge you for your looks, or what your life is like, they take you for who you are. It is sometimes exactly what I needed, and it is a unique and special kind of therapy.

*warning, not everyone online is nice, ignore and block all the jerks*

My favorite quotes from this article “Coming out of the Bipolar Closet” are:

  • “At the moment of diagnosis, you went from being that person — the eccentric-but-sometimes-sad creative — to that person: the crazy one. You know, the person on the subway who you avert your eyes from because you don’t want them to talk to you or get too close. You’re unpredictable. You’re freakish. You’re scary.”
    • This is why I hate telling some people about my illness.
    • Reactions:
      • You need to pray for healing, God can heal you. I have a question for you…Maybe God made me this way for a purpose? God doesn’t answer all prayers all the time, and believe me I have definitely spent enough time crying asking for things to change.
      • You just need better self-control. Oh really? I’m sorry not matter what I do I am probably still going to leave the stove on at times, walk away and forget what I was doing in a millisecond, forget our important dates. I do what I can and keep everything on my IPad calendar, and to set alarms, but I can’t even remember to take my pills half the time for goodness sakes! I can try to change, but I can’t make any guarantees. I have an illness that isn’t curable right now. Don’t expect me to be able to do everything you are capable of. Mental illness is not an excuse, but it is real. More education and knowledge should be a number one priority to promote understanding and compassion..
  • “If your Facebook world doesn’t know, perhaps it isn’t real.”
    • True. Until recently when I made my www.facebook.com/fightwithfitness Facebook page I tried to keep everything to myself for the most part. However I am a very open person at other times, and I tend to want to talk about my problems with EVERYONE. I feel like if I get enough opinions on something then I can make a better informed decision.
  • “Frustration. Anger. Guilt. Shame. Sadness. Repeat…”
    • This is EXACTLY how I end up feeling. Every time I drop out and fail a semester. Every time I overflow the bathtub or emotionally explode.
  • “You look around you at the shambles that your life has become, and you see that there are still a few people in your life that find you worth fighting for, and that perhaps you should fight through this for them, and maybe one day you will even do it for yourself. You are strong. You are capable. You are talented. You are worthy of a life worth living. A change will come. So you get your butt out of bed and make a sandwich. It’s a start.”
    • In my case, get my butt out of bed and go to the gym! I’m going I’m going!!! ❤

Below is my little cuddle bears Dino. Without him to always be happy to see me, give me kisses, and love me unconditionally, I am not sure if I would still be here today. I get such a sense of happiness and love whenever I see that little tail come running around the corner when I get home from work. Best thing ever.

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