PRESENTING THE VERY FIRST EDITION OF ‘JERUSALEM SYNDROME’
“Jerusalem Syndrome” is a newsletter collaboration of musings, reflections and introspection into the world of mental health from the inside out. Our mission is to use this medium as a creative outlet for self expression and self help with the HOPE of reaching out to those who can relate and to those who have never ventured into the unknown territory. We want to expand the definition of what having a diagnosis of mental illness means, bridge the GAP between “us” and “them” and act as educators by attempting to break the stigma and creating dialogue about the deeply misunderstood topic.
We look to this blog as somewhat of a journey we are taking together by trying to understand what this mental health ‘label’ means and what can be done to foster acceptance, dispel shame and recall the humanity which connects us all. How do we do that? By reaching out to others who feel isolated by their diagnosis, by using this blog as a form of self-help for ourselves and our audience, by giving ourselves a VOICE to feel empowered and, last but not least, by using a sense of humour to show others that we are more than just a diagnosis!
We hope you enjoy our honesty, creativity and wit in an attempt to make this world a more accepting place by helping one psychotherapeutically challenged individual at a time. We encourage you to participate by leaving comments and/or sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPING WITH STRESS
In small doses, stress is good. It can energize you and motivate you to deal with challenges. Too much stress can make life a difficult journey, when your stress level exceeds your ability to cope, this threatens your stability.
We all know what its like to be overwhelmed by stress, so its important to try to stay relaxed. Making poor food choices can contribute to fatigue and being rushed can also cause stress.
Stress is a major problem for many people. A stress free life, however, is not a desirable goal, because stress is something that challenges US and makes us grow. But when stress gets too high, it causes us to be unhealthy and unhappy.
One way to alleviate stress is to do something calming. Some people like to meditate and others prefer to ‘get moving’. Find your calming activity and do it every day.
Many problems are out of our control. The only option may be to accept them and try to increase our capacity to tolerate stress. Exercise, eating well,
and learning methods of relaxation can help with this.
PAINS OF THE HEART
A poem by Yehoshua
In seeming light to make of it
reply in course thusly unsit
the hidden, and unseemly rock
perched on the shoulder, and wound the heart
for I, from this, in course, deserving
leashes from the lash, not learning
from the vomit that emits
when the rock duly unsits
the course that courses through our veins
is not an evil, for these chains
can strengthen with the very pains
and clean the soul as the rains
But How?!! The burden
Is so grievous
And my soul, and mind, mischievous
My heart is wounded, still it bleds
From glassen shards and arrowheads
So on I march, with open wounds
But happily, to martial tunes
For I know that in this dark sea
I am fulfilling my destiny….
LETS TALK STIGMA AND SOLUTIONS
People with mental illness are often feel stigmatized. The reaction to mental illness can be contrasted with other illnesses. For example, people with physical illnesses usually receive sympathy because society can actually see the broken limb in a cast, the wheel chair which displays their inability to walk or the harsh effects of numerous courses of chemotherapy treatment. People with communicable diseases are treated with fear. Personally, when I was living in New York City in the 1980’s, I was cautious of the homeless people on the subway due to fear of contracting AIDS. Society had dictated the acceptable ways one could act towards certain stigmatized/minority groups because of their condition or diagnosis.
People with mental illness are considered strange, dangerous and weak by the majority of society. I was told many times to just “pull myself up by the bootstraps” as though my situation was a result of free willing decisions that I had made and continued to make. In my experience I have got the message over and over again that mental illness is a choice or form of stubbornness and an unwillingness to accept ones situation and take responsibility, a way to avoid ‘real life’ if you will.
A few solutions that could potentially aid the misguided assumptions circulating around is to reduce the secrecy surrounding mental illness. This means speaking out about it on a micro-level by admitting that, yes , a family member struggles with it, an aunt, a sibling, a parent, or a friend. A second solution is to take the time to distinguish between the various types of mental illness. This is important to do because it would call upon people to educate themselves and cease to lump every behaviour into one big mound of mental illness therefore allowing room for understanding and recovery.