Hello! I’m Sheila, and I’m a Vermont based mental health blogger. Until very recently, I worked in direct service mental health, and was studying to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. In addition to my direct service job in a group home, I was also interning as a case manager at a local agency for school. In January, I was admitted to a psychiatric unit for seven days. I have since been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Affective Disorder. In order to facilitate recovery and ongoing management of my symptoms, I needed to leave my job, school, and my internship. This was very upsetting.
So, I did the only reasonable thing a human being in the 21st Century could possibly do: I decided to take to the Internet! I’ve always loved writing. Once upon a time, I was going to be a high school English teacher. When everything I thought my future held was stripped away, I decided to combine my passion for mental health awareness, my love of writing, and my sometimes unhealthy fondness for social media into one supercharged, coherent force for positive change in the world – like a one-person, much less exciting version of Captain Planet, but for mental health!
The irony of my current situation is not lost on me. In this space, I hope to share my stories with a healthy mixture of brutal honesty and complete irreverence. Sometimes, my New England comes out in the form of self-deprecating sarcasm. I’m working on it. (Sort of.)
I’m in a fairly unique position to help break down stigma (at least in my little corner of the world) as many of my closest friends work in the mental health system. Being honest and sharing my experiences feels very important to me right now, not only as a form of processing and healing for myself, but also as a way to show that mental illness does not discriminate, that we all struggle, that it is OK for anyone (even the “helpers”) to get help, and that, yes, the system is sometimes broken and unfair, and there is a lot of room for improvement.
When not blogging about what it’s like to flip from mental health support worker to mental health patient, from detached and stoic calm-in-almost-every-situation (except paper cuts and stubbed toes) kind of person to a self described complete and utter emotional wreck, from abused to abuse free, and from “perfectly fine, but occasionally hyper and sporadically creative” to Bipolar, I’m busy being a single mom to a boisterous little girl with extreme leadership potential, dabbling in the world of photography, occasionally writing poetry, or indulging my geek-side (“geek” of the Sci-Fi watching, Tabletop Gaming, Lord of the Rings reading variety). I also enjoy discussing matters of philosophy , psychology, and spirituality over coffee, taking hikes, clumsily playing my guitar, and snuggling my two black cats.
Oh! And I’m really happy to meet you!