About QuirkyBirdWords

Eve
Eve

One in four is challenged with a mental health illness, and one in 17 is challenged with a severe mental illness. I am that one.

In 2010, I triggered with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures and PTSD. Before becoming mentally disabled, I was an online designer, social media guru and nationally-syndicated blogger. After the trigger, I lost six-years of memory, day-to-day tracking of time, ability to talk and be understood, and my cognitive abilities dissipated at a rapid rate. I also struggled with body tics, tremors, seizures and chronic struck-by-lightening pain. At one point, help was needed with mobility and basic self-care.

My recovery and wellness journey began in 2013 with a stay at Stanford Mental Health Behavioral Ward, and then followed up with local peer-to-peer support groups and private therapy. It wasn’t until Stanford I heard the word recovery in the same sentence as mental illness. It didn’t seem possible. The group leaders in peer-support repeated the same idea: Recovery is possible. That knowledge sparked my will to fight for a better quality of life.

Today, and every day, is a successful struggle to wellness. Improvements small, and stacking, over a great period of time, with proper help and support, have made a tremendous, positive change in my life. I focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do. I’ve learned that sharing my story not only helps those who are experiencing mental health challenges, but also helps me on my healing journey.

This past year has provided incredible inclusion opportunities. In January, I attended the “Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement” training (coordinated by Fresno State, NAMI and RICV), and learned to share my story and help break the mental health stigma in the community. During the spring I graduated from the Community Leadership Academy, developed by Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). This prepared me to take on a leadership role and I now am an RICV board member, and have been appointed by Gov. Brown to the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Area 8 Board. I also started blogging again at quirkybirdwords.wordpress.com.  That would be here. 😉

Life isn’t like it was before – but it’s still a whole life. It’s similar to yours and different than yours. It’s a worthy life.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. K P says:

    Hi Eve & Rhonda,

    First of all, I need to stay completely confidential because of the stigma that could follow a beloved family member. He has one of the saddest 5150 experiences. He already has so much to adjust to and deal with without unwanted publicity. Please, not even my email address can show up anywhere!

    Thank you for your updates and the amazing work you’re doing!!!!!

    I wanted to alert you to a discovery my husband made on the internet today – 51/50 IPA beer in Temecula, CA.

    My husband gave them a call this morning and let them know what this term REALLY means.

    We are hoping that you can follow up, and here is the link…

    ironfirebrewing.com/our-beers/51-50-ipa

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    Respect & admiration for you both!!!!

    Anonymous

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I just shared your comment with Rhonda (she’s sitting next to me working on advocacy projects) and we are looking into this label.

    I know what stigma feels like and won’t share your information. Stay safe. ❤

    Like

  3. SonniQ says:

    Hello Eve – First of all, I sincerely hope all is okay with you. I can’t say I understand because I have never been in your shoes. I do know what it is like to deal with long term illness but it is hard to imagine what you have been through. I commend what you are doing because I do know it takes passion about what you believe in to work hard to change it, especially when a large part of it is changing people’s perceptions. I have 2 blogs – the one about prisons and another one, Watch and Whirl, about many subjects. I you could recommend a good blog post that explains what and why you do this i would gladly reblog it. I noticed you reblogged the interview I did with David Snape. I was trying to find it on your blog but couldn’t. I wanted to say thank you. I just put out my first newsletter, which I also put on my blog. I would also like to help promote his show.

    Because of the book I’m writing I’ve been gathering email addresses this past year for the newsletter so people would know how the book is coming along. There are quite a few first draft chapters posted on my blog that are easy to find scrolling down. The last one lists all the chapters. If you’d like to know how it’s coming and would be willing to give me your email address that would be great. Book sales are almost completely done online anymore and hopefully people will share the info.

    One last thing – I have pictures of myself, from an earlier time ( 30 years ago) where my hair is short and bleached out white with a hot pink streak on the top. And I’m wearing a mink stole. Those were my wilder days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for visiting here and commenting. It makes my heart big to hear from you. Oh, I’m going to go find your blogs. I was looking at the one to find out more about the prison system. I did just post a new one that shares about my inspiration to travel the activist path … and I did re-post your Snape interview but over at AmericanBadassAdvocates.org 🙂 The new org my advocacy partner and I launched like … a minute ago. Seriously, last week I believe it was. We want to initiate peer-led neurodiversity movements, follow and support other movements we believe in, and most important — offer hope to those living with a neurodiverse mind for inclusion and acceptance.

      I’m at writefirstdaily@gmail.com. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SonniQ says:

        I think you are an amazing woman and I’ll support your efforts any way I can. I’ll look up your new site later. I have to go to the hospital. My mom had a stroke a few days ago. She’s 83. it hurts to see someone who is so active think that her life will be changed now. You understand that. Thank you so much for reposting the interview. Every little thing, when you are trying to get something off the ground, is a big thing. I’ll be in touch {hugs} Sonni

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lots of love to you and your mom.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. SonniQ says:

    I watched your video and I wanted to cry. I commend you for the progress you have made for yourself. This stigma against mental illness and the lack of help people get is part of what happens in the prison system. Because of the amount of people with mental illness, we have to ask first – why? What is causing it? I know many people live with and do the best they can. When someone is put in prison, especially solitary confinement it easily turns perhaps a small problem into something very huge. It also affects many people who have exhibited no outward mental illness before this, but the deprivation they go through brings it out. When they try to harm themselves they have the sentence in solitary confinement lengthened. They are essentially punished harder because of the damage the system did to them in the first place. Suicide in SC is many times higher than those in the rest of the prison. The man I write about suffered from bouts of depression since a child dealing with epilepsy. He the father of one of my grandsons. We have written several hundred letters with my validating his life and working hard to keep his head above the water because I was afraid I’d lose him. He tried suicide several times. Guards torture those with mental illness and they often end up dying from “Natural causes”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Folks with mental illness are often listed as of dying from natural causes. The potential for abuse when living with mental illness by others is HUGE. I’m a living example of it — and someday will share that horror, but for now … I’m so glad we met. So much work to do and I’m so happy to meet you and learn more about your advocacy efforts. ❤

    Like

  6. randyjw says:

    Hi, Eve! I just watched your video. It is a brave and important thing that you’re doing by speaking out on behalf of those with mental illnesses. I’m happy Governor Brown chose you in your position; effective advocacy from someone with direct experience of an issue or illness begins with inclusion and close knowledge of that which they speak. Your intelligence is an evident factor in that decision and you are a wonderful spokesperson for this cause. I love your artistic backdrop behind you, plus the cute cat which wandered through behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

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