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Mental Health Questions and Answers with Peggy

10

Sep

2020

Peggy Harris

Mental Health Q&A with Peggy

Hi everyone!! It’s Jillian’s mama Peggy, and I am SO excited to be back on here today! A few weeks ago, I shared my mental health and wellness journey with all of you and the positive messages and comments were overwhelming! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each one of you that took the time to read my very first post!

I was initially planning on sharing this post earlier in the week, but I recently learned that September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day! I thought it would be very fitting to share this mental health Q & A today instead! To give all of you some hope that you can overcome any obstacle, I wanted to share a list of 15 celebrities that are also faced with Bipolar disorder!

Before we dive in, it was brought to my attention from one of Jillian’s readers, who is a counsellor, that we should refrain from referring to mental health disorders as an illness! The word “illness” attaches a stigma to mental health in many ways.

Today, I’m back answering some of the questions that I received on my first post!

Peggy's journey with mental health

1. How would you approach someone who has a bipolar diagnosis but refuses to admit that they are struggling?

Unfortunately, without someone’s willingness to admit that they have this diagnosis, they can sometimes hit rock bottom before accepting help. If this person is unwilling to acknowledge that they have bipolar disorder, simply just showing them that you care for them is very helpful! What helped me through some of my darkest days was my family showing me their unconditional love!

2. As someone who believes their mother struggles with mental health (undiagnosed), it is so hard to watch someone go from up and down in a matter of minutes/days. What do you recommend that we can do to help? How do you kindly approach a woman who is easily offended by the littlest things, let alone ask her to seek professional help?

In this situation, since your mother may be unwilling to go and seek professional help, what if instead you sought out a professional to help you assist her? A psychiatrist can provide you with some amazing tools to help your mother!

My journey with mental health

3. What are some ways to support someone with Bipolar and/or depression that is actually helpful and meaningful?

Without personally knowing this person and if they are taking any medication and how severe their Bipolar/ Depression is it is a difficult question to answer. But having a supportive and loving environment goes a long way. Another way to help this person may be by facilitating CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This can be done with a family member, friend, or psychologist! Click here to learn more about CBT!

4. Curious if you have any helpful tips for employers to help staff through this journey?

As an entrepreneur who struggled with depression and bipolar, I was very empathetic to other’s feelings and their discomfort. Something to keep in mind is that Bipolar or any other mental disorder does not define as you may not experience these symptoms every day of the year. If you are in a position where you can provide your employees with a health spending account, I would highly recommend it! The employer can set a customized amount that an employee can spend on mental health expenses, whether that be seeking out a psychiatrist or psychologist!

5. Did you experience postpartum after you had Jillian?

Luckily, I did not experience any signs of postpartum depression after having Jillian. My heart goes out to all of the women who experience postpartum! I’ve linked a helpful resource explaining what postpartum is and various treatment options, you can find that here!

How I overcame my mental health disorder

6. Do you find it any harder to “deal” with life’s circumstances (COVID, riots etc) that are out of your control right now? Are you amping up your coping skills during these uncertain times? How so?

In 2001 I felt very depressed after the events took place surrounding 9-11. However, when the COVID pandemic first hit, I luckily did not experience the same depression. I think what has helped me cope differently during this time is that I am consuming much less news, and I set a limit to only updating myself every few weeks!

7. How have you been able to overcome your past and possible dark moments mentally? Did you deal with shame at all?

Right before I opened my Home Decor and Gift shop, I experienced a very traumatic event, and what helped me move forward was not allowing myself to be the victim anymore. After that dark moment, I set a goal to open my store and never looked back! A quote that I often refer to help me overcome some dark moments is “don’t look back; you’re not going that way”!

8. Can you tell us how you lost your weight? What did you do?

What sparked the initial weight loss was a change in the medications that I was taking! From there, I implemented daily walking into my routine, slowly working up to 45 minutes a day, I downloaded and followed the Noom app and have my smoothie every morning! I think adding those three things into my daily routine impacted my weight loss!

9. Is a psychiatrist the best type of therapist for anxiety and depression. Have you tried any other therapy?

The difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication while a psychologist can’t. First of all, don’t ever give up; I know that finding the right medication, finding the right person to help support you can be overwhelming, but you will find the right professional, and it will click! I did try CBT with a psychologist, and I did find it very helpful, and once I moved to Kelowna, I started seeing a psychiatrist!

10. How do I get past the embarrassment and start advocating for myself?

If you ever have an opportunity to speak out about your mental disorder, do so! I would suggest learning as much as you can about your condition, you will find that this will allow you to help others on a similar journey! It is also important to come to terms with the fact the brain is an organ and is just as susceptible to become ill just like any other organ in your body!

11. How did your depression and bi-polar affect Jillian?

I think my bipolar and depression affected Jillian by making her more empathetic and caring for others! Jillian is extremely strong and resilient. I believe that her watching me go through some difficult times has given her so much empathy for others struggling!

We had so many questions come through and while I wanted to answer each one of them, I picked a hand full of them that I believe will help many others in a similar situation!

Until next time!

xo

Peggy

These are my personal thoughts and suggestion, however I would always suggest seeking professional assistance before implementing any of these suggestions!

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  1. Judy Johnston says:

    Thank you so much for sharing ❤️

  2. Lyn says:

    Hi Peggy I have had chronic depression and anxiety since 25 years of age. I have suffered for over 30 years. Been on meds all this time sometimes up sometimes down. Nothing seems to really get me out of this funk. Any helpful things you do to get you out. I am home bound in the past few years and no one to talk too. My family is not supportive old school think I am crazy. Why is this stigma still surround us. Thanks for talking about this meant to reply on last post but I am reaching out now.

  3. lydia acchione says:

    Thank You Kindly for sharing your very personal story, it is never easy but it really helps other people that suffer from bi-polar/ depression.Every bit of information is so informative and we can all learn and deal accordingly. I have lived with depression for over 30 plus yrs. and every day is a struggling challenge but I will continue to get through this and survive… Bless you and Good Health !!!!
    /

  4. Sara says:

    Thank you for sharing. Have been dealing for the first time with depression from covid19 (watching multiple little kids while working from home just did me in!). I feel like all the “stop the stigma” talk has worked because I really have been fortunate to not feel judged and been pretty open about what I am going through and finding so many other mothers mostly also having their own mental health struggles right now.

  5. Kim says:

    I have bipolar and hurt and tear up everytime i here oh that person must have bipolar! I can’t bring myself to say anything!
    My husband knows all about everything but I don’t think he realizes how hard it is or very supportive at times! Don’t have anyone close friend that I confide in. So I suffer and I’m very good at hiding things having everyone think it’s all fine!
    Not sure what to do! Kim

  6. Marie O'Hara says:

    Inspiring. Thanks!

  7. lori m says:

    Thank you for answering questions! Please post your smoothie recipe as it’s not in the bio link anymore. Wishing you a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing! Jillian should hire you to do Mental Health Mondays!

  8. Linda Lavigne says:

    Peggy, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  9. Johanna says:

    There should be a pretty picture you could sell with that quote “don’t look back; you’re not going that way”! World needs to hear that!!

  10. Michele says:

    How beautiful to read!…I myself have been circled with friends with mental problems…I am 59 and truly believe our era has experienced many friends and family with Bi polar and schizophrenic disorders….it was always so hidden and didn’t allow the people to heal or feel better..there were not as many resources that’s for sure…it was hard as an empathetic and supportive person to live through it with them…But in the end it is not about the ones who support our loved ones but knowing we are there for them unconditionally..thank you so much for sharing your beautiful you and and that life is worth moving forward…..Michele

  11. Karen Wood says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It means the world to me that people are finding the courage to share. I grew up with a mom who suffered from mental illness and it was often a difficult road because you felt shame and you couldn’t talk about it. She found ways to overcome it over the years and went onto to have a successful career. She is now languishing in a care home with Alzheimer’s but she had many good years. Thanks again for sharing your story. Karen Wood

  12. Alexandra Cassar says:

    Thank you for such honesty. I’m so thrilled you are doing better. As women, we are so afraid to look after ourselves first, which is so very important. Mental health is so so very real & we need to talk about it everyday. Thank you.
    Wishing you all the best.

  13. Janice says:

    Wow. I’m so touched by your openness about mental health. Reading this gives me an introduction to what many people go through when they have feelings of depression. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. 😊🌹

  14. Taylor says:

    Thank you Peggy, I have loved hearing from you. I think it is so important to talk about our troubles and keep people close who support us. I have struggled with Anxiety since I was in grade 9 many years ago and it has taken me a long time to take medication so that I can have a better quality of life. I love your beautiful spirit and conversations, We need to end the stigma around mental health. ❤️

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