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Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5-October 11, 2008). In 1990 The United States Congress named the first week of October Mental Illness Awareness Week.
National Day of Prayer fo Mental Illness Awareness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, October 7, 2008; Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day (BDAD) is held on the Thursday, October 9, 2008; National Depression Screening Day is Friday, October 10, 2008 of Mental Illness Awareness Week.
Go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website and contact your local NAMI group to see what activities are taking place this week in your neigborhood at
"According to the National Institute for Mental Health, today there are approximately thirty-five million persons who suffer the burdens of some form of mental illness. Twelve million are children. Ten million have chronic mental illness" (


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First, I came from a family with Christian values. My faith in God started to get intense during the latter years of high school, which in my opinion, is when I started having symptoms. In my experience religion plays a major role in my mental health- its delusions, its coping skills, and in my recovery. In medical terms they call my religious rituals and delusions "religious preoccupation."

Before I was diagnosed I was highly religious. In fact, I wanted to be an evangelist and to go to a Christian college. I would read my Bible for several hours a day throughout the day, listen to hymns, and meditate. Sometimes I would ignore people if they wanted my attention while I was meditating I was in such deep thought. Also, I …

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Sometimes my mind would take me to a place of fear, hurt, and an unsettling spirit, which started with what seemed like a strange look, or a different feeling around an individual, when in reality it was another symptom of my undiagnosed illness- paranoia. My paranoia was rampant and dictated my life prior to experiencing a crisis, which led me to jail and into forced treatment and to receive an official diagnosis of Schizophrenia in 2007.

In other words, my illness created enemies in my mind. For instance, I once believed my favorite kin was against me and I felt like she wanted me to fail, and I eventually thought she was conspiring to harm me. However, she never said anything to imply these f…