Author shares her struggle with mental illness
Through her work, poet Carolyn Morman seeks to help others; debunk myths about mental illness
Carolyn Morman doesn’t mince words about her mental illness. She is honest about the struggles she’s had – and sometimes still has – with bipolar disorder and depression.
For nearly a decade, Morman, 43, has attended Monarch’s Anson Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) program in Wadesboro. During a long period of recovery, she served as a peer support specialist for two years. Then she suffered a relapse. She is currently a participant in the program, but hopes to return to her peer role, which allows her to provide support to others who can benefit from her experiences.
“I’m the first to tell you my sickness hasn’t been easy. I’m taking my medicine, coming to grips with my illness and working to get better, which has helped me to recover. I love to be around people and stay engaged in my community. Those things have really helped me to get through this,” explained Morman, who volunteers at Wadesboro Elementary School, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, and several nursing homes. “But I still struggle.”
Morman, 43, is not alone. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, according to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health.
May is Mental Health Month. Pathways to Wellness—this year’s theme—calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health.
“Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life,” said Monarch’s Chief Clinical Officer Daniel Brown, MSW, LCSW. “We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies to prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.”
Brown said wellness is more than the absence of disease and everyone is at risk of experiencing stress, given the demands stress brings and the challenges at work and at home.
“It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact, is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health. “
But there are steps that maintain well-being and help everyone achieve wellness. These involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community.
The following organizations offer additional important resources about mental health.
To learn more, visit:
Mental Health America – www.mentalhealthamerica.net/
Mental Health First Aid - www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/program_overview/
National Alliance on Mental Illness – www.NAMI.org
National Institute of Mental Health – www.nimh.nih.gov
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) – www.samhsa.gov/ or www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/
American Psychological Association (APA) – www.apa.org/
To read more about Carolyn Morman, click here to read the article that features her journey in the latest issue of Monarch's semi-annual newsletter Reaching Dreams.