#ForMiriam I Advocate: World Mental Health Day

For-Miriam-On-World-Mental-Health-Day

When I think of what happened in DC last week, I keep coming back to the same feelings of anger, frustration and sadness.

Her life shouldn’t have ended that way.

There is something called Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training, which is a training program developed in a number of U.S. states to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental delay. The Washington, DC chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness has a page on their website describing the District’s Crisis Intervention Officer Program, as having “had 5 graduated classes of officers so far, as well as new recruit trainings.”

I can’t help but wonder if the officer {or officers} who pulled the trigger had gone through CIT training.

If they had, or maybe had remembered the training during the incident, maybe the outcome would have been different.

Maybe not.

The only good thing that can happen as a result of this tragedy is advocacy in Miriam’s memory.

Advocacy to prevent something like this from happening again.

We can speak out. People like myself, who have experienced the hell of an inexplicable train of discombobulated and paranoid thoughts running through our heads. The hallucinations that come and go as fast as the minutes flying by on the clock next to the bed. The feeling that we’re invincible and don’t need sleep.

I’ve been there and I will continue to speak out about my experience in an effort to raise awareness for the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis. Because if even one person is helped through my writing, than it is worth all the effort.

Just because I experienced postpartum psychosis doesn’t make me a bad mother. It doesn’t make me a monster. It is an illness and my brain was sick. The important thing is that I got well and I made it through with treatment and support. I’m now able to help others by my work as an advocate.

And Miriam should have had that same chance.

But instead her friends and family are left to mourn this beautiful person who touched their lives and left behind is a constant reminder of her legacy, her baby girl.

It is my hope that once the darkness of their grief begins to dissipate, however far in the future that may be, the family will assume the role of advocate in their dear Miriam’s honor.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. – Maya Angelou

 world-mental-health-day

Comments

  1. I have had many loved ones who have suffered from mental illness, as well as having personally dealt with my own illness. I am the first one to bang the drum in support of more awareness and training with less stigma. In this case, however, I have a difficult time blaming the police officers who were working (while furloughed) to protect lives. I am sure there will be an investigation, but I can’t say that I would have reacted differently. What if they had not done what they did? How many lives could have been lost? I agree that there are many things that could’ve been done to prevent this tragedy, but I can’t bring myself to blame people who put their own lives in danger to protect others.

    • bipolarmomlife says:

      Steph – thank you for reading and commenting. I wasn’t placing blame on the officers. But I am interested in knowing why they didn’t shoot the tires out to disable the vehicle. And why was she shot multiple times when she got out of the car UNARMED? We’ll know once the investigation is complete, but unfortunately for the family, an investigation cannot bring their loved one back.

  2. I agree with you. This made me furious beyond words.

  3. Not sure where I stand on how the incident was handled, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that the stigma placed on mental illness, whether induced by postpartum hormones or not, needs to be lifted. I was totally blown away by the numbers in an article I read following Miriam’s death regarding how many women report having symptoms of PPD/PPP in the 1 year following childbirth. The stigma stops more women than people imagine from getting help…and it’s so sad

    • bipolarmomlife says:

      Yes, I completely agree with you, AJ. Which is the reason I created my show, ‘This Is My Brave’, to get people to open up about mental illness in our communities in order to help people realize they are not alone. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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