Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How are Mobile Apps Changing the Game on Mental Illness?

There's no denying it, technology is here to stay and it is only going to continue invading our lives more and more, but is that necessarily a negative when we have people utilizing these advances to better our daily lives? I think not.

We've used so many various apps over the years that I, myself, cannot tell you all their names. There's no shortage of technology to improve oneself, however for those dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder this is the one I really would recommend...

nOCD is a new app available thanks to it's creator, Stephen Smith. It's available for download here , but don't go just yet see all the bad ass things this little pocket helper can do! We've been given the opportunity to partner with and use nOCD over the last several weeks. In doing so I've come to find some exciting things and benefits to this particular app.

Let me first give you the breakdown on nOCD. There are some wonderful customizations available with this one so check it out and see if it can be tailored to your needs, but for me--the eternal skeptic-- I was indeed pleasantly surprised by the ability to utilize the many user friendly features included.

1. Set up- the very thought will induce my counting compulsions, yet I muscled through with
relative ease. They did, in my opinion, think of their potential users.
2. Getting Started- You'll be asked to follow prompts in order to give nOCD an idea of your individual needs and some basic information.
3. Use it-- For me, I also live with Dissociative Identity Disorder, *cough* you may have noticed *cough*, never the less, I found this app to be beneficial.

I'm going to show you a few of the features of the app via images sent to me from nOCD, but also screen shots from my actual use. An animated video will be provided at the end of this post, courtesy of nOCD, BONUS! 

You can track your progress here with some serious detail. Something I found to be massively beneficial as I live with a dissociative disorder. I can go under every section of my progress screen and find out my patterns--if they're there--and yes, for those wondering a few of my parts also utilized the app. Bob was one who has some anxiety to a debilitating degree, she used the SOS feature several times...

Your Progress Screen
Your Plan Screen

 The SOS screen and Bob's favorite feature on this app we found to be one of the greatest additions. Here you will be asked what the trouble is-- Obsession or Compulsion. Remember earlier when we had you get started customizing, this is where those come into play! Following either your O or C here will take you to the next step and onto more of your specified prompts. Again, something we found amazing about this app.

I won't use Bob as an example but myself. So one of my obsessive thoughts is that I am crazy. When selecting O this will take me to my corresponding triggers and assist me through a timed process. This app even times these things for me when I utilize it! In turn it shows me my previous CPM's (Compulsion Prevention Messages). Which as you may know during those highly triggering moments they're difficult to even consider what they once were, but with nOCD, bam! There they are for you to remember.

Before I leave you to download nOCD, allow me to show you yet another added bonus to this app. They've given you the option to tailor make your reminders. You can set the specific times and what days of the week you want to be notified to practice what you're learning, exposures, or simple check ins.

This was a nifty feature that I set several reminders for myself as well as a few parts to utilize. Oh and just so you know we can decipher the differences between what we've each needed as they are different for several of us.

Living with OCD can be a monster to tackle alone so this brings me to my only question for you...Why do it alone? There's a community out there and help available. People like Stephen Smith and the nOCD team are creating some amazing things for each of us to better ourselves and improve of quality of life. Why not use all of the tools available?


We sincerely hope all of you out there struggling with OCD find the app as beneficial as we did. Don't forget to comment once you've tried it! What worked for you? What could be improved upon? Happy apping!

nOCD app video

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder: Theresa

Welcome to the first installment of our new blog series- Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder! We're thrilled so many wonderful people agreed to join us in this venture. Since we started our Living with DID Talks last year, many systems have continued reaching out (Hundreds at this point) and some have expressed a desire to figure out a way to join in on our journey to combat stigma and introduce real world information in regards to Dissociative Disorders, specifically Dissociative Identity Disorder. They've told us countless times now, they wish they could do what we do--in regards to public speaking-- and use their own voices to show people who we are as individuals and as a community.

Our hope with this series is to bring about change and give insight into what everyone living with DID can experience in their daily lives. Not just myself and The We In Me but those who live with Dissociative Identity Disorder and their collective systems. These wonderful people have been sharing their day to day lives with us and how they all, respectively, deal with life. Throughout this series you will gain insights into their lives, how each system can define things differently, and live life by finding what works for them. We all share a similar diagnosis but we all experience trauma and life in differing degrees.

Everyone involved has expressed hope that this series can help end the stigma and common misconceptions of who we --those of us living with DID-- are as people. We all are people. We want and deal with the same things you do...perhaps just in a different way at times.

Here is our very first Featured System of the Month...We hope you enjoy and can appreciate the amount of dedication and effort from all the systems we'll be bringing to you, as this series grows. This is a struggle for many systems as speaking about these things goes against the very nature of what Dissociative Identity is; for many of the parts/alters  it is incredibly difficult and takes some tact and logistics to make them comfortable through this process. A great deal goes into something like this for each of them. Living a dissociated life takes it's toll...

NOTE: Some of the images in this post may be triggering. Please practice self care and do not continue reading if this concerns you. The most triggering images are at the very end. Take care!

Name: We voted on our name and chose, Theresa Dutcher.
Twitter: @DIS-SOS
System Name: We all use the name Theresa externally. Internally, yes we have individual names.

Age/Body Age: 30
Parts Age Ranges: Infant-43yrs old
System: There are 15+ parts

Diagnosis: They were officially diagnosed in 2009, but didn't have a therapist until 2014. Initially, they had a doctor that was trauma informed but unfortunately had minimal, at best, information about Dissociative Identity Disorder. Before the diagnosis one had studied psychology. "We are aware of an internal therapist." This part studied psychology to help the system when she studying and gaining an understanding of DID. She knows some of their individual struggles and helps. She studied Psychology at university and another part gained a degree in another trade through a job program.

Work & School: Theresa and her system did work off and on over the years but for right now, they cannot. When they're more stabilized and able to work again they will likely go back to the previous trade that one part within the system studied. Theresa had expressed this could become problematic because the part who originally studied this trade hasn't been around at all and is dormant according to the system. If this part were to remain back within the system and not "front" [take over/go to work] it will prove difficult as the others did not study the trade course(s).

They began to focus more on teaching over the last few months due largely to their achieving part. This achieving part is the main reason they began teaching tools to benefit people's mental health. Something we've seen discussed on Theresa's twitter account.

Religion: As for religious beliefs they cannot agree on a religion. Christianity was what Theresa identified with but they've had disagreements about this as many feel it to be unsafe. More specifically in the church they had attended and worked, to several in the system it became more unsafe.

Relationships: "We don't interact with people often. We did have a boyfriend, but things ended. We remained friends." -Theresa

As for their day to day life, it looks like most peoples; perhaps with a few alterations. Theresa has a strict structure and rules set in place for her system. An example of this is a teenage part who enjoys high action stories, but these are only allowed in the afternoon.

Reading something with violence or that is over stimulating too late into the evening can cause unnecessary sleep issues. So they decided this needed to be restructured and agreed upon in order to better the wellbeing and daily life of the collective group. Some afternoons are spent exercising or outside enjoying a beautiful day.

"We run errands and do every day things or another part may want to work on an art project. Nothing big is going on in our life but there are often internal things happening."

Before they had a sleep routine things were falling apart. Theresa shared with me some of the discussions they had together and one of the main things they say to each other before they had a stricter regime in place is "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem."

Now they have time set aside for everyone during the day. Upon waking they do the mundane morning things most people do, then it's two hours of writing and research. Followed by their afternoon's of reading, art work, or one episode of a television show. Their meals are scheduled as is their sleep. The strict structure is something that works quite well for them.

"If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem."

Every system we've been chatting with for the "Living with DID" series has been given similar questions, but as this series progresses you'll come to find that the answers differ greatly in some instances. Some systems are in therapy, some are past it at this point, while others are terrified to try again after several awful and harmful experiences. We were half way through our conversation at this point when we asked:

"Since, we've [The We In Me] been doing our Living with DID Talks with the psychology students, we've wondered...If you could tell a doctor anything about you, DID, or otherwise what would that be?"

Theresa stated it may seem weird to some people but the thing that sticks out is the use of DBT programs for self harm recovery. It isn't something that worked for her system because they are a system of several individuals. One thing may not work for another person and that is beyond true for someone(s) living with DID. When one of the parts would self harm someone else would come back and if this were to come up in therapy it was difficult to express how certain things weren't helpful.

System self harming behavior is a situation that can become incredibly difficult to help. It is not an uncommon occurrence within a DID system, but that doesn't make it any easier. It is a tricky thing to determine... The who's and why's when someone is self harming in a system is beyond difficult. When a doctor had asked Theresa, "Why did you do this?" It wasn't a question she could answer. Additionally, working through self injury can be an immense struggle for anyone, but how can you answer a question if you weren't the one exhibiting the behavior? Simply put, you can.

Common Myths: The big one Theresa wanted to address was the switching... It is not obvious. She used herself and the achieving part as an example here; she does an excellent job of imitating Theresa and even if you knew them very well you could still miss the switch. It's a very subtle thing and you will miss it. She went on to add that certain parts switch differently which was an excellent point as that's not often something people discuss.

Final Thoughts: It took them time to get the strict routine they have in place. They're a system of over achievers, she says and fear has no place in their system. They work together and find compassion. Most of the adults within the system are high achieving and through finding mutual respect and compassion things began to change for the better.

One Basic Goal- Connection
One Rule- Fear does not have room in our system.-Theresa

We wanted to quickly state again how grateful we are too all the systems that have been working with us to create this series. We currently have dozens wanting to partake and for now, we will be producing one (probably two) Featured System every month here on The We In Me. So stay tuned...

Friday, June 23, 2017

10 Human Things Everyone has Experienced With or Without Mental Illness

A mental illness does not make you more or less than another person. How you utilize your thoughts and actions is what shows your value, who you are and who you can become regardless of where you began in life or where you are now.

Think about that for a moment... I play the statistical odds, I find it a statistical improbability that you've never once experienced at least one -- if not all -- of these at some point in your life. Never fear, you're definitely not alone. The following is a list of things that I've been thinking about through my years in therapy. There are human things that connect us all despite the feelings of "us and them," for some people.

1. "It Must Not Have Been Important"

You're at the grocery, stumbling about ,filling your basket and then it hits you. What did I forget? You wrack your brain, become frustrated with yourself and cannot, to save your life, recall what it was. You try to convince yourself, "it must not have been that important." For you--a person without a mental health struggle-- this is likely to occur any given day and you move on from it, but with anxiety, for example, it can ruin your day, week, and yes even have lasting impacts. We are all people and share similar experiences, but the aftermath is in large part, where we differ.

2. "But I Love It & Need It!"

Another biggie here ladies and gents. Spring cleaning time. You begin tidying up, maybe rotating your clothes--I do this twice a year when seasons change-- and there it is... the thing. That thing you forgot you had, but it brought you some form of peace, love and joy or maybe anguish, nevertheless it's your thing. You go round and round in your head with the standard options of, "keep, toss or donate," yet there it sits taunting you from the donate pile. Someone without a mental illness will likely forget about the thing, eventually, but if you do live with any variety of mental illnesses, then that thing may come back to you. Whether it be that same day or weeks later. You may even begin mentally psyching yourself up for that moment and tell yourself it's just a thing, but deep in the back of your mind you get stuck. Because it isn't "just a thing" it is THE Thing.

3. "I Do Not Care"

If you have a social media account or interacted with another human, ever in your life, then you've said this. At very least you've thought it. "I don't give a fuckin flying monkey's ass!" or the deemed less aggressive version "I don't care." Dear friend without mental illness, you're frustrated and you've been wronged in someway or of course the other option... You simply don't care because it isn't a big deal which restaurant you choose on this particular evening nor is the random bit of rudeness you just experienced. All people across the board have dealt this but with a mental illness these moments can make life a bit more difficult, at times.

Using myself as an example here... I have DID--shocking I know to find this on a blog about dissociation-- and when I say "I don't care" I generally mean it, BUT that is not to say that every-one part of me agrees. Something as simple as choosing a lipstick or restaurant can become an internal debate leading to an argument of "FUCK OFF!" proportions. You and I are very similar but the aftermath of these thoughts and statements differs greatly. We are not so different though. I need to consider a bit of tactical planning around my interactions and the outcomes of said interactions.

4. Enter... The Crush

A recent Twitter Chat brought this one up for me... So there stands a person. You've heard about them, perhaps seen them around a time or two and maybe even had conversations but... SHIT, duck!!! Whew, that was a close one. I mean they almost saw you standing there gazing at them in all their majestic glory! How mortifying. Mmhmmm, many people find this to be a terrifying experience.

Exhilarating as the anticipation, "chase" and fantasies may be it can be paralyzing to have a crush on someone. This is true-- as pointed out to me by the conversation I had-- for the majority of people. Something I, myself, hadn't ever realized before. Yes, I've several varied mental illnesses (you may have noticed) but the crush thing hasn't ever been an issue for me. I tend not to waste my time. By this I mean if I actually am intrigued by a person in some way I make this known.

That being said, one of my parts (DID-remember?) can become completely paralyzed with fear, dismay and embarrassment. While others don't get crushes, ever.

5. Me? Nooo, never.

I defer to a differential of differing identities. Chit chatting away with friend, family or foe and they set you up brilliantly for your favorite -- and much loved -- witty remark. Sarcasm can be an annoyance for many and at times it can go completely over ones head. It happens. Sarcasm is a fantastic flamboyant mask that many of us have become a devout follower. ME ME ME! I've personally relied on sarcasm throughout the majority of my life. While I comprehend it with ease I've never really understood it much. Though some of us find it quite the useful and under-utilized tool.

With most people you'll find this to be a tool of humor and also, deflection.

My Husband and I on our Wedding Day

6. Love

Despite my emotional shortcomings, yes, I am familiar with the emotions and things that can accompany love. Many love their relatives, significant other(s), and friends. For my parts, with some people, this is accomplished with relative ease and exuberance, but I, myself, do tend to struggle and make the decision to love someone. This does not mean I love them any less than you may be able too.

You likely, love your friends and relatives, you probably even have told them so countless times. Living with a mental illness, yes even Dissociative Identity Disorder, does not stop us from experiencing these life moments. My parts are very thoughtful and loving and kind. As I am, I simply have chosen that though. Same outcome.

7. Laughing Until You Hurt

We've definitely experienced this one...I'll use an example from our life. One of my parts was on the phone with a friend and she began to flip out about not being able to find her phone...I'll pause so you can laugh... She had the "ah ha" moment seconds later after realizing she was speaking to us on said phone. They were both in hysterics and it still induces a fit of laughter anytime this moment is brought up with her. Because it's friggin funny!

While laughter is not medication nor is it prescribed, it is said to be the "best medicine" for a reason. Sometimes you just need to laugh until you cannot breathe or your face hurts. With or without a mental illness you can experience this and get just as much out of it.

8. Crying Yourself to Sleep

Why you've done this I cannot say, but I know millions have. It's a statistical probability. While I, myself, have not experienced this, I know parts of me have and yep...They did indeed feel silly about it eventually. It's a human response and does not make you weak, crazy or insane to have that overflow and outpouring of emotion.

Emotional releases are healthy, from what I've seen, and I think it would be fascinating if I could experience them.

9. Raising a Family

Yeah, we do that. While our family, specifically, may look quite different from yours, it is still every bit a family. My husband and I care for and rescue ferrets. I cannot have children, but we have discussed adoption. Yes, even with a mental illness I want a child one day. We want to be able to give a child the gift of safety, consistency and actual love. Something I find many of my parts missed out on.

People meet. People date. People love. People spend their lives together, whatever that looks like for their individualized parameters and relationship. They start a family together, if they have children or not, furbabies or not, they live and grow together and enrich their lives as two or more. With or without a mental illness this is something that people choose to do every day around the world. We're very much the same in that respect.

10. The Simple Understated... We All Want a Life

Here we are, number 10. Engrained into most people is a will and powerful drive to survive...We've said it before, we're exhausted and over survival, now we want to live. Everyone may have different reasons, but eventually these many and immensely varied choices are made. They're made based on who you are and what you want out of life.

My life living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, PTSD, and the accompanying issues resembles most of your lives from day to day depending upon what's happening. Through therapy we're bettering these things, but simply put we have the same ambitions and drive you have. We also struggle and lose hope on rotten days. My life is lived in extremes at times, and you wonderful human living without a mental illness may not experience those specifics (I'm glad you don't) we are all people and baring chaotic uncertainties we've all experienced the many ups, downs and diagonals of life.

OCD or Bipolar, Diabetic or fighting Cancer, DID to Anxiety and Depression, yes even those lost in suicidal thoughts and self harm... The partners arguing about work schedules, the husband and wife fighting about finances, interracial couples, same sex couples, literally all humans of any age deal with so many of the same things I find choosing to separate them a disservice to all of us. Everyone can learn something from another and grow as individuals. All of our widely diverse experiences and struggles may cause different problems for each of us, but we all experience them... We simply handle it differently.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Humor of DID

Since we started speaking out more via our Twitter we've encountered many wonderful people...Of these people are countless DID Systems; we've now spoken to 100's of people who know the many ups and downs I myself experience, as they too live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

We reached out to our friend, April (and her system) in hopes she would consider writing a bit about the humorous things she herself has encountered. She did not disappoint. DID can be truly frightening to live with and endure, but that does not mean there aren't beneficial, quirky and damn funny things that do indeed happen to us regularly.

We wanted to try and express some of these instances with April's help because there has been so much negativity circling lately it is becoming stifling!

We wanted to quickly thank her for sharing some of her life with us and you here on our blog. Enjoy!
April, rockin' one of our Dissociative Tees ;)

As a coping mechanism disassociation with firm alters can be funny at times.
I spend some of my time in a state of anxiety and fear thus alters get more active. I am tired and vulnerable so an alter may be trying to ease My burden by being present.
I do not have conscious connection with my [internal] words or action. For me the times of them out and active are a Blackout period. This can be seconds or minutes... hours to days. What I learn is from seeing changes in my environment or from what someone else tells me. Some things alters write to me or voice record etc.
This post is dedicated to some of the funny things I figure out or wake to..😄

When you come to and all of a sudden there are remnants of parts/extras/alters being active:

I turn and there is half a painting not mine or my toenails have been repainted...

Last week Jynx gave herself (us) a pedicure, but apparently a younger part didn't like it and wanted to 'help' Jynx make them more fun. So now My toenails are half gray and four of them are randomly white. This moment in life #BroughtToYouByDID.

This img is of Jynx. I came back to paper and
glue all over my face and neck...
One of their body image projects.

I had a shower or a bath I don't recall...

Dishes were done and I am dressed...

Minny is my 'cleaning genie.' She very much helps in that respect. It's quite a fun surprise to not need to finish up dishes, laundry, or etc...

I didn't have a pop now I do...

Furniture moved...

Bathroom cleaned ( yes!)...

Shelving up and decorated in my kitchen.

Funnies posted on Facebook middle of the night or early morn...

Online carts shopping or letting me know what they want.

We have a full cart most of the time on Amazon lol, My parts have even created their own Wish List via Amazon. I like to get them something when we have the extra funds to do so. They've surprised me my entire life, but now I've been able to do this on a couple occasions. :)

A Hairstyle Maddy had done on April.

Wild hairdos from highlights and braids to Wee making a red marker highlight. 

For those who know me a bit more and since high school, I've said I can sorta determine the time frame based on my hair style/color etc. An amusing thing... The faux hawk, dreads, and curly blond Mohawk thing that Jynx did only last year was definitely wild to come back to. Additionally, Purple hair was definitely a surprise earlier on in therapy.

Wee loves to dress up. She likes to take selfies face scrunched or big eyes or hats, very funny if you aren't me (she will share to friends 'her smile' ...ahhhh!!)

Wee taking Selfies <3

There are so many things. Day after day. In and out. I get frustrated. It can be a hassle when I can't find things as they moved...but sometimes I just have to laugh. Things could be worse. Challenging for sure. Confusing always. Maddening at times. Harmlessly funny too.

Thanks again to April for sharing some of this with us. During therapy, after I had met the doctor, I was truly an amusing thing when after a particularly difficult night/morning I 'came back' sitting inside of a giant ball toy. It was ridiculous and just one of the many things that occur any given day and week while living with Dissociative Identity Disorder. We all hope this made you smile and perhaps wonder... We are people living with a disorder that our brains utilized to survive early childhood trauma, but that doesn't mean our parts (alters) aren't fully functioning people with their own thoughts, desires and quirks that can create some seriously hysterical moments in our lives.

This Moment in Life Brought to You By...DID ;)

One of my parts messing around after Jynx
did her makeup.

The Lovely April.

April Selfie
Toon playing with one of the ferrets last summer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Men's Mental Health

You may have taken notice that I find Mental Health an important topic to discuss. We have been building more relationships and contacts within this profound community. My parts and I often state, "we are stronger together," this continues to be proven true to us time and time again.

One of the wonderful people we met, via twitter, was Mike Douglas. He often can be found tweeting words and posts of encouragement in regards to mental health and the needs of those struggling. He also, has discussed men's mental health and I very much agree with him on many of his view points on this topic. We asked him to share some of his thoughts on the subject of Men's Mental Health with us and are thankful he took the time to do so...

First off, big thank you to Erika for letting me talk on her blog about men's mental health. Thanks!

Men's mental health is an interesting topic and a challenging one. For me personally I don't like the gender divides we put on things, such as men's mental health. Why can't we talk about mental health without having to feel like we are excluding some. However I understand the need to do this, sometimes there needs to be a focus.
Just as I can support the discussion of ovarian cancer, women can support the discussion on men's mental health, and just like ovarian cancer while I will not be directly affected I can and will likely know someone affected by this at some point. So lets share the knowledge and support.

Men's mental health is something that is often shamed, not over looked, shamed. Men that show emotions are seen as weak and feminine. Emotions are 'women things' not something that should affect men. Anyone heard this before?
Unfortunately its all to common.

As men we are told to 'man up' and get on with it.
Is it surprising then that suicide is the biggest killer of men 18 - 45? Problems with mental health can happen to anyone and we should be encouraging people to talk about it and seek help. Not shaming them into feeling alone and without hope. Suicide is 100% preventable.

Small things can help, text a friend, have a walk, get outside, one to one situations often make it easier to talk about our problems so try those out.

If you are struggling please check out the Same or Mind, lots of resources and support available.

Here's wishing you a happy and positive day.

Kind Regards


Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Encouragement Corner: Save As

You've heard and perhaps have seen us discuss some of the hate and encouragement we receive in our DM's over the last year or so, but what you may have missed is our mention of a particularly lovely person we met via Twitter... @steffync.

What even she was unaware of was my parts have been saving and documenting the words of encouragement she has been sending to us. When I, myself, became aware of this selfless action she takes, simply because she wants to encourage myself and my parts, I felt it appropriate to share some of these wonderful words with all of you too!

This post I'd like to deem, "Encouragement Corner" because that is what some of my parts call the DM's we receive from @Steffync. Several of my parts now wait with anticipation to see what she'll send next. Additionally, she always seems to send the perfect phrases and imagery for when we really need them. Whether it be something silly or the perfect words of encouragement when we are struggling. Again, simply because she wanted to take the time to make sure others are ok. She is not someone we know in our every day life, outside of the Twitter realm, but a kind person making our world a bit brighter.

Below are some of the wonderful things she's sent simply because she wanted us to know someone was thinking of me/us and because saying a kind encouraging word is worth it to her. A truly lovely person, both inside and out. We want to pay homage to a wonderful person making our world a bit brighter each and every week; and hopefully she can make yours a bit better now as well.

Thank you so much for always popping up in our DM's you fabulous person you. <3

This entered our DM's after a weekend of sleep deprivation.
*Save As* DayWeCouldNotHoldCamera
*Save As* MorningAfterNightTerror.S.Encouragement

*Save As* QuirkyWeirdMagic.ThingsSteffSaysToEncourage
*Save As* WWSS.WhatWouldSteffSay

*Save As* BeYou.SteffEncouragement
*Save As* AniousMess.SteffEncouragingWords
*Save As* IAmNotWorthless... We received this After A Part was Struggling immensely with Self Harm.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Interview: Books, Bipolar, & the Brilliant Rebecca Lombardo

I had the pleasure of interviewing author and advocate, Rebecca Lombardo, in short, we were thrilled. She's someone my parts and I have come to adore and respect across the board. Her and her husband, Joe Lombardo, are working hard to bring about change.

They do so together with their many endeavors. The Voices for Change 2.0 podcast, her blog and the re-launch of her book, "It's Not Your Journey" are a few ways they rock the mental health community. What they're doing is an invaluable venture for the mental health community and for those who live with Bipolar --like she does-- and how this impacts the significant other/spouse --like he does!

We had another of our wonderful chats via skype and discussed the unstoppable Lombardo 'rockin' Team, as well as, the profound things Rebecca brings into the light that are so important to draw your attention to in order to bring about change!

Joe & Bekka Lombardo-IMG courtesy of Rebecca

Erika: Hey lady, thanks for chatting with me (us) today!

Rebecca: No problem, thanks for asking.

E: Of course, we adore you as you know (haha) So I'd like to begin by discussing the relaunch of your book, "It's Not Your Journey."

R: Great. Starting at what brought this about... In 2013 I attempted suicide. For me, it was more about punishing myself for all these perceived 'mistakes.' The lie of, "Everybody would be better off without me," it became worse and worse. That day, by the time Joe (husband) got home I was passed the breaking point.

E: I'm sorry but thrilled you're here to discuss it with us.

R: Thanks. It was a difficult time, but I always wrote poetry mostly, and then was blogging from time to time, but that was for me. I thought, lets try blogging again. I wrote a few posts and then decided to make them public to friends and Joe only, but after encouragement I then began to publicize them.

People were really into it! All over the world. I would get messages from people telling me how I was saying everything they were thinking. It was really rewarding for about a year, but then I began wondering... Can you turn a blog into a book?

We began to look at self publishing options. We didn't know then what we do now and that road of self publishing became a nightmare! I kept writing, and sent things to different publishers while a couple were initially interested they later contacted me and withdrew their initial interest. I had another publisher finally on board, it was encouraging, but after waiting four months I was finally contacted again and they declined.

E: Wow, that's shitty! Sorry, love.

R: Thanks and yeah, it took months because I became discouraged. I decided to try one more time. The guy we ended up working with, at that time, had said all the right things, he was newer and wanted to prove himself. So we agreed to work with him and publish through Amazon. During August of 2015 we launched but he was too inexperienced unfortunately and many of the things he said he knew and was doing, he wasn't. He was supposed to be marketing and getting the book out there; I ended up handling that. Other things were difficult with the editing process, again we were told he was going to be handling that, he didn't.

E: Right, you'd think your publisher would handle that aspect of the process and set up a marketing strategy with you.

R: Yes, he never ended up having it proof edited. Added things that weren't necessary, but now I'm loving the new edition. Things are properly handled, the new book is what I envisioned. The things in the previous book that I wasn't happy with have been removed and a few things have now been added.

E: Yes! I love the new cover and can't wait to dive into this version, especially with the changes, we can't wait! I'm excited about the bonus material and poetry section you mentioned.

R: Thanks, I'm much happier with where we are now.

E: We saw you started a new hashtag... #KeepTalkingMH lets discuss it. What's the goal here and your ideas behind it? Hope?

R: I want to keep the conversation going and battle stigma. I had previously registered a # on While I was thinking about this idea "Keep Talking" came into my head. I thought, "Jackpot! I'm getting this. I'm doing it!"

I immediately started talking and got the conversation going. We had some wonderful people tweeting #KeepTalkingMH: Kevin Smith, AJ Brooks, Billy Gardell and Mr. Science Theatre 3000 to name a few.

E: Oh, very cool! Who hasn't seen Clerks or Dogma? haha! Seriously though, how wonderful of all of them to get involved in spreading the conversation of Mental Health!

R: It was great of everyone to help with this movement. It never was actually trending. Eventually I gave up on getting it trending but made it a movement. I know it's being used. It's blowing up now!

My goal for it is to become this mental health movement like #ImNotAshamed.

E: Yes! We've written for them and they're wonderful...

R: I'm hopeful for it and optimistic! We need to keep talking... I know we need to make mental health easier to talk about!

E: Absolutely, we do!

R: I'm going to keep asking people to tweet about it. I'm hoping, now, to get the attention of @WashPostLife

E: That's the starting point. Talking and getting people involved, is so important.

R: Mental Health isn't singular. It opens up the whole realm of mental health. I wanted it to include everyone so I made it as general as possible. I think it can get bigger from here.
 One thing that's kinda inspired me here is, Sarah Fader. She's like a kick in the ass to me. Like, "Oh, I gotta get to work." We're all in this together. We all have to participate.

E: Good way to look at it! Having open and continued conversations about mental illness with those living their lives with MI's and the people in their lives! So, that brings me to my biggest curiosity how does Joe help day to day? How do you work through the tough spots together?

R: It was tough at first. He had to learn the ins and outs. All people are different and we all process differently. He had to learn my pet peeves and we had to learn to manage life together.

E: I love the way you both talk about your lives, you always say "we." Acknowledging the other and each other's struggles. It's very encouraging.

R: It took years of practice. He wasn't ever bad at it. He just knew this was big and took it head on. We had first met and tried to date but it didn't work out. About a year later, we got in touch again and he said, "I can't get you outa my head." I was touched but upfront with him. I was struggling and self-injuring quite frequently at that time.

Joe took everything on. We were and still are in this together. We officially began dating in May of 2001 and August 3rd, 2001 we were married.

E: Oh my! That's fast but hey it worked out great for you both. I guess when ya know that's it, end of...rather beginning of new chapter in the story.

R: Yes. Over the years Joe has only continued to learn and help me with my disorder. He goes behind my back to read up on stuff I think, haha! He'll come outa nowhere with a new thing.

"What Can I do to Make this Better?" -Joe Lombardo, the super hero of supportive spouses!

E: That again is so wonderful and honestly invaluable he'll say that and just knows what you need.

R: In my 20's I didn't ever think I'd find love. I look at this man laying next to me at times and I can't believe I ever loved anyone else. It's us against the world and we're strong together. Everything's great.

"I'm good at being married to Joe & that's good enough for me..." -Rebecca Lombardo, Super Hero Slayer of Stigma

E: Fantastic. I really do find myself often looking to your relationship. So lets chat Voices for Change 2.0!

R: I talked to him about it here and there. I asked him if he thought anyone would listen if I did a podcast? From there it grew. I always wanted to present both perspectives. We began discussing our options what we wanted to discuss and how we wanted to achieve our goals.

With our previous network things were always a nightmare and problematic, but now with Scott and Left of Straight Radio we couldn't be happier with the way things are going. It's such a breeze now, we're booked through September 2017!

E: Holy crap! That's amazing. After such a hellish ordeal with the previous network that's amazing and I'm very excited to be on the podcast next week!

R: Thanks and yes, Joe and I are looking forward to it!

E: Okay...This brings us to my last question for you. What were some of your favorite shows? Those moments we (those tuning in) couldn't hear between you and Joe or your guests on the Voices for Change 2.0 Podcast?

R: Wow. Great question, give me a minute here.

E: No worries. I'm nosey and I know it. (haha)

R: Oh ok! One of my favorite guests was Saphyre Rain. Austin and Amanda...I adore them. I met Amanda on twitter after hearing a song they did about Suicide Prevention-- 2 years ago. We've had them on the show twice now.

E: Yes! I caught that episode and they're wonderful. I'll often "come back" to their music blaring on youtube. Who else or what other moments? Sorry...We were excited for this question haha!

R: Haha! No problem. OH! Our "craziest" guest experience was with Diamond Dallas Page (DDP). He was dropping F bombs and we didn't realize he was going to do that on the show. (Laughter) He was definitely one of my favorites and the most shocking!

And of course when we had Karen Unrue on! Her phone kept dropping the calls. On our previous network we would've been beyond stressed and all freaking out, losing my mind! Not at all what happened with Scott driving the broadcast. There was so much laughter.

E: Haha! YES! I remember that show well. We adore Karen and her new book.

R: Yes! Haha! When we were on messenger with Scott during the show it was back and forth with "Got her!" and "Lost Her." The entire thing, all we could do was push on and laugh about it. You even tweeted us saying, "Karen come back!" We were all full of laughter and talking about it again now is bringing how funny it all was back to me!

E: Oh we so remember that one!  Nooo, Come back, Karen! (at this point Rebecca and I were laughing uncontrollably)

R: Yes! I love listening to Britt's talk and to hear Karen say, "Oh bloody hell" it was too much we couldn't help but just laugh about it and continue trying to get her on the line.

E: Me too, not sure why it's a thing, but it is and yes everyone handled that so well.

R: I felt proud of us --Joe, Scott and I-- afterwards. We held it together.

E: You all really did!

R: Thanks. As for our most popular show that is, Dr. Robbin Zazio from the show Hoarders.

E: Oh awesome I'm so excited to see who else you will have on! And again, we're thrilled you wanted us to be on as well discussing Dissociative Identity Disorder. Can't wait! Thank you again for chatting with us about all the amazing things you're doing.

(You can listen to the show we were apart of here)

R: Yes, we're looking forward to it as well. We've a very busy summer ahead of us!

E: I'm sure we'll talk soon and see you on the twitterverse.

R: Sounds good!

A design made by one of Rebecca's friends-Sylvia Nye