Support, Education & Hope

For the 1 in 4 who are directly affected by mental illness and those who love them, we make the Thurston and Mason county area a better place to live.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Thurston/Mason provides free support groups and education programs. We fight for improvements to our mental health delivery systems – better access to care, standards of care, recovery, housing, jobs, and rehabilitation.

Give Hope on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016


NAMI Thurston-Mason is a non-profit organization dedicated to making our counties a better place to live  for the 1 in 4 people affected by mental illness and for those that love them. Our free support groups, classes and education programs are made possible by the generous support of our community members.

Thank you for your donation this Giving Tuesday, and for your endless support of NAMI Thurston-Mason. We are changing the way the world views mental health, and you are a part of that.

Make a donation to NAMI Thurston-Mason

October 19, 2016

Laughter Not Stigma! Join us on October 19th for a Free Night of Stand-Up Comedy at SPSCC

This hilarious free event at the Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts is not to be missed!

When: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016, 6:30-9:00 pm
Where: South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd SW, Olympia WA 98512
What : Two Hours of Free Stand-Up Comedy!
Whom: Critically acclaimed celebrity comic Victoria Maxwell will perform from her celebrated show “That’s Just Crazy Talk”; Local celebrity and rising stand-up star Sam Miller will share his story of living a life in recovery

Join Us on October 19th
Laughter! Not Stigma. A Free Comedy Performance at SPSCC

This program brought to you by NAMI Thurston-Mason

safeTalk Suicide Prevention Training, October 15th, 2016

Next Workshop: Saturday Oct. 15, 2016 at 9:00am
Location: Capital Christian Center – 4431 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA 98516
To register go to:
Course fee: $10 .00   CEU fee $5.00

Suicide is preventable and anyone can make a difference.
Attend this half-day safeTALK program and learn to:

  • identify people who may have thoughts of suicide,
  • ask them directly about the possibility of suicide, then
  • connect them to live-saving resources.

safeTALK is open to anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience. Both professionals and members of the general public can benefit from safeTALK.

Why take safeTALK?

LIFE-SAVING: Anyone can experience thoughts of suicide. By connecting friends, family members, colleagues, and students with helping resources, safeTALK participants save lives in their communities.

SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE: safeTALK uses the easy-to-follow TALK steps—Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe— and includes time to practice them so the knowledge is retained.

ENGAGING: safeTALK is a dynamic training that incorporates presentations and audiovisuals. It invites participants to become more alert to the possibility of suicide and how to prevent it.

TRUSTED: More than 50,000 people attend safeTALK each year. safeTALK is used in over 20 countries worldwide, and many communities, organizations, and agencies have made it a core training program.

PROVEN: Studies show that safeTALK participants feel more confident asking people about suicide, connecting them with life-saving resources, and keeping them safe until those resources can take over.1,2

SafeTALK is listed by Washington State Dept. of Health as an accepted model for Suicide Assessment Screening and Referral for physical therapist, PT assistants, Chiropractors, Chemical Dependency Professionals and other licenses requiring a 3 hour training.  CEU certificate available upon completion of workshop for an additional fee.

Additional Information:

Download the safeTalk Flier for this Event
Download safeTalk Information Sheet

Take action this Friday, September 2nd Tell Your Senator to Pass S.2680!

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Take action this Friday, September 2nd
Tell Your Senator to Pass S.2680! 

Despite strong bi-partisan support, the window for the U.S. Senate to act on S.2680 is rapidly closing. NAMI has declared that the TIME IS NOW to tell the Senate to follow the House’s lead, pass S.2680 and enact true mental health reform.

NAMI has made this Friday, September 2nd, as a national call-in day for advocates across the country to call their senators to tell them to pass S.2680.

Take 2 minutes this Friday to call your Senator and tell them to demand a vote on S.2680 now.
Call (202) 224-3121, press #1 and then enter your zip code to reach your Senator.
Here’s our suggested message:

“As a constituent of the Senator’s, I would like him/her to demand a vote on S.2680, the Mental Health Reform Act. The House passed Mental Health Reform 422-2. The Senate should act. There is a mental health crisis in this country. This bill will help. Thank you.”

Click here to view talking points for S.2680 which NAMI has put together. Feel free to incorporate any of these points when making the call.

Thurston County man has served three times his maximum sentence due to mental illness

For 272 days, a 34-year-old Thurston County man has been held prisoner by the state’s mental health system.

He’s served more than triple the 90-day maximum sentence for his alleged crime, felony harassment.

But because of his mental health condition, Farokh Jalil-Al-Ghadr has been found incompetent to stand trial or plead guilty. So he remains in the Thurston County Jail.

Over those 272 days, Jalil-Al-Ghadr twice was sent to Western State Hospital, a Lakewood facility operated by the state Department of Social and Health Services — once for a 15-day mental health evaluation and once for 45 days of competency restoration treatment.

After returning from his most recent Western State visit, Jalil-Al-Ghadr again was found incompetent to stand trial.

The defense and the prosecution can’t agree on how to resolve the case.

Daryl Rodrigues, Thurston County public defense director

Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s public defender, Andrew Yi, and Thurston County Public Defense Director Daryl Rodrigues believe the Prosecutor’s Office should drop the charges and try for a civil commitment.

“There’s really nothing to be gained at this point by continuing the prosecution,” Rodrigues said. “He’s already served more time than he could possibly get. So really, the only possible thing that the state could get out of this is to wrap up another conviction.”

Dropping the charges isn’t an option, said County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim and the deputy prosecutor handling the case, Olivia Zhou.

“If we just let him go and trust the mental health system, we’re essentially just letting him go back into the community without any kind of supervision,” Tunheim said.

“The victims out there are genuinely afraid of what happens once he gets out of custody.”

Jon Tunheim, Thurston County prosecutor

The two sides agree on one thing: Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s is an extreme case, but situations like his are becoming increasingly common.

Tunheim described them as “common but not yet frequent.”

Rodrigues described the problem as pervasive and recalled the case of an elderly man with dementia who was arrested for failing to comply with a no-contact order.

Worried the man would die in custody, jail staff notified Rodrigues’ office.

Public defenders and deputy prosecutors worked to have charges against the man dropped and to get him transferred to a treatment center where health care providers could work out a release plan, Rodrigues said.

“So is the problem pervasive?” Rodrigues asked. “It’s pervasive enough that old people with dementia are getting lost.”

The mental health problem is getting the attention of county officials. Next month, the county will open a long-awaited mental health triage facility, adjacent to the jail in Tumwater. The facility has limited space — 10 beds — and won’t be an overall fix. But county officials hope it will help some people and take pressure off the jail.

“The new triage facility could have been a good option for someone like (Jalil-Al-Ghadr),” Tunheim said. “It could have helped him locally, he could be evaluated and could have come up with a plan for him.”

‘Honest to God, I am going to kill him’

Jalil-Al-Ghadr was arrested Nov. 17, 2015, after a Roundtable Pizza employee reported a man wearing a blue overcoat and with a blue plastic bag on his head was standing outside of the Lacey restaurant, according to court documents.

The man, later identified as Jalil-Al-Ghadr, allegedly was calling the employee names and telling him he was “lucky to be alive.” He also allegedly threatened to rape the employee’s wife.

Jalil-Al-Ghadr then walked away. A Lacey police officer later found and arrested him.


The employee said Jalil-Al-Ghadr frequents the Hawks Prairie area and that he had seen Jalil-Al-Ghadr the previous day. He had been outside of the Sport Clips hair salon — which is next door to Roundtable Pizza — making the women who worked there feel uncomfortable, according to court documents.

The Roundtable employee said he asked Jalil-Al-Ghadr to move along. The two men “had a few words,” but Jalil-Al-Ghadr eventually left.

When the officer talked to Jalil-Al-Ghadr, he said the Roundtable Pizza employee hadn’t been polite to him and that he had returned to assault the man.

According to court records, he told the police officer, “I was going to kill him. I was going to snap his neck with my bare hands. I never lie. Honest to God, I was going to kill him. That is what I came over to do today, but did not.

“I will return again and again until I kill him. I never lie. Honest to God, I am going to kill him.”

The police officer stated Jalil-Al-Ghadr said all this in a matter-of-fact voice.

On Nov. 18, Jalil-Al-Ghadr appeared before Superior Court Judge James Dixon, who found probable cause for a charge of felony harassment, threats to kill. Court documents show Jalil-Al-Ghadr had no known criminal history.

Bail was set at $5,000.

According to Washington state sentencing guidelines, the maximum sentence for a felony harassment conviction, if the defendant has no prior criminal history, is 90 days in jail.

Questions of competency

Yi said he began to question his client’s competency almost immediately upon meeting him

“When somebody is arrested, right after they’re appointed counsel, the first thing that we do is speak to them,” Rodrigues said. “And if there’s some sense at that point that there may be an issue of competency, we’re ethically prohibited from proceeding with the case, and we have to bring it to the attention of the court.”

Yi did so, and on Dec. 11, 2015, Dixon ordered that Jalil-Al-Ghadr undergo a mental health evaluation, conducted by DSHS at the Thurston County jail.

According to a DSHS report dated Dec. 21, 2015, Jalil-Al-Ghadr refused to leave his unit to undergo the evaluation. The judge ordered Jalil-Al-Ghadr sent to Western State for a 15-day evaluation.

Court documents show he was taken to the hospital Jan. 8, 2016, and remained there until Jan. 22. During the stay, he was found competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense.

Again concerned about Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s competency, Yi on Feb. 1 asked the judge for a second opinion regarding competency, and the request was granted.

After conducting an evaluation, clinical psychologist Indra Finch determined Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s symptoms were consistent with schizophrenia. Based on a report Finch submitted, Dixon found Jalil-Al-Ghadr wasn’t competent to stand trial.

He ordered Jalil-Al-Ghadr sent to Western State for 45 days of competency restoration treatment — and that he be sent to the hospital within seven days.

The seven-day timeline is based on a July 2015 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman known as the Trueblood decision.

It demands that the state take not more than seven days to evaluate a defendant’s competency to stand trial. Those deemed incompetent must be admitted for treatment in no more than an additional seven days.

In July, Pechman held DSHS in contempt.

In May of this year, 20 percent of defendants ordered to receive in-hospital evaluations and 32 percent of defendants ordered to receive restoration treatment were admitted within seven days, according to the contempt order.

The order also stated that wait times of more than 40 days are common.

DSHS was ordered to pay fines of $500 per day for defendants who had waited between seven and 14 days, and daily fines of $1,000 for defendants who had waited more than 14 days.

On Aug. 4, the court ordered that DSHS pay $185,500 in fines.

In Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s case, 20 days after Dixon ordered him sent to Western State he hadn’t been transported. On April 20, the judge ordered DSHS to come to court to explain why it hadn’t complied with his order.

Assistant Attorney General Randy Head responded three days later. He said there hadn’t been room for Jalil-Al-Ghadr at the hospital but that he would be admitted the week of May 19.

Jalil-Al-Ghadr was admitted to the hospital and received restoration treatment. In a report dated June 17, DSHS found he no longer showed signs of a psychiatric disorder and was competent to stand trial.

Andrew Yi, public defender

Shortly after Jalil-Al-Ghadr returned to jail, Yi again questioned his client’s competency. Within a few days, Jalil-Al-Ghadr was removed from the jail’s general population and placed in a maximum security unit.

On June 27, Dixon again ordered a competency evaluation at Yi’s request. And on July 19, Jalil-Al-Ghadr was once again found incompetent. He will next appear in court Monday to address competency restoration.

Yi said his client’s time in jail is not helping him get better.

“The nature of his own schizophrenia prevents him from a rational thought process,” the attorney said. “And I don’t believe he quite understands what’s going on.”

An alternative to jail

Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s case is a perfect example of the criminal justice system becoming the only alternative to dealing with the mentally ill, Tunheim said. It’s not uncommon, he explained, for defendants to enter a cycle of incompetency, competency restoration and deterioration upon re-entry to the jail.

“We’ve got a person that’s potentially in the wrong system,” Tunheim said. “Right now, I don’t think the two systems work together well enough.”

Jon Tunheim, Thurston County prosecutor

At the moment, Thurston County lacks a strong mental health system to handle Jalil-Al-Ghadr or other similar patients, Tunheim said. The nearest state-run psychiatric hospital is Western State, he said, but it’s overcrowded and has few ties to the Thurston County community.

There is hope, in the form of a local, county-run mental health triage center, scheduled to open in early September.

Mark Freedman, the county’s social services director, said the 10-bed facility is designed to be a diversion from the Thurston County jail.

The target population is people who commit crimes because of mental illness — either for survival or because they’re confused. It’s not intended to serve people who commit crimes knowingly, for the sake of committing crimes.

Triage center patients will have to meet the standard for civil commitment, meaning they will have to be a danger to themselves or others, Freedman said. They will be treated by a licensed health care provider.

Along with the triage facility, county officials hope to establish a mobile outreach program to help people who haven’t committed a crime.

“There is a whole population on the street that the police engage with that hasn’t even committed a crime but is still drawing police attention,” Freedman said. “We would be able to help those people, too.”

Would the triage facility help someone like Jalil-Al-Ghadr? Tunheim said it’s hard to tell.

“Perhaps,” he said. “I say perhaps because it’s hard to predict the outcome.”

Is there a way out?

If jail isn’t the best place for Jalil-Al-Ghadr, how does he get out?

Yi still hopes that the state will dismiss the charges, but Tunheim insists that won’t happen.

“I get that he hit the maximum (sentence),” the prosecutor said. “But if that’s the case, if he’s going to get out, he needs to plead guilty. But that hasn’t even been a conversation at this point. All we’re hearing is that they want us to drop the charges.”

Yi said that if Jalil-Al-Ghadr were to plead guilty, he would be released that same day, because he’s served more than the maximum sentence.

Jon Tunheim, Thurston County prosecutor

But that solution is impossible while Jalil-Al-Ghadr still is considered incompetent. According to state law, he would need to be found competent before he could enter a guilty plea.

There’s a third option — but it would require Jalil-Al-Ghadr staying in custody for at least another 90 days for a second round of restoration treatment.

If after that Jalil-Al-Ghadr were found incompetent, then the charges against him could be dismissed, Yi said.

But if prosecutors can prove he is likely to commit more crimes or if there is a likelihood that his competency could be restored, the charges wouldn’t be dropped, and Jalil-Al-Ghadr would be given another six months of inpatient restoration treatment, Tunheim said.

Yi said pursuing that second round of restoration treatment, in the hope that charges would be dismissed at the end, is not his preferred option.

“That’s not how I’m approaching this case,” he said. “If this were a case with a longer sentence, something like five years, I might do it because that extra time wouldn’t make a difference. But in this case, he’s already served his time.”

And pursuing that solution might not even be an option, Tunheim said, given that Jalil-Al-Ghadr was found competent after his first round of restoration treatment.

The ultimate goal for the prosecutor’s office, he said, is to have some kind of supervision or probation put in place.

“At least then we could call the victim and say someone is keeping an eye on him,” he said. “This is all about figuring out a solution that will protect public safety.”
Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly

Read more here:

An Alternative Form of Mental Health Care Gains a Foothold

An Alternative Form of Mental Health Care Gains a Foothold

Caroline White at the office of the Hearing Voices Network in Holyoke, Mass. The program, which relies on members supporting one another, does not use the words “patient” or “treatment.” Ms. White, who hears voices in her head, said psychiatric therapy had made her feel “hopeless, because the drugs just made me feel worse.” Credit Sasha Maslov for The New York Times
HOLYOKE, Mass. — Some of the voices inside Caroline White’s head have been a lifelong comfort, as protective as a favorite aunt. It was the others — “you’re nothing, they’re out to get you, to kill you” — that led her down a rabbit hole of failed treatments and over a decade of hospitalizations, therapy and medications, all aimed at silencing those internal threats.

At a support group here for so-called voice-hearers, however, she tried something radically different. She allowed other members of the group to address the voice, directly:

What is it you want?

“After I thought about it, I realized that the voice valued my safety, wanted me to be respected and better supported by others,” said Ms. White, 34, who, since that session in late 2014, has become a leader in a growing alliance of such groups, called the Hearing Voices Network, or HVN.

At a time when Congress is debating measures to extend the reach of mainstream psychiatry — particularly to the severely psychotic, who often end up in prison or homeless — an alternative kind of mental health care is taking root that is very much anti-mainstream. It is largely nonmedical, focused on holistic recovery rather than symptom treatment, and increasingly accessible through an assortment of in-home services, residential centers and groups like the voices network Ms. White turned to, in which members help one another understand each voice, as a metaphor, rather than try to extinguish it.

For the first time in this country, experts say, psychiatry’s critics are mounting a sustained, broadly based effort to provide people with practical options, rather than solely alleging abuses like overmedication and involuntary restraint.

“The reason these programs are proliferating now is society’s shameful neglect of the severely ill, which creates a vacuum of great need,” said Dr. Allen Frances, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University.

Members of the Hearing Voices Network gathered in the library of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community Center in Holyoke, Mass., last month. Credit Jessica Hill for The New York Times
Dr. Chris Gordon, who directs a program with an approach to treating psychosis called Open Dialogue at Advocates in Framingham, Mass., calls the alternative approaches a “collaborative pathway to recovery and a paradigm shift in care.” The Open Dialogue approach involves a team of mental health specialists who visit homes and discuss the crisis with the affected person — without resorting to diagnostic labels or medication, at least in the beginning.

Some psychiatrists are wary, they say, given that medication can be life-changing for many people with mental problems, and rigorous research on these alternatives is scarce.

“I would advise anyone to be carefully evaluated by a psychiatrist with expertise in treating psychotic disorders before embarking on any such alternative programs,” said Dr. Ronald Pies, a professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate University, in Syracuse. “Many, though not all, patients with acute psychotic symptoms are too seriously ill to do without immediate medication, and lack the family support” that those programs generally rely on.
Alternative care appears to be here to stay, however. Private donations for such programs have topped $5 million, according to Virgil Stucker, the executive director of CooperRiis, a residential treatment community in North Carolina. A recently formed nonprofit, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, has made several grants, including $160,000 to start an Open Dialogue program at Emory University and $250,000 to study the effect of HVN groups on attendees, according to Gina Nikkel, the president and CEO of the foundation. Both programs have a long track record in Europe.

About three quarters of people put on a medication for psychosis stop taking it within 18 months because of side effects or other issues, studies suggest. Some do well on other drugs; others do not.

“I was told by one psychiatrist at age 13 or 14 that if I didn’t take the meds, my brain would become more and more damaged,” said Ms. White, who began hearing voices in grade school. “Of course I believed it. And I became hopeless, because the drugs just made me feel worse.”

On a recent Tuesday, Ms. White and seven others who hear voices gathered at the Holyoke Center of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, which hosts weekly 90-minute hearing voices groups, to talk about what happens in those sessions. The group meetings themselves, guided by a person who hears voices, sometimes accompanied by a facilitator, are open to family members but closed to the news media.

The culture is explicitly nonpsychiatric: No one uses the word “patient” or refers to the sessions as “treatment.”

“We need to be very careful that these groups do not become medicalized in any way,” said Gail Hornstein, a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College and a founding figure for the American hearing voices groups, which have tripled in number over the past several years, to more than 80 groups in 21 states.

Most of the people in the room had extensive experience being treated in the mainstream system. “I was told I was a ticking time bomb, that I’d never finish college, never have a job, never have kids, and always be on psychiatric medication,” said Sarah, a student at Mount Holyoke who for years has heard a voice — a child, crying — and in college started having suicidal thoughts. She was given diagnoses of borderline personality disorder and put on medications that had severe side effects. She asked that her last name not be used, to preserve her privacy.
In the group, other members prompted her to listen to the child’s cries, to ask whose they were, and why the crying? Those questions led, over a period of weeks, to a recollection of a frightening experience in her childhood, and an effort to soothe the child. This altered her relationship with the voice, she said, and sometimes the child now laughs, whispers, even sings.

“That is the way it works here,” said Sarah, who is set to graduate from college with honors. “In the group, everyone’s experience is real, and they make suggestions based on what has worked for them.”

Like many of the other alternative models of care, Hearing Voices Network is not explicitly anti-medication. Many people who regularly attend have prescriptions, but many have reduced dosages.

“I walked in the door on Thorazine and thought I couldn’t get better,” Marty Hadge said. “About all I could do is lie on the couch, and the doctors would say, ‘Hey, you’re doing great — you’re not getting in trouble!’”

Mr. Hadge is now a group leader who trains others for that role. He no longer takes Thorazine or any other anti-psychosis medication.

Not everyone benefits from airing their voices, therapists say. The pain and confusion those internal messages cause can overwhelm any effort to understand or engage.

“People will come to our program because they’re determined not to be on medication,” said Dr. Gordon, the medical director of Advocates. “But that’s not always possible. The idea is to give people as many options as we can, to allow them to come up with their own self-management program.”

To do that, proponents of alternative care have much work to do. The programs are spread thin, and to scale up, they will probably have to set aside their native distrust of mainstream psychiatry to form alliances with clinics. In parts of Europe, including Britain and Denmark, such integration has occurred, with hearing voices groups and Open Dialogue-like programs widely available.
In this country, there is very little collaboration. Ms. White runs a hearing voices group in the forensic psychiatry unit of a hospital in Springfield, Mass., and there is a scattering of other medical clinics that work with voices groups. But the culture gap between alternative and mainstream approaches to psychosis and other mental problem remains deep, and most psychiatrists and insurers will need to see some evidence before forming partnerships. Last month, the influential journal Psychiatric Services published the first study of the Open Dialogue program in the United States, led by Dr. Gordon and Dr. Douglas Ziedonis of the University of Massachusetts.

The results are encouraging: Nine of 14 young men and women enrolled in the program for a year after a psychotic episode were still in school or working. Four are doing well without medication; the others started or continued on anti-psychosis drugs. Insurance covered about a quarter of the overall costs.

“It’s tiny, just a pilot study,” Dr. Gordon said. “But it’s a start.”

Correction: August 10, 2016
An article on Tuesday about a movement toward treating mental illness with largely nonmedical approaches that are focused on holistic recovery rather than symptom treatment misidentified the location of Advocates, a center that runs such a program. It is in Framingham, Mass., not Worcester. And because of an editing error, a caption with a picture of Caroline White misidentified the location of Hearing Voices Network, where the photograph was taken. It is in Holyoke, Mass., not Worcester.


The Trueblood Diversion Services Planning Workgroup needs public feedback on where to spend State Diversionary Funds. Where do you think the money should go?

As you know, one of the goals we all share is to see some effective diversion in our courtrooms, so that people with mental illness don’t end up in jail when what they really need is treatment. You have an opportunity to do something tangible to address this.

Washington state has not complied with the order of the federal judge in the Trueblood case, and so the judge has ordered the state to pay a fine for the time that people spend in jail beyond that which is allowed by the order.
The judge has directed that the money generated by these fines be spent on diversion programs that are targeted to:

“reducing the use of the criminal justice and competency systems for individuals who could be better served in the civil behavioral health and developmental disabilities care systems; and reducing recidivism and re-entry into the criminal justice and competency services system of persons with behavioral health conditions and developmental disabilities”.

Decisions have to be made about how the money generated by the fine is spent. The Trueblood Diversion Services Planning Workgroup needs your input on planning diversion methods and points at which diversion could occur for individuals that are , and any issues you believe should be considered when planning diversion services.

What do you think should be the priorities for diversion?

Follow the link below to fill out a very short and easy survey, which will help with the decision-making about how to spend the money.

The deadline for this survey is end of day Friday, August 5th.

Download and Fill out Word Document of Survey: Stakeholder Diversion Survey

Download and Fill Out Editable PDF of Survey:

Once completed, return the survey in an email Titled RE/ Trueblood Diversion Services Planning Survey to Theresa Becker at


What it’s like living with both Depression and Anxiety!


What It’s Like Living With Both Depression and Anxiety

Anna Buckley
I write about Anxiety
Depression is like a sinkhole. One minute you’re standing on firm ground, and the next minute you’re falling into a pit of darkness. Depression is crying over something simple, like dropping a glass on the ground and breaking it, but not crying when something drastic happens, such as a family member passes away.

Anxiety is worrying too much about things we have no control over. Anxiety is like a river. It never stops flowing. Sometimes, anxiety skyrockets and we end up feeling too much, but it can also dry out. Then we don’t feel like constantly worrying, moving or being busy. A river never stays dry for too long — it always becomes alive with water once again. Also, a river will erode away at the walls encasing it, just as anxiety will eat us alive.

Depression and anxiety together is like staying in bed and skipping school because you don’t want to deal with anybody else. Then, worrying for the rest of the day because you don’t want to fail. Having both is like wanting to go out and hang out with your friends, but then talking yourself out of the plans because you don’t want to have to make the effort.

Did I work too hard on this project? I shouldn’t have put this much effort into this. Stop being such an overachiever!

Just stay quiet, it’s not like anyone is listening to you anyways. I mean, do you really think they care?

Alright, I’ll just go in here and pay this bill. I’ll be right out into the car. No one will be looking at me. Right? Right?

I don’t feel like getting up today. No one will miss me.

I missed the test today! Oh no, what if they won’t let me retake it? I knew I should have gotten up today. Oh no.

Look at yourself, do you really think you’re worth all the trouble you make?

I’m going to go through self-checkout. No one has to talk to me. I don’t have to stutter over my words. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Depression doesn’t just show up when something bad happens. For me, it’s always about the little things. Someone will look at me wrong. I drop something on a bad day. The weather will affect me. Even just thinking about something from the past will trigger me. But something bad can happen, and I won’t feel as affected. Then, the depression will build and just burst one day over something simple as shutting a door too hard.

Anxiety isn’t just something people make up because they need an excuse as to why they work too hard or try too hard. Anxiety is a motivator for many of people but for all the wrong reasons. Anxiety pushes people too hard for little things, such as a poster project in school, a practice writing exam, their looks, how they dress, what they eat or how they do everything they do. Anxiety convinces people they need to be and look a certain way in public.

Can I not just have one damn day where I’m content to go into public with just sweatpants, a baggy tee shirt and a messy bun? Do I always have to put on makeup, wear some tight fitting jeans, a nice shirt, do my hair just to go to the dollar store? Am I conceited or do I just care too much?

Sometimes, depression will win over my anxiety. I will go into public dressed in those sweatpants and baggy t-shirt. I will look like a complete mess and I won’t think anything of it, until I wake up fully, later in the day. Then, I will be consciously wrapping my arms around myself, shying away, scolding myself in my head for looking the way I did.

Can I not wake up one day and just be happy and content with who I am?

Is it that hard? Are you sure you’re not faking this for sympathy?

Why would you be depressed? You have no reason to be depressed.

Anxiety is just your excuse. Grow up.

Waking up every day is a struggle. It’s like waking up with an elephant on your chest and having to move around and act normal with that extra weight on you. Anxiety will never be an excuse. Anxiety is me. I am anxiety. It is a part of me. The same goes to depression. Depression and anxiety are two of the things I would never wish on anyone, even my archenemy.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Find mental health help

Thurston Mason Behavioral Health OMBUDS SERVICE

Thurston Mason Behavioral Health
The Ombuds is available to assist you with:
• Resolving concerns and grievances
• Providing information and referral
• Preparing Mental Health Advance Directives
• Assisting with Appeal and Administrative Hearings pertaining to your Behavioral Health services

To contact the OMBUDS please call 360-867-2556 or cell: 360-280-7656. Email: .

OMBUDS services are available to all people receiving BHO funded Medicaid Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder services.

Ask Congress to vote YES on mental health reform this Wednesday, June 15th

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You sent over 80,000 emails, 230,000 petition signatures and hundreds of tweets and phone calls asking Congress to pass mental health reform.

Congress heard you.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is voting on a new version of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act this week. NAMI is pleased that the new language accommodates different perspectives while taking strong steps to improve mental health care.

The new provisions:

  • Enhance crisis response services and grants to track inpatient and residential beds;
  • Support grants for new assertive community treatment (ACT) teams; and
  • Authorize telehealth child psychiatry grants.

But, we need your voice to make sure that mental health reform passes smoothly.

Ask your member of Congress to make sure mental health reform passes this year.

Contact Congress through NAMI National