Tag Archives: Mental Illness

“I Have a Mental Illness” Project

Please come visit my new posting site (and podcasting site) ihaveamentalillness.com. I am a cofounder, though not the initial founder, that honor goes to another.

We are trying to educate the community. Please visit, and leave comments so that we can be a better bastion as time goes on.

unconstructed

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The Nature of the Beast

I am in a bad place right now.

I think writing some of this out will help me process, as writing tends to do.

Every rope becomes a noose and every knife because the last knife I’ll ever need.

It’s kind of funny how psychiatrists and psychologists will ask you whether you have a plan of how you would commit suicide… even when you’ve been living with a mood disorder for years.

It’s kind of like…

“Yes, I’ve had 5 years to develop plans. It’s impossible for me to say ‘no, I don’t have a plan of action for committing suicide” when I’ve been suicidal from time to time.

Every anxiety is hitting me, and I’m absorbing anxiety of others.

Sometimes there seems no way out but death.

But it doesn’t really qualify as a “way out” in that it won’t have any ability to change the situation. If there is no afterlife than death is extinction. So it’s not so much “I’d be happier dead” as “There’s nothing in this world for me, therefore I should commit myself to the grave.” Or rather commit myself to be in the grave.

Writing helps me process.

 

 

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Emotionally Unstable: The Myth Gone Bad

Is it just me or do people cringe most or get most annoyed not by longwinded argued points, but by assumptions and off-hand remarks?

I was just watching this:

Slut Shaming

The part that got me didn’t have anything to do with the girl. The part that ticked me off was the off-hand remark about kids being emotionally unstable.

Let’s think carefully about that word for a minute.

What does it mean to be “emotionally unstable”? Does it mean the person is just a little away from the average in emotional scale?

No. He doesn’t give us that option.

He links it directly to “medication” going around. And somehow that is an explanation for more kids being emotionally unstable. This argument can be used to belittle clinical conditions. Granted, so can overprescribing medication. But we can’t merely say that all the growth is from the psychology of children changing or overprescription.

What about those children who wouldn’t have been found in the past? How many autistics went unhelped because it just wasn’t diagnosed or hadn’t been studied fully and so it was determined only by very obvious signs. What was a schizophrenic before the term came around?

He was just crazy. Mad.

Bipolars? Mad. Depressed? Lazy. Fibro? Liar. ME? Weakness. Autistic? Mad. Aspergers’? Weird or Neurotic

With better diagnostics and more studies shouldn’t we expect more children to be helped by medication and therapy? I know a young child who was diagnosed early with Asperger’s Syndrome. Did you know that there is a higher rate of suicides in Asperger’s children than those who do not have the condition? His mother was able to get him into special help so that he could learn to socialize with other children despite his socialization problems related to Asperger’s.

This very well may have saved his life.

People want to believe that mental illness really isn’t there. Especially in those illnesses where it isn’t extremely obvious due to hallucinations or the like. They want to think that this isn’t real. I’m not sure if this is so much because they can’t see it or because they just can’t conceive it and don’t want to believe that it could actually affect someone such that their actions are severely affected.

Think about the death penalty.

Why is it that we want/have wanted a “humane” death penalty at one time or another? I propose that it has nothing to do with the executed. It has to do with the executors. By that I mean not only the operators of the machine but also  all the people of the area that were for the penalty being used. And I would argue it has nothing to do with their sense of conscience.

It’s because we don’t want to see death.

We want death to be quick and painless (or as painless as possible) because we can’t think about death for more than a few seconds in real life.

I thought of this when watching Green Mile during the botched execution seen. One of the executors didn’t wet the sponge on the victim’s head to allow for a quick death. A lot of people are watching him be killed/executed. But when it goes to long, and death stares them right in the face, they run like hell.

And perhaps this is part of the mental illness myths. We don’t want to believe they’re that serious. We don’t want to believe that that could happen to us or our children and that we or our children have no control of that? What do we do about a disease that we can’t see and has no complete physical understanding?

The unknown stares back at us and it is a darkness which we want no part in.

Well, I don’t get that luxury.

So I’m bringing my own dry sponge.

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I’m Bipolar, Pleased To Meet You

I was in the DMV not too long ago and I was talking to a cop. He had just changed beats (is that the right word?) from Oakland to a moderately rich suburb. I said that it must be a break going from Oakland to that place. He said he preferred Oakland. I asked him why. I can’t remember exactly how he worded his response but the answer was essentially, if you treated people in Oakland like decent human beings, with dignity and respect, most of them acted like decent human beings in return. If you treat them otherwise they act however you treat them. You treat them like animals they’ll bark like animals. But in the suburb the rich felt entitled over him, because he was a cop and happened to be of a minority race.

 

I would ask that people treated the mentally ill like decent human beings. We are. Or most of us are anyway, I mean there are crude nasty human beings, but most people are decent, good folk if you treat them that way. We’re not criminals because we’re ill. We’re not to be pitied because of our illness. We are not so different from you all. Don’t treat mentally ill adults like children. We aren’t children. Don’t treat us like a plague upon society. We’re not.

This applies to many different groups, not just the mentally ill. If you see a physically disabled human being treat them like the second half of that title, not the first. Granted, at some points we are treated differently. For example at my university since I am considered disabled I can take fewer units than the minimum. Similarly a person in a wheelchair can park in handicapped spots. You know the similarity in those cases? It doesn’t affect you. Sure you might have to park a little further back. Sure you might have to take the minimum number of units or over. But remember an earlier post where I made the point:

The true unfairness isn’t that the person in the wheelchair gets to park closer to the store.

The real unfairness is that he’s in a wheelchair.

We are human beings, I promise. We are mostly decent human beings like the rest of you. I promise. So why not do this today: If you see someone in a powerchair, or someone disabled in some other fashion, say hello. Maybe even ask how they’re doing. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were in a powerchair I would feel lonely a lot because people, with the best intentions of not embarrassing the disabled person by staring at their wheelchair/powerchair, ignore them. So I shall name today: Say Hi To The Guy In The Wheelchair Day. Or maybe good morning, I don’t know. Something nice. (Though perhaps not “That’s a nice wheelchair you have there!” they may not appreciate that one, but who knows maybe a lot of thought went into it I don’t know.) But We shouldn’t need to have a specific day to do this. People are people are people.

We have feelings.

We don’t like feeling alone.

Be well, both to those in the wheelchair and those who can walk.

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Self-Medication: Why?

Self-medication is often misunderstood. I’m at a loss of how to articulate the misunderstanding well, but here goes…

Self-medication is just what it says, but there’s a deep meaning to what it literally says.

Imagine you were on crutches and they broke. You would try and find something to support yourself, even a tree branch if nothing else. A tree branch isn’t a good fit and it’s not terribly safe, but you need to move.

In the mental health case it’s similar. Alcohol is often used within the legal realm of self-medication. Is it a good idea when you’re on meds? Of course not, you’re destroying your liver when it already has to deal with the medication you’re throwing at it. But that’s not how people think. In the end, when the short term is bad enough it will take over long-term interests.

We live in the present. We cannot live in the future. There are certain things that people are just not willing to accept.

Tomorrow I’ll write something about medication and how it works out in practice, but for now I’ll just say that relative to the previous unmedicated position, medication is sometimes a godsend. But it’s not all encompassing. And it has the potential to cause its own problems. When your libido tanks, what do you do? What do you do when your mind is clouded. You get anxious, you get scared, and you don’t want to think about it or live in that understanding of the world, so you use alcohol or something else to keep moving. Of course it’s a bad idea, and anyone with a mental illness who’s read anything about the subject knows that. But that’s not the point. I can say you’ll have a 7 course meal in a week if you have nothing to eat or drink before that, but thirst and hunger are very difficult to bend to the long-term interest idea.

And that’s just one thought unthinkable. Be back tomorrow for another thought.

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