Category Archives: mental health

My Thoughts On Life and a Plug For a Friend

I was reading a devotional book this morning from a pastor friend of mine who has bipolar disorder when something really caught my eye.

The book was Delight In Disorder-Ministry, Madness, Mission by Tony Roberts. Here’s a really cool website about the book and its author: http://awaywithwordsforyou.com/#

Here are some other quotes from his book: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/40808173-delight-in-disorder-ministry-madness-mission.

Anyway, I was reading one of the devotionals where he talks about his experiences with suicide attempts. In one of them, he says that he felt a strange blend of “both shame and gratitude”-gratitude that his attempt to kill himself didn’t work, but shame that he’d tried it to begin with.

Although I am doing well now, I can relate to him. I myself have never actually tried to commit suicide, but there were times in my life-both as a teenager and as an adult-where I wondered if my life was really worth living. At one point I thought that it would be easier on everyone else if I had died in the accident I got into in 2005-my husband wouldn’t had to go through all of our savings to pay for my medical bills and equipment; we wouldn’t have had to struggle so much financially because of the loss of my (meager) income; I had a lot of other medical bills later on down the line because of some health conditions the doctors couldn’t figure out…do you see a theme here? Yes, I know it’s not about the money, but as someone who’s struggled to the point of having to file bankruptcy because of credit card debt, I know how stressful money problems can be and how it can infect every other area of your life.

I remember saying something about these feelings in 2007 and got a very bad reaction-I was accused of being an attention whore because I was mad that someone else was the center of attention in the group instead of me. Let me pause by telling you one thing: Probably the worst thing you can do to a suicidal friend is accuse them of something like this. They already feel worthless and unwanted; screaming at them and calling them names will only confirm this. It’s one thing if it’s a boyfriend threatening to hurt himself if you break up with him, but another thing altogether when your friend has a known problem that has a tendency to flare up. The people who said this knew I was having problems and, while something much more serious than this had just happened to one of our friends, anyone who knows me at all knows that I would never threaten suicide to get attention. Never. Plus, if I really wanted attention, I’m sure I could find a much more interesting way to get it. Damn, at least give me some credit.

Anyway, about the feelings…a lot of them probably came because my bipolar medication wasn’t working along with/because of the other health problems I’d been having, but a lot of it was feeling worthless because I couldn’t *be* anything-I couldn’t be a mom because of some, um, physical problems the accident caused, nor could I be a career woman like I wanted to be. I’d tried to be several times, but the mental stuff always got in the way. I did not always have these problems; bipolar often sets on in early adulthood, so it’s possible to go through school and set all these goals early on and then not be able to reach them. Ditto my ADHD. I know I talk about this a lot-probably too much. It’s not who I am. It may not run my life, but it definitely has had effects other bloggers can relate to. That’s how I found most of my follow list; they wrote a post I came across on another site and vice versa. They have it much rougher than I do, so my stuff is small potatoes.

A lot of the time you don’t feel depressed so much as numb. You want to reach out to others, but you just can’t find the energy. That’s how it’s been with me for a while now.  Like a friend once said, you’re not depressed so much as bored. That’s one reason you stay in your hidey-hole and don’t talk to people-nothing interesting is going on and you don’t want to drag your friends down. You don’t speak because you don’t have anything to say. It’s not hard to get confused.

You know what’s interesting? I think I always knew I wouldn’t do it…that I always knew that there was always life, that there was a light at the end of the tunnel-I just hadn’t seen it yet. I think I knew that Jesus was still there, I just couldn’t feel Him. It’s weird how I have to remind myself that His existence and care for us is not contingent on our ability to feel Him. I’m happy for people who feel His presence a lot and I certainly have too, but I don’t want to base my entire belief or spiritual “system” on this kind of emotion the way I did before. Sometimes it feels as though I don’t seek Him because I don’t think to the way other people do, but it doesn’t matter because I know He’s always there.

My brain and I are both doing very well now, so there’s no need to be alarmed. All of this happened a long time ago, but reading the devotional made me think about it. Thanks for listening to me ramble on like a freak. Have a good day!


What Anxiety Is Like In Nine Short Drawings

Yes, I know, this is just a link…but I came across it today when looking at something else and thought you all might find it helpful.

http://distractify.com/joe-white/finally-this-illustration-explains-anxiety-perfectly-for-those-who-dont-understand-it/

 

I’ve used the “raining” metaphor to describe depression before-it’s like a black cloud is following you around all the time when the rest of the world is sunny. People will tell you to cheer up or think positive but, just like the rain in real life, no amount of “good thoughts” stops it. Not for long, anyway.  Therapy, anti-depressants, prayer etc can act as an umbrella but they don’t necessarily stop the rain from coming back. People usually understand it when I explain it like this, but every now and then I will over-hear people talking about how anti-depressants and therapy aren’t “real solutions”, and what depressed people *really* need is faith in God/right belief/etc. To that, I only have one things to say:

Yes, God is the one who can ultimately stop the rain. However, you would never criticize someone for using an umbrella to help them weather the storm. We ultimately don’t know whether the rain is going to stop tomorrow, next week or next year (weathermen try but they can be wrong), so use that umbrella as long as you need to. Ignore anyone who suggests you should go without it because they probably wish they had one too.

Just to end on a happy note, here’s another link:

http://www.cheeserank.com/culture/dear-god-these-pizzas-are-straight-up-madness/


Do we ever really grow up?

my-little-pony-468916_640

I had about 40-50 of these growing up. They didn’t look quite this “anime”, but whatever.

 

I guess I’m thinking about this because a lot of my friends with anxiety or mood disorders of some kind still have a lot of the same fears and frustrations from childhood that everybody else seems to have gotten past. It might just be me, but I think it’s a lot more difficult to let go of things when you have a mind that holds onto absolutely everything and won’t shut up for five seconds.

For instance, my husband has a lot of anxiety about money. There’s a good reason for this since I’ve had so many problems working, which is why I feel like a sorry sack of bipolar scum most of the time. We also went through all of our savings within nine months because I had an accident that rendered me unable to work much for seven months and racked up obscene amounts of bills and stress. But that’s not the point; the point is that any time I mention wanting or needing something, he gets nervous. I know he has anxiety issues, which I guess is one thing that makes him so understanding of the problems I’ve had. He tells me he loves me all the time, that I’m really good for him. I believe it. He’s a lot more than I deserve. Even so, it makes me feel the same way I did when my parents would balk when I needed or wanted anything that cost a lot of money. They didn’t say anything, but they really didn’t have to. The “look” they got on their faces when I mentioned needing $25 for a field trip or $70 to have a new color guard uniform made was enough to make me feel like I did something wrong.

As it turns out, they were having money issues because the treatments my sister got earlier on (doctors, rehab etc) were expensive to the point where they thought they’d have to go bankrupt. At least, this is what my dad told my brother about five years ago. I did not know any of this-I thought that they sent her away because she was bad and they didn’t want her anymore. I feared that, if I wasn’t perfect, I’d be sent away too. If I upset them too much the way she did…and money seemed to be the main thing they got upset about. I used to think that I would probably have turned out less sensitive or whatever had I known some of these things, but whatever. They did the best they could. I know nobody is going to send me away now, just like nobody would have then. Even so, the looks and demeanor my husband sometimes takes when I mention money makes me feel like that ten-year-old kid worried that she did something wrong or the 17-year-old who ran to her room crying when she told her dad how much the “senior stuff” (cap, gown, yearbooks, etc) would cost.

But I’m not a kid anymore. My husband has gotten a lot better about getting nervous and ranting for the same reason-my dad used to do that and it scared the living crap out of me. He didn’t mean to; it just did. To this day, it scares me when a man screams at me in anger. But I’m not a kid anymore. So why should it? Why do I still worry or think I’ve done something wrong anytime someone seems the slightest bit less than happy with me? Or when they seem miffed, period? I know that most people aren’t aware of how their words or non-verbal cues (tone of voice, body language etc) come across. So why do I still pay so much attention to it?

I know I’m not alone in this. It’s just that I think there’s something about the minds of myself and other friends with similar issues (I have a friend with OCD in mind) that holds onto things others would ignore and, in doing so, misses the primary stuff. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can actually be quite helpful when you’re studying things like philosophy or religion where there are multiple layers you have to sift through. I didn’t realize this before, but one symptom of OCD is unwanted and distressing thoughts. I thought it was just about germs or whatever since that’s what all the movies show, but I learned that my obsession with body odor* and the scary thoughts I’d had about hurting my cats or wondering what would happen if I pushed my Spanish professor off a balcony (no, I didn’t do it) can point back to that too. I don’t want to say I have PTSD because I haven’t had anything traumatic happen that bothers me, but I wonder if people who *do* have even more problems because of the way our minds won’t let anything go.

I think I might have gotten off track here, but my question still stands. Do we ever really forget the things we learned about ourselves when we were growing up? Even if the “lessons” were false, do we ever forget about the bad things we learned enough to focus on the good things? Do we ever get past the memories and the feelings that they bring to light? Or are we destined to mentally become our ten-year-old selves when something goes wrong?

I was going to a great therapist last year, but I had to stop because we couldn’t afford it. I’ve joined a ladies’ depression support group that I think is helping, if only because I get to get out of the house and talk with people outside of our social circle. In fact, that’s what we talked about last week-how simply seeing friends in a different setting that usual can be very helpful.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be able to motivate myself enough to write more paid articles rather than playing Pet Rescue Saga and randomly babbling here. If anyone else is in the same “hold onto everything”, tell me in the comments. Maybe then we can figure out how to keep it from sinking.

 

 

* Don’t laugh. If you had enough people from high school saying you stink both behind your back and to your face, you’d have a complex too.


What it’s like to have ADHD as an adult

http://www.scatteredminds.com/ch2.htm

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2081.html

I was writing an article for another site when I came across a lot of “testimonials” about ADD/ADHD…I figured I’d follow suit and write a longer and more descriptive piece about what goes on in my mind. Or, what doesn’t go on, and why I come across as a total airhead sometimes (or, at least, give an excuse).

The thing people tell me most often is that I do stupid crap because I don’t think. It’s not that ADD/ADHDers don’t think at all; quite the contrary. We think all the time and at warp speed, which is why we get distracted and can’t focus on things like directions, music, reading, etc. I used to love to read, but now I can’t get through a page online without skipping around. My Pocket app is always full. Ditto my bookmark collection because I add anything I think I’ll want to read later and then forget it’s there. I’ve been fired from two jobs in two weeks because I don’t “register” what’s being said to me for very long, assuming I hear it at all. Some of my friends act like I have dementia because I’ll compliment them on something that’s been there for years as though it’s brand new or repeat things without realizing it. I have about four-yes, four-different script projects I haven’t worked on, as well as a lot of articles or essays that I keep meaning to finish but I never do. At least, not on paper. Or computer. Or something. One of the worst parts about it is that it makes me feel like crap because I can’t seem to do anything right. At least, that’s how I see it. I just get so anxious about missing things that I end up missing even more things, screwing things up for myself even more to the point that I get so frustrated I want to give up. I never used to give up before.

It also bothers other people and makes them think less of me. If I hear one more person call me a “flake” because I can’t stick to anything, I’m going to…Slater, get off the counter…hmm, I need a pedicure…what’s that smell?…uh, what was I saying again? Typical.

I couldn’t sit down to do any sort of Bible study this morning and, even when I did, I couldn’t concentrate. Before you say, “of course not” or something similar, this is a problem for me. I haven’t been good about church/Bible/prayer anyway, anywhere near as much as I was before. There are a lot of factors that go into that, but it’s really hard to understand what you’re hearing when your mind insists on giving the priest pink hair or green-and-purple fairy wings. Yes, I’m aware how sacrilegious this is, but it’s not on purpose. The liturgy the Episcopal church uses helps a lot in that way because it’s interactive; f I were still a Baptist and heard preachers speak for 45 minutes, I’d be screwed.

Some people say I’m a good writer and I can’t help but wonder if this warp-speed-mind is part of it. Yeah.

You know how everyone else can “tune out” what’s going on around them? We can’t. In a sense you can say that we don’t have an attention deficit so much as attention overload-we pay attention to everything, whether we want to or not. For instance, I used to work in a furniture store that sold electronics. At any given time, there was a DVD going to help us show off the TVs and sound systems. Around Christmas we played “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”, which was fine with me because I love that movie…I would sing the rhymes to myself and, one day, I sang them to my boss. He thought I was talking back to him; after all, who likes to be told that their brain is full of spiders and they have garlic in their soul? He said something about how dare you talk to me like that and I explained that I was singing the songs from the movie and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. He didn’t know what I was doing because he tuned the songs out, but I can’t do that. Ever. Even if I want to. It’s not uncommon for me to get a song stuck in my head that I don’t even like and have it stay there until another comes along to replace it. For instance, right now I’m humming the background music to the Weather Channel that came up when I turned on the TV. This happened with the obnoxious hip-hop radio stations the customers kept putting the radios on-reason #375 Why I Got Sick Of Hip-Hop, even though I like some of it.

Some people say I’ll grow out of it. Seeing as I’m in my 30s, I think I’ve done all the “growing out” I’m going to do. I know some kids do better as they get older, but some of us just get worse. I used to take Adderall but it didn’t work well enough to make a difference. Concerta gave me a rash and my doctor didn’t want to try Ritalin for some reason. Not that it would have helped anyway.

Thank you for reading this far. I think that’s another thing with ADD-we talk all the damned time and can’t seem to stay on track…or maybe that’s just me. I don’t know.

I’ll let you go now. I’ve got some reading to do…or is it cleaning? Writing? Phone calls? I don’t know. I’ll figure it out eventually.


“People Just Don’t Get It”-reblog?

Last week or so, fellow blogger http://aopinionatedman.wordpress.com nicely offered up his space to those of us who wanted to post as a guest author. He has a *much* bigger following than I do, so of course I jumped on it. One of the people who commented on my post “How To Be A Good Friend To Someone With Bipolar Disorder” has a blog of her own called http://learningtobebipolar.wordpress.com. There are a lot of awesome posts there, but one particularly stood out to me. I’m not sure that this is re-blogging so much as “tag-team” blogging-using each others’ words as a basis for our own. Carrying on a conversation, if you will. The “unfettered” post is linked here as well.

I am so so irritated when people use someone’s mental illness as weapon in an argument. Sure, it might be true that I am over reacting but I don’t need you to tell me “you’re only acting this way because you are bipolar”. It’s possible that’s a true statement, but it is also painful coming from someone that you put your trust in. I personally don’t really care what anyone says. If you want to use my illness against me, then I don’t need you in my life. And if you love me you will take the time to learn how to be supportive without being nasty and making me feel guilty and like I am less than because I have these problems.

How true. Sure, sometimes I’m mad at you (generic “you”) because I’m having an episode. More than likely, though, I’m mad at you because you’re being a jerk.

One thing I miss about the times before my diagnosis is people taking my reactions seriously. I’m not saying everyone does this, but I think some people use the fact that I have bipolar as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior. I’m not saying they should have to walk on eggshells, but sometimes I wish they’d realize that the things I’m mad about are things anyone would be mad about; perhaps not to the same degree, but still mad. I am now and have long been very difficult to set off and very unlikely to participate in an argument or even stand up for myself. I suppose that is one reason some people don’t take the times I do show anger-or any emotion, really-seriously, but I wish they’d see that that’s just how I am. It is a very rare person that has that effect on me. Then again, I can’t fault people who didn’t know me before my diagnosis. Or the people who have that effect on me.

It’s so frustrating when I hear that people have been treated badly or that someone they love has used their worst fears against them. Admitting that you may have a mental illness is no easy thing, for most people. And when you are seeking and looking that closely at yourself it doesn’t help for someone else to push it in your face.

Hear, hear. Even though I was relieved to get my diagnosis (I was treated for depression first) because it told me that there was a name for what I was dealing with and a way to treat it, it really hurts when someone gets at you for something you can’t control.

And being supportive is so easy sometimes. Of course, there are times when it gets hard to be supportive all the time…

…especially when you don’t know what’s going on with us. Sometimes we don’t either.

But you know what….how hard is it to say “I see how hard you have been trying, and how you have been working on trying to do things differently, and I’m proud of you.”

People don’t usually find the strength to change when they are surrounded by people that don’t believe in them. I also know that for someone that has been harmed by someone with a mental illness it isn’t always easy to be supportive. Especially when you probably live with the fear that past experiences will come back again. But, I want to share something with you. We do have the strength to change, we do have the power to keep working and keep trying. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is going to walk the road with us, even if that road is hard at times.

This is very true for me. It’s difficult for me to change, mostly because I don’t know how. I know the things people don’t like about me and the things they want me to change, but I don’t know how to change them because I don’t know when I’m doing them.

For example, my parents would tell me not to whine because it makes me sound like a baby. I’d be glad to, but the problem is that I rarely know I’m doing it. I don’t know what it sounds like. The same is true for talking too loudly, which I also have a problem with. I can’t hear it. You can tell someone to stop something all you want and even tell them when they do it, but if they don’t know what it is they’re doing or what to replace it with, it doesn’t really help. This is true even for “normal” people.

We don’t want to be alone, the nature of the illness already has us spending so much time feeling alone, even when we are surrounded by people. And one small mistake will send us into a tail spin. We will spend hours or even days worried about some small infraction that the other person involved may not even remember.

This is exactly what I’m dealing with right now. As much as I want to, I just can’t forget about it. Long story short, it was an argument over a misunderstanding that probably wouldn’t have happened had I known when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. It blew up, carried over into the next few days and prompted me to seek therapy (long story). This happened about a month ago and I’m still reeling about it.

The thing that bothers me most about this is that I know that this sort of “reeling” isn’t something I should be doing. The thoughts and feelings I’ve had regarding this person (as well as toward someone else) smack of the sort of non-forgiveness Jesus explicitly warns against-the kind that could keep my sins from being forgiven. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, visit this site-http://www.gotquestions.org/QOTW.htm. I know I’m not expected to be perfect, but these sort of thoughts and feelings have come and gone for a long time.

It’s a sad and lonely place to be sometimes. But it helps, when someone says I know you over reacted but it’s ok. I still love you and I’m still gonna be here.

…or leave out that part about overreacting if it’s not applicable. It might not be.

Why would you want to purposely hurt someone you love. And why or why should I have to explain that when you throw my illness in my face when you are mad at me that that hurts!!! It should be common sense. Maybe you don’t understand what it’s like to be me, maybe you think I am using my illness as a cop out. But that’s not true. I have NEVER done that. And I never will, but I don’t need you being hateful to me when I am trying so hard to change something that I don’t even understand.

I won’t either, unless I truly know that it was the disorder talking. Bipolar mixed state (manic and depressive at the same time) makes you feel like something else is inside of you, controlling your thoughts and actions. I’m not saying I’m going to go all Chucky and go on a killing spree, but this is the rare time I yell or cry.

Honestly, most of the time I don’t have to blame the disorder because other people do it for me-see paragraph one.

Pay close attention, people with these illnesses DO NOT KNOW THAT IT’S NOT NORMAL!!!! It feels normal to me, I don’t know what I would do when my thoughts slow and i can pay closer attention. It kind of scares me because I know it’s going to feel so weird and I’m going to have to learn a new way to handle things. Why would I WANT to change something that is normal to me, except with the knowledge that everybody doesn’t have these issues and struggle everyday. I want that, but it still is scary.

Exactly. It becomes so ingrained in us that it can’t help but spill onto other areas of our lives. I’m told that I “label myself” and shouldn’t let the bipolar become who I am, but how can it not, at least some of the time? Plus, I’m not the only one who defines me that way.

I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, really.

I care, and it’s been my undoing. Many times.

But I do want people to understand. I want people I know who suffer or think they might have some issues to feel safe in their family and with their friends. I want them to be supported and loved no matter what. And I want to learn to gently and kindly help them see when maybe something needs to change. My husband has really been amazing about most of these things since I was diagnosed 2 months ago.

I was diagnosed for the first time in 2000 and started treatment in 2004 (long story). My husband is also incredibly understanding, more than I ever thought I’d find. His mother has bipolar and was in a much worse way than I am, so he’s had “practice”. I hate that for him, but I’m thankful because it makes me think we’re truly meant to be together.

He takes the time if I express a concern to tell me that it’s going to be ok and that we will work it out. But more importantly he has told me multiple times that he doesn’t want the best parts of me to change, he just wants me to be even better than I am now and on a lot more even emotional state. How awesome to know that he just wants me to struggle less and be happy more. That’s what support looks like to me. To give the good with the bad and to take the time to listen and talk about fears and concerns without using them as a weapon to cause more harm.

Same here. It’s a rare person who can live with us day in and day out, so hold onto them and don’t let go!

I guess that’s about it for today.

Until next time…Be Blessed!!!!!

Yes. Be blessed, my friends.

 

 

Bipolar Life

I am so so irritated when people use someone’s mental illness as weapon in an argument. Sure, it might be true that I am over reacting but I don’t need you to tell me “you’re only acting this way because you are bipolar”. It’s possible that’s a true statement, but it is also painful coming from someone that you put your trust in. I personally don’t really care what anyone says. If you want to use my illness against me, then I don’t need you in my life. And if you love me you will take the time to learn how to be supportive without being nasty and making me feel guilty and like I am less than because I have these problems. 

It’s so frustrating when I hear that people have been treated badly or that someone they love has used their worst fears against them. Admitting that you…

View original post 702 more words


Pouring My Art Out

Ripping out my guts for your entertainment

The Gay Christian

My Thoughts. My Journal. My Life.

Tea and Theology

Fix yourself a cup of tea. Let's talk theology.

renegade mothering

tales of a wayward mama

sonofthemountains

Child of the human condition

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

My Ears Are Tired

where the days are long, but the years are short

Express With NeJae

Express Yourself ..We Care

New Pollyanna

Ne'er-do-well on the loose

Lorelle on WordPress

Helping you learn more and do more with WordPress

~Idiot Writing~

'all our lives are a poetry - awake our souls.' ~ Battling the hypocrite within ~

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

J is for Jardín

A Rapid Cycling Kinda Life: Because Sometimes I Thrive & Sometimes I'm Dormant

Da UGLY Ducklin

The life of PASSION

blahpolar

bipolar, uninterrupted

Not A Minute To Waste

About life. Anything and everything about it. Let's talk.

Marie Abanga's Blog

A site about my thrilling life, inspiration, motivation, writings & mental health