Category Archives: mental illness

Sh*t People Say to People with Mental Illness 

A very entertaining but sadly true post.

wehaveapples

“We all get the blues!”

You: Um, so… I can’t function on a daily basis. I’m on the floor right now, unable to move. I’ve been sobbing for so long that I can’t breathe. This is my everyday. This is NOT “the blues.”

“Just be strong and put on a smile.”

You: Obviously I’ve tried that. I’ve gone to the Olive Garden and eaten breadsticks and spaghetti like a champ, talked about the weather, and smiled my best smile (while simultaneously losing it inside) 30 mins at table smiling, 4 mins in bathroom crying, back to table smiling for another 15. “Check please.” I’m trying so hard. Thanks for making me feel worse about myself and like I’m weak. I’m already ashamed.

“My cousin cured her depression by eliminating gluten.”

You: Ya, so you’re making me feel worse. *cries and eats almond flower cookie*

“This will be your new doctor-…

View original post 772 more words


My Brain On OCD

(Warning: this post talks about nightmarish thoughts and might be triggering to some people. Plus, I ramble on like an idiot. That’s nothing unusual.)

Sometimes I really hate my brain.

Right now you’re probably thinking that that isn’t possible, that you have to actually have a brain in order to hate it. Sometimes I feel the same way. But right now I’m frustrated and upset when I have no reason to be.

My doctor calls these OCD tendencies. I never would have thought of that before now because when most of us think of OCD tendencies, we think of people who constantly wash their hands and insist on rubbing everything down with hand sanitizer or wet wipes for fear of catching the slightest germ. We might also have the tendency to worry about body odor, which I definitely have. At one point as a teenager I had 14 different kinds of deodorant because I couldn’t find the right one. Hey, you have people in school saying you stink both behind your back and to your face, you’d have a complex too.  To this day I still wash my underarms when I want to go out, even if I’ve had a shower that day. Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing.

I’m writing because I can’t seem to get all these scary thoughts out of my head. The thing is, these thoughts don’t come after watching horror movies or extremely violent shows; they come from completely random things that make no sense whatsoever. For instance, something I heard years ago on a TV show about some kids being on trial for animal abuse came up when I looked at my orange cat. I see him being thrown from a car and hear the lady who owned him (or, if he’s a typical cat, *he* owned *her*) talking about how everyone she loved had died and that that cat was her only companion in the entire world. It scares me to death because, while I don’t see that happening to my cats, I can’t get it out of my head. Also, this show was on probably 15-20 years ago. The tiniest things that most people wouldn’t even remember bother me.

I also remember how I had a dream that my husband and I were homeless and so desperate for food that we had to eat one of our cats, but we couldn’t figure out how to cook him so he died for nothing. That was a dream I had years ago that had me waking up crying, but it came back full force when I heard a news story where a little boy and his mom had to eat their cat because they had been left homeless by a war in their area and didn’t have anything else. It was one blurb in one news story I can barely remember, but I remember that. I’ve thoughts of abusing one of my other cats, of cutting myself, of stabbing my husband.  When I hear certain songs I imagine myself telling my husband I’m leaving him or that I am having an affair. None of these are true, none of these are even remotely in my character, and yet they remain in my mind.

Also, some of the thoughts aren’t even actions. I’ll look at my husband and hear the “flatline” noise that comes when someone dies.  This is somewhat relevant: he was in the hospital about 7 years ago because of an infection around his heart. Since he has a misshapen valve it was harder to treat; our doctor told us that if the anti-biotics hadn’t taken when they did, he’d have died. I’d be looking at him and think of him being in the Holocaust despite the fact that neither of us were even thought of when that happened-our parents weren’t even born, let alone us. I’ve had thoughts of us being really poor and using our last dollar on a Chinese buffet. I have thoughts of my husband quitting his job and laughing about it while taking me by the hand and us going to a Mexican restaurant and thinking, what have we done? One of the reasons I make up so many romantic stories is so I can keep those thoughts of out of my head enough to go to sleep. The weird thing is that this happens even when I take my sleep medication, but not when I don’t. If that makes sense.  Either way, it doesn’t matter since they usually come when I’m awake. Creepy.

I’m told that that’s the rub about OCD tendencies-that we *know* we would never do the things we think of doing or that these things would never happening, and yet the thoughts persist and come into our heads at completely random and unpredictable times. When I remind myself that that’s what’s going on, I feel better. Sometimes. Sometimes that either does nothing or gets worse. That’s why my doctor put me back on Prozac-apparently that’s the only thing that helps.

I don’t really have an ending for this, so thanks for listening to me rant. I hope I’m not alone in all this.


The Darkness Within

Forgive me for the randomness and rambling, but I’m in a strange mood I can’t seem to shake.  …not even with ridiculous Bell Biv DeVoe songs, so you *know* must be bad. 🙂

There have been a lot of really messy things in my life, things I can’t always explain. It’s been easy compared to others, but sometimes I feel as though my own heart, my own mind is taking revenge on me. I know it could be worse, but sometimes it is hard for me to see that.

I have an illness-bipolar disorder-that can make me feel as though there were something else inside of me, controlling my thoughts and actions. I do not want this thing to define me or rule my life, but there are times when I can’t really do anything else.  An ex once told me it was a “demon” or “spirit” that needed to be cast out, which I will explain in another blog post. I would normally say he’s full of shit, and I still think he is, but the truth is that it can sometimes feel as though he is right.  He might have meant well but the truth is that he doesn’t understand this, and probably never will. I don’t fault him or anyone else for that, especially considering the fact that sometimes I don’t understand it either. I can read all the self-help books in the world, can spend hours in prayer, do all the things that work for everyone else but for whatever reason, it doesn’t always help.  I’m not saying these things are useless by any means, but they are not the “cures” they are for other people. Again, I don’t want it to define me but I can’t think of any other reason. I’ve had some form of depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, but I thought it was just normal pubescent angst or a weakness on my part.  As positive and friendly as I usually am, medication has been my saving grace. Surely there is some reason God is allowing me to have all this-in fact, I know there is -but damned if I can figure out what it is sometimes. People give me advice, and I appreciate their concern. There are just some things that people-however well meaning they might be-simply won’t understand until they have been there themselves.

Sometimes, though, I hear something that speaks to me…that tells me, this person knows what’s in my head. This person has ‘been there’…

I love Nine Inch Nails* for this very reason…listening to Trent Reznor and people like him can be very cathartic. Anyone who writes like this just knows:

Hurt*

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real

The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

 

So I don’t run afoul of any copyright laws, you can hear and read the rest here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnycash/hurt.html

And as if that wasn’t dark enough:

Something I Can Never Have

 

I still recall the taste of your tears.
Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears.
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore.
Scraping through my head ’till I don’t want to sleep anymore.

[Chorus:]
You make this all go away.
You make this all go away.
I’m down to just one thing.
And I’m starting to scare myself.
You make this all go away.
You make this all go away.
I just want something.
I just want something I can never have

Again, copyright: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nineinchnails/somethingicanneverhave.html

I’m not quite as dramatic as all that, but it is a strange comfort to me to have this sort of thing to refer to,  if only for inspiration for my own (crappy) writing.

*This is the Johnny Cash cover; his voice just fits so well.


How to be a good friend to someone with bipolar disorder

(I’m publishing this again because I found a new resource that I think will be *immensely* helpful, both to you and your friend. Thanks to Healthline.com for bringing this to my attention!-PQ)

Hi, I’m [river in Ireland] (*cue twelve-step group greeting here*), and I have bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. To people who have known me for a long time, this isn’t usually much of a shock. Actually, I take that back. People who have known me and been close enough to have seen some rough times aren’t usually that surprised.  As for everyone else, my friendly and talkative exterior can hide pretty much anything I want it to.  I’ve had to use this skill a lot in the past because I have had some people find out that I have bipolar and not be very nice about it. I think my favorite comment was that I was ‘demon-‘ or ‘spirit-possessed’. *roll eyes* Others think I’m not as much fun anymore since I have begun taking medication that doesn’t allow me to bounce off the walls like I did before. Still others think I’m just a freak. Of course, I was pretty freaky before, but that’s not the point. 🙂

The point is that people with bipolar disorder can be quite complicated; things can bother us that won’t bother ‘normies’, and our medications and treatment can take a lot out of us.  The disorder is very complex and there is more being learned about it all the time. There are various different symptoms or signs that can be mistaken as something else entirely, which makes it really difficult to figure out.  It can really screw with someone’s life.  For instance, it wasn’t uncommon when I was first diagnosed to get four hours a sleep a night for two weeks straight and clean the house up and down at 3 am**…only to crash the next week and not shower or leave my bedroom for two days.  That’s not even counting the episodes where I was crying and throwing things one minute and dancing a jig the next (only a slight exaggeration), with major swings like this happening in the same day.  It’s kind of hard to hold down a job when your boss can’t figure out what planet you are going to be from one minute to the next!  That’s not even talking about the medications and their side effects-I’ve been through several changes and can’t even keep track of them all. One of the medicines that worked the best for me also gave me shakes so bad I had to see a Parkinson’s doctor.  Another gave me gas you wouldn’t believe, and still another made me gain so much weight that I was nearly too fat to fit into my wedding dress! And you know what’s scary? I’m one of the luckier ones, because I can even take medicine;  I know some people who haven’t been able to find anything that doesn’t mix badly with their other medications, assuming they can find something that helps at all.

Bipolar has a strong tendency toward comorbidity-meaning, it often occurs alongside other similar disorders.  I’ve lost friends and had others change how they relate to me, although I have had some actually come closer because they had similar problems and felt I wouldn’t judge them.  Generally, though, it’s one of those things you don’t really understand very well unless you have it yourself.  In this spirit, I thought it might be fun to give sort of a ‘guide’ on the care and feeding of your bipolar friend. 🙂  So, let’s get started:

Continue reading


“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


Would it *really* have been any different?

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of things in my life that I wish I had done or had not done. You know, the whole “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thing. A lot of times, I think I would have been happier with jobs had I studied psychology or religion rather than communication, or I think what it would have been like had I actually been able to work a the job I was going to my first day at when I got into my wreck. It’s mostly jobs I think about, mostly because I’ve spent about half my life working outside the home for money. That’s really all I know; I’m on disability right now, and it killed me to apply because that meant admitting to the government that I couldn’t work. Worse than that, I had to admit it to myself.

But lately I’ve looked back and thought, would I really have been any happier? Professionally, that is. Would I have had an easier time of it had I studied something else? What if the thing that has made the difference isn’t job related at all?

What if it is the bipolar that has caused the problems? I don’t want to have it run my life, but sometimes I don’t know how it can’t. I think the part I’m having now started when I was in college. I did socialize a lot more than I did in high school and was kind of a drama queen, however unintentionally. Certain ex-boyfriends (namely, PR*) took up a lot of time and energy, so much that I often wish I’d never met him. I don’t regret much more in my personal life because I have the most wonderful husband in the world, but professionally is where I mostly wonder. Would things had been any different had I studied something else…would I have been able to get through the school? I think back at how I wanted to go to law school…I shelved that idea for a different reason, but I wonder now if I would have done very well at the job or if I would have been able to get through law school, with the concentration issues I have. Would I have been able to keep jobs for any longer than I have so far? Would I be any happier?

Okay, sorry to ramble, but I hope you see what I was thinking about. Would things really been any better had I actually done the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” I think about? What about you? What are some of your “coulda, woulda, shouldas”?

*’PR’ stands for Psycho Rapist…that’s not the only nickname I’ve used for him, or even the most colorful, but he doesn’t deserve to have me call him by his real name. Actually, he really doesn’t even deserve this amount of thought. Sometimes I still have flashbacks, but that’s another post.


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