Tag Archives: mental illness

holy links batman!

Ok, so in a (seemingly futile) effort to find an article on parenting to the emotional needs of your child that my brother wanted to read, I keep stumbling across a bunch of other stuff I want to read. I have no time at the moment to devote to the tons of articles I’m finding, however I do want to save them for later. If I simply bookmark them, I’ll never look at them again…

So, in case anyone else is also interested, here’s a dump of some of the stuff I came across today. I have not read any of them yet, so I dunno how useful or interesting they are, but either the topic or title piqued my interest:

now that I have those written down, time to hurry my butt up and get to work – doggie play day!!!! ūüėÄ I love when my boss puts me into camp.

Oh, also, if anyone finds any articles on parenting to the emotional needs of your kids, could you link me to them? a week later and I still can’t find the article I’m looking for. The wealth of info available on the internet is amazing, but quite overwhelming at times!

Depression comix

I forgot how much I loved depressioncomix.com… it explains everything so well in a few short frames… I really like 76, 84, 135… I started back there looking for one to show a friend and ended up flipping through almost a hundred of them.

Hyperbole and a Half is another good comic about depression, but not as succinct as depression comix.

Thoughts on self harm

I recently posted on a support forum about my reasons for self harm. One reason was again pointed out as “eye opening” (when I had mentioned it to De, she had admitted that she never thought of it that way, and it helped the whole thing make more sense to her), so I thought I would share it here also.

“people will help with profuse bleeding, but I am expected to handle intense and unbearable emotions on my own”

Regardless of your skill-level in dealing with physical injury, there is no expectation of figuring out how to heal the wound on your own if you are bleeding badly. People will not look at you with an incredulous stare and tell you that you should be able to stitch yourself up and get on with your day. Even doctors are expected to seek medical help with physical illness or injury.

With emotional hurt however, a person is expected to develop the skills necessary to carry them through even the darkest times alone. The emotional equivalent of evisceration or amputation is expected to he handled with grace and poise and completely on your own. Yes, you are allowed to seek help, but you are not allowed to expect hand-holding or much support outside of a quick check-in. You are expected to “take a deep breath and use your coping skills”. Would you tell me to use my coping skills until I found one that worked if I got into an accident and became trapped in my car? Would you tell me to use my coping skills to try to cure cancer? Then why tell me to use my coping skills again and again and again in response to flashbacks or depression or anxiety?

Sometimes, when you ask for help over and over again only to be met with dismissal, you find the help any way you can get it.

I’m writing this not to invalidate the usefulness of healthy coping skills, but to offer another perspective to the concept of self harm being “done for attention”… sometimes it’s the only way to start to get the level of help you need, or the only way to allow people to understand the extent of the hurt.

When the intensity of my self harm had gotten dangerous in the past, it was always directly proportionate to the level of emotional hurt. People stopped saying “go deal with that shit on your own” and finally started asking “how can I help?”

I guess I had hoped to have this post speak more to the stigma of mental illness than it is actually doing. My frustration with the way mental illness is treated comes not so much from the general public, but from the standard of functioning treatment providers set up for clients. While they often acknowledge that it is “difficult to overcome,” and “issues that have been with you your whole life should not be expected to change overnight,” they still are expected to change and improve in relatively short order with relatively little intervention.

A cancer patient has support in so many forms, but a person with depression gets ostracized for “not trying hard enough” when they can’t get out of bed, or told they are being resistant to treatment when the medication side effects prove too taxing (or they report the medication not working)… we need to keep examining the way we treat mental illness. We need to keep looking at the expectations placed on individuals who deal with this day in and day out. When you are exhausted from fighting with the world inside your head, you shouldn’t be expected to fight the world outside alone, yet we do it every day…

Link to an editorial about mental illness in a marriage

An interesting thing to think about, and another perspective on living with mental illness in a marriage… longer read, but worth the different thoughts.


Where physical illness and mental illness intersect

The vertigo is back, and getting worse.¬† I ended up going to the er on Friday to try to get more help with it, but all they really did was rule out other major things like brain lesions, tumors, low or high of anything in my blood, pregnancy (I could have come up with that on my own being a broke lesbian who hasn’t had any close (or far) contact with sperm in years). They gave me a script for an over-the-counter nausea med and sent me on my way. I was also told to visit an ENT if it didn’t go away in 4 days.¬† The problem with that last directive comes when my er visit was on the last day of the month. An ENT visit 4 days from then will not be covered by my (lack of) insurance. So if I still have this come Tuesday, I have to find an ENT that will charge me a whole ton of money just for a visit or 2… (and I’m still not closer to getting rid of this).
It’s frustrating on another level too: I’m only used to sleeping all day when I’m either really sick with a virus, or I’m really depressed.¬† Right now I’m neither, but don’t have the energy to do more than about an hour of being upright before the dizziness and medication get to me. It doesn’t stop my head from racing, but it stops my body from working. I also have to rely on my wife to drive me if I want to go anywhere. She’s not a huge fan of driving.¬† She is also wearing thin on her own stuff… add to that some major flakiness on my part, and we have a fun weekend planned. I feel bad for not being more supportive and for asking to go out when she clearly just wants to stay in bed.
I’m having trouble writing this post, so please bear with me if it loses cohesion as I babble on. One side effect of both the vertigo and the meclazine is an inability to concentrate or finish sentences. It puts my brain in a fog (again something I’m used to with depression not physical illness), and I forget where I was going with my train of thought.

On a side note; De surprised me on Friday with actually delving into some more trauma stuff. She asked how I felt with her springing it on me. I told her I was relieved. I have been wanting to do this since we started meeting, so to finally put more effort into it is a huge relief.¬† The only problem that arose was my inability to convey much. I warned her about it before hand, telling her I sometimes take a while to finish what I’m saying because I’m trying to put it into the correct words. I added that the vertigo didn’t help much in that department.¬† But we managed to talk about stuff and I was able to give a better picture of things that went on with Duckboy. I checked out a short way into it, but we talked about that too.¬† She was actually able to ground me better before I left, and it was a good session.¬† I told her there was some stuff that came up to which I couldn’t give voice, but that I would either try to pack it away for next week or journal about it. As it were, I was able to journal about it some on the way to the er for the vertigo.¬† I’m glad I was able to do it then because it has since been packed away…

Anyway, I’ve totally lost my original train of thought.¬† Off to take another nap in hopes of sleeping off the dizziness. Have a good Sunday.

Translations from the dark side

Why is it that something genuinely supportive and helpful comes off as condescending and invalidating? What lens do I put on that turns all the nice into hate? I know my stress is skyrocketing, and that the depression is creeping back in. I guess that’s the lens right there: depression. I had reached out to someone in hopes of finding support, but all I read from their response was how wrong I was doing things, how deliberately miserable I am, and how inadequate I am. In actuality, their response was uplifting, supportive, positive, and understanding.¬† My head instantly turned that positive into disparaging. Even as I recognize this, my head is battling itself. There’s the side that is berating me for being inadequate and stupid.¬† Then there’s the side of me that is taking the response at face value and trying to convince that other side that it’s reading into things. Depression will do that to you. Self – doubt and self – loathing become a way of life.
So my eyes will read “you’ve had so much success until now, you need to focus on that” and my brain will understand “you worthless piece of shit, you can’t even get recovery right. I told you you’d never amount to anything more that a useless waste of space. People tell you all the time to focus on the positive, but all you do is choose to be miserable. You’re a horrid person. You deserve everything you get and then some” (note here that a simple line of text has been translated into a tirade of the self…).

I’m writing this and the voice in my head is reminding me how stupid I have become. This is all stuff I should already know. It’s not supposed to be such a revelation… when I try to change the voice, it gets louder, then more sly when the loud doesn’t work.¬† It rationalizes the negative self-talk and starts whispering little doubts “you have been really off lately,” “you’re such a flake , the driving is getting bad,” “pretty soon you’ll be completely worthless in everything”… it makes the negative sound like logical conclusions. It plants seeds of doubt “everyone can see you’re crazy. It’s written all over you.¬† Why do you think you can’t get a job?” “Even if you did land one, they’d notice the crazy and find a reason to fire you if you don’t end up walking out first because you can’t take it”

We went to a volunteer meeting tonight at the nature center. We got hugs from people we hadn’t seen in a while, and all I could think was that they were pity hugs. Like they knew I was crazy and wanted to pat me on the head for making it out anyway but figured a hug would be less condescending… I know they are all about the hugs anyway, but my head screamed at me that they knew and just felt sorry for me.

Mental illness, self-doubt, and self loathing have a way of turning even the most positive interactions into something terrible. I wonder how much of my therapy is viewed this way.¬† I know the obvious ones, but what about the things that don’t necessarily hit my awareness? What about everyday encounters? What if everyone is really a wonderful person and it’s all just me that views them as hating me? I know I really dislike spending time with G. L pointed it out that my disdain for him was very evident earlier today.¬† I tried to be nicer when we got back home, but I have a lot of work to do on that front. He may be a perfectly wonderful person these days (ok, that’s an exaggeration. He may be at least tolerable), but I only see him through these angry glasses. Everything he says and does I interpret to be mean and hateful so I respond in kind. Then I feel bad for being an asshole. The cycle begins again. I’m once again battling the translation of simple words. I’m twisting what I’m saying to prove to myself how worthless and horrid I am. I just don’t know how to stop it.¬† There’s only so much arguing one can do with oneself before a splitting headache ensues. I think it’s once again time for sleep.

What if

I wish more people understood this…

Just me

What if physical illness was treated the same way as mental illness is a lot of the time?


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coercion as standard “best practice” (vent/rant)

I thought about this all weekend. ¬†I finally worked up the courage/resolve to call the IOP ¬†that had refused to let me back. ¬†In speaking with the case manager (who had never actually met with me in the 2 days I had been there), I was told that any consideration of readmission would depend on my agreement to take psychotropic medications. ¬†She heard/listened to nothing beyond me refusing meds. I tried to explain that I have had really bad experiences on meds, and they tend to de-stabilize me more than I can do on my own. ¬†I tried to tell her that I am better able to control my impulses and urges to harm myself when I am not taking anything. She brought up the meds I was discharged on from my inpatient stay. ¬†I reminded her that I had only been given something for sleep. ¬†I told her the only medication I was willing to take would be something as needed (for sleep or anxiety). ¬†She tried to tell me that antidepressants were not PRN meds, to which I responded that I was not willing to take antidepressants. ¬†She clarified that I was looking only for a program to provide support and not med management, then reiterated that I would not be accepted back to their program if I did not agree to take medications. ¬†She asked if I had kept the med appointment the hospital discharged me with. ¬†I told her again that I was not willing to take medication on a regular basis, so I did not want to waste my time (and a doctor’s) on a useless appointment. ¬†The case manager told me she will call the original program she had mentioned to the hospital social worker to confirm whether or not they accepted my insurance. ¬†She said that she would get back to me by the end of the day.

After I hung up with her, I thought of who I may be able to contact about my change in presentation once off meds. ¬†Clearly, because I have an mh diagnosis and am refusing medications, I must not know what I am talking about and simply be resistant to treatment. ¬†I need a professional with credentials to tell them that I tried way too many meds, and they all just mess with me. ¬†I think I may contact the IOP I attended several times and ask for my records. ¬†I may also contact my old therapist and see if she would be willing to speak with whichever service provider I end up trying to utilize…

When the case manager called back with some referral numbers for me, we again spoke a bit about medication options and the things I had tried. ¬†She spewed one of my most hated lines: “There has to be some combination or med that you have not tried that would work, you just have to find it.” ¬†Why is it so difficult to understand that I am no longer willing to put my life on the line to go through more chemicals that make me worse instead of better?¬† Why is it so difficult to believe that meds do not work for everyone, and sometimes people just need support and talking? ¬†The other numbers she gave me also all have a med requirement… ugh! ¬†Maybe if I just tell them I am willing to sit down with a psychiatrist to talk about options, I will be able to get in somewhere? ¬†The issue then becomes whether or not they discharge me for refusing to take anything. ¬†L had suggested I accept a prescription for something along the lines of citalopram (Celexa) and just never fill the script or take the med. ¬†I don’t want to lie to my providers. ¬†That just seems counter-productive. ¬†I may end up having to do that though. ¬†I really still want the added support of a day program at least through the holidays.

The practice of forcing people into a corner to get them to take medication is very frustrating, and I will argue also very unethical. Why is it so common practice in mental health? ¬†A physician could not coerce me this way if it were for a physical ailment. ¬†I am allowed to search for non-medical alternatives to physical ailments, but it is out of the question for mental illness. ¬†I hate that they are allowed (and encouraged legally) to force unwanted treatment, even to the detriment of the client/patient…

Depression is not selfish

I often find myself feeling like I’m just selfish and rude and annoying and wrong. I may have to look at this daily…

Just me


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Do antidepressants work? Respond to this important global survey. Let your voices be heard!

So, something to get your voice heard about whether or not you feel your meds are working for you. you can supply contact details or not, up to you. I took the survey and look forward to seeing the compiled results.

Everything Matters

Please respond to the survey in the Guardian. It includes questions about withdrawal. We can let people know how gravely harmful these drugs have been to so many of us. You can answer anonymously or use your name. Either way. You can also be from anywhere in the world. Please take part:


ssri_major_brandsProponents say they save lives and help millions of people. Critics say the science is questionable. What’s unquestionable is that the use of antidepressants is surging around the world. In some countries, prescriptions have more than doubled in a decade. Around one in 10 European adults are estimated to take the pills. In the UK, The Health and Social Care Information Centre found that more than 50 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in England alone last year, the highest ever number and a 7.5% rise on the year before.

The Guardian…

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When Doctors Discriminate

I’ve noticed that when you compound being a woman, a minority, poor, or younger with mental illness, all credibility shoots out the window. I was hospitalized (voluntarily) a few months ago and had a small stroke. I was repeatedly dismissed by the staff and doctors as complaining because I disliked the treatment I received there. While I was very put-off by their lack of concern for my confidentiality and their opinion that I was suddenly incompetent because I was on a psych unit, I was not making up the stroke. It was not until 3 days later that the doctor finally offered me a neurology consult, but said that it would likely extend my stay on the unit by a week or more. As much as I worried about the stroke, I couldn’t bare the thought of being there any longer (my discharge had been scheduled later that day and this was my exit meeting with the psychiatrist). Luckily, I have not had a repeat event. It’s sickening that you are automatically considered attention-seeking and malingering if you report any health concerns as a mental health patient. It wasn’t the first time my concerns were dismissed, not will it be the last I’m sure.

recovery network: Toronto

Juliann Garey writes in NYT Sunday Review of her experience of her experience of being discriminated against by doctors after receiving a diagnosis of serious mental illness.

Doctors do this ‚Äď some recognise it and some use a fancy name for it ‚Äúdiagnostic overshadowing‚ÄĚ. ¬†If you have a diagnosis you likely have been on the receiving end of it and you‚Äôll know it doesn‚Äôt feel like ‚Äúovershadowing‚ÄĚ -whatever that would feel like.

What it does feel like is being disregarded as a person and treated as less than human.  If it were directed at any other group of people it would be illegal.

Essentially, once we’ve been put in a diagnostic box then everything we do, everything we experience, everything we think, or say, or feel,  is taken as  evidence of that diagnosis,  registered not as important information but as another tick in the box against the list of symptoms, confirming the…

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Conflicted (and clearly not sleeping yet)

I don’t know what to say about World Suicide Prevention Day.¬† All this week is dedicated to suicide prevention. I’m totally conflicted by it.¬† While my training and my compassion triggers an automatic “don’t do it, lets figure things out” response, my personal experiences say “it’s ok to let go and move on from the torture”.¬† It is torture.¬† While I do definitely love my life (pterapotemous), I also definitely hate being in my head. Nothing makes it better for long.¬† The battle is always and will always be as long as I’m alive… so that tired part of me says “ok, just be gentle with yourself.¬† You deserve that much”… I would take away your pain of I could.¬† I would make life easier for you if I could.¬† But don’t force me to keep fighting when I’m just so tired…

So yeah, suicide prevention gets me all sorts of conflicted…