Archive for the ‘Ignorance’ Category

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Diagnosis: Help or Hindrance?

November 22, 2011

I’m writing this by popular request of twitter.

Often people question whether a mental health diagnosis is a good thing. Personally I think it is a good thing aslong as it isn’t misdiagnosis and has been well thought out. To treat an illness you must first know what it is. Unlike many with a BPD diagnosis I was relieved when I was told what was wrong because I already had my suspicions. It meant I had a name to my “crazy” behaviour and could work on conquering. If you use your diagnosis constructively, it can work for you not against you. The only scary diagnosis should be one you haven’t heard of before. Because knowledge is power. Knowing what an illness is and how to fight it is the key to recovery.

On the other side being diagnosed with a mental health problem can mean that stigma is suddenly chasing you like a wild dog but then the only difference between you before diagnosis and after is that someone has told you what is wrong. Whether you are told what you have, not having a diagnosis doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

A diagnosis of a mental illness can sometimes feel daunting and scary and can often worsen symptoms because, hell, nobody wants to be ill. My dad will often use his diagnosis as a crutch by saying “But I can’t do that, I’m Bipolar aren’t I?” he’s someone who blindly follows the doctors and hopes the pills will make him better. He doesn’t actively take part in improving his mental health or changing his situation. So for someone like my dad, it probably wouldn’t matter what diagnosis he had, he would take the pills and be on his way.

It depends how you approach it. But it shouldn’t leave you feeling hopeless. It should leave you feel that there is hope. No, there isn’t always a way to “cure” it but there are ways of coping with it. When you get a mental illness diagnosis, don’t think it’s the end. It’s the beginning of a rocky path to a stable future.

Once people become less ignorant about mental illness, I know that a diagnosis will seem less scary. There will be less of a worry that other people will judge you and be scared of you. When there is more acceptance of mental health problems in society, more people will feel comfortable with getting that all important diagnosis.

I think one of the real problems is self diagnosis, once you’ve been diagnosed with one thing you can start thinking but I’m also this and this Oh! and this one. But generally recovering from your main diagnosis or controlling the symptoms of it will probably control the other attributes you’d find in other illness too. The main diagnosis is the important one and will usually take the others with it. Multiple diagnosis isn’t uncommon but then mental illnesses don’t like to be alone. I’d say I have Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder yet I just say I have BPD because the social anxiety and PTSD are part of my BPD. Don’t cover yourself in diagnosis. You may have many diagnoses but there will always be one that sticks out and that has to be focused on first.

So that’s my two cents. I think it’s a help, but what do you think?

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Catherine likes to paint.

November 8, 2011

Catherine is 19 and she likes to paint.

As a child Catherine lived with her mother, not knowing much about her father other than the negative.

I met Catherine in Primary School.

She was a quiet girl, who had a infectious laugh and beautiful fuzzy Afro hair.

And Catherine liked to paint.

Catherine was a sensitive child and grew to be a sensitive adult, a hurtful word could break her heart.

Catherine was alone a lot, her mother worked more than one job and often nights.

So Catherine would paint.

Catherine’s mother had high expectation of her daughter and told her she should dress more sexy so she could get a boyfriend.

Catherine was plain but beautiful, with dark bistre skin. She didn’t need to change.

Then Catherine became a mother. To her sister’s children.

Catherine was a young teen when her sister had her first child.

Her sister would use her as a babysitter whenever she felt like it. Catherine was guilt tripped if she said no.

So Catherine would paint.

Her sister had another child. Catherine’s sister was badly treated by her boyfriend.

He would frequently leave her and never see the children.

Catherine tried to tell her he was no good. Catherine was shouted at.

So Catherine would paint.

Catherine was rejected from entering sixth form.

She didn’t know what she did wrong.

Catherine was diagnosed with dyslexia.

So Catherine painted.

Catherine got a boyfriend. He was white.

Her mother dissaproved. She wanted her daughter to be with a black Christian boy.

Catherine began to struggle with identity. Most of her friends were white. There was nothing wrong with them.

Catherine moved out of her mothers house to live with her sister.

Catherine was a constant mother to the children now.

But Catherine still painted.

Catherine went to University to do art.

Her sister and mother didn’t understand what she would achieve from art and weren’t supportive.

So, Catherine paints. She paints despite everything being against her.

Catherine will always paint.

I love you Catherine, you inspire me<3

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Conversations with daddy.

June 21, 2011

Very rare and mostly about football. But this time he came knocking on my door, he said he’d been on the Mind website and found a page that described Bipolar really well and he wondered if I had read it. He isn’t very good at computers so he doesn’t realise that you can find millions of pages of information about Bipolar but he wanted to talk to me about it and I am always willing to talk about my issues and his. I said that I have indeed read it and that he should look up Borderline Personality Disorder so maybe he could understand my illness and he was more than happy to learn. We don’t talk about emotions and feelings, he’s a manly man, he doesn’t do crying and showing how he really feels (unless of course he can’t help it due to illness). I always try and get the most I can out of these rare encounters that he wants to know more about what makes me tick and wants to share with me his feelings. He read through the page and didn’t say much. It didn’t matter that he didn’t respond much, I was happy though that he didn’t looked shocked, he read it, took it in and accepted it. He especially concentrated hard on the part that said “how to help someone with BPD”, he read it all out loud. These small things, mean everything. I spoke about mum and how I believe she caused a lot of my problem and I said how I believe she loves her celebrity obsession more than me, to which he responded, “she probably does.” That cut me deep but he knows how that feels, she always loved her obsession more than him too.

We spoke some more and he told me about his breakdowns as if I wasn’t there, maybe blocking out the idea that I had to see this happen. He explained that his first psychotic episode was because he thought my mum was trying to take me away from him (she had threatened this before) but he became irrational and tried to hurt her. All these years I had thought he was trying to kill her because he was “mad” and didn’t know what was happening. When he was actually trying to save me from being taken away. It changes my whole perspective, of course it doesn’t make it better that he tried to hurt her but a parent who loves their child will fight to save them from harm and will never let them be taken away without a battle. My dad was willing to hurt, even kill someone he loved to prevent losing me.

This knowledge is so precious, especially to someone who frequently believes they are unlovable. It’s frightening, of course. But to actually know that someone would go to the ends of the earth for you is in itself, well, madness.

I love you, dad.

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Such a Loser.

February 15, 2011

One of my biggest problems is self image, I was so beaten down in the past about my looks and in general the person that I am. This makes me feel like I’m not allowed to do things that other people are allowed to do because if I do it then immediately that thing is made “uncool”.

This has come about today with getting my second tattoo, my self esteem is in the ground so when they’re nice to me at the tattoo parlour sometimes I think they’re secretly laughing at me for wanting something they consider interesting and “cool”. I reckon they think I’m just a wannabe. I still feel like that ugly overweight, young teen who was hated for who she was and how she looked. This is why I’d never go back to education, she rears her ugly head moreso when with large groups of people my own age. I suddenly feel innadequate and stupid and unworthy, even though they may not treat me any different.

I don’t know how to shake the feeling of such hatred towards myself, I want to feel accepted by others of course but I don’t know how to accept myself and that’s a big issue. I don’t know how to be happy with who I am. If I’m asked about my tattoo or my wedding I shrink because I fear judgement and conflict, I start to change the subject or just smile politely and pretend I’m busy. Why can’t I just be proud of me?

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A selfish society.

January 25, 2011

I don’t think I could go through my life NOT being an advocate for mental health. I don’t believe I have been born to help people but I believe that all decent people should make the choice (whether it be in the smallest way) to help people who need it. I get very frustrated when I see people who have so much, complaining about their lifestyle when there are people out there living on the streets who can’t even eat. We live in a selfish society, where you put number one first or you won’t get to the top. People who dedicate their lives to helping others don’t get enough respect, they should be the highest paid people in the country because they are doing something worthwhile. Yet those people who work to satisy their own material needs and cheat others out of their money and their happiness are the ones who are at the top, who have the power. The kindest, most modest people seem to be at the bottom because others feel it right to tread allover those who put others first.

Until I die, I will try and help as many human beings (and other living things) that I can because if I don’t improve another’s life then mine has been wasted. Whether it be through a letter to cheer someone up, charity donations, volunteering in a soup kitchen at Christmas or just letting someone know that I will be there. They can require such small sacrifices of time or even small money donations. Through this blog, I try and help people understand mental illness, so they can know that even though their thoughts might not be normal, they aren’t the only ones experiencing them. If I’ve educated one person in anything to do with mental illness or if I’ve put a smile on someone’s face then that’s good enough for me because changes start small. In our society in not cool to be kind but I think that needs to change.

Sometimes we do need to think just about us, we need rest and help and healing too. But that’s not selfish, it’s healthy. Keep blogging everyone 😀

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Hate is a strong word? Then it’s perfect.

December 2, 2010

If I were still in the Mormon Church I would be classed as unworthy because of my feelings towards my family but that’s ignorance right there. How can you forgive something that is ongoing and never stops?

I think I’ve had just about enough, now don’t you dare think this is a teenage “my parent’s don’t understand me, I hate them!” balls because I scream. I have been neglected, abused, stepped all over, guilt tripped and emotionally blackmailed so many times and It has wittled me down to almost nothing. My CBT has opened up a lot for me, my excuses for letting my parents do these things to me and not stick up for myself were that I felt sorry for them and they’re both ill. But I can’t carry on giving in to my mum’s emotional guilt trips or my dad’s blackmailing, they may be ill but that doesn’t mean they have a right to use and abuse me. I am their daughter, I shouldn’t have to take my mum to hospital if she feels ill or put my dad’s socks on every morning, I am fnejfwuniu sick of it all. I want out. I want f***ing out, now.

Mum

I was born to love mum. She wanted a child because she wanted a living “thing” to love her unconditionally and make her feel good about herself and be hers forever. She would then get angry and abusive to this thing if it didn’t give her what she wanted in love and affection or if it had it own needs. How dare it have it own needs. How dare it cry, hit it that should (as she’d say) “shut it up”. She says she never loved dad and just wanted to be looked after all her life, this has been the case financially anyway. I’m sure that she did love him but when things got tough and he had a breakdown she claims she never loved him so she had no responsibility for caring for him. After dad’s breakdown it was all about her, she was the poor wife who’s husbanhad a breakdown. Little S was left to fend for herself. Mum would go away a lot to “get away” leaving little S feeling scared that dad would kill her in the night, he would become psychotic. Little S didn’t know what was going on or where mummy had gone or if she was going to come back. Then when mum came back little S was expected to be excited about her return and love her all the same, she would cry when mum went away and be hostile when she came back. Mum wouldn’t have any of it, she wasn’t doing anything wrong and should be love unconditionally no matter what she did/does.

As I grew up, she was possessive, didn’t like me liking other family members, I was her posession. I felt guilty seeing my my aunt who I love because I knew it would upset mum and make her feel unloved. I remember once to get back at her I made a photoboard and had pictures of me and all of my family members seperately except her, I was sick of how she treated me and I wanted her to know that. If I was upset I hid and cried alone, I would be told I was silly for crying and my feelings invalidated. If she cried I had to comfort her and tell her I loved her, even If I didn’t feel it at the time. Once I just screamed “BITCH!!” and she ran into the kitchen crying and shouted “nothing loves me, I’m going to kill myself!!” It makes me so so angry just writing this, how dare she threaten suicide to a little girl. How dare she play the victim when I was the one hurting and why the hell should I have had to comfort her? But it’s what I did, I reassured her she was loved and then shut myself in my room. I konw what you may be thinking, it sounds like she has BPD right? Well that’s what I think and I said to Dr L that I feel hypocritical getting angry at her for BPD traits but she told me that I shouldn’t because at least I’m getting help and trying to change. Which is very true, I hate myself for my BPD traits and I actually feel guilt whereas my mother seems to feel no guilt and not care about anyone but herself. Now that I am ill, she is invalidating, doesn’t understand why I feel the way I do, she blames herself sometimes and I don’t correct her. As she is correct anyway. She says that she’s able to have a job, she’s able to live her life. This makes me feel worse but then I remember that she is miserable and she only has herself to blame for it, she hates her husband yet she still lives with him and his finance which is incapactiy benefit, while using her own wages for her leisure, why should contribute eh? She’s unhappy. It’s not like she could move out or anything is it, it’s not like she could start a fresh new life without him and maybe be happy. Heaven forbid.

Dad

Well dad has Bipolar, although doesn’t mean his behavious too can be excused. I know pleasantly nice people with Bipolar who love their kids more than anything. I know my dad loves me, he is just unable to show it. I have always been a daddys girl, not neccesarily because he was the most loving but he was the only one who took me out places and always wanted to do things with me. He would love to take me to the farm or to watch football with him and I never remember doing anything like that with mum or her even coming along. I’m never sure what behaviour and Bipolar and what behaviour was just him but everything I did was wrong, If I accidentally knocked something or fell I was a “stupid child” and hit until I screamed and ran away. If i was ever hyper I was told to shut up and stop showing off, I was always such a quiet child. I learnt that if I was quiet then it meant I couldn’t do or say anything wrong. I still managed to somehow though. Not to mention I had no clue until about 2 years ago when I asked dad what illness my dad said and he said “I think it’s Bipolar” and then I actually knew, before then I wasn’t even told what was wrong or what was going on. There is no communication and if you want to know something in the family, you’ll either find out by asking or by asking a million irrelevant questions until something happens to come out. He was hospitlised 3 times and to me it felt like a limetime and I would always cry in my room alone because I wanted my daddy back. I didn’t know what was going on and why everything was so chaotic, I only remember that mum never wanted to visit and always complained when we did go. I’ll never forgive her for being so uncaring. But then it seems as I’ve gotten older he’s realised that if his wife won’t look after him then his maturing daughter can take to the wife role, take him to appointments, do the shopping, put his socks on, make sure he take his meds and the like. Now this has all happened in the last 2 years and It’s the most degrading feeling to have someone tell you to put their socks on and then if you don’t they stress and scream and cry if you don’t. I HATE emotional blackmail and I hate that my mother sits back and allows this to happen, I say to her I don’t want to do it and she says I don’t have to but who else will make sure he doesn’t have another break down, she bloody sure won’t.

I really really am praying (figure of speech) that I can get out next year with J, he wants to go to Uni far from here so we can both just live and get away from this horrible pain, anxiety and stress. We both need to release form our restricting unhelpful parents. He wants to live with me near wherever needed and start a “real” life.

Sure, I’ll have to look after him but the difference is, he will look after me back.

Of course I have the panic of, what the hell will happen to my parents. My mum will surely hate me for leaving her and will do anything she can to be spiteful and childish. Dad will care that I’m going but he won’t show it, he will support my choice and be happy for me. Please let me get out, please, get me out. I can’t die here.

It’ll be sad to never have my parents involved in my life but in all honesty, they have earned no rights to be.

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Appearance can be deceiving.

December 1, 2010

I thought I’d write about the outward views many people have on mental illness. Have you ever had anyone say to you “but you look normal.” when you’ve said that you have a mental illness? I often wonder what a mentally ill person is supposed to look like…

Do I walk around in a straight jacket? Would I then fit the criteria for what I am to look like. I don’t believe my family are able to understand the extent and severity of my illness due to being “normal” around them. Theyve never seen a panic attack or angry “I’ll kill myself” outburst and the reason for that is because I repress my feelings around them. There is no way I would show my vulnerability infront of them because I know they wouldn’t know how to handle it and would from then on judge me. Because of this, it means it l comes out infront of J, I’m not afraid to let it all out infront of him because I know I won’t be judged and I feel so utterly comfortable with him I probably wouldnt even feel mental rolling on the floor naked shouting “cupcakes!”. I remember last christmas I felt so utterly depressed and all I wanted was to sleep and my family wouldnt let me, I was forced to get up and join in with the “fesitivities”.

Don’t think you have to look downtrodden to be depressed, some people have had to put that happy face facade on for aslong as they’ve known.