Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ 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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Celebrity Worship Syndrome

November 7, 2011

I searched this knowing that I would find some kind of mental illness attached to it. I didn’t know it would be so in depth though. The reason I’m writing this is for one reason. Merrill Osmond (who I will call MO in this article) of the Osmond Brothers is retiring. So what? You say.

Well when someone in your family has CWS and their celebrity obsessee is retiring, you will worry.

Let me give you a few wiki excerts about CWS:

“Psychologists in the U.S.A. and UK. created a celebrity worship scale to rate the problems. In 2002, United States psychologists Lynn McCutcheon, Rense Lange, and James Houran introduced the Celebrity Attitude Scale, a 34 item scale administered to 262 persons living in central Florida.[4] McCutcheon et al. suggested that celebrity worship comprised one dimension in which lower scores on the scale involved individualistic behavior such as watching, listening to, reading and learning about celebrities whilst the higher levels of worship are characterized by empathy, over-identification, and obsession with the celebrity.

However, later research among larger UK samples have suggested there are 3 different aspects to celebrity worship;[5] John Maltby (University of Leicester), and the aforementioned psychologists examined the Celebrity Attitude Scale among 1732 United Kingdom respondents (781 males, 942 females) who were aged between 14 and 62 years and found the following 3 dimensions to celebrity worship:

Entertainment-social

This dimension comprises attitudes that fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and become a social focus such as “I love to talk with others who admire my favorite celebrity” and “I like watching and hearing about my favorite celebrity when I am with a large group of people”.

Intense-personal

Intense-personal aspect of celebrity worship reflects intensive and compulsive feelings about the celebrity, akin to the obsessional tendencies of fans often referred to in the literature; for example “I share with my favorite celebrity a special bond that cannot be described in words” and “When something bad happens to my favorite celebrity I feel like it happened to me’”.

Borderline-pathological

This dimension is typified by uncontrollable behaviors and fantasies regarding scenarios involving their celebrities, such as “I have frequent thoughts about my favorite celebrity, even when I don’t want to” and “my favorite celebrity would immediately come to my rescue if I needed any type of help”. ”

Now I would say that most of us experience the first one. We have a favorite celebrity and if something of theirs comes out to buy then we’ll buy it, this one doesn’t seem to be a large problem. The second one sounds like a lot of the fans who say “Justin Bieber is my life” and they are usually quite young. They generally grow out of it as they mature. Now the 3rd one shows some mental health problems, delusional thoughts about someone they don’t know personally.

My mother is the majority intense- personal but can be borderline-pathological.

“Evidence indicates that poor mental health is correlated with celebrity worship. Researchers have examined the relationship between celebrity worship and mental health in United Kingdom adult samples. Maltby et al. (2001) found evidence to suggest that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was related to higher levels of depression and anxiety. Similarly, Maltby et al., in 2004, found that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was not only related to higher levels of depression and anxiety, but also higher levels of stress, negative affect, and reports of illness.”

People who become obsessed with things generally have a problem. They have holes in their lives that they fill with things, routines and people. It’s normal to want to do it but sometimes it can go too far.

Celebrity Worship syndrome I would say is one of the main causes of my BPD. My mother’s obsession lead to me feeling lesser than MO and less loved than he was by her. She would pay and still does hundreds of pounds of items of his clothing or stupid items he had touched. They hang on her bedroom walls along with thousands (literally) of pictures and posters of him. She turned the marital bedroom into a shrine and my dad now has his own room. She has no money and numerous credit cards. She works to so she can see MO while my dad worked for me and mum. Everything she did and does is for him. She would leave frequently to other contries to where he was often leaving me with a very mentally unwell father. My feelings of abandonment come from my mother leaving me for MO more than once a year, without telling me beforehand so as not to upset me. Although not being told meant that she would leave unexpectedly and it made like seem very unpredictable. It often reminds of the Strange Situation I started off as the secure child, crying when she left, happy she was home but the more and more it happened the more I became Anxious-resistant insecure, I would cry when she left and when she came home, I would be resistant and not want to see her and accept her holiday present with reluctance. It was a difficult pattern and when your parent has CWS you start to hate the Celebrity more and more. She believes that MO can solves all of her problems, he can cure her sorrows and troubles. She won’t listen if you tell her that he will never fall in love with her and that he isn’t interested in making her life better because he has his own life. He may recognise her when she goes to see him but when she pours out her soul about all of her problems, he can’t do anything about it and he knows it’s not his place to. In ways he has crossed boundaries because he is such a nice person and does want to help but then she sees this as him loving her and wanting to save her from her misery. I remember when I met MO it felt very strange, he was so lovely that I wondered why I hated him in the first place, then I realised I shouldn’t have been directing my hatred towards him because it’s not his fault he’s alive. Then it started turning more towards my mother. She believes she is in love with him. But infatuation and obsession is not love. It’s not love at all.

Just thinking about it is reducing me to tears. She always loved him more and she still does. Dad has even said it too, she loves MO more than both of us. Now MO is retiring at the end of next year and I’m scared mum is going to die. She always told me if anything happened and she couldn’t see him again she would kill herself. If I died she wouldn’t kill herself because she would still have MO in her life. Surely it should be the other way around?

How am I supposed to deal with that? How as I child was I supposed to deal with that? Knowing you aren’t as good as some strange in your mothers life.

Edit: I remembered I had this picture that I took of a list I found written by my mother.

If you can’t read it, it says.

List of blessings that I am grateful for!

Merrill.

My hair.

A good pair of working eyes.

My beautiful cat.

Microwave.

Savannah (I scribbled out my real name on paint to protect anon)

I was last on her list and in a different pen to everything else, meaning I wasn’t originally added but was thought about at a later point. Sure I’m on the list I guess but to be below the microwave and her hair…

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Self pity.

August 28, 2011

I’m not usually this bad. I simply have to turn the TV on now and I started crying. I watched the simpsons and Homer told Lisa he loved her and I started crying so I turned over to supernanny and the mother was playing happily with her children and I started crying so I turned over to X factor (as a last resort) and the singer was getting praise from the judges and his family and himself were so happy with his achievement so I just turned the bloody thing off. Everything was reducing me to tears. Everything is such a mess. Yes I may be getting away from it all but I’m leaving behind a hospitalised father and a mother who I suspect has autism. She doesn’t recognise that I have ever done anything to make her life any better, although I have been dad’s carer all my life and slept in the same bed with her for 5 years of my late childhood because she said if I didn’t dad would rape her. I’m leaving and all she can do is tell me how useless I am. I’m trying to think of moving forward and starting the new but seeing what a mess my parents are in tears me apart. I don’t feel guilt, I just feel shame and pity. Most teens moving out of home have parental support, while I’m still crying over the fact that my dad can’t even see me off into a new life because he’s in the psych ward. What a way to leave. I’ve always hated the expression “why me?” because the people who use it are often getting upset over a tiny matter in their otherwise okay life but I’m going to say it…Why me? I’m a good person. I don’t know what I did to make all of this happen.

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Doomed before the beginning.

February 5, 2011

Do you ever feel like your background dooms you to a life of misery and failure?

In my family only one person (not including me) is in a happy relationship, however this is her second marriage. Not one person is my family has gotten it right first time and except this one person the rest are single and my parents are unhappily married. I feel like my relationship is doomed before we’re even married. With such an unhappy family and with the issues running throughout, I feel like my happiness is only an illusion to keep me going and that something has got to kill us before we get too happy. The fact that the majority of my family are over 50 and single and never had any parteners in the last 18 years makes me wonder what the future holds for me. I often wonder if I mistake my severe neediness for love which results in panic attacks due to the thought of not actually being able to love how normal people do. I then feel severe guilt for stringing J along because I don’t really know how to love. These awful thoughts and panic attacks really mess with our relationship and with my head. I love J. But my head doesn’t want me to, my head wants me to be alone so I don’t have to ever have conflict or become an independent adult in the outside world. My head wants me to hide away and be alone. My heart wants to marry J and start a new life and leave the past behind.

The problem is following my heart over my head. Because every now and then my head wants me dead.

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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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Moving on.

January 3, 2011

To move on from your past is almost an impossible thing as your past moulds who you are. To literally move on as in geographically seems almost as impossible for me. I have a chance to get away forever, to start a new life, start afresh away from the place where all my life I have grown and been broken down. You may think, how great to be able to get away finally. But no, It doesn’t feel great. I have lived here 18 years, although it holds horrible memories, it is what I have always known. To change everything is completely petrifying.

Of course I want to get away but I feel the same way with it as I do about my anxiety. I don’t want the anxiety but it’s what I’ve always known and it keeps me safe. My room is my safe place, it always has been. To change the familiar is like throwing yourself into a pit of fear and never ending anxiety with stabbing pains all over your body.

I admire people who can be happy about new changes that will no doubt improve their lives but it’s like I can’t be happy because of those fears and anxieties. If I leave, I have to be completely independent and it means I HAVE to cope. I’m forcing myself to cope and it could have quite dangerous consequences. It is inevitably throwing myself right into the deep end. The options seem to be that I’ll either paddle well for a little while and then sink or first sink to the bottom until I can learn to swim in it. I do believe I will sink, very deep but it’s only to be expected, it’s scary I won’t be happy about it at first. But I know that gradually I will learn. If I had to do it alone I know I would be much worse off and wouldn’t be leaving anyway. It is J that is helping me move forward in life, even if it’s only a small step forward and then I have time to be depressed, readjust and maybe not move forward anymore for a little while. It’s a big thing to do and everything needs to move forward a small bit at a time to prevent an emotional breakdown. I feel luck to have someone who understand that I need to takes things a lot slower than “normal” people. That I can’t just walk out of the door everyday with a smile on my face and that sometimes I may not even be able to walk out of the door.

Understanding is key and I know sometimes he may not understand but his caring and love for me is understand for him to not have to understand all of what’s going on. The amount of support he’s willing to give me is like a voice saying “You’ve got this far and now he’s here to make it all better. He will allow you to heal.” But then to not be able to support him in the same way will make me feel selfish, I just hope my emotional support is of more worth than financial support.

And let’s hope the panic attacks stop! I have therapy again on wednesday after 2 weeks, I’m not sure If I’m looking forward to it. When I told Dr L I was moving and that I was excited she asked me a lot of questions I didn’t have the answer to. “How will you cope when he’s not at home?” “What about meeting new people?” Therapy can sometimes have the opposite effect. I was thinking of the positives yet she brought up the negatives, It made me confused but then understandable that she would ask me such things because she knows I would block those things out and then break when I have to tackle them. I just don’t want to think about the bads thigns because hopefully they wouldn’t happen and I’d just cope. As I always have.

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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.