Archive for the ‘Social Anxiety Disorder’ 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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I make him ill.

November 11, 2011

I know I do. I cause a lot of stress and when I cause myself so much stress it’s bound to cause him stress too. I make things harder than they should be and I definately make life more difficult for both of us. Women generally have a more stern approach to life anyay, whereas men are generally more laidback and that’s why women are known for nagging. It’s a tool to get men to do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to. And that pisses him off to no ends and causes a lot of tension. I just feel like I’m one big nuisance when a lot of the time I may just be trying to help. I try and get him to not stay up too late when he has to get up early but I’m just being a nag and trying to ruin his fun. I say not to be on the computer when he has a headache because it’ll make it worse but then to him I’m just trying to find any way to be with him and getting jealous of him being with his friends on the computer. I’m just a bad person, all I do is hurt him when I’m trying to do good. I make him feel the need to get counsilling because I make everything harder. It’s hard to like yourself when all you seem to do is make life harder for yourself and others. He agrees that life is more difficult with me than it would be with someone who didn’t have an illness but then anyone could agree with that. But then he says if I weren’t worth all the stress than why would he still be here? It’s a wonderful thing to hear but at the same time my head says well there aren’t really any reasons to stay with me, I wouldn’t stay with me. He says I’m worth it but I don’t understand how when I just cause stress and illness. We both always feel unwell, he’s even been told he has problems with anxiety now and I know it’s because of me. So now we’re both ill, both constantly stressed, anxious and depressed. Sometimes I think it would be best if I just left. He would so much happier without me. Whenever I’ve gone for the night, he will stay up all night until the early hours playing games with his friends and have a really good time BECAUSE I’m gone and I can’t tell him to go to bed. He will have a nice time because I’m not there to tell him what to do. But then when I come home and find out I just ruin everything again by telling him, it’s not good for him to stay up all night. Then he hates me. I know if i weren’t here he would game all day and all night, do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and be a happy bachelor. He’s always dreamed of having a bachelor pad anyway.

It may seem starnge but on the game Sims people generally create the life that would like to have. I have always created myself with a partener to start off with, I’ve never started off alone and I become a writer, my husband works and I pop out kids and that’s my life. J always starts off alone and usually stays that way, he works, plays games and plays music and if he runs out of life wishes to fulfill he might get married to someone on the way. It says a lot and actually worries me because I know his dream life would have been to be alone and have a computing/music career and I just happened to walk into his life for him to fall in love with me and ultimately fuck up his whole life plan. It’s not his fault he fell in love with me but maybe if he hadn’t have he would be happier now and less unwell. I never ever want to leave him and sometimes I feel selfish for feeling that way.

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Afraid to be me.

November 4, 2011

You’d think in the world of anonymous blogging it wouldn’t matter what you would write because only a few people really know who you are. Yet I still panic about what I write. In a world of mentalist writing surely you wouldn’t fear as much judgement because hey, everyone is in basically the same boat. But the thing I struggle with most is writing about my girly side with fear of being called stupid. It’s hard to feel beautiful nowadays with the ideal of also being smart. If a girl is beautiful or likes things like painting her nails or shoes she is generally stereotyped as being brainless and fake. When a girl says she loves shoes you probably picture a skinny, blonde girl with a chihuahua in a bag and this needs to stop. I end up judging myself. I feel nervous If I look too nice in case people think I’m stupid or a slut. If you don’t wear enough clothes, you’re a whore. If you cover everything up, you’re unattractive and won’t put out. Woman can’t do anything these days without being degraded. Smart woman are a threat and no way attractive because they could become more powerful than a man and they don’t want that. It’s so hard because it’s not just men doing the judging, it’s women too. For example, I was watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and the girls don’t wear much when they go out and my mother looked at them disgusted and said they were sluts. These girls get married young and only sleep with one man their whole lives yet just by what they are wearing we feel the right to call them sluts, which I thought meant sleeping around with loads of men with no intention to commit (I’m not saying that anyone who does that is a slut but that is what the definition of that term is). Or am I missing something?

I am intelligent. Really. I got an A*, 2 A’s and 7 B’s at GCSE level and only left school due to mental health problems. I love learning, I love reading books and I am facsinated by people.

I feel like I need to go to some kind of rehab group and tell my deep dark secrets.

My name is Savannah, I’m smart and I like watching Toddlers and Tiaras.

Now smart girls shouldn’t watch “mindless girly drivel”, how dare they try and confuse us. Maybe they’re lying to us and trying to pretend they’re smart. I mean anyone who enjoys watching little girls turned into little whores would be stupid. This is the kind of judgment I fear. I see a lot of hatred towards some of the TV programmes I watch and people say how stupid the person is who watches it. Surely people can just judge the programme without demonising their viewers too.

I’m going to give you a few examples of programme I watch and why I enjoy them.

Toddlers and Tiaras- As a little girl I would have given the world to have felt beautiful when I was being slapped and told how undesirable I was. To see little girls feeling beautiful makes me happy for them. Yes, I know this is extreme and the wrong way to do it but for the girls who enjoy it, I think they should be allowed to do so. I disagree with the forcing of children into it which you do see as well. But it’s just the fact that in a way they are living my dream as a little girl (psychologically). I have many arguments against pageants, as anyone does but then when I’m watching it I’m in a very child-like mindset, enjoying the sparkles and the pretty things.

Don’t tell the Bride- I love this show mainly because woman always have this huge idea of their ideal wedding and think they are the only ones who do it perfect and in the end, the husband (usually) gets it right and it makes them realise that as long as they are getting married, it doesn’t matter if the dress is big or the flowers are sparkling, marrying the person they love is what makes the day perfect. Plus it can be funny seeing how useless men are at clothes shopping 😉

The X factor- Like toddlers and tiaras, it’s like watching other people live your dreams. I would love to sing for a living. Yes, some of them are really awful but once it gets near the end and you’re left with the people who really want it, then it becomes more watchable. Everyone has dreams and I get very emotional when someone gets through and their whole life is suddenly turned upside down for the better. It can be very harsh to people but I just try and focus on trying to make my favorite act’s dream come true.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding- I loved this show. There aren’t many traditional people nowadays and I think tradition can be a good thing. It’s what generally holds a community together. A lot of people disliked the fact that the girls were married so young and weren’t allowed to do much with their lives, yet there was a girl who got herself a job willingly and the others could if they wanted but they choose it themselves. If they didn’t want to marry young, I’m sure they wouldn’t so why say they shouldn’t be pushed into it? You see the girls so excited about getting married and having their dress made and starting a life with their husband. If they were sitting there crying saying they didn’t want to get married then you can complain but i don’t think it’s right to try and make people choose what you think is right against what they want. I loved the show and their amazing over extravagant  dresses and I hope they will be happy. People focus so much on what would make them happy they forget that everyone is different. I loved learning about a new culture and seeing how different they are.

Now I’ll give you an overall reason why I watch what I would call “trash TV” due to it’s views by smart people. I am facinated by human beings. I like TV about real people, in real life situations, especially the out of the ordinary. I watch these programmes because I find it fascinating how different people can be from different cultures and backgrounds. I watch stupid TV for smart reasons. I’m sure psychologists all love some reality programmes because they get to see how people behave in given situations. Humanity is amazing and usually the shows about people on TV are those who have very extreme lives in comparison to our norms and that’s what makes it so gripping. We are naturally drawn to things we don’t quite get or haven’t seen before and it does scare us but then we want to know more. About a month ago, I watched a programme called “LadyBoys” and I know a good few people who would think I was disgusting for watching it but then It shows how closed minded that person probably is. It wasn’t anything sexual or pornographic, it was simply about men from different cultures who felt they were in the wrong bodies and had sex changes. I think it’s wonderful to see people becoming who they are with no shame and no fear. It’s liberating yet so difficult. I watched that TV show because I wanted to understand how they felt so that I has a better understanding of transexuals because Ignorance is never useful. I may not know any transexuals but If I met someone who was transexual seeing a programme like that would make me less likely to be confused and scared at how to react towards them. Knowledge is power but knowledge can also be acceptance.

One last thing is accepting yourself. The fact that I feel ashamed to watch these programmes shows that I potentially feel the same way as those who judge the viewers of the above. Or I just know how others may feel if they knew so I feel like I’m not allowed to be anything other than what they want. Whatever it is I am trying to be less judgemental.

I am a female, I like videos games, reading books and blogging. But I also like painting my nails, watching wedding programmes and love things that sparkle. I don’t like politics and I’m not into Science. And I am still smart.

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Uncomfortably pretty.

July 2, 2011

As a child, I was never really that pretty, I was made fun of for being quite unattractive actually. I know that I have gotten prettier as I’ve gotten older but there are just times where feeling attractive makes me uncomfortable. I started growing my hair longer recently and I looked more feminine and pretty and it just didn’t feel right. Feeling attractive made me almost angry, I wasn’t me anymore. So I chopped off my hair and feel more like me. But now I feel less feminine and consequently less attractive. It reminds me of the video “fucking perfect” by Pink, where the girl is constantly trying to be what is widely thought as pretty but in the end realizes she has her own way of being pretty, her own identity. I just wish I could achieve this but having identity confusion means I’m changing styles all the time. One minute, I like one thing and the next I like the complete opposite. I can’t just feel like, well…me. Some things look so great on someone and it seems like If I try that look I just look stupid. Because I spend about 99% of my time with my husband I’ve become more of a tomboy than a girly girl yet I still feel I need to look feminine to be pretty. But to be feminine I can’t have my figure. I feel to be feminine I need to have a fragile, dainty body and walk with elegance. I’m short and stumpy with tiny hands and feet. I might as well be a hobbit. I just want to feel comfortable within my skin. I CAN look in the mirror and think I look nice but it doesn’t mean I feel comfortable because I’m not sure who is in the mirror. But maybe that’s a good thing?

It’s so hard to embrace a new face and body when you’re still stuck in the ugly duckling mind. If I walk out of the door thinking I look nice, I feel confident. But then if i see a girl who looks pretty, I feel ugly and embarrassed and want to change my clothes and cut my hair. I recognize my large nose and big front teeth and it’s like a transform into an ogre. I feel like I’m not allowed to look nice. Sometimes I don’t feel the need, I guess. My husband would call me beautiful whether I was wearing a glitzy dress or a huge shirt. Sometimes I dress up and when I look in the mirror, I see a frightened little girl, playing dress up and not getting anywhere near beautiful.

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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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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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Social Person.

December 28, 2010

I can’t believe what’s happened to me. Even with my best friend I get social phobia. How can it be that way? How can I be afraid of her.

Granted I am a lot better with her than a stranger but I hate the fact that I get any nerves, even the thought of seeing a human being petrifies me. Why? God knows.

I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Am I scared to realise how much I’ve changed my noticing how I can’t be the same? Is there some kind of awful realisation that comes from being around my best friends?

What’s happened…

I don’t want my therapist to help me overcome it because it’s too scary and I’ve tried before and ended up so terrified I’ve had to go A&E. I want to hide from the fear. The fear of being frightened.

I can’t see my friends often because of this and all I can say is thank goodness for understanding friends.