Daily Archives: August 14, 2013

Wednesday’s Quote: Noam Shpancer

mental health… is not a destination but a process.  It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.  The therapist is like a driving instuctor, not a chauffeur.”

– Noam Shpancer, The Good Psychologist




A comment got me thinking. WHAT have I done to break old patterns of thinking and behavior?

Quite simply, I have become a psycho analytic irritation, constantly trying to define people by their personality disorders and backgrounds to excuse them of shitty behavior. Just this morning, I stumbled onto the mental track of “Is (my daughter’s father) really intentionally a bad person?” And what I could come up with is, No. I don;t believe he intentionally behaves badly. I think he is a damaged person who had some tough emotional breaks in life and it has tarnished his view of himself as well as the world and it influences his behavior. He lacks the insight to view himself for what he is- a man who constantly abandons his children and any situation that makes him feel bad about himself rather than try to stand tall and take responsibility for better or worse.

Ten years ago, I would have labeled him a useless deadbeat and found some way to dramatize all the wrongs done to me by him.

Now I just keep peeling away layers trying to find ANYthing that explains the behavior and absolves the person from being a total loss as a human being

THAT much about me has changed, although it seems to be to my own detriment because I am surrounded by shallow people who are perfectly happy to simply be jerks and not look any deeper to find that they might actually be good people who simply have issues to work out. And my “fixer upper” mentality to absolve them for being jerks  is irritating to them. Yet, I can’t shut it off and I need to, but it’s that tiny bit of control that keeps me from wanting to take a shovel to their heads. If I can label them as damaged rather than a lost cause, it makes me feel less powerless and more…benevolent, I guess. It makes sense to me when so little else does. Damaged I understand. Being a jerk for no reason and being okay with it, I don’t get at all.

I am actually working with my new therapist on how NOT to take everything personally, even if in fact, some of it is very personal. Like at the shop when the all start ripping on people on disability, people who get food stamps…Um, I get both of those things, how can I not take it personally? So I am working on that.

I have started to view the good things about myself as much as the bad. But some days the brain sends out the wrong messages and it overwhelms the good. I actually don’t think it’s a totally bad thing. You can only fly high for so long, letting all the bad stuff slide down your back, before a crash is imminent and healthy. You wallow a day or two, then realize, bad shit happens to everyone, and you move on. I think it’s a healthy mindset.

I don’t know that I have learned to manage stress any better, but the fact I have been raising my kid by myself for two years without the need for a rubber ramada stay says I am coping. Ten years ago, one of my best friends died and it sent me on a downward spiral for months, drinking, not bathing, not cleaning, wearing dirty clothes, becoming a virtual hermit. I am doing none of those things now even though my current state is a lot more responsibility therefore a lot more stress.

I am making an effort to change old patterns, it’s just a slow process.

Unfortunately, life does not give you an “e” for effort. Life wants instant gratification and results. Life does not want to hear about the pregnancy or the labor pains, they just want the baby.

And ya know what? Unlike days of old, I am actually becoming more comfortable with letting this outside stressor remain on the outside. Society’s vapid nature is not my problem and I am to the point where I don’t particularly care what the consensus has to say. My only caveat there is where it pertains to some dumbass “authority”: figure being able to come and take my kid away because they think my “Halloween year round” decor is unhealthy for a kid or that I feed her mac and cheese with orange dye in it is harmful. (And yes, mac and cheese being orange is the current mommynazi craze.)

So my perception and actions are changing, morphing from unhealthy old to a healthier version of new. It’s progress.

And I have broken the cycle I grew up with by not having this love/hate borderline personality thing with my kid. My mother to this day will call me a fucking bitch and in the next breath get teary and say I love you. Her and dad would scream at us, not talk. The norm was to bottle everything up for so long until everyone felt like they were walking on eggshells and someone blew which in turn caused everyone to explode.

I have broken that cycle. Sometimes, I raise my voice, and sometimes I am grouchy. But for the most part, I try to walk away until I calm down, I try to talk to my kid, not at her. I try to find other ways to work things out than what I was taught.

And that’s a huge deal. Too many people are so ingrained with their own upbringing that they can’t see the flaws and they simply repeat them, which starts a vicious cycle for their kids.

I broke the cycle and burned the damn thing.

So…what have I done to change my old thoughts and behaviors?


Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed.

I am a work in progress.

And as long as I keep making progress…I can live with that.


You Can’t Win at the Insurance Game

Reblogged from A Canvas Of The Minds: I am extraordinarily lucky: I have complete coverage health insurance. That means all …

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Breaking the Silence of Stigma: Not What You’d Expect


I have my days, more than most.  I am mostly depressed.  Walking to the mailbox is exhausting and considered an accomplishment.  I stay in my room and hide from the world.  I don’t feel like eating, it seems pointless and food has lost its flavor anyways.  All I want to do is sleep but I can’t.

The thoughts won’t slow down long enough to allow me to rest.

“Why me?  This isn’t fair?  I just want it to end. You’re over reacting.  I wish I could escape.  What did I do to deserve this?  You’re stupid.  Just snap out of it.  Why me?…” 

I can’t sit still, my legs shake and my heart pounds as I try to anticipate what is coming next…  How bad will it get this time?  Will I need to be hospitalized again?  Have my medicine changed again?  Should I call someone?

I live 75-90% of my waking hours actively psychotic.  I hear voices that live in multiple places in my head as well as voices from the outside that belong to real people.  The voices say many things: including demeaning comments or suicidal and homicidal conversations.

The voices scream and sometimes I listen to what they say or bargain with them.  I am often paranoid that my family is talking about me behind my back and plotting together to get me institutionalized so they do not need to deal with me.

I self-harmed for over 10 years, usually cutting open my skin with something sharp and occasionally burning myself.  I think about suicide constantly, not only from the voices urging but as a relentless thought.  I plan my death, what will be done with my body and possessions, what my funeral will be like.

I fantasize about the pain finally being over.

I will no longer be a burden to my family and others.  I’ve written a few notes and had a couple attempts the first being at the age of 10 when I tried to suffocate myself.

I often have no feelings, a numbness and emptiness in life.  I’m afraid people will leave me or reject me, so I mostly stay away from people and have only a few close relationships.  I’m terrified of conflict and cannot handle it, this stems from experiences in my childhood.

Much of my childhood was spent raising myself and sometimes my sisters. My parents were often physically unavailable and never emotionally available.  Alcoholism and anger outbursts were standard in our family throughout my developing years.

Before the age of twenty-five, I had more than 80 Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) treatments also commonly known as shock therapy. I have been in numerous medical studies not commonly used yet to treat my different symptoms, including having a stimulating device implanted inside me by surgery (VNS  therapy).  I’ve been hospitalized, in a psychiatric hospital, over a dozen times in the last 8 years, mostly involuntarily.   I’ve also spent time in crisis residential housing, which is similar to being hospitalized but with more freedom and fewer patients.  I compare it to being in a “group home.”

Along with these overnight stays I have been in many different programs that take place during the day and I am able to go home and sleep at night.  These programs vary in length and duration but all are outpatient services. One program is called a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) that is Monday-Friday 8am- 3pm for at least 2 weeks and sometimes as long as a month.

These programs take place at psychiatric hospitals, where the group does group therapy, art therapy, skills based learning groups, and one-on-one appointments with psychiatrists and social workers.  Enrollment in a PHP generally is a step down from hospitalization or used to prevent hospitalization.

I’ve been in weekly therapy since I was 19 years old, in addition to any groups or classes I might have been in at the time.  I’ve been on psychiatric medication since I was 10 years old.  I have been on over 30 different types of medication and at my worst was on 11 different prescriptions, taking over 20 pills a day.

With just this information, what do you picture? 

What would you expect?

Believe it or not, I’m a (mostly) functioning adult.  I am 30 years old with blond hair, blue eyes and I am a college student.  I do have schizoaffective disorder bipolar type and borderline personality disorder.  I am on four psychiatric medications and still go to counseling once a week.

I am not “dark,” I have few visual scars, do not dress in all black, or wear black eye liner.  I’m not an EMO teenager or someone just going through a “phase.”  I do not walk around mad at the world talking about how everything is depressing and pointless.

I am not an “attention seeker.”  Few people know the extent of my illnesses.  I am not homeless and do not walk around dirty or talking to myself or the voices.  I am not a zombie devoid of any emotion or intelligent thoughts from my brain being shocked too many times.

I will not approach you to tell you how the government is spying on us and has been for years.  I am not a serial killer or a danger to anyone except maybe myself.

You do not have to worry about setting me off.  I am not stock piling weapons or making a list of innocent people to kill.  I do not use street drugs and have never been arrested.

I am not “psycho.”

Who I am is intelligent and compassionate.

I have above a 3.9 grade point average and over 100 college units.  I am always trying to lend a helping hand to those I know personally and strangers as well.

It is likely I am one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet; my illnesses have given me empathy as well as a unique perspective.  I love children and have worked as an after school teacher.  I also teach Sunday school and have done reduced cost child care for families that needed it.

My favorite place on Earth is Disneyland and I go there at least a few times a year.

I am not my mental illnesses. 

I am not a stereotypical “crazy” person.

I am not what you’d expect.

Marci can be found on her own blog here