…but I posted this to my personal Facebook page today:
“Living with mental illness is difficult in ways you wouldn’t even imagine if you are on the outside. If you are blessed to have mental stability you will likely look at those who are not in disbelief, perhaps disgust. What you may not be aware of is, we look at ourselves in the same manner. While there are always exceptions to the norm, most of us don’t use our diagnosis as an excuse to act out. We don’t automatically chalk up our mistakes in life to “eh, I’m crazy, what did you expect?” On the contrary, we beat ourselves up relentlessly for every impulsive move we’ve ever made. We hate what we are, how we act, the pain we tend to inflict on others with our seemingly foolish words and actions. When we are well, we may fit in as well as the next person. But when we are not, it shows. It shows in horribly damaging ways, to both our own reputations and to the well-being of the ones we care the most about.
We don’t flaunt the fact that we have some “cool” diagnosis like bipolar or schizophrenia, or whatever label we’ve been penned with. More often it’s a name worn more like the scarlet letter; we’d give anything to shed the reasons why we were diagnosed as such.
I am not blind to the people who see me as a different person than I was years before. I am not deaf to the mean things some say. I often think those same things about myself. I tell myself I have no illness; I am simply a very bad, sinful person who did these things on purpose. Despite what doctors and therapists tell me, I still choose to blame myself for things I can never undo. I feel like I deserve that punishment. And some (not all) of you on my friends’ list, I know, tend to think the same way about me. You may act sweetly to me, but I know you think bad things about me. That’s okay. I don’t blame you.
It’s why I am so wary of medicine. When I so desperately wanted relief from the symptoms I had around the time of my diagnosis I dumbly trusted whatever prescription was thrown at me to make me well. Instead of making me well, I progressed to having stupid delusions, leaving my family, yada yada. We all know the story (or the rumors, at least). Later, certain medications DID work, and I resumed stability. But the damage was already done. Some things you can’t fix. And you can never, ever forget.
So now I find myself in that scary place again, where I know I need some form of treatment (because, believe it or not, faith in God’s healing alone usually does not cure mental illness, just like it doesn’t always cure cancer or any other illness) and yet I am so frightened by the prospect of trying something new. Because I lost my whole world back in 2006. How could I ever survive losing it again, especially if it was by my own doing?
So, why am I sharing this on my Facebook page? Why, when I try so hard to maintain a healthy, “normal” display of myself on here? Well, there are a few reasons:
1.) It’s my page and basically I have the right to post whatever I want.
2.) I’m tired of pretending.
3.) Maybe it will help someone who is going through something similar.
Those are enough reasons for me 😉 “
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder three years ago. Four years after I first sought help. Seeking help when you don't know what's wrong and when you're scared and completely desperate is hard. I think we all expect people in the medical profession to have empathy and be free from prejudice. We put our trust in them because we believe they are experts, so when they don't come across how we expect it's even more difficult. I remember very clearly the first time I went to see a GP because I felt so bad. I remember it clearly for the wrong reasons. I knew I was depressed. As I tried desperately to tell him what was wrong he looked at me and said "I'll prescribe you Prozac.Thousands of people take it, it's very safe. You have to remember how old you are. You're getting close to the menopause. Are you sure you're not just having a Shirley Valentine moment?" I took the prescription and ran out crying. He left me feeling like I was just some silly woman having a mid life crisis. I doubt he even realised the impact of his words. He obviously thought I'd see the joke. I didn't. It turned out Prozac wasn't safe at all for me. It kick started hypomania and then a mixed episode that lasted for months. I changed my GP but it took me a long time to feel ok about going to the doctors. A few careless words at the wrong time can have a huge impact.
I always find going to see my psychiatrist a challenge. Depending what frame of mind I'm in, I'm either ready to cling on to every word he says, because he knows everything or I'm ready to argue with whatever he says because he knows nothing! Of course there are several scenarios in between. My usual psychiatrist, who I had a good relationship with and trusted, sadly died. It wasn't a surprise as he'd been ill for a long time. One of his replacements left me feeling angry and upset with his words. He'd explained to me why he wanted to leave my medication as it was, which was fine but then he came out with " of course people like you need to be extra careful about how you behave". What was that supposed to mean?
Maybe if I'd been in a different frame of mind I wouldn't have reacted so badly to their words, but I wasn't and I did react. I'm sure that any good doctor would be horrified if they thought they'd upset a patient with their words but I'm sure it happens all the time.
Thankfully I now have a fantastic GP, who is very knowledgable about my condition and who treats me with respect.
I sort of took a week off from knitting, ’cause yanno… I’ve been knitting a LOT lately. I started on a hat for myself out of the leftover red and blue yarn, and I think I will love it much much. I’m sort of making it up as I go along, and am currently debating whether or not I want to do some Fair Isle and put some sort of zig zag on it. I’ll probably just put a thin row of red somewhere along the middle… we’ll see.
This is also me putting off figuring out how to knit in the round. I think I’ve got the basic idea of the magic loop technique in my head, but I can’t be bothered to work on it quite yet. I’m very low energy, low spoon, and that means I’m just sort of idly playing computer games and zoning out. Obviously, nothing wrong with that if it’s doable, I reckon!
So yeah, can’t particularly complain. Well, I could find things to complain about, but they’re the everyday things — the fatigue, the lack of spoons, the lack of get up and go. Seeing how there’s little I can do about them, I figure it’s better to make peace with them and hope that perhaps, just perhaps, they’ll go away on their own.
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Bad habits don’t die.
They never die. They dormant until you need it again.
I needed one again and I now know I’m going to need help soon