Bipolar, Experiences, Mental Health, Musings

A Good Description of How Depression and Anxiety Feels… 

I thought this was on point… 

Bipolar, Information and Resources, Mental Health, Video

Watch “The Most Important Lesson Learned from 87,000 Brain Scans – Dr. Daniel Amen” on YouTube

This is really interesting…

Awareness, Bipolar, Mental Health, Musings, Stigma

A Thought About Stigma

6d8be7883823283e73cd4b91bbc40942The issue of stigma involving mental illness is alive and well, but who is responsible to stop it? How can it be stopped? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I don’t even know if I am truly convinced that I have the right to say that I am sick when I really truly am sick. Stigma is often self-inflicted, I have come to believe. Not that I am openly stigmatizing myself, or directly and purposefully  perpetuating it, but by allowing myself to be affected by it. By that I mean by allowing myself to feel or believe, whether unconsciously or not, that what is being implied through stigma is truth. For example, I wasn’t able to continue in my last career because I wasn’t able to maintain a depression/manic free state. Sure, it was a good job and I was able to go on medical leave, but ultimately I left the job that I loved because of instability. Why then, in the back of my mind is my default feeling about this that it is my fault and that I couldn’t keep the job because of some personality flaw, or some other flaw that is in my control. Why do I feel like I screwed up and that in reality, didn’t deserve to keep the job. It makes me feel bad. I know intellectually that I was sick, but I can’t feel that it is true. I don’t feel that I have the right to say that I am sick. It has to stop.

This has got me to thinking. While it is important to educate about mental illness, and that will help combat stigmatization against the mentally ill (I personally don’t see the difference between mental and physical illness, but that is a topic for another time. In fact, I did a post related to that here. ), I think it is probably most important that we focus on ourselves . We need to change the language both in general and in the way we are referring to ourselves and our situations. If we are experiencing depression, anxiety, mania, or are referring to a time that we were, we should boldly and unapologetically say that we are or were sick. That we have a brain disorder. The brain is an organ in our physical bodies and there is an imbalance in the chemicals and therefore it’s functioning. The problem is not some abstract condition that we cannot identify. It is a direct result of our brain chemistry, it’s that simple. It is not up for debate. We are sick. Just as a cancer patient is sick and has a physical illness, one of our organs is not functioning properly so we are sick. That’s it.

The fact that the personality is formed by activity in the brain makes it very obvious that if there is an imbalance, and therefore a disruption, in brain function it only makes sense that the personality would be affected. The personality is not a choice. The fact that a person is suffering from extreme irritability during a depressive or manic state does not mean that they are an irritable person. The personality is not the self, in my opinion. The self is our bodies and the personality is a function of that body. We cannot chose it.

Additionally, our brains create and recreate connections all the time. The creation and recreation of the connections, how the brain is “wired”, is affected by our environment. I believe that the environment can contribute to mental illness insofar as a propensity for mental illness exists. It has been shown that some people who have the predisposition of mental illness may or may not develop such, and that outside stimuli, such as trauma or abuse, can trigger the illness. That is not to say that the person is not really sick and that the person can choose to get over the trauma and move on, back to not having a mental illness. They have a mental illness. Someone might have the propensity to develop a certain type of cancer but never become sick, while someone else in the same situation might participate in a lifestyle that increases their chances of developing the illness. That doesn’t mean, that if latter develops cancer,that the cancer isn’t legitimate. The brain is affected by intangible stimuli. Stress might result in stomach aches and headaches or worse, and it can also trigger a disorder in brain function. Mental illness is nothing more than physical illness, it just has a different manifestation. Sick is sick.

Honestly, until we stop trying to change other peoples’ opinions or impressions of mental illness, and start talking boldly, confidently and unashamedly about our illness just as though we have any other illness, I doubt the problem of stigma is going anywhere very quickly. If we own it, speak openly about it, and expect others to accept it like they accept any other serious illness, then eventually they will.

 

Bipolar, Experiences, Mental Health, Musings

Why Is Everything So Damn Hard?

It has been forever since I posted here. That is not for lack of trying. It’s just that I have been down more than up over the past few years and every time I sat down to write there was just nothing there. I couldn’t find anything to say, I lost the motivation to do anything. Quite frankly, mental illness sucks. Bad.

I swear to God I don’t know how so many people make life look so damn easy. It isn’t for me. For some reason I can’t seem to get life right. I know I have talent, I’ve always been at the top of my class, the team captain and the competitive pianist. A typical type A overachiever. I have three university degrees and even a professional degree. What gives?

Right now I am job searching. Most jobs I have ever had are ones that I should have been able to do better.  I am a hard-working, dedicated employee  but for some reason I see my peers passing me by. Is this typical of people with mental illness? Is that why I feel so behind compared to other people my age? I am not married, have no children, don’t own a home and probably never will. I am pretty, hard-working, and if my achievements are any indication, very smart. I always get along with my coworkers, when I have a job, and I do well at work. Why do I have so much trouble? I don’t get it. It seems like I take 3 steps forward and 3 to 5 steps back, but life just keeps on moving ahead without me.

How do I figure this out. I want a normal life but I don’t know how to get one. Almost every job I do is one that I really am overqualified for. Perhaps I lack confidence. Perhaps I am sending out a bad vibe or I’m on the wrong frequency. I don’t know, but at this point I’m willing to try anything to catch up in life. Does anybody know where I can get help with life? Is that a thing? I’ll try just about anything. Help!

Bipolar, Mental Health, Musings, Personal, Stories, Video

This Is All I Got For Now

Wow, it has been a really long time and a lot of really awful things have happened since I was regularly posting here. For the past 5 months or so I have spent varying amounts of time staring at this computer screen. Each time there is so much that I want to fill you in on, a multitude of stories that I’ve yet to get out.3410eea79eaaabc721d3692d363f1361

It kind of reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns gets a check-up. Well, each particular story is like one of Mr Burns’ little illnesses. The little bugs or illnesses are so numerous that they should have already killed Mr. Burns. He continues to live, however, because they are all blocking each other and cancelling each other out. Check out the video, it might make some sense to you. It is my best attempt at explaining myself.

If only a slight breeze would pop one of those stories out and the rest would flow. I guess that is kind of why I am writing this. It is something, even if it is simply me writing about not being about to get myself to write.

I feel like everything is just swirling above my eyes, up there somewhere and there is just so much ‘stuff’ in that cyclone that I become overwhelmed and I can’t figure out what to pick, what to start with. I don’t know which to write about, I don’t know which chore to start with, which move to make next. I feel like I have been hog tied with a big sock duct taped into my mouth. All I feel like I can bear to do is sleep. The whole swirling mess that is every day life just keeps spinning and I have grown weary, a ceaseless fatigue that just lingers. I don’t know how to move quickly, I am slow, I am perpetually tired. The very chore of fighting to achieve an upright position is a chore so big to me lately that I have considered just not getting up anymore. Just saying, “fuck it” and letting everything crumble around me until someone just deals with my limp, uncooperative body. This temps me often.

On the positive side, I have posted something. I feel like something budged. I think I made some room, wait…I did. So, there are a lot of stories to tell, lots of psychological findings I have come to learn. I recently found new hope and have learned that up until now, I’ve been prescribed mostly incorrect medications. I feel that many of you will be interested to learn about what I have discovered from my new, fabulous psychiatrist in whom I have a lot of hope. I want to share that whole journey as it unfolds, and will catch you up shortly. It is exciting, particularly if you have been dealing with Mental Illness in North America.

Stay tuned, I will return, I can feel a small breeze coming through that sliver of space I just freed up. Talk soon! xoxo

Awareness, Mental Health, Social Media

Loose The Label

Bipolar

Never put yourself down

0710101824-00So, I’m basically coming back from the abyss, and as the sunlight hits my skin and I claw what’s left of me out of the black hole that I disappeared into God only knows how long ago, this old post was amongst my life’s debris. A mountain of post Depression loose ends and missed this’s and that’s through which I once again find myself sifting is where  I came across this old post of mine and I felt like sending it out again. I know somebody needs to see it.

Never put yourself down. There are enough people who will do that for you.

– Advice from a friend

Remain mindful of your thoughts. Stomp out thoughts of negative self-talk without question. All lies, those thoughts are not your own, don’t let them become your own. Illusory echoes, the last desperate trace of the voices of those whose own self-talk spills unto others. In others they see only what they hate about themselves.

Only thoughts that are full of love and gentleness toward yourself are the truth, the rest are lies. Pity those who spill their own self-hate (knowingly or not, because anyone who loves themselves isn’t capable of hating others, it’s a side effect and it is how you can tell who is truly happy with themselves) and call out every single negative thought as a lie. Expose it, refuse it, and claim the truth on top of it.

The truth is that you are loved. Please love yourself. Be patient with yourself, and towards your precious self be merciful, forgiving, loving and kind. You are precious, and you need to take care of you.

There are enough people salivating at the opportunity to beat you up, to hurt you, to take from you. Do NOT do it for them. Protect your ‘self’ and love your ‘self.

Peace xo