I was reminded this morning of how I used to be, people who know you “from before” a brain blip tend to send your mind right back, to “another” you.
I recalled how reluctant I was to say that I was ill, how I backpeddled from treatment, how I refused medication for my OCD/PTSD for around six months and how when it all looks gloomy the thought of defining the sadness with big medical terms is enough to depress you – when you’re already depressed!
Here’s a news flash for anyone who feels like this at the moment:
I only started to heal when I got treatment, accepted the diagnosis, cried my eyes out (I put them back in) and then took meds – only 60mg in my case – but my long suffering therapist thought she’d have trouble even getting me to take 5mg of anything!
Therapy does make you better, I know it’s a long road and sometimes it seems neverending, but enjoy the moments in which you claim YOU back and can review the past with a knowledgable smile and gratitude that thanks to experts and rebalancing a chemical imbalance your life is yours.
Sure, it will be different, you will be stronger – no one goes through a mental health crisis without learning who they truly are – but that, in its own way is empowering. Cool, huh?!
Don’t let the bad guys steal your life, get help and the future opens up like a rose bud.
If anyone is down today I recommend this: Thanks Jo:-)
Let’s talk brain trickery…it is so easy when you have mental illness (or in a rut) to get stuck with stinking thinking. Thank God I suffer from it less than I used to…helped by a brilliant counsellor and CBT but I still fall prey to the occasional (read daily) thought error.
Like “I should have done this by now.”
“I’m taking too long loading the dishwasher, I have other stuff to do.”
“I must e-mail someone right now. They’ll be waiting.”
Really, the answer should be “why?” or “who said?” “what difference does it make?” “Is it a life of death importance?” BUT somehow the brain blip kicks in and two things happen in response to the stinking thinking:
You start to feel bad, like you’ve done something wrong and you tell yourself to do better, therefore demanding more of yourself which only adds pressure which exacerbates a stress related illness.
Anyone else seeing a vicious circle here?
Apparently it’s called the Demanding Thinking Error… It’s demanding and it’s a thought not a divine or true statement and it’s an error…so think of it as a number in place of a letter or a vegetable instead of a fruit. You don’t have to have it and use it just because it presents itself so if, like me, you have the demanding thinking error, don’t listen to that pesky inner voice, ignore it and remind yourself that life is to be enjoyed, it’s not a speed trial and you are a fabulous person doing just fine!
Happy rest of the day, smile, you’ve earned it. Have a slice of cream cake too, go on, you know you want to!
Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend, it’s almost here!!
I found myself wondering about something earlier…
Bearing in mind my experiences (ongoing) with depression and anxiety I was told about a friend of a friend who is going through a tough time and I’m going to be honest while I was sympathetic I wasn’t ready to feel sorry for her 100% as I can with other sufferers.
In brief: She is a twenty something single parent (the dad has custody every other weekend) and she never seems to be able to make ends meet, she works part time in a supermarket but doesn’t feel love for the job. Her doctor told her about 4 months ago that she was depressed and prescribed some meds to help.
OK, so far, so good – this is the stuff of life, I believe it’s called situational depression and it must be horrible or it wouldn’t be called depression. However, sympathy from those around her has diminished over the months and I can see why even though I know that depression can rob you of the concept of possibility and opportunity…
She doesn’t like her job – as she likes to tell any and everyone BUT she arrives late regularly, tries to leave early and isn’t keen to work so she often has to be reprimanded by her boss. We all know that the job market isn’t great so jumpin in to another job might not be possible but she won’t try because the present boss does nothing more than reprimand her verbally – water off the proverbial duck’s back.
She also stopped taking the meds but took another two months off work without any pay which wasn’t a popular course of action.
She doesn’t have enough money – this is a problem shared the world over and I can understand that money goes out the door as fast as it comes in. Children can’t live on fresh air and they are constantly growing BUT as soon as she can get a babysitter or the father has custody of her child she turns in to a party animal, gets totally wasted and spends far too much money on “having fun.” Everyone needs fun but every week???
A solution like going out less and saving some money doesn’t seem to have any weight in her mind – she wants to go out, get drunk and be a twenty something like her friends.
The general opinion is that she’s got in to a rut in which she is “happy” to tell everyone how miserable life is and how much she has to put up with but at the same time any help, constructive advice or offers of treatment are being refused or ignored.
So what is she going to do?
Is the answer really out of reach for her?
Does she simply have to face the fact that she can’t live the life her friends have because she’s got responsibilites?
Is it the depression or her nature that’s costing her the chance of taking control of her life?
Would “tough love” (NOT STIGMATISING!) help where indulgence hasn’t?
Is it time to employ the adage “God helps those who help themselves?”
Interesting, isn’t it? Everyone’s walk with mental health is different, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’ll be a sufferer and there’s a 3 in 4 chance that you’ll have to be around to support that person…however long it takes.
We can all learn from another person no matter how many answers we think we have.
Now, in case this is all too serious, here’s a funny picture. Thanks for reading!
It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?
Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!
Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.
I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.
She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.
In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”
Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”
Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”
Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.
Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”
Hmm, that’s not fair.
It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”
So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.
BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:
“Do you need to talk?”
“Can I help?”
“I’m here for you.”
“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”
“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”
“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.”
As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.
So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains.
Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.
We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.
Have a fab week.
I wrote this poem a while ago, thought I’d post it…It was written as a response to stress I’d experienced thanks to another person who should have behaved better. God bless therapy and therapists! Unsung heroes in the land of brain cells and emotions.
Love emboldens souls to be free
Or it creates dreams disappointing
Love is like blossom on the tree
It needs warmth to set forth flowering
Respect is to be earned not glibly spent
It’s not a silver spoon birthright
Respect is a given as a compliment
Not after a series of supremacy fights
Trust is peaceful but the preserve
Of those who’ve never been burned
The rest of us hold back, reserved
Until we’re sure our hearts to stone won’t turn
Forgiveness can prove difficult
But once accomplished it releases us to calm
We’re often too keen to assign fault
But that offers no one a healing balm
The heart and mind offer advice we eschew
However emotions will implode if your soul you defy
With experience we should learn that to ourselves be true
Isn’t blanket permission to injure, deride or despise.
On a graver note…
I hope that everyone is safe and well and that peace, love and empathy reign over the world.
The good guys must defeat the bad guys.