Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is the world against ME?

I have to say that there are a lot of sick twisted people out there and it really pisses me off. I can not comprehend how people get to the point of doing some of the things they do. Like the guy who took Jaycee Dugard. Obviously this man is seriously mentally disturbed.
So is this what people think of when they think of a mentally ill person?
It angers me that people will use stories like this to justify discrimination against people who are getting help for mental illness/disorders. I think it is important to realize that discrimination should not be against people who are getting help. I think it is important to recognize that people like this are usually not getting medical help or are not choosing to be medically responsible. This guy was also a heavy drug user at one point in his life. That is important to recognize. Drugs change people and screw them up. I have NEVER done drugs. I somehow knew that I was already screwed up enough I didn't need help. I wouldn't even drink or smoke.

I will also tell you this; mental health issues can lead us to loose control. It can lead us to consider things that we have been taught are wrong and/or never in million years would consider otherwise. That does not ever excuse the behavior.
I will use me as an example. In a much less stable state, one that was not being treated with medically, I found myself fighting an overwhelming desire to "end it all." I would also find my temperament so fragile that I would snap and not be able to handle the stress of my children. My frustration or anger would be so intense that I would desire to hurt them. This is not something I care to admit and I would beat myself up tremendously over my temper and anger. I could see how irrational it was but I could not seem to control it. I would yell...
But like I said there is no excuse or justification for bad behavior and I think I would rather accept tendencies and intensities like that as mental illness and take a few pills for it, because they do help and they do an amazing job at solving the problem, then just keep on down the path that could lead to who knows where.
It is and was not fair to my children, myself, my family or society.
Now you may think that you can not trust me, but, if that is what you think, then you couldn't be further from wrong. You see I have a problem, it is a problem because I was taught better. I was taught value's. I was taught integrity and I was taught love and respect. If I had not been taught these things maybe I would not see it as a problem as I could have easily justified my actions by the worlds standards to that point.

I hate to think where I'd be, likely dead by my own hand because I'd rather be that then hurt my children. But suicide is something else that I was taught is wrong.
I think it is important to realize that there is right and wrong and obvious wrong is never ever justified. Wrong may be a symptom in which case you know to get help, not change the definition of right and wrong for your particular case.
I do not change right and wrong, I change myself, whatever it may take.
There are ways and things people can do to change their deviant selves and if medication helps then why the hell are we discriminating against people who are choosing to live responsibly while many, many, many unstable and frightening people either refuse to accept such a thing as mental illness or refuse to get help, or refuse to acknowledge that is might apply to them. I am angry.
I am angry with distrust. I am not broken. I have not crossed the line. I am quite sane likely more then most because I can admit that I have a problem and will keep myself well within a safe range but only by getting help in various forms and talking open and honestly.
So today I feel the world may be against me but at least I now know that with Gods help I can trust myself completely. At least I can honestly say I don't get it, I can't even begin to comprehend. But, I'll tell-you-what, I'm willing to give up any of my deviance to be sure that I never even come close to understanding. Can you say the same?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The imblance battle theory

"Remove mood from the driver’s seat. A common trap for depressed individuals is that they aren’t motivated to participate in activities that improve their mood. They become inactive and withdrawn, which worsens and maintains their depression, Oakley said. This is where it’s key not to let your feelings dictate what you do, he added "

I read this in this article Wait let me correct myself. Actually, I have not read the article but skimmed it briefly and was just struck with an idea. I've had this idea and presented it before. I think of it more as a theory: Maybe some people with depression (in the "clinical" or "major" sense of the word) aren't dictated entirely by their moods but in letting their minds dictate, the result is mania. Imbalance is imbalance. In my opinion there needs to be a balance of mind and mood in the drivers seat (and likely heart and soul and everything else...when you are aware that there is so much to balance, balance is not always so easy...)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Wise Mantis once said...

Yes, I'm publishing this post twice because I copied it over to my blog before I posted so when I posted it posted on the date that I started the post but I think it very important so I will leave it here and put it on again for todays date.

This is a year or two year old e-mail from my very wise and redeeming older sister who has helped me through many challenges. I have wanted to post this for some time, it's one that just I don't want overlooked.

A little back ground. She wrote this to me when I was in a particularly delicate state. I was rapid cycling through all kinds of crap but I did not wish to visit any doctors as I had little faith or trust in them especially in this particular field.
It is important for people to understand, though I am quite sane and though I am little if any risk to society in general, I do have the potential to be quite literally and legitimately "crazy." Really wish I didn't. Really have fought that. Even tried denial. But sometimes we have to face reality and be responsible.
Just yesterday a friend who went through some bizarre panic attacks that were thus far acute to labor, was quite surprised by them. Surprised by how they came on so unexpectedly, how they affected her physically and how she really was trying to do what she was "supposed" to be doing (which was breathing). She was glad that I really did understand and could relate/explain a few things. It's like I told here "Unfortunately I relate to all kinds of crazy." (but maybe it is not so unfortunate)

Back to my point of what my sister wrote to me as I was starting to realize I needed help again. Not wanting to get to the point of a complete breakdown, I was starting to see that I really did relate to crazy yet I was not yet ready to accept it. I sent a little cry for help to my sister since she had been with me at other near breaking points in my life if she thought I might be a particular diagnosis. I am happy she let me share this here and now because I think here writing and intellect is a very rich and savory treat. Here is her reply:

"If you look in the genetics of this family, the environments and choices, you'll find symptoms of all of the below, with more inclination towards Anxiety and Depression. ( Not to mention Bipolar, thick-headedness and possibly glandular diseases... ; ) ).....

However, each individual isn't going to fit one category explicitly. Mental health is a many headed monster with hundreds of faces. In trying to categorize symptoms into " this is depression or this is bipolar" you limit yourself and fall into the mindset of "This is what I have / This is what I am", when in fact you're probably fragments of "each", combined with YOU.

People are not the disease, they HAVE it. There is so much people don't understand. It's been my experience that if you visit a doctor with a clinical guideline in his/her head of what the symptoms are your limiting yourself. - There is a reason "shrinks" have a quacky reputation, because when someone puts their trust in a doctor they assume that what the Doc diagnoses is fact. Doctors are not Gods. Psychiatrists are nothing more than glorified Personal Relation directors, some more educated than others.

In pigeonholing an individual you limit their success at management with a clinically closed mind because it's a mental health disorder and NOT a medical ailment, in the common sense of the word, and the damage done to the individual is nothing less than devastating and dangerous. A good quack knows this. A great one practices it.

In answer to your question, no, and yes. I feel your focusing on how to categorize "you". Don't. Self diagnosis can be an emotional roller-coaster that leaves you with too many unanswered questions and your limiting your treatment.

If you had say, a skin disorder that infected your entire body: would you only visit one Doctor for a diagnosis if what he prescribed continually didn't work? - Say it does work, would you only treat one or two limbs, hoping that the rest of you would just catch on and heal? Or, if the prescription healed most of it except the more advanced/infected patches. Would you then consider trying a new prescription or approach, or stubbornly stick to the first and take your chances?

Your dealing with the spirit here, not the body. Yes, I know it's genetics and chemicals, but what happens to your physical body is secondary to the anguish your soul / mind is left scarred with.

-Diagnosing yourself will only lead to boxing yourself in. I can guarantee your not "this" or "that". Your [You]. What your mind does is going to be different than the next. You can't categorize the mind. Period.

Even if you were to be diagnosed [this] you would like a snowflake, each [this] is different than the next. Throw in other avenues of mental health and you'll never hit the right pitch unless your open to managing ALL of your collective demons.

Self medication is hit or miss, and I can guarantee it's short lived as the "supplements" are not strong nor regulated in their consistency, to be enough. Couple that with the body's ability to overcome and figure out how to get around it, and you'll be left standing in a mind full of demons before you know what hit you. -- Take CAREFUL consideration that when the body figures it out it'll come back to bit you in the ass, usually before you even know it's coming, because it's not overnight. It's gradual, and before you know it your back at square one, oblivious that what your taking stopped working a long time ago. At that point your usually too consumed by your own mind to steer straight and your judgement will be skewed. Back to square one. -- Which is why you MANAGE mental health, you don't cure it. In managing it you are able to touch bases with the doc. (one who knows what he's doing) and he's able to detect the subtle change and currents and adjust things accordingly.

I know money is a factor. FIND A WAY. If anybody can, you can. Open the mind to possibility. I've taken everything from seizure medications to hard core Bipolar horse pills. I do best on two completely different medications that I take every day. And, every year it changes. That's the nature of the beast. If you truly want relief from the angst, open your mind and find a way, don't stand on indecision waiting for a set of rules to follow. Go forward with courage, nothing doubting, believing in yourself, have faith, keep hope at hand and all things will work towards your good. Believe that your already there and you will have the knowledge and confidence to accomplish it. Let me know how it goes. Sorry for the lecture .. OK, not really, you knew me for what I am when you asked the question. : )"

And I absolutely love her for what she is. How could we ever really learn, grow or accomplish much with out people like her in our lives.

She often leaves us speechless, so don't feel bad if you to have to read through more then once and really have to let your brain work to take it all in and to fully grasp the idea's presented. Please take the time to fully grasp it all. It's well worth it.

Thanks for listening and have a very nice day.

keeping faith and fight

"I know everyone has ups and downs in all journeys we embark on. Today was a down.
Today it was a little harder to be happy as the children were singing in [church].
Today I didn't feel like listening to the lesson but rather I wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep. Today I didn't want to hear the encouragement that I just need to have faith and things will work out fine. Today, I wanted to close my eyes and pretend the world would melt away into nice warm nothingness.
Why is it that when things are harder the things I need to do more are the things I want to do the least?
I am planning on tomorrow being an up day in my journey. I am also hoping that the ups and downs level out a bit in the very near future. I guess when it all comes down to it, that is what faith is for after all."

This was a blog entry of a friend (I think she writes beautifully) who is in fact going through some very hard times. Now I understand her point and on her blog they are really irrelevant to me and my blog. Yet she writes a nice introduction to a few points that have been a huge struggle for me personally and I think can be some of the big misconceptions with mental illness/disorders, and I'd like to address that.

Ups and downs are normal and I am certain most people struggle with that from time to time. But where is the line drawn? What is a "normal" human struggle and what is a physiological problem? And when is it merely a lack of faith and spirituality?

I (of course) have formed a few opinions on the matter. One point I'd really like to make is that things of religious and spiritual nature, in my experience and observation, can and will feed an imbalance. For me personally (and I've touched on it before) there are "spiritual highs."

I have often considered that my ups and manic like symptoms are simply the pendulum swing in an imbalanced state as a result of my fighting depression (or just an imbalance). If the chemicals are out of whack and I push myself to do things to make me happy or more spiritual or what ever then they will still be out of whack and I will respond to the stimuli in a different, maybe more extreme, way then if my chemistry was "better" balanced.

Does this make sense?

And which is better or worse to be down and out of balance, or to be up and out of balance? We tend to think it is better to be up, period, but I know plenty of people who know better. Out of balance is out of balance and when out of balance becomes to usual and to extreme, up or down, then there is very possibly a problem that no amount of fighting or faith will stabilize.

Unless, of course, it is God's will also. But this will continue to be a hard part of human nature to accept God's will that is not always the same as ours. I guess a point I am trying to make here is sometimes it takes faith to accept that I have a problem that I can't kick on my own. And it takes faith to tackle that problem appropriately.

I think it is important to kick things on our own, and try to solve our own problems but may I remind you that God did not put us here alone and for as much as it is an individual experience it is also a collective experience. And we are all still God's children and loved by Him no matter how His will for us may be different form our own (with our limited understanding).

Mental illness and disorders are a very hard thing to accept because, and I think my sister put it best when she said
" fact you're probably fragments of 'each', combined with YOU.

"...Mental health is a many headed monster with hundreds of faces.... People are not the disease, they HAVE it. There is so much people don't understand... because it's a mental health disorder and NOT a medical ailment, in the common sense of the word, and the damage done to the individual is nothing less than devastating and dangerous."

To my friend and you, or any one who ever relates to the ups and downs, I would say keep fighting, keep trying. I appreciate my friends faith, I hope that others will have that to.

But if, when life settles down, or even if it never does, if you don't adjust and you hit the point where it is taking too much time and energy to battle the ups and downs, if your efforts seem to escalate the ups to be followed by deeper downs, and/or if you ever ever start thinking of ways to help the world to "melt into nice warm nothingness," then please employ a few more forces in your army and get the help you need and deserve.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow

Feb 26, 2009
I feel like writing but I have nothing to say… It is days like this that suck. I don’t like how real and fake life is. My brother is gone and that bothers me. A LOT.
I don’t like the quiet. Sometimes I don’t feel real. My little brother---(edit cut)... He’s not OK… I’m not OK… Life is supposed to be a grand adventure but I don’t like it right now. I’m not sure what I am supposed to do anymore.
About 6 months prior:
I am half laughing as I tell the study doctor psychiatrist that I am pretty sure I am a vampire.
I am laughing because I know that I am supposed to know that I am not but part of me believes that I might be. Or at least that I relate… To a fictitious interpretation of a fictitious being. It’s funny really. And I have to laugh at how I float between realities never really part of any.

I am mostly sane, my head is still a bit jet lagged and I am certain that elevation is having more of an effect then I’d like but other then being a bit slow and forgetful I think I am mostly fine.
I listened to a discussion/interview on the radio (All things considered)about a musical called “Next to Normal.” They made the point that mental illness is a life long issue…
That is when I fully realized that this would be a life long thing.
At 19 when I first got myself into “mental trouble” I was absolutely determined to not need medication for the rest of my life. I was sure that I could beat this “depression.” I was absolutely determined to be fine, to “heal,” to get “over it.” I believed that I would be... with everything in me…and after all can’t we do anything if we put our minds to it. Isn’t the sky the limit. Can’t we be anything if we just believe.
These days I feel a bit angry that we were so puffed up with these lies as children. If there was anything I learned in school it was that I could be/do anything I put my mind to. I am angry because it is a lie that we were constantly being subjected to, this push the limits type of addictive thinking. And it continues, “You deserve it” and all that bull…
I am sad because I now have to realize and accept that this is my life and I will battle with mental illness for the rest of my life… I’d really rather not.
But then I am thankful for the people I know, and that I know so many good people with “mental illness‘s.” And I am thankful that I was caught early.
I feel a sense of responsibility and a desire to help along with frustration with the current state of the field psychiatry and mental illness. It is so confusing, taboo and shunned.
I feel overwhelmed when I try to think of how I can help or what I should.
And though it is nice to feel much more stable, I will admit that at times I feel confused by my current lack of intensity .
But I am also happy that life has been so good to me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A day in paradise

We just got back from Hawaii. Huge steep mountains, beautiful waterfalls with delightful pools to play in, caves, the most beautiful blue ocean with all of its wonder and glory, jungles and all sorts of hidden treasures. Hawaii is definitely my idea of paradise (though it can be a bit crowded and unfriendly in some places).
At one point, after we had a few amazing days exploring, we were driving in the peaceful and pleasant early morning on the road back from Hana and a thought occurred to me. I was struck with the idea that, here, in paradise, maybe I would not need the medication crutch that I so despise. It was blissful thought, yet as I remembered all that I have learned, know and have been through, I recognized the error in my idealization. And I realized the reality of what the trip would actually be like, had I not been on medication...
It would have been too much.
Paradise would have simply overwhelmed me and after experiencing euphoria, that may or may not have lasted longer then usual but likely would have been even more intense, I would have been a mess of emotions that would threaten my existence. I would have a type of anxiety and adrenaline that would compare to bungee jumping out of a hot air balloon but that would continue inside me well after a hot air balloon would have landed. It would continue until I broke.
So as much as I still dislike being somewhat dependant on medication I am very grateful that I could enjoy Hawaii with them.
And so this is the life that has chosen me and I suppose I will continue to work on accepting that...