psychiatry

Making Meaning of BPD/Abusive Relationships, and MGTOW

This is a reflection on what happened after I left college and moved back home with my parents. For starters, I need to tell you exactly what happened with my love life.

For starters, the summer before I left, I got with my college RA. He was moving to graduate school. I recommended him to a school 5 states away and he got in. I was coming to terms with the fact that he would be gone permanently.

Moreover, I threw myself into a relationship with him because not only did I like him but my relationship with my ex fell apart. My ex was not happy that I found love with someone else (though I truly was blind in thinking my RA liked me back) and he got with someone else . He would send me text messages about their sexual encounters together from different numbers every time I blocked him. I would try to report him to the police but they assumed it was a “couple’s problem.”

I threw myself at my RA. Looking back, I could see that I was desperate. When I confessed my love for him and that I told my ex about us, he told me he needed space. He ended up blocking me on Facebook and on his phone. I went into a deep depression and I hate to say it, but I went crazy. I ended up texting him from different numbers, calling him 20-30 times, and ended up shunning my friends. Nothing made sense anymore. My major seemed pointless. The uplift I felt from antidepressants and getting help suddenly seemed worthless.

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My ex and I also got back together, except we weren’t together. He had lied to me twice about him breaking up with his girlfriend when he wasn’t. I tried to Facebook message her about it but ended up realizing she had blocked my main Facebook account because my ex had told her I was crazy and she would probably never believe anything I said to her. He insisted I agree to be polyamorous with him. He would drive by my dorm and contact me throughout the night. I ended up having to leave the school. He made sure to “tell” (though it was lying) to my family that I was suicidal so that I would be institutionalized and have to come back to school with him. My parents contacted his parents but he told them that I elaborately made up the whole thing and was obsessed with him. They believed him. He also told me “Nobody will ever love you because you are crazy.” So I ended up getting a new number and my stepdad threatened him to never talk to me again.

I went home. It was too late to start classes at my new school due to registering late. I ended up having to stay home. I began to write on Quora about my experiences with Bipolar Disorder and soon realized that my own experiences with medications were not accepted for they were seen as contributing to the stigma of those seeking help for mental disorders. I also threw myself at MRA men on the internet through Whisper and Disqus. I had heated conversations where 40-50 year old men told me I was a selfish woman who didn’t deserve love and where my own experiences in abusive relationships were invalidated.

Throwing myself at people on the internet during the year of 2016 was ultimately a mistake. I corrected Liberals and Conservatives, Feminists and Anti-Feminists. While men on Disqus were attacking my worth as a woman, Liberals on Whisper and Quora were attacking my intelligence. Why did I seek to argue with people online? Deep down, I think I could have been trying to validate others’ hatred of me. Videos like Sandman on Youtube still deeply bother me to this day, when I view them, I think there is no hope for me in having a loving relationship because I still believe men to be evil and myself to be irrevocably flawed. I read my sister’s self-help books and she’s 40. I read chick-lit books. I’ve thrown myself to Men’s Rights advocates and the Psychiatry community. One girl in particular sticks out to me because her comment to this day bothers me and gives me a deep seated uncomfortableness and doubt in myself.

This is the type of ‘question’ I normally avoid because you’re not looking for a solution. All you want to do is beat your fists against a figurative brick wall in frustration and gain as much sympathy as possible. Frustration I understand personally; beat away. Sympathy, I do not, but I can easily employ critical thinking skills and cognitive empathy.

The numerical logic has already been pointed out, as well as the therapist approach and the understanding female friend advice. What’s left for me to analyze? I’m going with my favorite: brutal, logical honesty mixed in with psychological probability.

  1. Your question suggests that you are self-absorbed and ruminating. This indicates that either you’re going through a depressive episode, or you’re possibly suffering from a personality disorder. No, I’m not going to diagnose you, but portraying rumination and self-hatred publicly while demanding sympathy is narcissistic behavior. Is that a temporary or long-term defense mechanism? If the latter, and considering your mis-diagnosis of bipolar, read up on borderline personality disorder and see if personal accounts resonate. From what I’ve read on your profile, you sound very similar to someone in my inner circle who is borderline. A possibility to consider, perhaps. Either way, such patterns of rumination are helped immensely by DBT. Ask your therapist about it.
  2. The concept of ‘giving up on all men’ implies that blame for some misdeed is on an entire sex. One or three or five hundred men out of billions has wronged you, and now every man is to blame? Displacement of blame is common in people who have fragile egos and self-esteem. What is your role in what happened? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your shortcomings? Nothing is one-sided, and taking responsibility for faults actually makes you stronger and more powerful. I know from daily experience.
  3. Sympathy is like heroin. It feels great, but if you keep taking it, you eventually wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost everything. Those who seek out sympathy instead of compassion are looking for others to justify their refusal to take responsibility for their lives. They’re also handing control of themselves and their lives to someone else. Unless you believe in Jesus, or the FSM, I wouldn’t recommend that. Malignant narcissists await such opportunities.
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Am I unworthy of love? Am I not trying hard enough? Am I deeply egotistical and narcissistic? The rabbit hole is deep and unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever crawl out from under this hole again with a sense of confidence and believe that I will find my way in the world.  However, I learned some things that may shed light on how my life has failed incredibly.

  • Depression is still looked down upon by many people as selfish and needy. People who are depressed and/or emotional will be blamed for the start because they are more vulnerable than others.
  • Women are still seen as emotional and irrational despite of the Feminist movement. Though you can get raped, hit, or bullied by your friends – people will still see you as selfish and narcissistic.

Unfortunately, my conclusions are that I have grown weaker as a result of my experience. I can’t allow myself to grow weaker or let this girl’s comments effect me because if they do, I will never have the confidence to do anything again. I’m like a glass figurine that has been cracked and cracked enough that at some point it will shatter and be thrown in the trash can. I sought to escape my Bipolar diagnosis and I sought love but ultimately I found regret. Such is the nature of life I suppose. I wish looking back that I had never sought to be pretty like the popular girls so I could impress my private school crush. I wish I had never allowed myself to be jealous and wished for a boyfriend, sitting alone in the dark and brooding. I wish I had accepted myself for who I am and not allowed myself to get depressed. To have appreciated having friends.

I like to think this story ends at the beginning at the homecoming dance. Matt, Mel, Sam, Caroline, Alexandra, Ryan, Ashley, Will and I were all together on the dance floor of the gymnasium. The song “I Gotta Feeling” came on and we all started dancing. The whole room started dancing too. Being young and innocent like that, we were all full of joy and elation. I turned to Mel and we sung. Me and Alexandra jumped up and down.

Later, it was time to go. I left my shoe under the bleachers. Realizing that the bleachers were down permanently and I couldn’t get my shoe back, I limped away with one shoe on my foot. I hoped that there was some imaginary “Prince Charming” that would find my shoe but ultimately, I knew that I would get up the next day and would make it. That’s all we can do. Yet I know that then, I was miserable too with my own problems.  I know that what happened to me was not all my fault. Perhaps life is just a continual progression of one challenge after another and the real challenge is in jumping through as many hoops as you can. I know that…

  • That I ran into selfish and narcissistic people along the way.
  • That I may never have a normal life, may have to get back on medications and may have to accept that my dreams of having a family, friends and a normal life may be an impossibility.
  • That I may always be “mad.”

Hopefully, in the future, we can see how the trauma of what we do to others can impact them and be more careful in how we treat others. For now, I’ve accepted being a narcissist. I see strength in caring for myself first that I did not before. I don’t have time for other peoples’ concerns or ideas of what I should do with my life. I can no longer feel guilt for failed relationships with others because it takes two people to tango and those who can’t see how they tangoed may be the problem in the first place. I hope that’s the big takeaway for this story and as for where it goes, that is up to you.

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psychiatry

Getting off Medications

So today, I’m going to be talking about my experiences getting off medications and how to get off yours.

Here’s the first problem with getting off your medications: there is a reason why there isn’t much research that is being done about it. The reason is that currently – there is a biological perspective on mental illnesses. Conditions like personality disorders and even minor conditions like internet addiction, are signals of an underlying disorder of the brain.

I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that mental illness requires treatment based on the idea of it being a biological illness but that goes into a whole plethora of issues in the realm of comorbidity. In psychiatry, comorbidity is discovered while you are in the process of treating another illness. In “antipsychiatry” language (which I will call in the future “alternative psychiatry”), comorbidity is the idea that as you are treating a mental illness – another illness comes about as a result of treatment.

I don’t mean to scare you but this is a reality of conditions like Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and many other illnesses.

. You want a drug to remove psychosis but it can accelerate heart rate and cause imaginary stressors even when the intent was preventing delusions.
. You want depressed people to be happy but the reality is that the treatment of antidepressants, which can cause an uplift in mood, can create symptoms of mania and unpredictability that is socially awkward to everyday behavior.
. You want to help one with ADHD to become more focused in school but in the process you suppress them connecting with their emotions, and perhaps they believe in result that they are asexual or non-gender binary.

This is a reality. It’s not to contribute to the stigma of those with mental disorders – rather it’s to illustrate that if you are going to a psychiatrist to see about treating a mental disorder, you will face challenges due to side-effects of meds. It may be that you have a mental illness responding to the meds, but it doesn’t mean that you are solely responsible for your reaction to said meds.

There’s been a lot of controversy then about getting off one’s meds and we generally as a society do not support it. Certain instances of Dylan Kleobold, Elliot Rodger and the Germanwings airpilot follow suit. For that, here are some alternative medicine interpretations of the mass homicide incidents.

https://psychiatricfraud.org/2011/04/the-real-lesson-of-columbine-psychiatric-drugs-induce-violence/

https://www.cchrint.org/2014/05/26/will-lawmakers-investigate-elliot-rodgers-psychiatric-drug-use-or-ignore-it-that-is-the-question/

https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/the-germanwings-crash-flying-under-the-influence/

I don’t really care whether or not these individuals had a mental illness or not – that would be to either insinuate that medications cannot cause psychosis or that people with mental illnesses aren’t naturally psychotic. However, finding these instances that are ignored by the mass public are something that I particularly identify with.

When I discovered that Elliot Rodger was on the drug risperdal, had withdrew suddenly and then wanted to die by overdose before deciding to kill others – I understood how hard Risperdal was as well as the challenges of medicine withdrawal a way others could never understand. The media likes to portray that if we help individuals seek treatment, they will always be better off and then deliberately ignores when the drug is the cause of the impairment. Drug psychosis, withdrawal psychosis and med change psychosis (as in the case of the Germanwings pilot) are realities of medication and/or mental illness.

When I was in a dark bathroom of my dorm room having another psychotic breakdown, I knew I had to get off my meds. I saw a woman on the other side of the room – Asian, dressed in 40’s garb and she was angry at me. I started having memories of past lives and whether or not I thought this could be signs of what he spirituality community sees as a Kundalini awakening or just signs that my “treated” Bipolar Disorder was developing into a more Schizophrenic-like condition of hearing things and seeing things, I knew I was far in the ether of my mind and had to get back to reality.

There’s something comfortable in having a grasp on reality. In a way, we all want to feel comforted. We look at our phones, we talk to each other about the weather, we get upset on the roads and we get mad at things we watch on the television. There’s nothing wrong with secularism in my opinion if it keeps you in a comfortable place. Plenty of people without mental illness don’t realize the privilege they have of hanging onto their normal lives. That’s what I wanted – to escape my diagnosis and be a “normal” person again.

Psychiatry works by assuming your illnesses require lifelong treatment – therefore there was only 3 psychiatrists in my own state that were alternative psychiatrists. I went to a very inspiring one that I will call Dr. Whiteside. He lived in a hippie house with his wife with plants in the windows and a greenhouse out back. He had written several books. In his discussion with me, he determined that I had PTSD from my experience and needed treatment. He started me on two anti-anxiety medications.

I was not thrilled to be diagnosed with another condition. It didn’t help me to be on these meds – except for the sake of withdrawing from my Bipolar meds. I then wanted to get off all my meds – cutting them into halves, and quarters until I was officially off.

Yet oh, the irony. I got back on a pill I had to take for my laporoscopy – a birth control pill. You’d think that after the first time of being on birth control, my gynecologists would realize that I don’t do well on it. That I get depressed and psychotic. It affected my mental stability and ultimately affected another relationship.

I had to eventually leave the school I was at and go back to live with my parents. I also had to take a break off school because I signed up late. I didn’t have the best time doing nothing and reflecting on the ways thing had failed, but eventually after 5-7 months I began to recover from manic-depression symptoms.

The way you have to do it is different for everyone. Therapy to correct or at least stabilize underlying thought patterns. Also I was extremely lucky as to not be addicted to drugs or alcohol which can greatly spiral a Bipolar condition with or without medications. You need to be fully ready to take care of yourself to get off medications and find someone who can help you. The problem is that I don’t really know your situation and I don’t think that gives me absolute authority to be able to help you because you might be experiencing psychosis and that requires immediate medical attention. There are certain co-occurring disorders that can occur with our without medication and that can greatly determine whether you need to be on medication or not. You also have to understand (cause this is really important) that even a stable Bipolar/or other mental health condition can relapse. You have to understand that your moods are controlling your thoughts which are controlling your decision making. If you ever got into a place where you thought of harming yourself or taking your own life, you have to realize medication and therapy would perhaps be okay and not to feel ashamed about it. What else? Do not eat carbs and drink carbonated drinks, particularly caffeine, because these are some of the things that can spiral you in a manic state. Do not take steroids. Understand that certain medications even treated for physiological conditions can effect your psychological state: meaning that you must practice holistic wellness to be sound in mind and body. Go to sleep on time. If you are using your mania to dabble into something obsessively, it can throw you off your circadian rhythms. Be like the Buddha and meditate. Practice mindfulness to control your impulsivity. Understand that depression can control your thoughts. Find a support system. In short, I am neither for nor against psychiatry but because extreme psychiatric conditions cause for careful methods of treatment, it gives you permission to use everything to help yourself.

Then, of course, there is the idea that everyone should get on and stay on their medication. Little evidence or research has been done to prove otherwise, instead research promotes continuing a patient’s dependency to psychotrophic drugs when their careers, relationships and health are at stake from an increase in medication. Some have found it better to get off their medication but until we recognize this as a society, there will continue to be laws barring people from freedom to make their own choices in regards to their life and a scare in the population to try to convince others that they are not crazy or mentally ill. Then of course there is the unaddressed question of the stigma of mental health in getting people jobs or keeping them in their positions of power. Many presidents have had mental illness as well as writers, celebrities, etc. Until we recognize that mental illness is mental genius in some respects, these people will continue to refuse health and get sicker. So yeah there are a lot of problems. If you are interested, visit: Mad In America – Science, Psychiatry & Community or Beyond Meds. I like to believe that we will find new ways to treat mental illness beyond the use of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants and stimulants. A way of treating the mentally ill and the seriously mentally ill without putting their health at such a serious jeopardy. Until then we are unfortunately stuck with this system of psychiatry.

For getting off meds, Alternative Mental Health is a good resource. You can find people on Youtube and other areas of the web to help as well. Never embark on this journey without the help of a psychiatrist, but make sure he/she is open-minded in helping you. Traditional psychiatrists, though they are versed in the treatment of mental health disorders, are not as versed in getting people off medications. Find an alternative psychiatrist.

 

psychiatry

Psychiatric PTSD

depressed

This is going to be a diversion from some of the blog posts I’ve been writing. I have been going in a linear fashion for my digital activism project only to have this project come to a standstill. The reason being is that reliving my memories and trying to explain them to other people, though it can be therapeutic and help people, has brought on bad memories. Then I discovered the guy I love is a Behavioral Health Specialist at a mental health clinic – i.e. writes about patients and then works with psychiatrists to diagnose treatment plans.
I had a vision of this project that at the end, I would tell you that I have worked out my feelings for my RA as being something decided for now as at a standstill. However, realizing his job description, makes me deathly afraid of him. Truth is: I love him. I have loved him for a complicated number of reason such as BPD, attraction to his mind and emotions, physical attraction, infatuation/love/lust, because he’s so different and the need to have someone different in my life that’s challenging me. Only, I feel like I’ve been disillusioned the whole time trying to impress him with school and things only to realize he dropped out of graduate school in October.
The truth is, I have BPD. I’ve never had a successful relationship in my life with anyone – whether it was because of them being narcissistic or me being emotional. I want to tell you that I feel better and am coming to terms with illness, that I am coming to a place of emotional maturity. I’m truly afraid that I will always be chasing ideals in society – in this case, having trying not to be crazy when I know he will always view me as crazy and unstable. I have trauma against mental health professionals looking down on psychiatric patients and there is no therapy group, books or resources for my condition. I only have myself and I’m scared.
So things are going to change with this blog – I will be more honest from now on. Let me be clear though, I love him and it hurts to know I will never be enough for him. That I may never know a way to treat my BPD, Bipolar or both for people to be happy with me because of how I’ve failed with medications and therapy. That’s how I honestly feel. I can’t say I have the answers because I’m still learning. I frequently don’t feel safe around people and I don’t know how to fix it. That’s why I have been writing, writing and ruminating over these experiences. That’s why I have learned so much about mental health now even without qualification in the field and still feel deathly afraid of ever stepping into it – out of the fear of diagnosing myself. This is the truth
* That I may never come to terms with the system.
* That I may be always outside of the system looking in and monitoring my thoughts.
* That I will never express my thoughts out of fear of institutionalization.
* That I will look at people with kids and loving partners – thinking that it will never happen to me.
* That I secretly don’t know if I deserve to have kids or love.
* That I will always see people as judging me or using me to be means to their own ends.
It’s just a fact that I’m not okay. That’s all I can be right now. I talked to him about it. He understands that I’m upset. He agrees people can be desensitized in mental hospitals. He’s a caring person. There’s just no other way around it. We are different and everything but, I’m really glad we are friends.

psychiatry

Treatment Compliance

Ah treatment. This meant that I was “Bipolar in recovery” and supposed to be getting better. I would have to get better. I would have to listen to my psychiatrist and take my pills every night/morning. I would get better by adhering to treatment and as such, I would prove to everyone that I could be a responsible adult. Already I had failed so much already but if I proved to everyone I was fine, I would be fine.

I was starting school after being institutionalized. I was making my first friend – my RA in my dorm – whom I had a massive crush on. I would prove to him I was fine by telling him what was going on in school and making friends with everyone. I was fine… until I accidentally cut myself in the shower. It was a relief. I felt like I had something to control. I wanted to do it again. I needed something to hold onto.

We talked later in the day about everything: Politics, Religion, Philosophy and our futures. I would be independent and convince him that I was attractive. I would smile – I smiled for an hour in front of the mirror everyday. Yet he rejected me. I was an emotional wreck. I left messages at his door. I pushed him further and further away. Now I knew the truth that I was Bipolar because if I wasn’t, he would stay. It was obvious my treatment wasn’t working because I was crying every few hours and hating being at school.

Moreover, I couldn’t focus in school. I would get intense anxiety attacks where I wouldn’t leave my apartment. When I did leave and was sitting through class, I would try to stay attentive but would find myself drifting off. Honestly, I wondered if they had gotten the diagnosis wrong and that I just had ADHD instead. I tried to go to the disability resource center about this, because of a recommendation from my psychiatrist, but they wouldn’t classify Bipolar Disorder as a learning issue that needs special help. My grades dropped drastically from a 3.6 to a 2.34 and I ended up getting my first F in a class. I would end up having manic mood swings every few hours – which is alternating between crying and extreme agitated mania. Mania is like excitement, stress and worry all rolled into one.

Basically, I wasn’t getting better. I tried new medications a lot of the time. My psychiatrist had thought Depakote was the problem but looking back, I knew it was the Zoloft that was causing my mania. I became dependent on it. I knew people liked me better on it and I wanted the approval of other people simultaneously. I ended up getting into my first relationship. That lasted for a few months, until we had an argument and I ended up overdosing on Zoloft. I got my ticket to the mental hospital for the third time.

Fall came. By then, they had switched me on Ambilify. Ambilify has been known to increase risky behavior in people where risk is supposed to be mediated. Ambilify Impulse. It was that risky behavior that encouraged me to breakup with my ex-boyfriend. I didn’t really want to break up with him, but I figured I could “teach him a lesson” so to speak. I had begun to suffer the affects of Ambilify. My first affair began that night. By the end of the fall, I had slept with 7 guys. I had been slut-shamed by my ex-boyfriend, and desperately hated myself for what I had done. I would do anything to have him back, so I accepted my psychiatrist’s interpretation that it was my Bipolar Disorder that had caused the problem. He did decide to get me off Ambilify by the time winter had come to Lithium and another mood stabilizer, but both ended up causing Hypothyroidism. My psychiatrist refused to give these medical records to me and when we finally got them, refused to admit Lithium overwhelmed my Thyroid. He wanted me to stay on it and if I didn’t, I would have to stop seeing him. So I stopped seeing him and got off both drugs.

Looking back, treatment compliance for Bipolar Disorder was helpful in the beginning. Being told that my mania and depression was the cause of social discord between me and other people caused me to focus on managing moods and getting in touch with my emotions. Ultimately, the diagnosis became self-defeating because it made me accept abusive relationships and ultimately rape as my own fault. I think when it comes to diagnosis, we can tell ourselves that we are “oppositionally defiant” and need to accept our diagnosis but ultimately when the treatment proves to significantly impair one’s mental health and physical health – it’s proper to leave it. To get outside the medical model and not see oneself as damned to a life-long biological illness.

I would like to entertain the reader to the movie “A Dangerous Game.” It is the story of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud’s short lived friendship. Sigmund Freud was very methodical in his treatment of mental illness and cold hearted. Carl Jung had unethical relationships with his patients. It was Jung’s interest in the esoterical that made Sigmund Freud eventually cut contact with him. Jung later went on to study more of the mystical and esoteric, believing that one can teach another to tap into one’s potential. He was a creator in the MBTI assesment and now individuals are able to tap into this system.

Perhaps then it is necessary to start observing the potential in illness. To reach new heights in mentality. The benefits of Autism. The benefits in Bipolar Disorder. Instead of thinking about it’s negative effects, turning the patient away from recovery with their own strengths and instead to attempt living a life that is not their own – not defined and “doomed” by their illness.

Sigmund Freud thought this ideas endangering his own system and his patients. For if people fearlessly pursued their dreams, would their be a point to law? A system of government? An order of peace? Perhaps people would end up destroying the world in the process.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein

I am well aware that the argument Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud had will haunt Psychology. It’s a threat to it’s existence even though Carl Jung’s ideas were not widely adopted by everyone who came to study him hereafter. Perhaps though it gives hope to anyone who has been diagnosed and is questioning it’s validity.

If you have read this far, I suppose I will tell you the truth.

You ever wondered why certain medications can treat Anxiety and Depression at the same time? This is no coincidence. There is a lot of confusion in the community. We can recognize that there is illness or distress plaguing the individual but not all of us can determine it biological. When you really study it in depth, you find that there is no scientific basis for any illness. No observed phenomena of a chemical imbalance of the brain. And if anyone told you that they could biologically test you for mental illness, you will find that it’s a bogus test. There’s no way to do so.

However, if you are depressed or suicidal, get a doctor. Try medication.

Perhaps the medication will effect your health later on. There is no study of this by any pharmaceutical company (*SHOCKER!*) but many patients observe complications with their health as their medication dose increases.

There is also no science to getting people off their medicine. Most MD’s assume it is impossible but is it really? Perhaps with proper therapy and an appropriate time frame (3 months, not three weeks) the patient may able to get off medication. (Sometimes it takes 3 years.) However, most MD’s do not recommend trying at all. They say that the patient will have to stay on medication their life when in some cases, they don’t need to. They don’t have to. Is psychiatry then properly rehabilitating people at all? Or are they just after money? Hey, just for fun, go see what kind of car your MD drives. You know where he got that car? Your money.

Perhaps some people do have illness but still have to get off medication. This will be your choice. I stopped seeing my psychiatrist because he failed to help when I was failing at school due to being distracted by my medication when focusing on material. I chose my illness for now because I need to support myself. I am not getting married soon. No husband wants a dependant wife (though I will have to be eventually based on the nature of the illness) and my mom does not want me to live with her forever.

I chose my illness because for now, I have to take the reigns of my life. I have to readjust myself to my long manic cycles because it is what I am used to. It is how I am best able to learn and succeed, regardless of the issues between family and friends (which I am now aware of.)

The whole point I am trying to make is that you can only decide for you what is best for you. Life is a learning process and sometimes with illness, it is scary. I am not recommending getting off medication but if you are feeling brave, take the leap. It’s time.

 

psychiatry

Preconceptions of Mental Illness

No one wants to be mentally ill. Being mentally ill implies that there is a lack of ability to reason – whether we want to admit it or not. There is still an inherent stigma attached to mental illnesses and perhaps, since it’s so easy to label those who disagree with us as mentally ill, we are deathly afraid of being diagnosed with a mental illness. Being diagnosed mentally ill is like running into a scary maze except it is full of dead ends and the anxiety that you will never find your way out. When I received my diagnosis as having Bipolar Disorder, I received the opposite of comfort. The feeling I discovered was dread, failure and opposition.

See, being labeled Bipolar means to the people working at the mental hospital that you could have done something to solve it – by taking medications already.

My own psychiatrist said to me this: “You’ve been a burden on your family you’re entire life.”

Was it true? I suppose it was true. I had been the bratty, youngest child all my life. I had been bullied in school and rejected by boys. The only explanation was that I was Bipolar.

Yet I wasn’t happy with getting the diagnosis. I spent the rest of my time trying to pretend that I was getting better while I was in the mental hospital. I tried being extra nice to the workers at the hospital, speaking up politely in group and befriending others who looked lost. I thought if I were pretending to be friendly and better, I would get out and by getting out, could get off my medications.

I ended up going to the mental hospital the next week for a bad reaction to Risperdal. When I arrived at the mental hospital the second time, I was not as happy to be there. I was angry that a psychotic reaction to medications meant I had a “Bipolar Relapse” and needed to be on new medications. The second mood stabilizer they got me on (Zyprexa) made me cry about people killing roaches. The fellow inmates in the hospital were angry at me because I was not behaving. They wanted me to behave so they could get out of the mental hospital as well. The staff hated me for being upset. Just another proof of my “Bipolar.”

I think my preconception of mental illness was that if I was depressed, everything would be easy. Princess Diana was loved by all of Great Britain and Demi Lovato had a loyal group of fans. Already girls I saw who cut themselves ended up having boys who loved them, but when I got on these medications – I feared that I was damned for life to be a burden to everyone around me.

I guess it is because when you are diagnosed mentally ill, you are burdened with the task of getting better. It is determined that you have been moping or being dramatic and others are happy to confirm it to you. You are taught to hate yourself for your illness and are told you have to keep trying and trying to get back to where you were. That it was your fault. Not that you deserve love, or a break, or acceptance for your madness. Perhaps then Mr. Psychiatrist, the reason no one wants to be named mentally ill is because it implies that they will be damned the rest of their life to try incredibly hard to please everyone around them, or they are simply “not trying hard enough.”

Then there’s the “It’s not fair!” syndrome: “Why should I have to put in years of work, when other folks are lovable without doing anything?” Yup. No fair. Boo hoo. Now, are you going to do the work or not? If not, that’s fine. Everything I’ve ever achieved in life has been through lots and lots of hard work, but sometimes I choose not to do the work. When that happens, I take responsibility, and you do, too. Either do the work or say, “I am not going to be lovable in the future, because I’ve made the choice not to try.”

The assumption is that you’re not trying. That you had never tried. People love to blame other people for their problems. That is why my Great Aunt is blamed for her illness and my Grandmother for hers, long after they were dead. Perhaps it means that humans are selfish but ultimately it means we are still unable to treat mental illness with love and kindness – instead we treat it with punishment and blaming. I understand that this won’t be a realization to people now, but someday I hope they will be able to not blame everything for the family members that burdened them or the people they thought did them wrong based on the fact that they had a mental illness. I hope people will start being able to look at themselves, but ultimately psychiatrists are all too happy to blame their patients as well for their problems even though they are supposed to help them.

We want to tell others that biological illness isn’t a choice, but we still assume that a person’s life actions are a choice and take personal offense at their mistakes – shunning them their entire life based on what they didn’t do for them. The narcissists win because they are unable to be diagnosed mentally ill, because they believe they are okay and everyone else is wrong.

I think the reason mental health stigma is so bad is because of selfish people. I don’t think everyone who is mentally ill is selfish, but I do think that when someone is labeled mentally ill – it is an explanation to the others around them that they are fine while their family member or someone they know intimately is mentally ill. It’s a way of projecting one’s own problems onto others.

“Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can’t go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family’s mental health.”
― Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted

psychiatry

Before the Diagnosis

IMG_1696.JPG It started out before in a nice little high school in the suburbs. This high school may have been one of the best little high schools anybody could go to. The white students could go there without trying to hard and the Asian students could go there just to raise the average test scores – even if they weren’t from the area. It was a school you went to that meant that even if you weren’t trying so hard, you could still take a couple of AP classes to get into UGA. Even if you weren’t in public school, there were millions of private, Catholic schools you could try and they would help you too from trying too hard.

Everyone started their relationships in high school. I was the only one who hadn’t. I was behind and upset. Not only that, but I also had periods. Periods that made me need birth control. If you don’t know about birth control, it basically is involved with easing the pain of periods. For me, it was a method of controlling pain of a condition I would later learn to call Endometriosis.

I became depressed on this medication. I shunned all my friends. I stalked. I hid in the bathroom during lunch. I was bullied for being sensitive – for potentially hurting my own friend with Bipolar Disorder. I didn’t know I was pushing her away as a confirmation bias of BPD. I thought about mental illness only cause all the girls were mentally ill back then.

Everyone was cutting themselves in high school. I would find myself sitting with some of the girls I did not know very well and staring at their wrists. One girl had bright red welts on her wrists. Another friend of mine had a friend who cut herself all over her body and her boyfriend from Spain was worried about it. We all tried very well to hide our jealousy – we all too wanted to be the girl with a loving boyfriend from Spain.

I guess when I got on my birth control, it was a confirmation bias. I fell in love with the depression I had on the pill the way you fall in love with an affair or chocolate. I let myself be depressed. Sure, I had the chemical help of Ethanyl Estradiol, but I made it my own mission to wallow in my depression as a way of telling the people who wronged me that I was oppressed. So when I went off to college, I was not prepared.

I don’t know if you ever met someone who pretends to be confident while being secretly insecure, but that was my roommate. My roommate was a beautiful, black girl with big curly hair, a great body and cat eyes. I kept telling her that she was the real life equivalent of Beyoncé. Unfortunately, things got so wrong. She thought I was racist.

Was I racist? I fell into Conservative politics the same way I fell into Depression – possibly making me racist at the time. I’m sure you don’t sympathize with me and perhaps you are picturing me the same way you would picture your current Conservative politicians, but I do not fit into the stereotype of the Conservative. I will be spending the other few posts on this blog demonstrating to you that I inherently lack an identity to begin with as well as how my identity has fallen apart over time as result of mental illness.

My roommate and I grew apart. She was sexually confident. I was mortified and wanted to go home to the comfort of my cats. She talked about me to my roommates, ones that were afraid of her as well as eager to please her, thus making me more isolated then before. I went for help at South University only to be denied help – by a CL who was afraid of my roommate and by a Resident Director who was simply too lazy to move me into another room.

We had one conversation together with my CL. She won that conversation, making me cry and admit that I was probably too mentally ill to relate to her well. I was still on birth control at the time, pills my gynecologist insisted would not cause Depression, as well as probably having been gaslighted by my roommate. My only option was to forfeit my sense of ethos in the conversation. She felt happy at the result of triumphing over our conversation.
I, on the other hand, ended up believing I was crazy. I walked into the counseling center of South University and did not come out – instead I went to a mental hospital.

Looking back, I can see that the complication of being a teenager and the side effects of birth control led me into believing I was depressed. Was I really depressed? I think to answer that question, you need to understand being a preteen and a teenager as a complicated time that is defined by college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, sex and friendships. I do know that I believed I was depressed. Perhaps then I drew myself into this situation.

I had a desire that night before being institutionalized, while watching Girl Interrupted, for myself to go crazy. To be allowed to be crazy and to get treatment for the “crazy.” I think when it comes to psychosis, whether it’s induced by a mental illness or not, we need to allow ourselves to get help when we need it. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be ashamed by what happened. Unfortunately, I was terrified of being put in a mental hospital. That meant I had failed to be the responsible student, loving daughter and caring friend that I was meant to be. Ironically, many of the people I met at the hospital were young. I will go into my experiences at the hospital in another post.

Ultimately, I do think that teen mental disorders are a complicating time of hormones, situations, and perhaps biology. I do think that teens should seek help when they need it. It’s just that I received the wrong help (Which I will explain in a following post.) I still have anxiety about that time and I think we can learn from my pre-diagnosis that teens experience a lot of anxiety about how they are feeling – not wanting to concern their parents, burden their friends or alert their teachers. Yet it’s the way we respond to that help which we can change. We don’t have to be alarmist in every situation. I understand that in some situations that immediate response is necessitated but ultimately if we don’t force people to go to mental hospitals, we can allow them to get help on their own turns. We should move away from forced institutionalization for children under age 18 so that they will seek help and be met with less worry and scare. That’s just my two cents. Thanks for reading!

psychiatry

The Public and Counter-publics of Psychiatry

Hello doctor. You are who I will be writing these letters to. You are a combination of every doctor I have ever had and you will be the address to these letters. I am seeking to write this blog not to increase the stigma that is tied with getting help with mental disorders but to change the online rhetoric surrounding mental disorders by acknowledging the multiple discourse communities. I am hoping by you reading these articles, you will be able to inspire changes in higher institutions.

See, I saw your video. I will link it here.

You have been a fascinating psychiatrist of mine. Moreover, you are set to change the conversation of mental illness by acknowledging only the psychiatrist’s perspective, not the patient’s perspective. You do not believe that those who have not benefitted from psychiatry should be included as a rational perspective involving mental illness. However, I’ve done some lurking around Twitter in the threads that are against Big Pharma and what I’ve understood from some of the more rational websites like Beyond Meds and Mad in America (not Scientology people) that the main frustration that people have with Psychiatry is not seeking help but not having the information they want about medications.

https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/05/responding-to-claims-that-the-benefits-of-antipsychotics-outweigh-the-risks/

This is an interesting article. It’s interesting because this same man, directed by Dr. Jefferey Lieberman, interviewed people who had tried anti-psychotics and had success. He did not include the perspectives of those who had not suffered with anti-psychotics and had to get off them but selectively chose people to further his agenda that anti-psychotics work for everyone as demonstrated by a comment from another MD below the article:

Sandra Steingard, MD May 6, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Thank you for this article. Can we find your thesis?
I have read the full paper and one reason why they rejected some papers from their meta-analysis or discounted the findings was due to drop out rates among those who stopped drugs. But the assumption of these researchers is that the drop outs likely had worse outcomes so it skewed results to show negative effects of the drug. This kind of implicit bias is not acknowledged in this paper. The conflation of short-term benefits and high relapse rate when drugs are stopped with good outcome is one of the biggest errors in the field and this paper does that in its original form in a more subtle way but in the press release in an overstated, triumphalist way. I find it ironic that a group who supposedly stands for the values of science would act in such a way. The paper also points how the mere admission of ties to Pharma does little to address the serious problems that COI and bias play in medicine.

In taking my Public Rhetoric class, I am extensively studying articles on Public Rhetoric. One of the articles we had to read was by Habermas – a scholar who has seen Public Rhetoric as making a positive progression from bourgeoise men’s clubs. Another one of our scholars, Nancy Fraser, acknowledges that these Bourgeoise clubs for men did not include the perspectives of women or people of color but claimed to speak for the whole of the group.

“It is not sufficient merely to bracket social inequality. Instead, it is necessary condition for participatory parity that systematic social inequalities be eliminated. We cannot just try to categorize or set aside those areas where people are not equal. We actually have to do away with the inequalities to give people equal opportunity to participate in the public sphere.” (Fraser 65)

I’m finding that the American Psychiatric Association, headed by Dr. Jefferey Lieberman, is adamant about eliminating subaltern discourse communities surrounding mental illness and insinuating that his association of psychiatrists speaks for the overall perspective of mental illness. This project thus is not about telling people to get off their meds but about how people should be directly informed of the consequences of certain medications as well as being encouraged to seek help when they need it. I hope by this project that I can acknowledge the public discourse community insinuated as a singular community by Dr. Lieberman involved in treating mental illness as well as the subaltern communities that are being excluded from this conversation. I will write about my own experiences being diagnosed with Bipolar, getting treated for Bipolar Disorder and coming off my meds as well as writing on Quora about Bipolar Disorder and my own conclusions about the state of mental health and Big Pharma in this country. I hope you will join me along for the ride this month of May in reflection and contemplation for the future.