In an effort to find the response to those participating in the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge easier to find, I am posting and updating this page to include the links to each day’s results/round up.
I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses. My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts. I will do a post within about 3 days of the prompt and my response to link to people who participate, please pingback/link to this post or tag 30MIAC. If you chose to do the prompts later, don’t find the challenge till later, or life happens and you don’t get a prompt answered within the 3 days no worries, if you pingback to this post I will add you to the post that has the links to that prompt. I will be starting to post my responses to the prompts in October, I am just posting this now so people can brainstorm and spread the word. You can also start at anytime. I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness. Here is the image to go with the challenge:
Well since I’m energetic and think I’m pretty wise right now (thank you hypomania!) I thought I’d do another post on helping other’s with mental illness. Earlier ones have been geared towards depression and borderline personality disorder… This one will be more generic and at the same time all over the place (just like me right now.) :) And probably repetitive (a bit, if you’ve read/ chose to read the others.)
- Listen- Many people I’ve met don’t feel they have a good support system and one of the most important thing is having someone to listen to you. To listen to you rant, cry, ramble, whatever. Many people with mental illness feel invisible or ignored and more are afraid to speak up because of stigma. You don’t need the right answers, you may not need to say anything at all. Sometimes advice is asked for or if you know the person well you may feel comfortable giving feedback. Sometimes it helps to talk about similar experiences but two big mistakes are trying to “out do/one up” their experiences and the other is to compare apples to elephants. When someone first confides in you that they have a mental illness, I suggest mainly listening and trying to take cues like if they ask for advice, feedback, or if you’ve ever felt the same. “Better to be silent and be thought a fool, then speak and remove all doubt.”
- Be respectful- However it is that you found out about this person’s mental illness it is not your authority to go around talking to other people about it. Some people say they are just trying to get advice but really you shouldn’t talk about someone’s situation unless given permission. Of course the exception is if you think they are a danger to themselves and others. Also just because you know and what you know doesn’t mean everyone is on the same page so when in groups, less is more. Especially groups where a person could be especially vulnerable to stigma/discrimination like work. Also respect some people may not feel comfortable telling you all the levels of their illness and not to be pushy or feel hurt by this, many of us have trust issues and past negative experience when disclosing mental illness.
- Be compassionate- No matter how the person appears on the outside, you never really know what’s going on inside. There is some saying about being nice because you never know the other’s secret struggles that’s a good rule to follow EVERY day. Understand that sometimes people with mental illness act different than the typical person and even the typical them that you are use to. Be forgiving and understanding. Sometimes we withdraw. Sometimes we ramble annoyingly. Sometimes are acting in a way that you might not understand. Some people are comfortable with you asking why others are not, it helps to find out what type your person is. Being compassionate does not mean you need to agree with all their behavior or tolerate abusive or dangerous situations. Sometimes it’s best to say no or you don’t think it’s a good idea and then explain later if you have to. Be a friend, lover, supportive family member or coworker or whatever you are to that person.
- Don’t tell us what to do or how to feel- This is one of the most frustrating things ever and you can probably find a million posts on things not to say to people with depression, or things not to say to people with anxiety or it goes on and on. Don’t ask us if we took our meds, unless we ask you to remind us, most people consider that an insult. Don’t tell us we aren’t trying, just to cheer up, think positive, or many of the other insensitive things people say. Just because we have a mental illness doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of making our own decisions (most times) and having our own feelings. Dismissive things like you’re overreacting, why are you so anxious, it’s only, etc… make us feel broken.
- Understand or try to accept our limitations- This goes to something I already touched on earlier… sometimes we withdraw or get angry over what looks like no apparent reason. Sometimes we can’t work or struggle to get out of bed. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and all that advice doesn’t help. Try to understand and accept that there are going to be times when we aren’t at our best or ideal. We aren’t doing it on purpose and most the times it bothers us just as much as it may potentially bother you, so don’t add to the guilt. There is a bog difference between sympathy/empathy and pity.
- Know when you’ve done all you can- When you care about someone you want to help, (most) us want to help ourselves too. Sometimes there is nothing you can do. It’s out of your hands, you’ve been compassionate and listened and respectful and all the other tricks and supportive things you’ve learned to help this person and it just isn’t working. It’s not your fault… I’m sure you’ve had a bad day no one could pull you out of despite their best efforts imagine the complexities when adding mental illness(es).
- Know we’re doing all we can right now- Now! Well maybe last week we did cope better but something has changed. Agian we did not chose this and we are not doing it on purpose. It may be frustrating as you see someone zig zaging along one step forward two back seven forward another three forward and two back… Be the best support you can be to us, but realize there are others out there too that can be making things better or worse as well, not to mention situations many of which we have little control over.
- Just accept us for us- We are not just our mental illness but that is a part of us.
12. Where do you keep your ‘tools’? (Your room, in a box, disposed of them?)
I got rid of them when I made a commitment to stop cutting in the end of November of 2012, so that’s what 21 months!
but my mind is racing. Racing with all kinds of thoughts and possibilities. I’ve had a pretty good day and haven’t really spent too much of it anxious or worrying which is very rare indeed. Kind of feeling like everything might work out. I was laying in bed, like I’m suppose to, trying to sleep but it was of no use. I need to get up at 6:15am to go to French class, plus I have a quiz. But my brain won’t chill. So I’m going to google some stuff and write some things and hopefully it will calm my mind enough where it will sleep.
Since I’m here about an hour early for class, thought I’d write an update blog. Sunday was a very busy day for me and I was so tired, I slept most of Monday. My sister and brother-in-law did end up getting Gibson, the English bulldog they rescued. We went to see him Sunday morning and picked him up. Pictures to come. I met with high school friend and some other friends that are going camping for Labor Day weekend here, to plan meals and what we’re bringing and all. It was the last gay movie night, since school started this week. And I made a special dessert where last couple weeks were lazy and even going to the store.
I’m taking two classes this semester French and Queer Film History. I’m a little worried about being able to keep up because my energy levels are so low. French is an early Tuesday and Thursday class. Queer Film History is an evening Monday and Wednesday class. I wanted classes on different days so I had reason to get out of bed and some where to go. Thursday is still 20 something’s group. Monday night I’m studying with 20 something’s friend. Lots of days I’ll be watching Gibson because my brother-in-lay has a 5 day a week Fire Academy.
And lastly my glasses came in, so here is a picture as promised.
My ability to tolerate distress and self soothe, seems non-existent right now. Struggling with boredom and anxiety regarding going to school. Sick of being home. Maybe I’ll go in my room and look at wellness journal.
So I went and saw my psychiatrist yesterday, the appointment that I was really nervous about. I read by Draft letter and the appointment went more like a therapy session, which was awkward because my psychiatrist has a different personality. I went in to the appointment knowing it was likely we weren’t doing anything with medication at this time; just this last Sunday I upped the dose of the Latuda to 80mg. My point was I wanted my fears to be heard about him just giving up on medication being effective for me and therefore potentially turning a blind eye if anything in the future would be a possibility. He focused on this being an abandonment fear a bit too much for me, he always seems to emphasize the BPD but did talk about the depression being real. He also said my depression is refractory, which from what I understand means treatment resistant. He mentioned that is common if you try 3-4 different medications and have no effect- I’ve been on 40 plus ECT and the VNS Therapy. The things he did say that reassured me were in his typical awkward style, like that is something were psychopharmacologically different from what I have tried and not still experimental of course I would get it because it would save Kaiser so much money. Also he let slip that he was willing to increase my Latuda up to 120mg, which has me feeling a little more assured because I though he was only going to go as high as 80mg and I’ve been on that before. So staying at 80mg till an appointment in 4 weeks which is unheard of with my insurance. Then going to reassess.
School starts Monday. A couple days this week I’ve had a little more energy so I’m not as terrified as not being able to keep up with my school schedule. It might even be good for me giving me something to do. My sister and brother-in-law might be getting another English Bulldog which means I’d have another one to watch a lot of the time, I’d be really excited if this depression allowed me to feel it. His name is Gibson and he is from a rescue organization. Also is my sister has kids and the kids aren’t compatible, I’ll probably get the dog to my self. We’ve talked in therapy a number of times about me getting a dog but because of the cat and all his medical problems my dad is against it. What else is new… not much summer is winding down and I was thinking about doing a summer in review post.
I have a couple questions for the techies out there that can maybe help me.
- I have this blog linked up with my Facebook account and each time it automatically publicizes to my page it has an image of the blogging event, which is no where in the post.
- I had my pool on suicide letters and would like to show the results, anyone know how to do that.
Feedback much appreciated in comment or via e-mail email@example.com
- It has come to my attention that people like lists posts like “5 things…” So here is 7 Things to know about internal borderlines. I coined the term internal borderline a while back after frequently hearing people refer to themselves a quiet borderlines so here is a little more of an explanation on what I mean by the term. BTW: this is based on my own personal experience
- Internal borderlines have most of the criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD) going on inside with their thoughts and emotions.
- Some internal borderlines won’t be diagnosed for a while because a lot of the symptoms are hidden but they are in psych services usually for anxiety or some type of mood disorder (depression or bipolar.)
- If an internal borderline self harms it is usually hidden and kept secret.
- Internal borderlines may obsess about the abandonment issue but often don’t consciously let the other people know they are terrified of it. An example of this is, in my head with my frantic efforts I try to plan out every which possible way someone could reject me or abandon me and how to stop it. I think my insecurity would be a reason people would want to abandon me or reject me.
- The chronic feelings of emptiness, loneliness, or meaninglessness are rarely expressed and often though of as only happening to them.
- The anger is directed inward, for me when angry I used to self harm so I wouldn’t explode at people but couldn’t feel the intolerable emotion of anger.
- Often times the identity disturbance is not noticeable to outsiders. People who are internal borderlines may struggle with questions of “who am I?” and a lot of self doubt but they may not express it outwardly.