Chris B, you won't mind me reposting a comment you made in my blog, will you? Course not. I want to bring this out here because it's relevant.
I tell you, the strong thing to do is to face your illness, not run away from it. If this shocks you into some sort of action I will be glad, cos your undoubted huge talent at writing is !0 a defence mechanism, and 20 extracts maximum compassion from God knows how many people, just for that compassion to be spat out in the name of your personal and misconstrued, I think, crusade against the so-called injustices of the mental health and benefits systems in this country.
It was perfectly clear to you that dialectical behavioural therapy has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘prodding the soft areas over a box of tissues’ but actually is about managing your reactions to your emotions, high or low, and also, incidentally, BDD and DSH. You are responsible for the choices you make, not the system and certainly not Bipolar Disorder. Take your meds and sort out some choices and strategies and face your illness instead of hiding behind it.
To me, this borders on the offensive, as well as being inaccurate.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 1 in October after being sectioned for a suicide attempt.
A few months before that, my dad died. A few months before that, I was homeless.
The phrase "so called injustices" really irks me. There are injustices in the mental health system. For one, community support is underfunded and respite care allowances are being cut across the board, leaving carers of mentally ill people unable to have a break.
For two, in my own experience, it is criminally difficult to get an appointment. I had to make an emergency appointment and it took three weeks. My initial appointment was scheduled for June. This was in March. Now, I was diagnosed only a few months ago and am on a strong cocktail of medications. I would have thought closer care would be needed? I lost my job and have a useless CPN. I'm not the only one.
The benefits system makes it difficult for people to claim. For example, say you live with a partner. The partner has a job- a fairly low wage job, but a job. He has incomings but debt so the outgoings are greater. You want to claim jobseekers? Tough luck. DLA? Prepare to jump through every hoop imaginable. Incapacity Benefit? Got enough contributions? No? Why is that? Well, say you've been ill for some time and finally went ahead and had your breakdown. Your mental illness meant you were out of work for long periods of time. You don't have the contributions. Well, tough luck.
So you have no cash and no means of getting any. You can't claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax benefit covering more than a single room with shared facilities if you're under 25. Why under 25? Surely they're a rather vulnerable age group? So people are forced into tiny depressing bedsits to live the mentally-ill-in-film-noir life. It's not fair.
I didn't do dialectical behavioural therapy. I got straightforward counselling and it was mostly about my dad's recent death of alcoholic liver failure. Which I witnessed. The "soft bits" are that, my grief, my private grief I am not ready to share yet.
I don't mention the BDD and self harm because they're my issues and I will seek help when I'm ready.
It's all very easy to say "Face up to your diagnosis" but for fuck's sake, I am 21 years old and I have had enough to face up to recently. It takes more than six months to come to terms with a life changing diagnosis, doesn't it? I thought so anyway, I might be wrong. I personally think I am okay for actually taking the damn medications and trying when I spent years in lalalalala manic land denying anything was ever wrong with me.
As for hiding behind my illness, I post what's relevant on the blog and nothing more. I don't hide behind it but I would be a fool and a liar to say it had no influence on my behaviour or personality. It does.
I make my own choices and I damn well think I'm doing okay for someone who was in the mental hospital not so long ago.
mentally ill people have a hard time compared to physically ill people etc., the system doesn’t work for people with ‘our’ illness – like some sort of self-excluding club, and so on. I’m strong cos I survive….. and so on.
Mentally ill people do have a hard time. So do physically ill people but people discuss physical illness. Adverts are on TV about it. Mental illness is largely ignored and is either demonised or romanticised. And I will say "we" because I am one of the Mentally Ill Massive and although my experiences don't reflect others', my experiences still count, surely? I've been branded as a psycho and a fuck up many times for my mental illness and I am neither. People see mental illness as some sort of personality defect. People are compassionate with physical illness.
And I say "our" because my blog is written for an audience of mentally ill people. The sole reason I started it was to say, "Hey. I'm a normal 21 year old. I'm nice. I like music and books and my cat. I smoke. I'm short. I'm mentally ill". Why should people feel alone and isolated. What is wrong with an "our"?
The system doesn't work. Obviously i'm biased. I've had bad experiences. My best friend was committed and on her release, promptly committed suicide. That was her choice but they shouldn't have let her go. I was released with a month's crisis care then told to get a job and get on with it when I wasn't ready. So I got a job, got on with it, got fired, found out I couldn't claim benefits. It's not a fantastic system. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.
There are tons of blogs out there discussing how it feels to be depressed and etc but not that many detailing what a psychiatric appointment is like, how it feels to take a bollock-load of medications and `how it feels to be turned away from the crisis centre and be told to make an appointment when you haven't slept for six days and are hallucinating.
I am strong and I like to think I am strong rather than weak. What is so wrong about that?
In summary- you're the one not facing up to any mental illness. Mental illness is real, a diagnosis is life changing and takes years to accept. To deny the impact mental illness has on your life- even with best efforts- is ridiculous and naive.
And for the love of Bod, please, stop trying to save me. I'm not yours to save and you don't know me.
I posted this here in case anyone else felt it was relevant.