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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 4:33am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I swear, if one more person says this to me...well, only one has but this really irritates me.

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.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 8:59am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
Just to get things straight.

I write what I mean and I mean what I write.

And I am certainly not trying to 'save' anyone... anyone on this forum...anyone anywhere else. If people need anything it is certainly not 'rescuing', but it might be 'helping'. If you have read anything I've written, Seaneen, you will know the framework I am in.

If you or other people in a public space raise points of question or issue then those points will be answered or addressed if -

1. I want to

2. I have something useful to say about it

3. Something is being said which I believe myself to be either incorrect or harmfully misleading to an audience that is no way in need of misleading or damaging concepts


I will say this at the risk of offending with the truth about 30 - 40% of the people describing themselves here as diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder -
many people here are living in their diagnosis because it is something that they think somehow allows them to not have to engage with realities they are perfectly capable of engaging with. This is common in mental health, and is widely recognised within mental health care.

If anyone wants me to 'unpack' this I will - all they have to do is ask me.


So I restate, Seaneen, I believe you would benefit from coming out from the writing you do, which in my mind is a defence mechanism, because it gives you power you don't otherwise have much of (like many), and instead use that extroadinary writing skill to move forwards in ways which you can. And secondly to listen to the advice and giuidance that many many people have offered you in the last 8 - 10 weeks.

There you have it to do what you want with.

Write a play.


Chris

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 9:15am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
And anyone who's interested in the above might consider the words at the end of my posts - they are there cos it represents my view very accurately.

Learn your theories as well as you can but put them aside when you touch the miracle of the living soul. Not theories but your own creative individuality alone must decide. Carl Jung.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 9:48am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
And on the point of what is strength -

First it takes strength to survive. You, S, are surviving.

It takes even more strength to not survive.

And it takes the greatest strength to do more than survive.

The people who say suicide is a coward's way out really haven't got a clue.

I knew that when i surfaced from nowhere to see the drip in my arm and another 24 hours of drip drip drip to rescue my liver

And I knew it even more when the so-called consultant came to the end of my bed and said to the nursing staff "Get this waste of space out of here as soon as you can!"

But I tell ya baby it takes the greatest strength to realise that you are glad that drip is there and you are there and that you have the opportunity to change where you're going, even though that is the hardest thing in the world apart from being a father.

You survive

Build on that

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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 12:34pm Post subject: Our self excluding little club

So I restate, Seaneen, I believe you would benefit from coming out from the writing you do, which in my mind is a defence mechanism, because it gives you power you don't otherwise have much of (like many), and instead use that extroadinary writing skill to move forwards in ways which you can. And secondly to listen to the advice and giuidance that many many people have offered you in the last 8 - 10 weeks.

Dude, I do write. Not just the blog but poems, stories, letters. But they're private!

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Crazy_in_a_box


Member

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 7:55pm Post subject: Our self excluding little club
Im not sure what blog you are talking about MS, (is it a myspace blog?) but going from what I read here and an outsider who dosnt know all the details - I think Chris read your blog and decided to respond, thinking rightly or wrongly, that it was open discussion to discuss your scenario and give his viewpoint on it. He meant it as a help but you didnt feel it that way...

Chris, I dont think you were correct in your choice of place or words to tell MS that she is hiding behind her writing. You are not allowed to TELL people that, you are allowed to tell them you BELIEVE they are but not that they ARE. As an on looker, it looks like you were talking to her the way a professional would. It was as if you were diagnosing her. Now I know you wernt intending to hurt anyone, you are a good person and this was not a malicious act. you meant it with the best of intentions. I just think it could have been handled better....

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 8:45pm Post subject: Our self excluding little club
Quite right Crazy, and my apologies to you Seaneen for the inept way in which I delivered a message which is my belief but not therefore a 'fact'. I am sure you understand, S, my words as a viewpoint, of course it is your prerogative to use, misuse or disregard them in any way you wish. They are given in all good faith but become your property when you read them. I should not forget that.

You have heard all I have to say on your story. If these and previous words don't work for you at the moment, keep them in a box, so you do still have them when they do apply; they are not actually mine anyway, but passed on from many people far more skilled at psychiatry than either of us.

Lastly, for every one of you who gets fucked off by overworked mental health professionals there is another person somewhere who's life is being saved by an overworked mental health professional. This is worth remembering.

That's it.

Chris

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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Thu Apr 26th, 2007 10:27pm Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I don't get though why you think I am just "surviving". I am living. And I don't think suicide is a coward's way out. I have been that low, it's why I was hospitalised. But I never want to be there again.

I think you misread a lot of what I write. I remember the joys, I share them.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 12:29am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
Well simply to clarify, Seaneen:

The second point first - I haven't said you think suicide is a weak thing to do; what I mean is that many people in the general population regard that response as 'the easy way out'. Having been at that point myself 3 and 8 years ago, and having three people close to me having ended their lives - one immediately after being refused admission, at age 23 - I am simply contrasting that choice to the choice of 'surviving', and commenting that suicide is much harder to carry through than many people might think. However if suicide is (in my opinion) harder than not taking that choice, what, I think, is even harder is staying alive and changing the influences which prompt suicide.

My opinion there is based on my own experience, but the evidence for changing the influences that prevailed in my life is provided by clinical assessment of my mental health by my psychiatrist, who after four years is prepared to discharge me at the turn of the year if everything continues as it is. You may consider that for two years I have been required to keep a diary recording daily suicide ideation, urge to self-harm and acts of self-harm, and until 6 months ago it would record sh 2-3 times per week and similar degrees of S-ideation. What has changed that is 18 months of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy at 4 hours per week, week in, week out.

So that, amongst other things, is what is hard about changing 'surviving' into becoming healed in terms of how I experience being someone called Chris . Nobody in the therapeutic team has talked to me about loss, childhood experiences, families, abuse, trauma or any of these other subjects of counselling. It is about recognising emotions, defence mechanisms, alternative choices to harmful actions, understanding impacts of actions in interpersonal relationships, reducing urges to self-harm and to kill oneself. These are the consequences and outcomes of certain types of mental illness. Interestingly, Bipolar Disorder shares about 80% of the characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder, and this is certainly reflected in the experiences you describe in your published story. A further indicator of the reality of the similarities is that one of the three women in our group odf four in the treatment program is diagnosed as Bipolar in addition to BPD. DBT has most certainly reduced the chaos that was previously in her life. DBT addresses symptoms not causes. It is symptoms we experience, not their causes. Almost every experience you describe in your published words is symptomatic of what the four of us experience; losing jobs, losing flats, being thrown out of mental health centres, self-harming, fighting with benefits systems, shoplifting, reckless sex, walking in front of cars, being frightened of the curtains about to wrap themselves round your neck, playing with razor blades, pills, ropes, anger,anger,anger, friends dying in sad cicumstances, endlessly arguing with health professionals, being up for days on end, racing thoughts til even yourself can't keep up with them, utter hopelessness where each footstep in any directipon is so pointless that you are rooted to the spot in some streetscene for minutes, hours, begging at 10 at night to be let into hospital, A&E, ambulances, drips, angel nurses, cruel doctors, indifferent receptionists, being surrounded by schizophrenia which drains every ounce of energy from you, having your own voices whispering just to the side of your head.

That is Borderline Personality Disorder - and that is what 18 months of really dedicated work by truly committed therapists can turn around - remember that Bipolar is a widely recognised and accepted diagnosis within mental health - BPD is the dustbin diagnosis, the Cinderella of mental health that until 2003 was regarded as untreatable; until this current government decided to confront the diagnosis head on, and fund programmes and develop discrete health teams to rescue these lost souls.

That is why I say that the hardest thing to do is to 'more than survive'.

As you brought this dialogue to this place I will say that your writing of the last two months illustrates fantastic strengths and 'gutsyness' if you know what I mean by that, but sadly also (to me) shows an amazing ability to struggle to get the things you need and then turn away from them just as they are about to begin to lead to a pathway of effective help. That was why I stopped reading it, and what was at the root of my comments last night. I just got tired of watching you deny the things that would ultimately provide the remedy for the things you angsted (English??) about because of a set of predetermined rules that stem out of the very illness you are trying to manage. Continually mistaking causes for symptoms. How many times do you have to say that words need vowels as well as consonents, sentences need verbs to be more than phrases?

You are gifted with an acute intelligence, and therefore I know from what i have written elsewhere to you that you know the choices you can make in response to the situations you describe.

There is nothing weak about you Seaneen, but there is a wilfulness about you that is nothing to do with organic illness, that serves you no good in achieving your stated aims - your stated aims, not mine - and is completely rooted in learnt behaviour.

You said I was the one avoiding 'mental illness'. Not true.

If you were to accept only one word from me the one I would choose would be compassion. In that word you would find everything you need to be the person you want to be, which if I remember correctly is a Viv Stanshall for the 21st century. And if few people have his innate brilliance, you are one of them.

So take care, Star x

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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 12:36am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
But where on earth do you get it from that I fight with nurses, doctors or anyone? All my conversations are reasonable. I never lash out, raise my voice, lose my temper, get angry. I don't see anyone as being an angel or a devil.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 12:50am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I think i said 80% similarity and i was comparing Bipolar with BPD in terms of symptomology. So i stand corrected on the point that you have not reported shouting etc at these people, but i have read about you shouting at people in the street in mania stages, as people who are manically ill are wont to do.

hope that satisfies our need for fairness and accuracy.

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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 12:59am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I did too, but it was out of delusional behaviour, I thought they had killed my friends.

I don't think there's an 80% similarity. I have tried to explain before the difference between mood disorders and emotional disorders. I don't really know how to explain it properly. I sort of know in my own case- when my mood is whatever, my feelings don't change. It's not so much my emotions- I don't hate someone I usually love, don't love someone I usually hate etc. The reasons I have found it hard to hold down jobs in the past isn't because of my behaviour or feeling towards the jobs but because my mood swings were so sudden and extreme that I would one day be depressed and the next be psychotically manic.

I think BPD and bipolar are similar but not as similar as you think they are. I also think therapy is good in both cases but that medication is absolutely neccessary with bipolar. I really think you underestimate the biological nature of bipolar too.

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Crazy_in_a_box


Member

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 1:01am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I think the issue here is commenting on people's life or Mental Health... as much as this is a public arena for it all, do we really know the person on the other end of the comupter? we only know what they tell us and for anyone to make judgement or comment on something said has to be both worded very carefully and taken with a pinch of salt.

I understand Chris that you have been through a huge ordeal the last 18 months sorting yourself out, which has to be commended. but you are in the stand point where things are on their way to full control. You have a handle on it. The only problem is, other people arnt at the same point as you. and saying what you intend to be a helpful comment of "go see help and embrace your condition, stop hiding behind such and such" is from YOUR stand point only. The other person might be happy where they are, they might not be ready to move on, they might not see their life as you do... whatever it is.

I PERSONALY feel that MS is dealing very well considering her circumstances and if she is happy as she is or if this is the best that she can achieve at this present time, then WE those who read her blog or chat to her cant tell her otherwise.
Im in an ok place right now, Im going through shit but mentally Im stable enough to handle it. there was a time I wouldnt be able to even contemplate what Im going through right now.... and what got me to where I am was a series of things: Medication, Doctor, Counselling and my own personal work. but I cant say that what I did will work EXACTLY the same for anyone else. I can only offer my experience and hope it helps. I cant assume that someone is at a particular place in thier life, esp over the internet. And I certainly cant tell someone they are in denial or hiding behind stuff... because that is going beyond help and into counselling - which none of us can or should be offering in this scenario.

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Aoibheann


Member

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 1:04am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
I think we all should just be.... lets BE people.. its a beautiful thing.. x x x

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thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive


Member

Posted Fri Apr 27th, 2007 1:06am Post subject: Our self excluding little club
(unrelated anecdote)

Tiocfaidh ár lá......

I used to shout this in the street when I was a kid, followed by "my granda's in the RA!"

I once tied my bike to the back of a policevan and chanted it. I have never been walloped so hard in my life. And they searched my granda's house! All they found was a pack of fags and a colostomy bag.

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