2015 Reading Challenge!

Yes please!

2015 reading challenge

Do You Wish to Feel Complete?

How many little moments does it take before you need to realize that your life really just isn’t what you want it to be? I have memories of when my life was fun and not so full of roadblocks. I know that for the most part I’m my biggest roadblock but it’s the ones that pop up when I plan on having fun or doing something positive that really, really get to me.

It’s funny how I struggle to look at these roadblocks as just little blips, something to move on from, but maybe it’s the compounding of what I feel is so many of them and my perception of what it means that just drags me straight down into the whole “my life is worthless” mind frame.

“Why not me?” “Why can’t I do that?”

I guess it’s still the overall problems I’ve been having emotionally since B and I lost the condo and moved in with his mom and stepdad. The only time I really see my friends is when we have work to do and while I love doing things with B it’s not the same as being out with others doing any activity that isn’t focused around work. I like being alone on my terms. I don’t like this isolation, even the perceived isolation (I feel like I can’t go out for the most part because I live so far from everyone and everything and transit becomes time consuming). There is a difference between not wanting to do something and literary not being able to do something or feeling like I can’t.

All of these thoughts are probably scattered, not connecting well to each other but many of you are familiar with that thought process. Everyone has a scattered through process when they’re upset.

i have no life. I want my life back.

There is a song by Alexisonfire called “We Are the Sound” and a verse has been really resonating with me these past few months:

So what is this I see? There is nothing but anger burning inside of me. Do you wish to feel complete? Say you want it, you need it.

I’m not asking for much. My complete doesn’t need to be something spectacular. I really just want the basics: a home, a social life, inner peace and a job. I want to feel like I stand a chance, like I’m here on Earth to live and not just exist.

The Power of Neurodiversity by Thomas Armstrong

Just got it from the library! (Dee, I think you’ll like this!)

The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain

Stop looking at what we call “symptoms” and start looking at what your “disorder” has to offer!

My Culture is Disordered But I Get the Blame!

Photo from Personality Disorders Awareness Network (PDAN) Facebook page

 

I know many are into the biomedical model of mental health that says there is a chemical imbalance (please tell me that you know that’s purely a theory) and that how to fix our broken brains is through so-called evidence based treatments like psych drugs and CBT (which research shows very little evidence for consistent and/or superior results for both) but the above picture illustrates exactly why we need a critical approach to mental health.

Please note the “cultural expectations” part of each definition of personality disorder. There is absolutely NOTHING about chemicals or brain structure causing personality disorders in the definitions. Personality disorders come about because the individual does not exist in a way that their culture deems appropriate. Personality disorders go against cultural norms the same cultural norms that dictate if being Gay is acceptable or not, if one race is better than the others and if men are superior or equal to women. This means that the only reason I am sick is because my culture doesn’t like who I am. Sick should be sick no matter what culture I am in. I find it disturbing that somewhere else in the world with a non Western medical culture that I would be seen as “normal” or maybe even as a spiritual leader. This definition also tells me that if my culture would lighten up and let go of its need to medicalize I could go on my merry way with more ease. I could stop fighting and just be who I am which for the most part is a pretty decent person.

This is not to say that it’s easy to have the experiences that go with the personality disorder labels. My paranoia wouldn’t become more enjoyable because it’s not seen as a symptom but it would become easier to deal with because it could be validated as my truth and not seen as abnormal. More than half time I believe our pain comes from our constant blaming of ourselves for being who we are. I also recognize that over time trauma and life experiences do change our brains (structurally and chemically) that put us in horrible positions that may require some sort of intervention from professionals. That’s ok with me! What’s not ok is the assumption of sickness, the blame we put on ourselves and that others put on us for who we are and the lack of alternatives in treatment, supports, and ideologies.

 

 

Let’s Share The Guilt

Many of us in the mental health blogging community can relate to each other. We all relate to the sadness, fear, anger, and happiness. What’s truly interesting about this is many of us do not share the same diagnosis. To me this says something about the idea of multiple individual disorders where many of the differences seem to be in the little details (these little details are important though). This is my non-direct way of saying that I hate reading an article that talks about experiences I have had but it specifically attributes them to a specific disorder, namely, one of the few disorders to exist according to the media, depression.

I was reading an article, “Why Some People Blame Themselves For Everything,” curious, because that is the story of my life. I became irritated when right up front that article states that “crushing guilt” is a common depression symptom. While I will not deny that people with the depression label experience crushing guilt I’m pretty sure many of us without the label experience crushing guilt as well. From the individuals I’ve spoken to with the Borderline label, guilt is also a major problem. And I’m not talking about, you actually did something wrong and feel guilty about it. I’m talking feeling guilty about a matter has absolutely nothing to do with you, you had no control over the matter and you feel world stopping guilt that suddenly reminds you why you should kill yourself (at least mine gets that bad).

Now, I know that I can easily generalize as I am usually reminded in my own comments section (“A lot of people with mental illness feel that way.”) and for the most part I do. But when you see your experience constantly categorized in a way you cannot relate it begins to make me feel like what I’m feeling is wrong. More importantly, this constant media attention towards  a small handful of these labeled experiences isn’t providing anyone with an education about the many others out there who do not have the depression label but still know what it feels like to deal with guilt, sadness, suicidality, impulsivity etc.

Psychiatric Service Dog

I’m thinking of getting a psychiatric service dog. I’m just research for now, speaking with a friend who has one but it’s kind of a scary process. Do any of you have a psychiatric service dog and willing to share your experience?

3 Year Blogiversary

Late last night WordPress reminded me that December 12 is the 3 year anniversary of Pride in Madness! Wow! 3 years!

Happy 3 YearBlogiversarytoPride in

Identifying Violence in Healthcare

My last visit with my Doctor had me feeling a little ashamed. She said nothing that was bad it was briefly seeing my file on her computer screen. Beside “History of Violent Behaviour” it said, “yes”. I’m not really bothered by this history but what I am bothered by is that it’s on my file for everyone to see, most likely for as long as I am a client there, and there is no context provided.

Let me provide this context.

My history of violence is toward me last partner. I would become so angry during our fights that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself that I would hit him. While doing this I was always aware that it was something I shouldn’t be doing and took care to really not use a lot of force. I know that my care int his situation does not matter because the action still occurred and that is unacceptable. Also, while I knew it was wrong I felt powerless. I was caught up in my rage and just wanting to make it stop. I always felt great remorse for my actions. Surprisingly enough this violent behaviour stopped when I stopped taking Aleese (a birth control I was on). This drug physically charged me too much.

Without this context I become concerned that I look like this horrible monster! I have never been arrested for violence, I have never physically injured someone, I have never hit anyone else I know or a stranger but no one would know this from my file which simply says, “yes”.

I bring up this experience because a friend of mine brought to my attention another way that healthcare professionals are identifying violent behaviour. In British Columbia, Canada, a violence prevention program is identifying violent behaviour (intentional/non-intentional, ie: caused by mental health issues) using visual markers like purple dots in the clients file. This purple dot is labeled as “best practice” which is defined,”as an approach to
eliminating identified hazards before they cause harm by implementing effective control measures, rather than
an approach of risk identification and analysis based on incidents that have already occurred.” There are many best practices that seem to just be best for the professional but not for the client. I believe this purple dot is one such practice. This purple dot comes attached with stigma and discrimination. Who really wants to be the client with the purple dot on their file?

I wouldn’t want anyone walking into a situation that could potentially be harmful but there needs to be awareness that what is called “best” is not always so.

5 Things to Say to Someone With BPD

 

 

I want to thank everyone who responded to my previous post and responded with what people SHOULD NOT say to someone who experience BPD and/or extreme emotions. I wanted to create this list because BPD is rarely spoken about positively in comparison to other mental health issues (ie: depression, anxiety). By positively I mean that individuals with BPD are all to often demonized for their experience in ways that other mental health issues are not. I have seen many lists of what to say to someone with depression or anxiety but none about what to say to someone with BPD. This is why I, and many of you, have created the following list.

5 Things to Say to Someone With BPD

 

I will not provide a lengthy explanation for each of these like I did for the “What Not to Say” because I would like to think I do not need to explain why nice things are nice to hear. Validation, love and support will help anyone and is especially important for someone with the BPD label because much about who we are is labelled as “disordered”.

Digital Self Harm

I did not know about this. Did any of you? Digital self harm/self-cyberbullying?

More Than Skin Deep posted an article yesterday about how to help teenagers who self harm. Within this article was information about the not so visible ways teens can engage in self harm (ie: binge drinking, unsafe sex) and digital self harm was listed and explained.

Quote from the article:

Digital self-harm or self-cyberbullying is when teenagers create alternative online identities for themselves on social media sites and post cruel comments about themselves. The alternative identities might also get cruel comments from other people. Teenagers might do this to test other people’s attitudes towards them or as a way of making personal pain feel ‘real’. -raisingchildren.net.au

Hannah Smith

Wanting to know more I did a Google search and came across an article about 14-year-old Hannah Smith who killed herself after receiving horrible and harassing messages via a social media, Ask.fm (this website allows you to create an account and then people ask you questions and you answer them and vice versa….strange but ok). What is interesting about this is that all but 4 of the messages were traced back to Hannah’s IP address. She was bullying herself.

I have been engaging in self harm for a little over 12 years. I have dabbled in a variety of different methods for various lengths of times, each providing me with something that I found beneficial. But digital self harm has me very confused; something I thought I would never hear about when it comes to self harm methods.

On one side, I’m thinking that the idea of bullying yourself is odd and how could you be offended by something you wrote yourself (keeping in mind I do understand the power of self hate) on your own social media profile. When I think about cyberbullying, I would assume the pain largely comes from the fact that your peers and strangers are harassing you. you get this whole “nobody cares about me” thing going on. In digital self harm, it is you, showing yourself that you do not care about you.

The other side of myself tells me that this makes total sense. You deal yourself hurtful blows and wait to be rescued or dragged deeper by others. You self sabotage and set yourself up because you don’t care. Your worth is then determined by the comments left by others. Are they encouraging you to hurt yourself or are they offering you support? This is self harm.

While I pondered digital self harm last night I realized that I  did engage in something similar as a teen. MSN Instant Messenger was extremely popular at the time and while you could only instant message with people you added as a contact via their email sometimes the people you added were  not nice people, even if you did consider them a friend. I was bullied a lot on MSN by “friends” and even went as far as to print out the conversations and keep them in a notebook so I could look back on them later. I would go onto MSN and set my name to something that I knew would get people’s attention (Last Resort by Papa Roach was a good source for this) and wait for the love or the hate to pour in. If neither appeared then it was just further confirmation that I was nothing. I would intentionally instigate friends I knew were mad at me by saying “hello” and then repeatedly asking them to talk with me, just so I could be rejected by them or put myself through the agony of apologizing to them. I did this to myself. I could have not spoken to people who were mad at me, I could have blocked those who were harassing me, I could have stopped having conversations that were degrading me, I could have not printed and kept those same conversations but I did. I wanted to be hated by others and know that I was hated because I hated myself. This still does not excuse the horrible things people said to me on MSN (for a real sample conversation click here) and how much they negatively impacted me.

Here’s more:

Cyber Self-Harm: Why Do Some Teens Troll Themselves Online? (Huffington Post)

Cyber Self-Harm: Why Do Some People Troll Themselves Online? (BBC)

Digital Self-Harm: Frequency, Type, Motivations, and Outcomes (PDF)

Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment

Social Media: Digital Self-Harm – A Cry For Help

Digital Self-Harm

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