Third parent interview in the Parenting and Mental Health series on Parents-Space!
D.G. is a mother raising a son with ADD combined with anxiety. The second part of her interview (her experience parenting with a mental health issue will come later)!!!
Please check it out!
“Phyllis Chesler’s Women and Madness (1972) was perhaps the most influential book of this period, advancing the thesis that woman were held to different and higher standards of reason and normalcy then men, that the psychiatrization process was profoundly gender-biased in its premises and effects, and that the very constitution of sanity and ‘mental illness’ in the late 20th-century was anchored in the bedrock of male normativity.” -Mad Matters, pg. 6
Ever since receiving my borderline personality diagnosis in 2008 I believe it was a result of being an angry young woman. As many of us know, anger is not a “desirable” characteristic in a woman but how else are we supposed to express the negative emotions we feel? Well, we’re not. I believe this is also why women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety then men. We feel something, we are told not to and then when we can no longer suppress we’re told it’s “too much” and we’re diagnosed mentally ill. I really and firmly believe that we are just living in a society that is telling us what to do and how to do it when what we really need is to do and be what we want.
What do you think?
I have been involved in two support groups throughout my mental health experience. My current one is fantastic (and not just because I co-facilitate) but my first support group was less than desirable. I think it comes down to the people which can also mean how it’s run.
I was asked by my counsellor at an outpatient program in Oshawa if I would like to be a part of an all girl depression and anxiety group. It would run once a week for a month or so for about an hour. I had seen groups on tv and it looked like something I would be interested in so I signed up.
To make a long story short let’s just say it was a group where majority of people complained about how they didn’t want to be there. I was under the impression that we all chose to be there and in theory this is true but some girls were told by their parents that they had to go. Group consisted of either talking completely off topic (for example, hair dye) or talking about how certain girls didn’t want to be there.
I would sit quietly and wait for group to be over. I wanted to make friends with girls who had similar experiences but it wasn’t working out that way.
At one point I asked the group if any of them identified as having depression or anxiety. Out of about 6 girls only 1 said yes. So why were these other girls here? What is the point of this group?
Probably the worst experience I had at the group was when I received a phone call from a guy I saw only once and he told me that if I didn’t come see him again he would strangle me. I don’t remember if I walked back into the group room and told them about the phone call but the point is, is that nothing was done about it in a space that should have been supportive.
That group was run by professionals, including my own counsellor and they did nothing to run the group. I currently do a better job of running my support group as a person with no counselling training but as someone with lived experience.
I love the support group I’m in now and it’s even better because as a facilitator I get to help design and run it!
Groups are not for everyone and there will be bad groups. Just as we will not always get along with our counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists we will not always get along with our group. Try out groups and if all else fails make your own! You do not need professional qualifications to sit with others and provide support!
Group Therapy in Toronto:
CAMH: Integrative Group Therapy (concurrent disorders)
YO Group (Youth 13-23, this is my group!)
What Next! Peer Support Program (adults, mental health)
I saw J today and we discussed my anxieties about my appointment with the doctor tomorrow to get long-awaited psych medication.
For those who do not remember or who have lives of their own to follow, I was recommended 50mg of Seroquel XR on August 1 2012. Since that date I have been waiting for tomorrow, September 19, to get this prescription. For those are not decent with numbers, like I am, that is about a MONTH and TWO and a HALF WEEKS OF WAITING!
As many of you are familiar with, this wait has cause great stressed as it has given me too much time to mull over the decision.
While speaking with J today she asked if the psychiatrist included in his assessment notes that blood work would have to be done. I told her that it wasn’t in the notes but he did say that I would have to be monitored. J said that the doctor might do blood work tomorrow and not give me medication until the results came back….
I sat there and said nothing for a few seconds….the horrible anger physical reaction I told her earlier I wanted to get rid started coming on.
Have I been stressing for nothing?
Is there more fucking waiting?
I WILL NOT WAIT ANYMORE!
I waited 7 months to get into Planned Parenthood’s counselling program!
I waited 2 months to see their visiting psychiatrist!
I waited 1 month and 2 and a half weeks for one of their doctors!
I AM FINISHED WAITING!
GIVE ME WHAT I WANT!
(I take into a count this particular doctor was on vacation but still…)
I love safety, I respect safety, I want safety but it’s not fucking fun to sit in my damn anxiety!
I am hoping she doesn’t ask for blood work and I’m worried about what my reaction will be if she asks. I don’t like getting angry in public and I become even more uncomfortable but I will contain everything until I am safe in my house and explode then. This is not fun!
Oh my….I’m in fight mode. My muscles are tense and my heart hurts a little.
This is NOT how it was supposed to go!
Maybe lunch will make me feel better….watch some Magic Mike…
Almost pill day.
I’m getting stressed.
Maybe I’ll back out.
Do I need this?
I probably overreacted.
I’ll think that until I freak out and hurt something.
Or that’s just me being stupid.
I’m going to throw up.
Finally got a hold of an article put out by Maclean’s, a Canadian magazine, about the rise in mental health issues in post secondary students. My university is mentioned, Ryerson, and this article nicely compliments the reasoning as to why The Madvocates are doing what we’re doing at Ryerson.
Why so many of our best and brightest students report feeling hopeless, depressed, even suicidal
It hasn’t even been a week since i had my first psychiatrist appointment in about 4ish years but thinking about medication again has consumed my thoughts since he first suggested it.
I was not apposed to the suggestion, I went there with the suggestion myself, but I am extremely overwhelmed. When I was 16 and first went on medication I was following the doctor’s orders, the same would with any other medical issue. but now, as my psychiatrist phrased it, I am an adult and this is my decision. It is up to me to decide if this is a viable treatment option for me.
With my now more adult brain and improved knowledge of myself and of mental health I decide that I should research his suggested drug, Seroquel XR, before I take it (I have probably 2-3 weeks to make the decision due to the paperwork process). I feel like researching was a mistake! Everything seems like a horror story! I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to attempt suicide, like when I was on Prozac and Zyprexa and I wanted to make sure my self harm wouldn’t increase, like it did on Cipralex. Instead I’m faced with issues I never thought about (even if I knew about them) like weight gain, diabetes and cataracts!
I am stressing! Seriously stressing! I am sighing so much because I’m trying to calm myself down! Every so often I’ll just blow out a huge breath and I don’t even really notice but I’m trying to relax.
It’s the unknown. I can have people tell me that they hated Seroquel and have people tell me that they hate it but I will not know how I’ll fair until I try it.
Did I mention it’s $200? I do have insurance coverage that will pay for 85% of the cost.
I want to be safe. If it comes down between being physically unhealthy but I don’t go into a rage anymore it’s not worth it. I will keep the rage.
I do have a plan of attack that I will run by the doctor when she does the blood work and stuff before I go on the medication. Some of you have graciously shared your experience of Seroquel with me and have confirmed that my plan may work.
I’m going to start eating better and exercising more! As simple as that or I’m hoping as simple as that.
If Seroquel is known for severe weight gain but due an extreme increase in appetite then I’ll start carrying around dried cranberries or other fruits and veggies to keep my full while I’m out and about. I’ll cut down if not completely eliminate fast food from my diet. I will play with the kids more and start running or at least for for a 30 min or an hour long walk every day/every other day. My friend V suggested I keep a food journal and look up how many calories I should be consuming for my gender, age and height. I feel like there are a lot of ways around this. Also being monitored by my doctor.
The only thing that would make me say NO would be if all of these side effects are inevitable. If this drug has so much power that it didn’t matter how healthy I was I was going to gain weight and increase my risk for diabetes. If I have no control then I will say no.
The older brand of Seroquel is an option and one that I could use on an as needed basis. I will not rule this out of I turn down the XR or it doesn’t work for me.
Is knowledge always best? I guess I’d rather know this stuff now then before it happens but now I feel like my decision making is tainted.
On Monday I start two weeks of 1:1 counselling with a camper who has autism. I am extremely stressed out and the anxiety will probably mean I don’t post anything.
There are supports for me in place to help with camper and I have let the director know about my “disability” and my concerns about that.
I can only do the best I can.
Thought: While going in and out of sleep this morning I kept thinking back to the CAMH ad’s I posted about yesterday. Cate commented on the post and used a great word “minimize”. I was saying “simple” but minimize is exactly the word I was looking for! With the new generation of youth I feel like, and becoming worried that, mental health is becoming minimalized. It is becoming so casual that any person who is sad could have depression, anyone stressed out could have anxiety etc. It seems like kids are being whisked off to the doctor’s office as soon as they shed a tear and don’t sit still because we want to catch mental illness before it goes to far! In the process of wanting prevention and ending stigma we are making it seem like there is an easy way to solve the problem (a hospital stay for example). Everyone will say that it’s not easy, and it shouldn’t be, but when we’re entering a time when denial of a mental health issue is turning into everyone possibly having one I think we’re stuck in stigma, we still have a problem.
Sorry, I don’t know if any of this made sense. I’m finding this really hard to explain.
Aside from May being the month of my birth it is also BPD awareness month!
I have written already about BPD and my thoughts on it:
- What A Borderline Thinks Of Her Diagnosis
- How Borderline Personality Disorder Possibly Saved My Life
- I Have A Personality Disorder (Supposedly) Part 1
- I Have A Personality Disorder (Supposedly) part 2
- I Have A Personality Disorder (Supposedly) Part 3
BPD awareness needs to be more public. I wish many of the disorder experience the same public treatment as depression and anxeity currently is in Canada. No one has even a basic understanding of what BPD is and if there is an understanding it is so far off that it’s painful. I occasionally hear “Oh but you’re so nice!” when disclose that I have been diagnosed with BPD. What a surprise it must be to learn that someone with a personality disorder can be nice!? I know it’s a surprise for me to learn that I’m supposed to be mean!
Apparently someone sees the value in talking about BPD in Canada and the discussion will begin in schools next week! (http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/blog/events/launching-school-talk-for-bpd-awareness-month-in-canada-borderline-what/)
I don’t really have much to say that I haven’t already said in the posts listed above except people with BPD are fantastic people!