Watching part 2 of The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive and I’m getting aggravated.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good documentary but Mr. Stephen Fry is a follower of the medical model and for those of you who have been following me for a bit you know that I am not (at least not fully or in all cases).
I find it difficult to listen to an awareness documentary that keeps talking about mental illness as, well, an illness. Let me explain first. I found Fry and the people he interviewed to to be of the belief that they are at the mercy of bipolar disorder, that they have no control. They have as much control over their manic depression as I would over my cold.
I can’t live thinking that, not anymore.
I am fully aware that many of you will probably disagree with me but I’m not denying that we can’t at times have our asses handed to us by whatever is going on inside us.
I was at the mercy of my mind every time I self harmed, when I attempted suicide, when I physically hurt others, when I was in a rage. I can admit that and it is scary.
You still will never hear me say, “Oh, that was my illness.” That could be because I see whatever is going on with me as being something I can have power over. If it is in me then I can manipulate it.
When I have a cold I can drink more water, rest, take medicine and eat healthier. Same goes with my mind. I can read self help books, talk with friends and professionals, I can engage in self care and do anything else that tickles my fancy. I had to work up to this though because of course when you first experience horrible moods and destructive behaviours you have no idea what’s going on or what to do and it is so easy to get swept up in it. Most times it’s easier to stay swept up in it all.
I know there are some of you who follow me that will not relate to what I’m saying. Having control is next to impossible. I respect you for what you are doing to take your life to the next level of functioning. Some of you have experiences that I can’t imagine having and you are still here. This makes you strong and that is something you did because you wanted to. That’s your power
I don’t know if any of this came out the way I wanted it to. I felt upset because I like having control and don’t want people thinking that because I have been labelled with a mental health issue that I am not in control of myself. I don’t want that. That’s all I really wanted to say.
Lupe Fiasco’s song “Bitch Bad” looks at how mainstream hip hop and society use the term “bitch”.
“Bitch” is yet another word that can be demeaning and empowering. Women especially seem to be able to to be an empowered bitch and then a mean bitch.
Here’s the video!
For me, “bitch” has been both good and bad. I can own being a “bitch” but I fully recognize that “bitch” is another word that places blame on women and girls. It is a female word, originally (and still is) the term for a female dog. We even use “bitch” to demean a man by say that he is “acting like a woman”.
What do you all this of this video and it’s message?
I found this on Psychology Today and thought it was great! This is something we need in mental health and all healthcare! You can print this contract out and have your doctor sign it!
Imagine if you and your doctor signed a contract like this:
As patient and doctor, you and I are entering into a partnership. As such—and with all due respect—I’d like to clarify a few things about the terms of this partnership and how I hope we can work together with the mutual goal of my whole health and healing.
My Voice Matters
I agree to speak up and use the voice of my intuition and my own self-healing knowledge. I understand that you are not giving orders, but rather you are giving advice based on your knowledge, training, and intuition. Both of our voices are equally important if we are to be partners. I am not here to be “fixed” because I am not broken. I am here to be supported, guided, and given the tools to support my own healing process.
I Can Heal Myself
Just as my arm can knit and heal when it breaks, the rest of me is capable of self-healing as well. As my doctor you will act as my proverbial plaster cast, but my own self-healing mechanisms will need to do the rest. I fully believe that I already have within me the power to heal myself. When we meet, I will gaze, with love, into the mirror you hold up for me so that I may see what I need in order to optimize my wellness and happiness, so that I may live the most joyous, vibrant, fulfilling, sexy, healthy life possible. Although you will support me, by educating me, giving me choices, answering my questions, and making recommendations, I know that I am here to be the force behind my own healing. You may offer me the tools you have become an expert in providing—drugs, surgeries, and any other treatments you deem helpful, but I understand that I must do the heavy lifting myself.
I’ve never really identified as “recovered”.
I’ve had bad experiences with the word.
I have a feeling I’ve possibly, for the sake of argument, said in here or to other people that I have recovered from my mental health issues. This was not told to me by a psychiatrist. The last one I spoke to, about 4 years ago, told me I had Borderline Personality Disorder. I have decided that I am “recovered” because I am the one that truly knows myself.
I feel that recovery is being a tad skewed by mental health professionals but mostly by society. “Recovered” creates a burden to also be that way. It’s a pressure that I don’t want to be under.
How do you recover? What does recovery look like? Who decides when you’ve recovered? How long should recovery take?
All these questions and more have influenced how I’ve chosen to identify. I overall just identify as myself. It’s an identify that is comfortable for me.
I hate being asked, “how did you recover?” I DON’T KNOW! Really, I don’t. It happened to gradually, it was a large process. It almost doesn’t matter what I did because what has helped me because it possibly, and probably, won’t work for you! And that is fine! That is how it should be.
I feel, thanks to how psych meds are seen, that we completely misunderstand the journey that is supposed to come out of self-improvement. We are all searching for that quick fix and when we can’t find it we become discouraged and give up. Improving yourself is supposed to difficult, it’s supposed to be a process. If it was easy then I would doubt its long term effectiveness.
What scares me the most about saying “I am recovered” is what happens when I fail? I find myself in the midst of breakdowns yelling at myself in my head for not being the perfect recovered person I have felt the pressure to be! I become worried that since I can’t keep myself together all the time that I’m not the right person to be doing my work in mental health. I know that all of this is wrong. I know that no one can keep everything together at all times but I still can’t help but picture people seeing me at my lowest saying, “You’re not recovered! You’re still crazy.”
This is the wrong attitude to have and it sets me back in that moment. Accepting the bad and that the bad will happen is apart of being ok with myself.
So, I prefer to set my own rules. This way I set the expectations and I only need to please myself. I can be the only one to determines my happiness in my life.
Recovery should not be a one size fits all. We may have the same diagnosis but we are not the same people and we need to have full control over how we chose to improve ourselves. Only we can determine when we’ve reached that comfortable time in our life where we can say “yes, I’m ok” with a smile on your face.