Since realizing that I live in denial I have done a lot of thinking about why I find it more comfortable to be ignorant to my past and my pain.
I can say quite confidently that some of the ” BPD symptoms” developed as a defense mechanism and have helped protect me from emotional pain that might have killed me. I can’t let them go and that is where the problem lies.
If I stop fighting, if I stop being angry then I become vulnerable. I unfortunately see it as if I don’t get my way then I am giving in to others. This comes from one too many relationships where the guy I was with dictated many if not all aspects of my life.
Two guys come to mind: S and R.
I was with S for 2 months (the worst two months of my life). He was 21 and I was 17. S was attempting to train me to be his little housewife. S did not want me interacting with other guys. When I had a male partner for an English project at school (grade 12) he demanded I ask my teacher to let me switch to a female partner. I ended up doing the whole project via text messaging. I spent almost every day with him so he would know where I was and so we wouldn’t fight. He was my prom date and got mad at me that night because I was taking pictures with my guy friends. He said they were groping me but in reality we had our arms around each other’s waist, a typical picture taking pose.
I planned on going to Alberta that summer (2007) to work and he told me I hadn’t proved to him that I should be able to go somewhere far by myself. Trust was something I had to earn from him and until I earned it he was going to assume that he couldn’t trust me. The final straw for S was when I wanted to spend a second night at my friend’s house. He said, “how dare you!” and that was when we ended our relationship. I cried for 10 minutes, out of pure frustration.
Next was R. I was 18 and he was 23. We dated for 14 months. He very quickly in our relationship referred to me as a slut and made sexually offensive comments about me. R didn’t want me speaking with or hanging out with guys and that eventually included my girl friends. We spent about every day together or we were constantly texting. I tried everything I could think of to make him feel comfortable and I tried to compromise. He went on my MSN and got into a fight with one of my guy friends, he went through my text messages and my journal to see if I was hiding something. R told me constantly, “Guys and girls can’t be friends.” We would fight and at times I would win but only for a day or two. I once left him at my house and went to my friend’s party but he had criticized what I wore, telling me I looked like a whore.
When I was in university he would text me before exams and break up with me, making writing them very difficult. When I would be studying at home he would get mad at me that I wasn’t paying attention to him. R admitted to my Dad that he was worried I was going to be smarter than him. We spent most of our time in his room or in my basement since I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends and he had ditched his. The one time he met my friends (the three girls above) he told me he thought they were sluts. It was while I was with R that I began speaking with my current partner and I began to like him. When I finally left R he harassed my partner, my friends, my sister and myself for 7 months.
I would have thought that 4 years of freedom with my current partner would cancel out all the bullshit that guys, especially S and R, put me through but it’s not. This is through no fault of my partner and I guess no fault of mine. I don’t want anyone to take away my power ever again! I’m going to the extreme though, I need to be in total control of myself or else I think I’m being controlled.
When my partner asks me when I’m going to wash the dishes it is not uncommon for it to turn into a fight because I feel like he is making me do something I don’t want to do. No one wants to do dishes but I see it as he’s trying to control my life which is not true at all. He’s told me that. He’s told me we’re a team but I can’t let my guard down again.
This fear will hold me back. My strong desire to never be made powerless will make changing my thoughts and putting my emotions in check impossible. I know I’m safe in my relationship with my partner. He’s given me what I’ve always deserved and that is my right to be me. I’m still scared. Will I always be scared?
What is this law you may ask? Well, it’s a law that can force you to take medication, attend therapy and if you do not comply then you will be forcibly put in the hospital. Do you feel safe yet?
Gov. Christie commits to ‘fully implementing’ mental health treatment law
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie tonight committed to “fully implementing” a mental health treatment law that he said has gotten off to a sluggish start because of a lack of interest by treatment providers and court officials, according to his spokesman.
Earlier this week, it wasn’t clear when the Christie administration would roll out the “involuntary outpatient commitment” law, which gives judges discretion to demand people take medication and go to therapy if they pose a danger to themselves or others in the “foreseeable future.” If they fail to comply, they can be involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.
The law is getting extra attention because of the rash of mass shootings involving people who are diagnosed or speculated to have a mental illness.
“If the governor really does believe that mental health is an issue of importance, as he has stated on numerous national news programs, he should put his money where his mouth is,” Codey said.
At a press conference today to announce a task force to reduce gun violence, Christie blasted Codey for getting his facts wrong.
“I fully funded it my first year in my budget,” the governor said. “It was the toughest budget I had to deal with, and I fully funded it because of my commitment to the program. But I’ve been informed by my administration since then that we can’t find enough people to fully phase this thing in who want to do it.”
Christie’s remarks, however, contradict statements made by his state Human Services Commissioner, Jennifer Velez, and a letter to treatment agencies from then-Deputy Commissioner Kevin Martone in August 2010. Velez and Martone’s letter announced the law would be indefinitely delayed because it had been approved by the previous administration without any money to expand treatment programs. The state’s finances were stretched too thin to afford it that year.
When asked for clarification after today’s press conference, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts offered a different interpretation of the governor’s remarks, and a pledge that “the Department can now credibly plan for full implementation, given the governor’s commitment, as outlined today.”
The legislation estimated the program would cost $10 million a year for treatment and training for judges in every county. Roberts declined to say whether the remaining $8 million or any of those funds would be included in the upcoming budget Christie will introduce on Feb. 26th.
Roberts stressed how after “emerging from a historically difficult budget year, Governor Christie made it a priority to provide $2 million in resources to get this program finally started after it was signed into law and left completely unfunded by the Legislature and prior Administration.”
Essex, Warren, Union, Burlington and Hudson counties launched their programs and began enrolling chronically ill patients in late summer. Ocean County expected to begin enrolling patients in the spring, according to information from the department earlier this week.
As of late fall, about 25 patients had been enrolled from the five counties — evidence of a “tepid” response from the community, Roberts added.
Sent to me by my friend Daniel
Some Conversations Are Scary
Little Man: Hi Zadrex, may I have the Jewel of Zorclan without physical confrontation please?
Pete: Hi Dave, how are you feeling these days?
Dave: A lot better, Pete. Thanks for asking.
Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health.
Another down moment, well I haven’t really gotten out of the earlier one, just shoved it aside to get myself to believe that it was gone.
I realized this a few years ago and I feel like it just keeps getting more and more confirmed. I’m a great theory.
People seem to have these idea of who I am based off of how I describe myself and then shortly after meeting me after I get comfortable with them, I don’t want to say that I become myself but I become my reserved self. This leads to let downs.
The anger, the sadness, even laziness I guess. It all comes out once I’m comfortable. I can rationalized it out, and it’s most likely the truth, that I don’t certain things anymore because they were outlets for when I was self destruction. They trigger. I hate being triggered.
So I describe myself in these awesome fun ways and I do not deliver and I wish I did. I try to but I’m so afraid of falling back in old bad habits. I can’t find a middle ground, but I haven’t really tried because I’m worried of fucking up trying to find it.
I still have fine self esteem. I know that I am still a good person and well liked but I feel that without a doubt I’ll never get married and have kids. It’s a horrible feeling especially thinking no one will want to share children with me because I need to have them in my life eventually.
I’m too much of a hassle. Who wants a constant hassle in their life? I have no choice but to live with myself but everyone else can choose to leave and I hate them for it. I’m only great for so long.
In theory I’m amazing, I’m everything a man could want until he sees that I’m not. I’m already trying to figure out what I’ll do with myself if I can’t reach those certain goals.
I wish I wasn’t a theory. I’m getting emotional so I can’t really form good sentences right now.
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.
I work for the City of Toronto in a children’s after school program. I create and facilitate activities, including arts and crafts, character education and games, for up to 45 children ages 6-11. I am very good at what I do and more importantly I love what I do. These kids have saved me on multiple occasions but have also pushed my buttons.
Working scares me but looking for a job scares me more.
A lot of my friends have jobs while in high school. I didn’t. I was told that if employers found out I had depression they would fire me. I then created a story in my head where I would flip out on a customer or have a depressive episode at work and be fired.
I decided to hide (so to speak).
Because of what I was being told employers felt about people with mental health issues I used it ask my excuse to not find work. There is of course truth in saying that people with mental health issues are discriminate against in the work force. They are made to hide their illness and may even be let go from their job because of it.
The Canadian unemployment rate for individuals with mental health issues, depending on the severity, is between 70%-90%! Being able to work has been identified as a large part of promoting recovery and creating a more positive life for someone with a mental health issue (CMHA).
Any number of reasons can contribute to why the unemployment rate is so high: fear of being discriminated against, unable to work required hours, lack of past work experience, employer not wanting the “burden” of a staff with a mental health issue, lack of accommodation etc.
I wouldn’t be surprised, and I’m just speculating, that if employers were more understanding of mental illness, the same way they would about other illnesses, then maybe mental illness would be the second leading cause of disability in Canada (CAMH)? If people knew that their jobs were safe while they worked on themselves then maybe they wouldn’t feel that work is not possible? If employers to meet people on their level and not the other way around then maybe the mental health unemployment rate could go down?
I found myself at 18 years old, in University, needing money and ZERO work experience aside from babysitting. This doesn’t look good! I’ve been scrambling the last 4 years together every bit of experience I can to expand my resume but I still feel the repercussions of not having certain experience. I don’t get certain jobs.
It’s a tough job market. The government says they’re creating jobs but they’re not creating jobs that I can do.
I need another job. My contract is going to run out in June and I need more money anyways because I don’t work enough hours where I am currently. I woke up terrified to hand in a resume today at Pet Valu, I became extremely self-defeating.
“They won’t hire you, you have none of what they’re looking for!”
“This is what you get for being depressed as a teen. No experience!”
Blah blah blah! I did it anyways and I stand as much chance as anyone else regardless of my mental health status (which rarely gets in the way of my work).
It is strange how I can talk about suicide. I can talk about the mean things people have said to me. I can talk about how I’ve overcome all my crap but I still feel afraid to talk about certain parts of my life.
There are 2 influential parts of my life that I have not spoken about in this blog and never speak about due to the stigma surrounding those incidents.
What I do want to blog about is an issue that has shaped my whole opinion on mental health that I do talk about (and slowly have….http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/antidepressant-suicide-ironic/) is the harmful, sometimes deadly, adverse affects of psychiatric medication.
I am still afraid to voice this view because too many see it as “an opinion” when it is really a fact. It is a fact that no one takes seriously until they experience it. It is a fact that is documented by pharmaceutical companies but they hide it and doctors hide it or worse, don’t know about it.
I am looked down on for saying, “psychiatric medication caused me to attempt suicide”, people think I’m clinically paranoid, a scientologist, or a conspiracy theorist. This means that the drug companies (Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline etc) have won in keeping the population in its place.
THIS IS REAL!!!!
I feel the biggest part of the problem is not really ignorance to the data. I can go to any drug fact sheet and find suicidality and homicidal tendencies (save that for another blog) as possible side effects. I have heard doctors admit it (just not mine). The ignorance is in the prevalence of these possibly deadly and damaging side effects.
In Fall 2011 I attend CTV’s Canada AM Town Hall on Suicide and it was an extremely depressing experience. I was terrified to be there alone but I knew I had to be there (I feel scared just thinking about it). A woman did what I could not do, then, and asked the doctor on the panel about the suicidality of antidepressants. She was shot down. The doctor said “a small but real number” of young people and I guess I can give him credit for that but he still put more focus on how people are committing suicide BECAUSE they are not on medication.
I AM TIRED OF BEING PUSHED TO THE SIDE!
Michael and I watched an old radio show clip from back in the day when people were just starting to hear that cigarettes caused lung cancer. The host said that even though a few scientists are saying that the majority of cigarette smokers a not getting cancer (we know better now) we still need to worry about the MINORITY that are getting cancer! This belief seems to translate into many area of life, that the minority needs help, but in mental health this is not so. We are still rest assured that more people than not are having positive experiences with psych medication but this leaves people such as myself shoved aside and desperately trying to find a safe treatment in a system that doesn’t have enough options.
On February 8th I am attending Canada AM’s town hall on child and youth mental health. I am guaranteed to be able to ask a question to the panel of “experts” a question.
Here it is…….
“Hello, my name is Kristen and when I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with chronic depression which I have since recovered from. I was put on Prozac and Zyprexa and while on these two drugs experienced the adverse side effect of suicidality after only a few months. I survived my attempt but now I was faced with even less treatment options because I swore I would never go back on something that had almost killed me. I am tired of my experience being labeled as “small” and a “minority” and I want something to be done about this deadly side effect. My question is, with the knowledge of suicidality as a side effect of antidepressants and antipsychotics, especially in children, youth and young adults, what is being done to make these drugs safer for young people?”