I am burnt out. I feel like crying, cutting, screaming, sleeping, and walking into traffic. I need to do something about this so I am going to be taking a break from blogging, Facebook and Twitter until Friday. Before I do this I need to share something that I have been thinking about this past week or 2.
I would like to reintroduce myself and hope that many of you will still support me and see value in what I have to offer.
Since beginning this blog over a year ago I have come to realize that I am not being entirely true to myself. I am still saying what I feel is expected of me because I do not want to upset anyone. I have experienced a live of invalidation and I did not want experience that here. But, I need to break this cycle of fear and first validate myself.
My name is Kristen.
I am a Mad woman.
Mad is my identity and my politics.
I know that my intense sadness, self hatred and rage are apart of being human.
I know that I live in a world that does not appreciate emotional and mental differences.
I know that I am not sick but that I experience great pain caused by the experiences, violence and discrimination I have lived through.
I know that not allowing myself to be labelled as “sick” does not make my pain any less important or tolerable.
I know that being labelled “sick” only made me sicker and my true healing began when I abandoned the medical approach to my mind.
I know that I sometimes fall back into the mindset of being sick because that is what I have been told since I was a 13 and I will continue to be told by others what I am. I need to stop listening to them.
I know that psychiatry is too powerful and needs to be changed because I do think there can be a place for it, just not how it is currently.
I know that I will use mental health services when I need to but always on my terms.
I know that regardless of how I view my own mental well-being that discrimination, stigma, and violence are unacceptable events to occur towards those in the mental health, Mad, psychiatric survivor, antipsychiatry, consumer and ex-patient/inmate communities. I will speak out against human rights violations and support people in the ways they need to be supported.
I know that I have a lot of positive things to share with others if they are only willing to listen and open their minds.
I know there is a lot of be afraid of but that if we can stay together it doesn’t need to be so scary.
I know that I am just one voice but that I am important.
I know that I do not have all the answers but that I am onto something.
I know that many of you will judge me but as many of you know, the longer I ignore myself and keep it inside the worse I will feel. I am still like you.
After seeing the emotional benefit of devoting my weekends to things other then mental health (ie: reading, loom knitting, watching tv and spending time with Michael and others) I have decided that every weekend will be a true weekend and I will leave my work for the weekday. So, no mental health talk on the weekends unless it’s unavoidable (like something huge happens in the mental health world or I’m in a crisis). Instead I will devote the weekends to writing about other topics that I find important or just things that are fun!
I went to the pet store this morning. I pushing my bundle buggy in front of me made me feel like I was pushing a stroller but instead of of a child in it I had cat food and litter. I was reminded of two incidents, one that happened when I was in gr. 11 and another that happened about 3 or so years ago around children and how people saw me when I was with one.
The first incident. I was taking my cousin (who was maybe around 1 years old) for a walk around my neighbourhood. My then boyfriend came with me. We just walked around the block, pushing my cousin in the stroller, talking about nothing important, minding our own business. I began to notice though that people we passed gave us dirty looks. They just oozed disapproval. I didn’t say anything to my boyfriend but I knew we were getting those looks because they thought my cousin was mine and my boyfriend’s daughter. The reality is, they had no idea what my or his relationship to that child was but the assumed and decided not to like us. I will also make an assumption that young girls (probably more so then boys, and I will explain why in a bit) who have a child (or children) get these dirty looks and probably nasty comments frequently. THIS IS WRONG!
The second incident was when Michael and I had 2 friends and their son stay at our place for a few days before they moved to another province. Both of them got sick so we offered to take their son for a walk and get some things for dinner. Remembering that incident with my cousin and knowing that I very well looked (and still do so I’m told) like a teenager despite being 20 years old at the time, I told Michael to carry the baby in his carrier. From what I had been learning in my sociology class, society views single/unwed mothers different from single/unwed fathers (I mean single to mean no relationship with the other parent and unwed meaning in a relationship but not married). I dreaded getting the looks again. I had a strong feeling like Michael, as man with a child, would receive looks of longing and admiration. I was right. THIS IS WRONG!
Pregnancies happen. Pregnancy doesn’t care if you’re a teenager or if you don’t have a relationship with the other person who helped create that pregnancy. We need to stop judging single parents or even assumed single parents because it is really none of our business! These parents are no less of a parent then others and they are most likely experiencing and overcoming more obstacles then you can imagine due to their age or raising a child on their own. What these parents need is our support, the same support we would offer to other parents. They are parents! They are people!
A few moments ago Pride in Madness reached 500 followers!
I want to thank each and every one of you, new and old, for being here this past year and bit. We have had great conversations, shared good and bad times and I look forward to what’s to come!
Thank you for supporting me and for sharing yourself through Pride in Madness and through your own personal blogs!
I am very honoured to share with you all the first Guest Post on Pride in Madness! Dawn-Marie is a Mother of 3 children and Step-Mother to two more. Her oldest and youngest son both have autism which is what she is going to be sharing with you all in two posts. Her writing has helped me learn more about autism and I know that it will be very helpful to those who love or work with someone who experiences autism.
My Dear Flight Risk
By: D. Potter
I wrote this when my eldest son was going through a rough phase; I’m sharing it right now to let any of parents out there know that you’re not alone in your struggles. I’m posting it to give insight into the harder days of parenting children with mental health issues. The parts that people don’t know or understand that come with having a child who’s hurting so badly because of things that sadly are out of our control.
My dear flight risk,
I call you that right now because that’s what you are right now, a flight risk. It means that at any moment I could lose you to the dark paths within your mind that cloud up the truth and make you see illusions instead. Everything has to be either right or wrong to you, and while it’s one thing I cherish about you, it’s also one thing I fear so much. I fear it for I’m scared that it is what will take you away from me, and lead you to a place I pray for you to never know firsthand.
Don’t run my sweet, sweet boy, I beg of you, for you take my heart, my whole reason for being with you should you go. The locks and alarms can only stop you for so long before you figure them out. No matter how far or fast you run, the darkness you’re trying to flee will still be with you, for it’s inside of you. The pain and confusion, the embarrassment and the shame, the fear and the longing for something you can’t seem to name. It all stays with you, it’s all a part of you, I know for I have it inside of me too, but now you’re my light, my peace, my joy, my very world.
So PLEASE don’t run, stay and talk, yell, scream, punch your pillow, anything, let out the frustration at never quite “getting the situation”. Scream away all the times you figured out what to say a few moments too late to say it. Lash out until you’re too tired to fight anymore, and then my sweet child the most important part comes next;
Once you’re so tired you can’t fight anymore, once you can’t dredge up a single ounce of pain or anger or fear or rejection, then let love inside. Let love for who you are flow like gentle waves against every part of your soul, washing away the residue and leaving a perfectly smooth surface of sand for you to write the next chapter of your life on. One of acceptance and self-love, for it is BECAUSE of how perfectly amazing you are as a human being that you mean so much to me.
You are the epitome of everything that is right in this world, and every day I don’t wish for you to change a bit… Instead I try to change the world FOR you, because you deserve a better one than what you live in right now!
You deserve one where people say what they mean and mean what they say. Where people don’t make fun of others that are different, but are intrigued by the differences and see them for the wonderful gifts they are to our society. You deserve a world where random hugs are accepted with honor and joyful surprise at your spontaneous outpouring of caring and love NOT reprimands about people’s personal space and how it shouldn’t be breached without prior permission.
Don’t run my sweet, sweet boy, for I promise you, I AM here for you, to hold your hand when you’re scared, to offer explanations when you’re confused, to be in awe of the purity of your soul, and to fight not just for you but with you if need be until you see, it’s not you that needs to change!
You’re honest, and you love unconditionally. You see every new person as a potential friend and open your heart to every single one of them. You see the splendor in the ordinary details of life like the patterns on a snail’s shell, or a sunset’s majesty. You’re thoughtful in ways that many “grown-ups” could learn from. If I could have picked every single thing about you out before you were born I couldn’t have made you a better person than you already are. Yes my sweet boy, I know of the darkness that calls you so. I have heard its soothing song a time or twenty. But it doesn’t offer you the freedom that you think it does. It doesn’t bring about the peace that you’re looking for; it lacks the solace that you seek. I know of your black dog, just as I know of your white one. For each one of us has both. It doesn’t make you bad, it makes you human. No matter how far or fast you go it goes too. I know, I tried for so long to outrun my own, to fly faster than my demons, and the broken glass of dreams I would shatter because I wasn’t good enough either. I get it; I get it all, my bugaboo. So please stay with us, and understand that you CAN paint with just bold strokes of black and white. Instead of the dull insipid shades of gray that most use because they are too scared to stand up and be their real selves.
Thank you Dawn-Marie for sharing with us!
Please head over to her blog (http://behindstarbursteyes.wordpress.com/) as well as her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BehindStarburstEyes?ref=tn_tnmn)
Previously: After You Self Harm
Looking After You and Your Injury
If you have just injured yourself before doing this look at your wound. Does it need first aid?
(I’m filling out this section with just general information on how I look after myself and my injuries after I self harm.)
When you’ve dealt with the injury, think about yourself.
Do you need to be with someone, or alone?
I usually want to be alone. Since it has a calming effect I’m most likely tired from freaking out so I need to lay down.
Is there anyone who can help over the phone?
There are people I can call if I ever need to. The problem is I don’t want to bother them or even want them to know that I have self harmed. Even though my partner and I live together I will usually not tell him because I just don’t see the need to share it. I may tell him a few days or a week later which can be counterproductive because then he can’t help me through it.
What do you find helpful when distressed? (Bath, hot water bottle, TV, music etc.)
Laying down and reading. Deep breathing is also something I’m a huge fan of.
I’m going to add a part on the first aid that I engage in when I self harm.
- If I remember/care I wash with soap and water the tool I’m about to use.
- After, I apply pressure on the injury to stop the bleeding.
- I wash the wound with soap and water.
- I apply an antibacterial cream to kill any left over germs and it also speeds healing (I’ll applying this for maybe up to 3 days, twice daily)
- Once it’s healed I’ll use scar reducing oil
I’m going to use this weekend to do things like clean the house, read, write my essay and begin putting together my activism college.
I need a break.
Something cute but a tad alarming to leave off with. While waiting for my partner to come home last night I decided to get in the bath and read. He came home just as I was closing the door to get in. He knocked on the bathroom door with some force and sternly said, “Why are you in there with the door locked?” I said that the door wasn’t locked and that I was in the bath. He saw that it was true and calmed down. I thanked him for being concerned. Later on I offered that if I feel like self harming and he’s not at home I can text him and let him know, that way there are no surprises like that again. He doesn’t seem comfortable with any talk of preparing for a self harming event but I do feel it is important. I’ve been self harming long enough to tolerate the anger that may come from others when I do it but hiding the behaviour never helps.
Oh one really fun thing before I go for the weekend! I’m a “First Reads” Winner on GoodReads! The book is called, Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad by Alison Wearing. Random House Canada should be sending it my way within 4-6 weeks. I’m hoping since both Random House and I live in the same city the book will be here soon! I don’t usually win things, especially when there are only a couple of the thing available so it was nice to wake up to the email telling me I had won
Building mastery is a part of DBT. Today I’m going to do something that I have been avoiding as a part of my whole “stay out of my mind, I don’t want to face reality” thing I got going on.
I’ve been trying to drop the walls and with that has come so realizations. One of them I’m going to share with you, even though I don’t want too, because it means more to me to tackle something that I find difficult then it is to keep hiding from it.
I am very sensitive when I comes to my relationships. In the past conversations around my intimate partner’s have usually consisted of,
“You shouldn’t be with him.”
“He doesn’t treat you right, you should leave him.”
“He won’t change, get out now!”
Everything was said based off of very true evidence that these relationships were extremely one sided and abusive towards me.
With my current relationship, at least in counselling where all the constructive talking is supposed to happen, I do not like talking about the problems in my relationship because I’m afraid I will be told to leave it. While I am clearly not able to always determine if I am in the correct relationship I know that who I am with right now is who I want to be with and the same goes for him. What I think I need to do it say, straight up, “I do not want to leave my relationship so let’s talk about how things can become better while in this relationship.”
If I left everything because it was hard or hurt then I would be dead. I do not give up, I am aware of what I like and do not like in a relationship and I want people to trust that. I want support to strengthen my current relationship because we can make it, no matter how many rages I through and no matter how many times he does what he does. We are a couple that needs support. We have everything else, we just need the support.
There, I have briefly mastered admitting the truth and letting some of the walls come down.
I think I’m supposed to feel better…..maybe I will after I talk to my counsellor.
Photos from SlutWalk Toronto. Protest date to come soon
The more I look into DBT the more I feel like I will never be able to get it.
I can find services that offer it but I can’t find services that offer it cheaply or for free. Once again I’m being told that what they charge is under what is recommended but it is still to expensive for me.
The Mindfulness Clinic in Toronto offers a DBT program that sounds great (click on link) but it’s $2,800 CDN. Rounding up I make about $800/month. I think insurance only cover about $1,500/year. This is not possible…
A few other services in the city offer individual DBT for a fee and the only number I have from one women in private practice is $115/hour. This would add up to $460/month if I were to go once a week for an hour. I make about $800/month. While this is possible it would come at a non-monetary cost. I can only for once a month or I could only go for half an hour.
I still have rent ($275/month) and transit ($128.50/month) to pay and a VISA bill (in the $300′s) that I barely make a dent in because despite having dental coverage I still don’t make enough money to quickly pay the 10% of my costs.
I’m thinking of just abandoning the idea. Maybe for the time being, maybe just never.
I’m not out of options. I have access to my work’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and there are other places that do individual counselling for free but I’ve been doing individual counselling for so long and I feel like I’m not moving forward anymore. Maybe I’m putting to much hope into DBT but it’s hard to not look at the data and want the improvements for myself.
I don’t have access to a therapy specifically designed for me. This world is fucked.
I would like to thank those of you who have contacted me so far about participating in my Parents and Mental Health series!
I have already received emails of interest and the the series is on it’s way!
I will post again asking for participants as I would like this series to be on going. I want as many of you heard as possible! You all have amazing things to share that can help a lot of people.
Thank you all for continually supporting me! If you ever need anything just ask