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.
Media, if you are going to be covering a story that deals with mental health you should do the following (from video):
- Stick to the facts. DO NOT SPECULATE about someone’s mental health being a factor in what you’re reporting unless it’s true.
- Interview someone with a mental health issues to provide a realistic perspective.
- Include contextualizing facts (ie: include that homicides involving people with mental health issues are rare and that they are more likely to be victims).
- Ask a professional. They can tell you more.
- Avoid stereotypes, cliches and sensationalism.
- Mind your language. Do not misuse a diagnosis.
See my “Personal Media” category for pieces I have been involved in.
Leigh from Watch Me Rock! linked me a post she wrote recently where she told the truth about how she really feels. It really resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you! (I added colour, italics, underlining and some bolding to show where I related)
On the outside, what you see is happiness. When on the inside I’m a wreck.
On the inside, it’s easier to disconnect and watch my life than experience it. This disconnect began at such an early age, that I never had the chance to learn how to cope with basic life stress. As pain approached, I would fade out and come back to reality when it was safe again. It’s dissociation.
On the inside, my torturous thoughts of guilt, rage, regret, doom and hopelessness are so loud, I revel in moments of absolute silence, alone. That’s what they call a party… of pity perhaps?
On the inside I plot my fantasy escape, often suicide, but I don’t have it in me to follow through, so I geographically run away and refuse to talk to or see people I love for months at a time. No matter how far I run, those thoughts are always with me.
On the inside, I would rather totally fail or quit than complete a task with the smallest imperfection.
On the inside, I love you deeply, or hate you immensely… it is devastating. But, that’s just for today. It could be different tomorrow.
On the inside I’m kicking and screaming like a child. I just want someone safe to hold me close, tell me it’s alright, and never ever let me go. Ever.
On the inside, every person I’ve ever met is in on the global scheme against my very existence. I’m extremely paranoid.
On the inside, I’m so far away from the truth of reality, I almost have no choice but to create my own.
Thank you Leigh for being so open!
venushalley1984 got me thinking. She commented on my post “Excuses and Reasons” and she shared with me a phrase she hears often and hates, “depression is lying to you.” This is to say that your depression (or another symptom of your illness) is creating something (thoughts, behaviours, emotions) that is not real. Without this illness you would cease to be who you currently are (a lie) and be your real self (the truth). This again brings doubt as to the authenticity of you as a person.
This reminded me of a question I found in Manufacturing Depression by Gary Greenberg. At the end of the book there were discussion questions (which I will add to this blog eventually). The first question is the one I want to address:
How does the concept of “On this medication, I am myself at last” (35) make you feel?
To say that your depression is lying and that medication will make you feel like yourself draws a clear line of what is the right person and the wrong person to be.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have an amazing “before ” I went into my depression. I do know that I was very shy, didn’t stand up for myself and was extremely sensitive as a child. To me it almost seems inevitable that when faced with bullying that I would become severely depressed. This in essence IS who I was.
I do not mean this in a “you are your illness” kind of way. I just mean I didn’t go from “normal” to “abnormal”, “perfect” to “imperfect”. I very smoothly went into depression. This is what made medication, therapy and “recovery” so scary. I didn’t have this former awesome “normal” self that other people seem to talk about. I had to create a completely new person! When all you know about yourself is darkness how are you supposed to create someone who can be in the light?
I don’t think depression is lying. I think depression exacerbates feelings, behaviours and thoughts but I don’t think if depression was gone those things would disappear, they may just not be the end of the world. The “myself” that Gary Greenberg is referencing isn’t who you are but who society wants you to be and you should be able to choose if you want to be that person. There is nothing wrong with that person but there is also nothing wrong with being the “ill” person.
We need to ditch the idea of right or wrong in regards to human emotions. The regulation is exhausting! Who are we to say what is the appropriate amount to feel? Who are we to say that someones interpretation of a situation is wrong? For all we know it is the “ill” people who are actually feeling the “right” way and the “normal” people who are feeling the “wrong” way!
I am who I am. That should not be discredited just because I have been labelled with an illness. I do not want medication to “restore” me to a person that I never actually was and is someone who I’m being told I should be. Maybe allowing us to feel and be would make being less harder?
Thought: We can’t be angry at people who display bigoted behaviours and thoughts. Bigotry can stem from a lack of knowledge. We can’t be mad if people don’t know something. We need to teach them. If after teaching, displaying the facts (white is not superior to non-white, men are not superior to women, “normal” is not superior to “abnormal”), and still a complete disregard is still shown, that is when we should be upset, not for ourselves but for that person. It must be hard to live in a head that can’t stop hating when living in a world that is showing us how important it is to love each other.
This guy speaks so much truth!
I believe in majority of the things he says and have talked about some of these things in therapy way back when!
I went over myths of mental illness and it only makes sense to go over the facts. It is through education that we can stop the stigma that surrounds mental illness and also addictions.
Who is affected?
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
- 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
- Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
- About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).
How common is it?
- Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
- Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
- Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
- The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.
What causes it?
- A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
- Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
- Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
- Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.
What is the economic cost?
- The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
- An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system.
- In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behavior.
(Canadian Mental Health Association, 2002)
- It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
- Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
- The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
- Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
- Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
- Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
- In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
(Canadian Mental Health Association, 2002)
- About 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.
- 1 in 10 Canadians 15 years of age and over report symptoms consistent with alcohol or illicit drug dependence.
- 3.8% of adults in Ontario are classified as having moderate or severe gambling problems.
- Young people age 15-24 are more likely to report mental illness and/or substance use disorders than other age groups.
- Overall, men were 2.6 times more likely than women to meet the criteria for substance dependence. 25% of male drinkers are high-risk drinkers compared to 9% of female drinkers.
- Tobacco is responsible for one-quarter of cancer deaths in Ontario.
If you had a more negative view of mental illness and addictions does any of this change your opinion?