Category Archives: therapy

30 Day Mental Health Challenge – Day 1

Day 1: What is/are your mental illness(es).  Explain it a little.

 

I am currently diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

My Bipolar disorder has varied from BP 2, to BP 1, to BP NOS — so honestly I am not sure which one I have.  I have moved a few times since getting the diagnosis and depending on the psychiatrist, they just decide on what they want.  I think my most accurate diagnosis is probably Bipolar 2 though.  I have had the severe highs before, but only 3 times since I ever was diagnosed back in 2012, and the majority of it is extremely severe depression.

With my PTSD, I basically have horrible flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation related to past traumatic events in my life.  These include childhood abuse that has happened to me.  Sexual abuse by a teacher when I was 13.  Also I was raped in college.  I am not currently facing this, but for a time I also had some PTSD related to a surgery which paralyzed my right arm due to complications and then in turn caused a great deal of stress and depression due to lack of my use of my arm and my future of my job.

My BPD affects me in many ways – although I honestly figure that out on a day to day basis.  My bipolar makes me depressed 97% of the times.  But then if something makes me mad or upset, I will be set off to be even more depressed or angry than I was before.  If I was suicidal before cause of my bipolar, my BPD could cause me to become even worse because of something someone said or did to me.  My emotions don’t usually swing up though like some people do.

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FUNNY FRIDAYS

 

 

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Finding the Right Therapist

I am so incredibly thankful for my therapist.  She has really been a lifesaver.  No, I have not been incredibly open with her yet.  Bit she has stood by me.  Through my crying, dissociation, suicidal ideation, not talking, avoiding it all – she has been there.

I have told her more than I have told anyone ever before.  I haven’t told her details about anything, but I have hinted at stuff.  That is still more than I have ever said to anyone.

I have never felt comfortable with a therapist before.  Well, once before I connected with a therapist, but it was after I had just been raped, and everything was so fresh on my memory I couldn’t comprehend anything and didn’t want to deal with anything, so I just didn’t.  She was wonderful and I got along with her, but I just couldn’t talk about the hard stuff.

Now, I have another great therapist after being with a million others – and I still have a hard time opening up, but I am getting there.  She has helped me realize that I need to talk to feel better, to heal.  I am really going to try to at my next appointment.  I don’t see her until next week.  I am really going to try to write and just practice talking out loud to myself to hear it out loud.  Say it.  I want to talk about it.  I want to heal.

Having a good therapist is such an important thing.  I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have my current therapist.  I still have bad days – horrible days.  I still have been hospitalized twice in the last year.  And even though each day I waiver on how I feel about myself, at least some days, I do feel ok about who I am.  Some days, I still hate myself, but there are some days that I do feel ok about myself now.

With my previous therapists, they didn’t even touch on my trauma.  Of course, we were trying to get my bipolar under control as that was completely out of control – but they also solely kind of focused on my BPD.  I am not saying none of that was irrelevant, but I think now that I have really been working on my trauma – I have been having a better grasp on my emotions over all and being able to control things – I have been able to take better care of myself over all.

As I said, I still have really bad days.  I still have almost had to be readmitted to the hospital, even recently.  I still have the suicidal ideations.  I still get mad and blow up at people.  But compared to how I was, having my current therapist has been a godsend.

If you don’t feel like your therapist is the right fit – keep looking.  It is ok to “fire” your therapist.  They are working for you, and if they aren’t the right fit, it is ok to find another one.  I didn’t do this a lot of the time… I kept sticking it out with mine and it never helped me.  I would just go to session after session getting nothing out of it, feeling miserable.  I would give up, stop taking meds, and just get worse.  I finally had someone tell me – its ok to shop around for a therapist.  You have to find one you mesh with, someone that you clique with, someone that you feel comfortable with.  And you will know within the first 2-3 sessions.  You don’t have to go for 3 months to figure out if they are the therapist for you.  And if they are a good therapist, they aren’t going to be offended if you leave – they know that not everyone works with well with everyone.  Certain styles of therapy work with certain people.

So – don’t give up if you don’t think therapy is working.  Keep looking for a good therapist.  Keep advocating for yourself.  I used to think therapy was stupid cause no one seemed to be helpful for me.  But there is someone out there that you will get alone with and connect with – you just have to find them.

FUNNY FRIDAYS

 

 

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How Did Everyone Ignore My Mental Illness Growing Up???

I recently read a wonderful post written by the Musings of Fred.  It discussed how the signs of mental illness in minors are often ignored.  This post hit home with me.  It was extremely true for my particular case growing up.  Not only were my signs of mental health issues ignored, but even when they came to light, they were just not addressed. 

Why does this happen?  Why does it take so long for parents to step in and get help for their children?  Honestly, I don’t have the answer.  I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist.  I have done no research whatsoever.  So I am not here to give some scientific answer.

I just I just wanted to give my thoughts.  And I wanted to see what everyone else thought. 

For me, I honestly hid my emotions and feelings of depression quite well.  I am not sure my parents actually knew up front.  My mom did find a suicide note when I was in 6th grade though, and she asked me about it, and then it was never talked about again.  Some teachers asked me about my depression, but again, did nothing.  One teacher seemed to care, but he abused his power and molested me.  This is when it all came to light – my 8th grade school counselor found out about the molestation, she told my parents, I was cutting and I was suicidal.  My school counselor urged them to put me in therapy.  I did not want to deal with anything and did not want to go.  My parents never discussed anything with me and I was never put into therapy.

My mental health deteriorated over time, Deteriorated a lot, suicidal thoughts were awful, life was awful, my parents never stepped in, teachers never stepped in.  No one seemed to care even though everyone seemed to be aware. 

I think a lot of people were in denial.  How could I be having problems?  My grades were still perfect 0 straight A’s in fact.  I was in all AP classes.  How could someone doing so well in school really want to die, how could they be destroying their lives – they had a bright future.  I don’t think my parents wanted to believe that I had been molested.  I don’t think they wanted to believe that their child had a mental illness.  I don’t think my teachers wanted to get involved and as some told me, I always seemed to be better at the end of each semester when my grades mattered. 

I told people I didn’t want help when I was younger, and yeah, I was scared of getting help because of what my teacher did to me.  I had told him about being depressed, and he took advantage of me.  But I also longed to not feel the way I was feeling.  I wanted someone to save me from my mind and how much it was torturing me.

I hope that people quit ignoring the kids and adolescents that need help.  I hope that those that are reaching our for help, and those that are silently suffering because they don’t know how to reach out for help or feel they cant, can receive the help they need.  Too often people do see the signs – teachers, pastors, friends, and family, they do see the signs – but the blind themselves to them.  They don’t want to believe it could happen in their kid.  They are too preoccupied with their own problems or work.  They think it is just a phase. 

We can’t look the other way anymore.  I truly believe if someone had helped me when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time in college, I would be suffering as much as I am now.  Yes, I said I didn’t need help then, I said I didn’t want therapy then.  I was 13 or 14 though.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I was scared.  I didn’t want my friends to judge me.  I shouldn’t have been able to make that decision, I was a kid. 

If you want to know more about warning signs in kids from preschool to the teen age years click here.

Ruminating on My Thoughts and Using Cognitave Behavioral Therapy to Escape It

Continually thinking about your problems can interfere with your concentration. Most people expect that thinking through their problems will help solve them. But continual thinking and thinking usually can’t solve a problem. For example, if your spouse leaves you, running this fact through your head a thousand times won’t change things.

                                       -Dr. Neal Houston, Sociologist

 

I ruminate all the time!  I saw this quote and it struck me as completely true!  Sitting and thinking about something over and over again does not fix anything.  Sure, I come to conclusions about things sometimes, but usually I can come to those conclusions fairly quickly – but I still will continue to think and think and think, and question and question and question.  My therapist calls this the snowball effect – it pretty much is just that.  I think one thing, ask a question, think of that, ask another question, think of that, and so on and so on.  It progressively gets worse and worse. The thoughts get more dangerous.  For me personally, they can lead to a deeper depression and even the suicidal ideations.

I have to nip them in the bud.  This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes in for me.  The whole Triangle thing comes in – for those of you who have taken CBT. My thoughts affect my emotions affect my behavior and back to my thoughts.  I have to change one of those things to change the others.  So for me, it would be to change my thoughts so that I don’t act out on a behavior (the suicidal thoughts) and my emotions (my depressive thoughts) do not get worse.  Or I need to do a behavior (a distraction – painting, reading, writing, etc) – so that I can quit ruminating on my thoughts. 

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Found on: http://creationsmindbody.com/bond-theraputics-2/cognitive-behavioral-therapy

 

This is such a hard thing for me to do and remember to do.  I will get so sucked up into thinking that I do not even realize that I am going over and over the thoughts in my head until it is too late and I feel like I cannot even get out of it.  I begin to get so overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed and then do not even want to do anything or feel I cannot do anything to get out of the situation.  It is so important to not get stuck in this sort of situation.  Practicing this CBT is very important to keep our thoughts on the right track.  I definitely do not do it enough. 

 

An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters – by Portia Nelson

This is a wonderful poem that I was given when I was inpatient.  Then I was given it again while in therapy.  There is so much power in this poem and I feel like it represent my struggle with mental illness so much.  I feel like I have gone back and forth between the chapters of it multiple times in my life and I am sure I will continue to throughout my life. 

 

A POETIC INTERLUDE:  AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERSby Portia NelsonI

I walk, down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in

I am lost…. I am helpless

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again

I can’t believe I am in the same place but, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.’

I still fall in…. it’s a habit, my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

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