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30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 4

Day 4: What are the pros and cons of having a mental illness or your specific illness(es)?

Cons – Well, I have a hard time keeping a job, making friends, enjoying life — my depression and anxiety really inhibit me to do a lot of things.  It isn’t fun at all.  With anxiety, I really hate going out.  I am scared of meeting new people.  Then when I do make a friend, I get really overwhelmed if they keep asking me to hang out, so I quite answering their calls or texts – and well, they give up on me, which I don’t blame them for.  I get overwhelmed with jobs too – so I feel sick and can’t go in, or I have panic attakcs during them, or I just stop going, or I quit.  When I get depressed – nothing makes me happy.  I can sleep for days.  I can not shower for days.  I am not interested in anything.  My mania with my bipolar even stinks — spend lots of money, get agitated and frustrated.  Nothing good from that. Basically — it just sucks.  So nothing good about the mental illness there.

Pros –  Hmm that is a hard one to even think about.  With bipolar, there is mania.  Most people like that.  They say they are productive and all that jazz.  For me, I hate my mania – nothing good comes out of it.  So I cant even list that as a pro.  I think I am more empathetic though.  I see the world differently than most people.  I feel pain.  I know what it is like to hurt.  I guess I don’t want to say I understand things better, and yet I also do want to say that.  When someone is hurting or down, I feel like I really do understand them.  I do feel like I see the world completely differently than someone without mental illness – I feel like I have a better perspective.  I know that sounds bad and mean and wrong and as if I am better than them — but I feel like I just have a better understanding — or a different understanding I guess.

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 3

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

 

I participated in 6 months of inpatient schema therapy which was really great for me.  This helped me with my BPD.  Perhaps having to sit down for 6 months and break it all down into my mind is what this really worked for me.  It was all broken down into every group I went to, plus we had one group where the therapist added in a bit of DBT, but not much.  Schema therapy really was great though.

I also did quite a bit of CBT here and there.  It helped me when I really thought about it, but I never would actually practice it outside of a hospital setting.  When I was inpatient, and had the sheets in front of me, had to do the assignments, it all made sense.  Outside of the hospital — I just could never make myself think of it.

Outside of therapy programs though, using my coping skills is really the best thing for me.  When I am able to bring myself out of my “funk” enough to actually do something ….

  1. painting
  2. zentangles
  3. juggling
  4. reading
  5. writing
  6. writing on here has been amazing!
  7. walking or running
  8. support groups (NAMI)
  9. grounding techniques

those are the ones I try to use most frequently as they seem to be the ones that work right now….they change quite frequently… like a few months ago, I was obsessed with knitting — nonstop!

 

 

30 Day Mental Health Challenge – Day 2

Day 2: How do you feel about your diagnosis?

I have accepted my diagnosis for the most part.  I get upset that I have to take medicine everyday.  I get annoyed that I am going to have to deal with it for the rest of my life.  I know that for my BPD I can get much better through therapy and even my PTSD can improve a lot with therapy.  My bipolar is going to follow me all my life though.  I have tried going off my meds and every single time I ended up in the hospital – repeatedly – 15 times – until I got committed to a state hospital.

I have accepted that I have to stay on my meds now.  I have accepted that I need medications and I need therapy and I will battle these for the rest of my life.

I will be honest though, I am treated unfairly many times because of my borderline personality diagnosis.  People think I am manipulative because of it.  I personally, am not.  I have doctors tell me that I tell them whatever I want to get the medications I want.  The medications I have been on work perfectly for me – since I got out of the state hospital, my meds have kept me stable.  The only med that hasn’t is my anxiety med – and I asked the state hospital to take me off of it because in the controlled environment in there, I thought I was better.  I wish I hadn’t gone off of it.  Now, everyone here thinks I am just manipulating them because of my BPD.  There is more than just that instance though – I have heard it multiple times.  I wish that my BPD diagnosis would just be taken off my chart.

But, it is what it is.  I have what I have.  I just need to continue to learn how to cope with it all and live with it all and focus my life on living better and coping better.

BPD and Identity Issues

After my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) I struggled to accept it.  I battled in my mind over if I really had it or not.  Quite honestly, I had some therapists that kind of disagreed about it too, which made me wonder even more.

When I really look at the traits though, I am pretty sure I do have enough of them to meet the criteria.  I waiver back and forth on if I do meet it or not, but I think that is because I want to convince myself I don’t have it.

There is one criteria that I know I completely meet though:

—- identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

 

Throughout my entire life I have never known who I really was.  I went to quite a few different schools.  Two elementary schools, Three Middle Schools, and Two High Schools.  I hung out with different types of people at all of them.  I conformed to whatever behavior and pattern I needed to.  I didn’t really have my own identity.  If I would have been put in a room with all of them together, I wouldn’t have known how to act.  Who would I have conformed to?  Which group would I have identified with?  Would I have identified with any of them?

To this day, I don’t know who I am.  I don’t dye my hair or cut it often.  I don’t change my clothing style all the time.  No one would think or feel that I cannot really figure out who I am.

I am on disability, and quite honestly, am not exactly stable enough to hold a job at this point.  I am working at my own pace to get a degree though, which I am hoping will lead me to a job and stability since I am going to have more structure in my life.

Even with this though, is it what I really want?  I went to college and got 2 Bachelors degrees.  My mental illness definitely stopped me from being able to use them, but I questioned my main one (nursing) during those last two years when my mental illness was getting bad.  I couldn’t figure out who I was or what I wanted.

Now, am I doing the right thing?  Will I be able to follow through with this?  Will I like it and keep it and enjoy it?  Is it me?

I think it is.  I am going to stay positive about it of course.

I just know that I have struggled with finding myself.  Who I am.  Who I want to be and who I can identify with and trust.  I feel like I don’t know how to act or socialize.  I feel somewhat disconnected from everyone and I don’t know how to connect unless I follow them.  If that makes sense?

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, or if anyone else feels this way at all.  But that has been my experience with the identity issue that goes along with BPD.

 

Does anyone else experience this trait of BPD?  What are your symptoms like with it?

Our greatest weakness

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
-Thomas A. Edison

No Internet :(

Well, I am broke and so I went to change my cable/internet plan today.  When I moved here, to keep myself distracted I signed up for cable along with Internet because as a bundle it is fairly well priced.  Of course you sign a 2 year contract and the 1st year it is super cheap with all these discounts and the second year they jack up the price.  So I decided all I really need is internet. So I went to switch it. I come home, hook up my own router….ugh it is not working.  Of course since I am using my own equipment they will not troubleshoot it. They want me to pay $100 for their router.  Needless to say after 3 hours on the phone I gave up. A few hours later I decided to try their online chat. I got a friendly rep who worked to try to solve it, decided he couldn’t, and id’s sending a tech out Monday!

Soo no Internet til then. I have a few posts scheduled before then, but since I just have my phone and data plan I probably won’t be on here to respond to anything much.

I hope you all have a great weekend though!  Mine will be incredibly boring I am sure.  I am either going so sleep or perhaps force myself to leave my apartment :/

Would You Work?

Word Press Post A Day – If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

If money was out of the question, I think I would work.  Maybe not a lot, but I would work.

I’m on disability right now.  In fact I haven’t worked since 2012.  Right now, I don’t even think I could work yet.

I wish I could work though.  I wish I was able to be out there, be around people, do something with my day, be productive, feel like I was contributing to society, making a difference.

At this point, even getting out to volunteer hasn’t been possible.  So I can’t feel any of those things.

My bipolar has finally stabilized quite a bit thanks to my medication, so the highs and lows are not as bad.  My borderline personality is getting better.  My PTSD and social anxiety is out of control though at this point.  Most people would brush this off as no big deal. Surely you can still work! Those that have been there understand though, or I hope they understand.

Even if money wasn’t an issue – I got no money, not a lot of money, or a ton of money — I would love to work.  I don’t think I would work a lot.   I would work enough though.  Enough to give me a routine.  A routine if what I need.  A routine is important to my life.  It grounds me.  It actually helps me, but until I can keep commitments and not get overwhelmed and handle social situations and relationships with others and not be so depressed that I miss a ton of work or attempt suicide and end up in the hospital from the overwhelming situations or depression — until then, even if a routine from work would help me — it just wouldn’t be possible.

I am signed up with my states vocational rehab.  They would be able to work with me, set me up with a job coach and put me in a program to work with me .  They are so backed up with other people though that I am on a wait list.  They are only now getting people off the list from a year ago…..

 

Ice Bucket Challenge for Your Passion?

Word Press Post A Day – The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

 

I’m a day late on this.  I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging as I haven’t been feeling too well.  But I have thought about this ice bucket challenge for a bit since it started – seeing the positive and negative comments in response to it.

I think it is great that it has raised so much money towards ALS.  I first saw the challenge back in January, by some friends in Indiana.  It wasn’t for ALS though – it was for their own personal favorite charities.  I thought that was a great idea, since it wasn’t dedicated to a certain charity and it was kind of spread out to whatever they felt passionate about.

I am very passionate about a lot of different beliefs.  One thing that I am super passionate about though, which my blog is about, is mental health issues.  Being affected by mental illness, I strongly support almost any mental health organization that works towards awareness about mental illness.  My personal favorite is NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness), as I have been most involved with them; however, all organizations that are so many that work towards awareness.

So, if anyone out there ever gets nominated for an ice bucket challenge — I am not saying to not donate to ALS, but think about donating to a charity of your choice too — challenge people to think about what they are passionate about and to donate to that.  Create some awareness about what you are passionate about.  Perhaps create a new viral sensation about your passion to raise awareness?

 

Why I Choose to Live

Why I Choose to Live –

During one of my hospitalizations, we had to create a safety place.  We were given a bunch of note cards and asked to put lots of different things on them….

  • Warning signs that we were getting depressed
  • Triggers for our depression
  • Coping skills
  • Things that made us happy
  • and of course – who we could call when we felt suicidal

One of those cards though also was for, why we chose to live.  Why did we want to live.  What were our reasons for living.

I found that safety place the other day and looked through it.  Most of it is completely irrelevant at this point.  None of those people are in my life anymore.  The triggers and warning signs I suppose are still there.  Coping skills have changed.  Things that make me happy are not the same.  And, the reasons why I choose to live — well I am pretty sure I completely made up every single one of those just so I could tell myself there was something to live for — or the hospital made me write something.

Like, I wrote I wanted to have kids — yeah I have never wanted kids.  Or I never wanted a baby of my own, to come out of me (sorry if that was graphic).  But since being molested and raped, I just don’t deal with things “down there” very well.  Adoption of an older kid, maybe.  I wanted to live for God — yeah I believe in God, but I also don’t think God will send me to hell for suicide (don’t really want to debate this on here, so please don’t).  Anyway, there was a bunch of stuff that I really didn’t understand why I wrote it.

So I figured I would make a new list — perhaps one I really thought about.  So here goes – Reasons why I choose to live:

  1. I want to be able to use my past to help others.  I am currently going to grad school to gain a degree in which I will be able to work with those that have been victims of trauma and mental health issues.  I have experienced both of these things and I never thought I would be able to actually to turn my experiences into something positive.  I hope that I can help others, by knowing where they are coming from, and relating to them, to help them overcome their traumas.  I want to live so I can achieve this goal – getting my degree and helping others.
  2. I want to live to see if I will ever be happy, like really happy.  I don’t know how to explain this, but I guess I want to see if there really is that light at the end of the tunnel.  If I give up today, and then tomorrow would have been the day that would have magically been better – that would really suck.  So I guess I should just keep living to find out!  I am going to live to find out if that day ever comes.  If it never comes, I will be pretty upset, but it won’t really matter if I am upset when I am dead will it?
  3. I want to live to see how much the world changes!  Seriously, I can’t believe how much has changed in the 26 years I have been alive already.  Just hearing how much it has changed for those that are older than me too.  I can’t even imagine staying alive to watch it advance even more.  What if they make awesome cool technology things – well of course they are going to do that!  What if they find a cure for the different types of mental illnesses?  I’m sure they are going to find better treatments for them at the very least.
  4. I want to see what the next big movie is.  I really enjoy movies and while a lot of them suck – there are also a lot of good ones out there.  Did anyone see Boyhood?  It is filmed over 12 years with the same actors, great movie!  Had a bit of triggers in there for me as there is some abuse in it, but it was sooo good!  That was the last movie I saw last week.  Now, just to keep living to see the next great movie!
  5.  Travel!  I really want to travel all over!  I choose to live because I have not been everywhere yet.  I will not die til I have been everywhere.  Even after I have been everywhere, I still have all these other reasons to live – but this is one of them! I want to go to so many different countries!
  6. Most importantly — I choose to live for me.  I have always done everything for everyone else.  I have gone to school for other people, well yes I know school is required as a child, but I picked my high school electives based on what I thought people wanted.  I picked my college major based on what I thought people would want.  I did enjoy is all, yes, but it was still all for everyone else.  I have always felt the need to please every (which goes back to my history of abuse).  I have never felt like I can do something just for me.  So, I choose to live for me.  Not for anyone else, but for me.

 

Why do you choose to live???

A Light at The End of the Tunnel

Word Press Post A Day – You’ve been given the ability to build a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where’s the other end of your tunnel?

A tunnel? Anywhere on earth my heart desires?

To be honest, I am not sure this tunnel could take me where I want to go.  I could get wherever I want to go on earth on any given day if I really wanted to – by car, plane, boat.  I don’t always have the money — but I could save up for it, borrow it, be a stow-a-way (heck some 60 year old woman has done that 4 times and all she got was a little bit of jail finally, surely I can do that if I wanted!).  Anyway, back to my thoughts — there are a lot of places on earth I want to go to, I love traveling, but I wouldn’t want a tunnel to just take me to them.  That would take away me seeing all the beauty of getting there.

I would want a tunnel for something else.

If I could have a tunnel — I would want that tunnel to take me the I guess you would call it “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  I want to see this place that everyone keeps telling me about.  This place that is supposed to be there despite all my depression, bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality problems.  Despite all my downs — I am supposed to have this “light at the end of the tunnel.”  Well, if I am finally getting a tunnel — I will definitely let it take me there.  I want to see it.  I want to see this light, I want to see if it really leads me to happiness?  Or contentment? Or as someone told me once – maybe it is just a train coming at me and I should just stop trying to look for that light because it is just as bad as the situation I am in now.  Umm thanks buddy for that encouragement…

There are good days and there are bad days.  There is no quick fix.  Nothing is going to make everything get magically better.  Life may seem miserable every single day.  You never know when you will reach that light at the end of the tunnel though unless you keep living.  It may be today, it may be tomorrow, it may be a year from now, or it may when you are 100 years old.  That tunnel eventually ends though and there is a light.  In fact, it may be broken up and it may stop and start again – there may be hints of light here and there.  It may be discouraging that the light keeps going away.  But it still has to eventually end all together – a tunnel cannot last forever.