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Author Topic: Chronic Mental Illness  (Read 25805 times)
Keilia
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« Topic Start: April 03, 2009, 11:50:11 pm »

Hi,

My name is Keilia, and I am new here. I have been suffering from mental illness my entire life. Frequently, these illnesses are ignored unless a sufferer does something drastic. Unfortunatly, these illnesses often go misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed, under and mistreated, and just flat out ignored. There seems to still be a stigma with mental illness. "It's all in your head", "Just snap out of it" etc. I can't even begin to count how many times I have heard those and other insulting remarks. Somehow since my illness can't be seen, it doesn't count.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression, Schitzoaffective disorder, and Bipolar 2 (AKA recurrent depression). People generally don't want to discuss these disorders. I have hallucinations, severe physical pain, many memory problems, slurred speech, double vision, tremors, and other symptoms. All because I can't "Snap out of it"

Anyone here have any similiar issues?

Keilia
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« Reply #1: April 04, 2009, 12:10:43 am »

Anyone here have any similiar issues?

I actually had psychological treatment for most of my childhood.  I think they thought I had clinical depression at first and then when I was twelve they diagnosed me as bipolar.  I have my ups and my downs.  Recently, I think I may have swung into a "down" period.  And it's sad that some people think it's just "all in our heads."  At my very worse I got physically violent at the slightest provoking.  Once I tried to smother my sister when she broke something of mine.  How is that "all in my head?"

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« Reply #2: April 04, 2009, 12:49:28 am »

Anyone here have any similiar issues?

Not as extensively as you - as far as I know, I just run to depression and probably PTSD - but I share your frustration with the invisibility of mental illness, and the blame-the-sufferer stuff, and ... graah.

(Sorry, not coherent at the moment, but graaah!)
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« Reply #3: April 04, 2009, 07:36:37 am »

Not as extensively as you - as far as I know, I just run to depression and probably PTSD - but I share your frustration with the invisibility of mental illness, and the blame-the-sufferer stuff, and ... graah.

(Sorry, not coherent at the moment, but graaah!)

Yup. One of the reasons I took so long to admit to myself that I was depressed was because I was taught to keep stuff to yourself, hide your pain, suck it up, and get over it. I thought I was just weak for feeling this way when I had a lot of positive things going in my life.

Sometimes I still think I'm insufferably weak, and I should just shut up and hide it away again.
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« Reply #4: April 04, 2009, 08:15:27 am »

My name is Keilia, and I am new here.

Welcome to TC.

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All because I can't "Snap out of it"

If you have doctors telling you this, you need different doctors. I'm not an expert, but I believe most of those are believed to have very physical causes (chemical imbalances in the brain and the like). They are no more something you can "snap out of" without treatment than heart disease.
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« Reply #5: April 04, 2009, 09:00:26 am »

Yup. One of the reasons I took so long to admit to myself that I was depressed was because I was taught to keep stuff to yourself, hide your pain, suck it up, and get over it. I thought I was just weak for feeling this way when I had a lot of positive things going in my life.

Sometimes I still think I'm insufferably weak, and I should just shut up and hide it away again.

Well, don't.  Seriously.  Destigmatizing mental illness is in everyone's best interests, yours and your entire family, and our society at large!

I grew up in a family where the stigma attached to mental illness was such that everything was hidden, with disastrous results.

In 1936, 8 years before doctors would discover the value of lithium in the treatment of manic depression, my Grandmere committed suicide in a mental hospital.  I found out about the suicide at 18, the cause nearly twelve years later while doing family tree research.  I got my hands on her commitment papers, and there in black and white was the last piece of the puzzle to my family.  "Manic Depressive, depressive state"
I found out that my cousin Ralph committed suicide at the age of 12 at about the same time.
I knew my cousin Jimmy committed suicide at 21.
My cousin Diana killed herself in her late 20's.
My Uncle Earl most likely committed suicide by drowning, though in his case there is a very small possibility that it really was an accident.

All of them were bipolar spectrum, and all of this was hidden, and by much of the family still is.  They still think that it is just weakness.  But I know better.  And I'm glad that I have a love of research, because had I not found out about Grandmere...  Had I not pieced together this hidden puzzle, I might have only three surviving children, instead of four.

My oldest daughter has been diagnosed with psychotic disorder, emotional disorder, rule out on bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, depressive state more common, though she runs mixed state often, too and she has reality testing issues and memory problems.  She has had suicidal ideation off and on since she was eight.  She's dealt with an eating disorder and cutting associated with her condition.  When the state intervened in our lives and made a mess of everything, one good thing came of it.

They insisted that I was mentally ill and sent me for a full psycho-social profile.  When that came back "well adjusted, good grasp on reality, non-dependent personality" (I have papers to prove I'm NORMAL!!!  teehee) they finally said "let's see about the kid".  I'd been trying to get someone to take me serious for years that something was not-quite-right with Darastrix.  I'd gotten a lot of "it is a phase, she'll grow out of it" and that sort of nonsense, and even more implications that I was suffering from Munchausen by proxy and just wanted attention.  But, finally she was tested and we got her the help she needed.  Her foster parents screwed up and took her off of her meds (they thought it was all me or just weakness on her part, too), which led to a couple of major incidents.  She wound up in a group home, where they got her back on meds, though the wrong ones. 

Now she's on fish oil, high doses, whenever she starts showing any symptoms.  For her, it really has worked better than anything save lithium, which worked beautifully but has so many dangerous side effects that her pdoc prefers to avoid it if possible.  For two years she's had nothing but the fish oil.  Her memory issues are still present, and she does still cycle, but not dangerously so, and if I see her starting down that path I just hand her the bottle.  She knows to increase dosage when I do.  Smiley

We lost at least four people to suicide, the most common cause of death in bipolar spectrum people, in the course of three generations, and probably more.  Had the family not kept a lid on this they could've sought help without feeling like they were weak.  My Pop suffered from injury induced mental illness that, because of the stigma, he wouldn't seek treatment for.  It destroyed my family and caused a good man to become a monster who hurt those he loved the most.  I won't allow mental illness to be hidden anymore in my family.  And I won't allow anyone to say that my daughter is how she is because she's weak.  She doesn't choose to be the way she is.  She was born this way. 

*looks up*  ermm...  Soapbox came out there, didn't it?  Well, it is how I feel, and what I've seen.  YMMV, naturally.
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« Reply #6: April 04, 2009, 10:00:40 am »

Well, don't.  Seriously.  Destigmatizing mental illness is in everyone's best interests, yours and your entire family, and our society at large!

I grew up in a family where the stigma attached to mental illness was such that everything was hidden, with disastrous results.

*snip*

I won't allow mental illness to be hidden anymore in my family.  And I won't allow anyone to say that my daughter is how she is because she's weak.  She doesn't choose to be the way she is.  She was born this way. 

*looks up*  ermm...  Soapbox came out there, didn't it?  Well, it is how I feel, and what I've seen.  YMMV, naturally.

Thank you for sharing, and for getting up on that soapbox. It's people like you who help those of us who can't step up and speak out.   Smiley

My brother and I both suffer from depression and have relied on one another to get us through it. So far, my parents still brush over the subject: I have not told my parents that I am on medication, though I suspect they know anyway because of insurance things, but my brother has made them aware of his own experiences.

For whatever reason, they have chosen not to discuss it, both my illness and my brother's, with me. And I suspect they won't unless I end up doing something harmful to myself.
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« Reply #7: April 04, 2009, 10:15:19 am »

Thank you for sharing, and for getting up on that soapbox. It's people like you who help those of us who can't step up and speak out.   Smiley

I'm mouthy.  Always have been. 
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« Reply #8: April 04, 2009, 10:18:17 am »

Yup. One of the reasons I took so long to admit to myself that I was depressed was because I was taught to keep stuff to yourself, hide your pain, suck it up, and get over it. I thought I was just weak for feeling this way when I had a lot of positive things going in my life.
I didn't get that indoctrination, but I did get some indoctrination about being responsible for managing my "stuff" - which is, mostly, good and useful indoctrination, but it's got some potential holes in it.  I knew about depression for years and years, but didn't want to trivialize "real" depression by claiming that label for my own not-nearly-that-awful mood-management challenges.  That, and I really didn't seem to fit all that well with the way depression is described (by the professional psych community, not just popular [mis]conception) to the general public.

So, "mood-management challenges" isn't all that bad of a way to describe mild-to-moderate chronic depression - but it's not complete; I was struggling with not always being able to meet the challenge.  Eventually I said to myself, "Who the fuck am I kidding?  Doesn't matter if it's atypical, how is this not depression?" - and it was amazing just how much acknowledging that, recognizing that I had a chronic condition that would sometimes be beyond my control, made a big difference in how well I could manage it.

As for the atypicality - the overwhelming majority of stuff about depression that's aimed at laypeople is about situational depression.  F'ex, that commonly-cited statistic of "one person in four will experience depression at some point in their lives" - most of that 25% will experience a situational depression at least once, and the lists of warning signs for depression that you see in public-service ads are aimed at helping those people to recognize and address the problem early (I think this is mostly a good thing, because I suspect that one-in-four statistic is very low - depression, chronic or situational, is something that everyone should know how to identify).  That, and there's still lots that the professionals don't always get about it - sometimes because the picture is still incomplete; sometimes because they're still stuck on outdated ideas or on how wonderful/easy it is that we can "fix" it by just throwing meds at it.

I still think I'm responsible for managing my "stuff" - partly because I've seen too many folks with depression not practising any kind of management, either because they didn't recognize their depression (at all, or that particular instance), or because they relied too much on, "I'm depressive and can't help it!"  But these days "management" doesn't just mean "try to fight it" - I've got a lot more tools than that in my toolbox.  One of them is recognizing that sometimes all I can do is say, "Neurochemistry sucks!" (it's my "war cry" - it often helps quite a bit just to say it), or "I don't have enough spoons to put towards counting spoons."

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« Reply #9: April 04, 2009, 10:32:52 am »

I knew about depression for years and years, but didn't want to trivialize "real" depression by claiming that label for my own not-nearly-that-awful mood-management challenges.  That, and I really didn't seem to fit all that well with the way depression is described (by the professional psych community, not just popular [mis]conception) to the general public.

So, "mood-management challenges" isn't all that bad of a way to describe mild-to-moderate chronic depression - but it's not complete; I was struggling with not always being able to meet the challenge.  Eventually I said to myself, "Who the fuck am I kidding?  Doesn't matter if it's atypical, how is this not depression?" - and it was amazing just how much acknowledging that, recognizing that I had a chronic condition that would sometimes be beyond my control, made a big difference in how well I could manage it.

Yes, this too. It was almost always like: "I'm still moving around. I'm still going to school and doing work. I haven't been bedridden or have attempted suicide. That's depression, therefore I'm not depressed. This is just me, and I've got to suck it up in order to be like everyone else."

It took me over eleven years to finally admit to myself that I was depressed, that it was not a question of my own personality or weakness or whatever. There was something wrong, that I didn't ask for, and while I still needed to deal with it, it wasn't me. The feeling of relief was, frankly, incredible.
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« Reply #10: April 04, 2009, 10:34:45 am »

If you have doctors telling you this, you need different doctors. I'm not an expert, but I believe most of those are believed to have very physical causes (chemical imbalances in the brain and the like). They are no more something you can "snap out of" without treatment than heart disease.

Oh no, it's my family telling me that. If I heard a doctor say that I would run, not walk, as fast as I could away.
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« Reply #11: April 04, 2009, 10:37:11 am »

My oldest daughter has been diagnosed with psychotic disorder, emotional disorder, rule out on bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, depressive state more common, though she runs mixed state often, too and she has reality testing issues and memory problems.  She has had suicidal ideation off and on since she was eight.  She's dealt with an eating disorder and cutting associated with her condition.  When the state intervened in our lives and made a mess of everything, one good thing came of it

Wow. I know how your daughter feels. I am generally mixed state bipolar 2. I wanted to commit suicide at age 9. When I told my parents, my dad said ,"You are too young to be suicidal". Just....wow.
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« Reply #12: April 04, 2009, 03:20:39 pm »

Wow. I know how your daughter feels. I am generally mixed state bipolar 2. I wanted to commit suicide at age 9. When I told my parents, my dad said ,"You are too young to be suicidal". Just....wow.

I told her that she really didn't, but that something was wrong that made her think that way, and that she was always to come tell me if she felt that way so I could be there with her to help her until it got better. 

(((Keilia)))  Not having your feelings and experiences understood hurts.  I can imagine you felt pretty dismissed.  I know I felt that way when my parents wrote off my problems as a kid.
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« Reply #13: April 04, 2009, 03:25:34 pm »

Yes, this too. It was almost always like: "I'm still moving around. I'm still going to school and doing work. I haven't been bedridden or have attempted suicide. That's depression, therefore I'm not depressed. This is just me, and I've got to suck it up in order to be like everyone else."

It took me over eleven years to finally admit to myself that I was depressed, that it was not a question of my own personality or weakness or whatever. There was something wrong, that I didn't ask for, and while I still needed to deal with it, it wasn't me. The feeling of relief was, frankly, incredible.

I was in the same state.

My husband finally told me that we're going to the doctor and getting me help.  Best thing that EVER happened.

'cause I'd still be here without it - but I'd proly be miserable still, too.
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« Reply #14: April 04, 2009, 04:22:35 pm »

Wow. I know how your daughter feels. I am generally mixed state bipolar 2. I wanted to commit suicide at age 9. When I told my parents, my dad said ,"You are too young to be suicidal". Just....wow.

Maybe your parents need to talk to your doctor or something. Or a psychiatrist to understand what depression can do to people.

And sadly, your situation isn't out of the ordinary. I was suicidal at different stages in my life, including age 10 and roughly ages 12-13 for two different things. Now it absolutely shocks me how I wanted to end my life, when at the time I didn't even know that people had done this before (age 10, specifically). I just knew I wanted all of the hurt to end.

I was never officially diagnosed with depression (although reading accounts of people who had depression legitimately helped me figure out if I did or not. I personally believe I did, and never sought any help because I was a teenager and this was being "normal" plus I didn't trust anyone in my life), but I spent pretty much all of my teenage years in that same spot of mentally harming myself and being generally unhappy, jumping from relationship to relationship because people said moving on makes you happy, there are more fish in the sea. Sadly no one sat down with me and helped me with my feelings and how to deal with this, which stemmed far earlier than just having one really emotionally damaging relationship. That took years of my own self-working to get out of that cycle, and trying to recognize the signs of slipping back into it (listening to depressing music I used to harm myself is the biggest one).

My father was diagnosed with bi-polar in 95 (so maybe when he was in his late 20s-early 30s) and was on several medications. In about 03 he suffered a mental breakdown, pretty much, and was put on A LOT of medication, and has only recently been able to -really- cut it down and switch over to more safer medications. Also it was possible he was mis-diagnosed, but they did find a more correct name for his problems: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Honestly with working with his family for almost 9 months... I'm not surprised sometimes that he ended up this way (or at least what caused it). His family is very malicious and unfortunately he is caught up in that web too. He's trying to get out now, so hopefully he has a better time of dealing with his problems away from his family. They are really Not Good. I am running for the hills (almost quite literally, I wish I could move to Halifax).

He is also doing some reading on his condition, and my mom is helping him with that. It seems to be helping some.
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