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bipolar Dysfunctional mental illness parenting Recovery schizoaffective Therapy trauma

Dysfunction Junction

My father had an undiagnosed mental illness, probably bipolar, but I did not know that at the time. He was just a moody, raging, jerk. People knew but no one wants to interfere. I remember we had an uncle who was physically abusive to his kids, maybe his wife, I don’t know. Everyone knew about it but nothing was done. We are all grown with families of our own now and the perps have died.

My mother is passive and anxious. She did not want to disturb anything. She would tell us our father was just joking and he is wonderful when he would say or do hurtful things.

My dad has passed and can’t hurt me anymore. My mom and I have a strained relationship. I don’t want to put any hope into it growing into more. But, we can be amicable and she does not upset me so much.

And, I had an older brother who had a psychotic disorder, maybe schizoaffective like me, but my dad did not believe in psychiatry so the only help he got was when he got picked up by the police for observation. He would stop any meds as soon as he got home. Nothing changed. He died young at 26. I don’t know if it was an accident or suicide. He fell at a waterfall. But, I felt I had lost my brother years before, when he first got sick.

Everyone else in my family is over it all. I don’t know if I should let it go or if I could heal.

I was watching a YouTube on dysfunctional “tricky” families and childhood ptsd. https://youtu.be/EBpF8sWycQQ

I could answer yes to almost everything and a few maybe’s. He suggests working with a therapist.

I have a new therapist. I don’t know what to work on. Day to day, things are okay. I kind of went through my family history with her last time.

Or should I be done with therapy? I am pretty stable and see a psychiatrist. Things in my day to day life are fine. My past is a mess, but maybe I should just leave it there. My father discouraged me from going to therapy. “You talk about the past and it just makes people sad.” I thought he was being ignorant. Of course, it is more than that. But, did he have a point?

I plan to ask my therapist next time I see her if she thinks I even need it.

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Inner demons mental illness Responsibility schizoaffective schizophrenia Therapy Uncategorized

Inner Demons

I have shame about past behavior. I am not ready to disclose to anyone. I have a therapist but am not able to tell. I won’t repeat or get in that situation again.

I don’t know if any or all is related to mental illness. Probably some

I lied, sometimes for no reason. I did not ask for help when I was in over my head, for fear. I am not sure why I was afraid.

I regret things that happened 20 years or more ago. But I re-live it like it is today.

Categories
DBT life lessons mental illness psychosis Recovery schizophrenia stigma Uncategorized

How to Talk to a Person: my response to how to talk to people with X disorder

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You have seen the articles. How to talk to a schizophrenic or how to deal with someone with borderline personality disorder as examples.

I am not saying they do not have useful observations. After all, these are published by practitioners with much experience. Having contracts in a therapy relationship and firm boundaries is normal. Controlling your partner is not.

I just read such an article by Nancy Carbone, a couples therapist in Australia. It is a year old and I don’t mean to point a finger at her, it is just an example. I don’t happen to have a BPD diagnosis. I do not like articles on how to deal with other types of people, clumping us all together.

The first thing you should do, if you want to communicate with people is learn active listening and other communication skills. Maybe, if you pay attention to what you may consider nonsense, you will see there is more there.

If the articles on schizophrenia were about actually trying to communicate, like writing the key points down if the person is distracted by voices, I would not dislike these articles so much. That is not what these are about, though. It is “tough love” or I know what is better for you. It is about dealing with someone who is flawed and somehow that makes you superior.

I welcome comments. Sometimes I have knee jerk reactions and if I am off-base I want to know.

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Autoimmune Brain Encephalitis mental illness schizophrenia Uncategorized

Brain on Fire : a review

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I just finished watching a movie on Netflix called Brain on Fire. I am going to post spoilers so if you have not watched it, go, get the book if you can’t get the movie. Don’t forget to come back.

I have trouble watching shows. If they don’t hold my attention, I do something else. This was one I watched all the way through.

It is a true story of a young woman who gets ill and no one knows the cause. All the tests are normal. The Drs suggest that she is working and partying too hard. Later they come up with bipolar and schizophrenia. She has seizures, acts manic, gets catatonic. It is a mystery.

A specialist is brought in. He has her draw a clock and she only daws numbers on one side. Then he knows there is something wrong with one side of her brain. They do a biopsy of her brain, which they made it look like a simple procedure.

The results come back and she is diagnosed finally. It is an autoimmune encephalitis. And, there is treatment. She had to relearn how to walk and talk, like she had a stroke. At the end Susannah ponders how many people have been mis diagnosed with a mental illness.

Then, right after I finished the movie, my friend posted an article from bp magazine about autoimmune encephalitis.

Bphope.com

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Calories Fitbit mental illness Myfitnesspal Uncategorized Weight gain Weight loss Zyprexa

Weight: you gain some, you lose some

 

weight gain and psych meds seem to go hand in hand.  I gained 25 lbs when I started depakote.  I did an Atkins diet and lost the weight but I did not find that sustainable for me.  Zyprexa, I gained 5 lbs typing the  name, works really well at controlling mania for me, but I got fat and I did not care. Until someone asked, seriously, when was I due.

at my highest I was 198 lbs.  i tried calorie counting with my fitness pal.  It is a huge database of foods and their nutritional value. You type in what you ate and it calculates calories and nutrients,  you enter info about yourself and how much you want to lose and it tells you how many calories to eat.  There is a forum community that you can ask questions.  I lost 15 lbs, but stopped.

now, i am back. It adds the calories i burn from my fitbit steps, so i don’t feel too deprived.  I am basically eating the same foods, just smaller portions.  The badge above counts from when i started at 198 lbs.

I am not sure why the meds cause weight gain. I know I get hungry and really tired. I don’t know if they affect metabolism, too.

i have sleep apnea. I wear a specially made mouthguard and a belt that keeps me sleeping on my side. Not terrible fashionable, but I can sleep better. When I did not have it I was always tired. Now, i am able to work a few hours and walk my dog.

Weight loss is not easy, especially on these medications. I went from obese to overweight. My goal is a normal bmi.

Categories
Coping skills DBT mental illness psychosis Recovery relapse schizoaffective schizophrenia support groups Uncategorized

Mental Health Conference

i went to a conference today. There were 32 workshops..

the first i went to was on Borderline Personality Disorder. It was very informative and i learned a lot.  The next was on support groups, that was good. There were a number of organizations represented.

the last one i went to was “ask the doctors” on schizophrenia. It was an open forum for people to comment, and ask questions. There were suggested questions on the screen.

one of the questions was, “what has worked for you?”  I would have loved to hear the answers to that one.

one thing that worked for me, was talking to people with similar experiences, either on-line or in person. I went to dbsa support groups, nami connections and eventually started a group affiliated with the national organization, schizophrenia alliance. I don’t run the group anymore, but i am glad it is still going.

another thing, that is a little different, was when i was very troubled with auditory hallucinations, my psychiatrist found a way to communicate. He wrote words while he spoke, circling and crossing out important words.

no, one had asked what my experience was like when i had a psychotic break. They asked about symptoms, but not what were the voices saying or what the messages were. Not until i saw a therapist who seemed interested. It felt lke a relief to be able to tell my story.

i would love if anyone would share what has helped them

 

 

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Donation Marrow mental illness psychosis schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Uncategorized

You May Not Be a Match

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I was removed from the bone marrow registry when I updated my health information. They sent me an email saying they have volunteers and it was a safety issue. I didn’t think about it until someone mentioned they were turned down to donate blood because they have schizophrenia. It is not the medications we take that are the problem. They fear we are a danger.

I was not really looking forward to donating, but with waiting lists it seems like they would not want to turn people away.

Give the gift of #stigma

I can understand that I can’t purchase life insurance. My diagnosis is associated with committing suicide. I am not unreasonable. But, assuming I am dangerous without asking any questions besides my diagnosis is infuriating

 

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mental illness support groups Uncategorized

Sometimes 80% understanding is enough

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I have not been feeling well. Depressed and anxious, a little paranoid. I decided to go to a support group. I was hoping I would feel better, sometimes I feel worse afterwards. Lately, I have been getting agitated and frustrated during support group meetings. I am not sure why. I wasn’t sure if i should go. I did not need to feel worse.

I was the first to share. I just let everything out. The suicidal thoughts, sadness, anxiety. I told them I was anxious about past work experience and now i have a new job and it is change and I am already upset about work. And, the past is never going to change.

Many people were depressed there. I listened to others and could feel the pain. I tried to give support. I could not express myself the way I would like.

This moderator tends to talk a lot. Sometimes, I find it annoying, but not that night.  He seemed to get what i was saying and made sure i am safe. (I am). He and others validated my experience. No one seemed to get the unbearable shame I feel. The moderator tried explaining to me that the path you take leads you to where you are and that I would not be me if things were different.  I knew what he meant, but it did not apply to what I was saying. Maybe, I was too vague.

I accepted the feedback and felt supported. I think I was understood about 80% and that has to be good enough.  I did feel validated and heard.

 

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depression mental illness suicide Uncategorized

Depression sucks

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I have trouble knowing how I feel.  I knew I was miserable and anxious, but until

depression

my therapist said I was depressed I did not notice.  Someone was trying to help me and asked what I get up for and my immediate response was “obligations”. I am there if I have to be, but otherwise I sleep my life away.

I had a terrible night Tuesday. Ruminating about the past and having suicidal thoughts- repetitively. I hardly slept googling different methods.  I could not figure out what to do, and then beat myself up because I am too stupid. I tried contacting people on the internet but no one is around at 3am.  Then, I thought it was a plot to ignore me to teach me a lesson.

Eventually daytime came. When it was a decent hour I texted my therapist and she called back.  I told her i was thinking about mistakes from the past and that because the past will never change i will always have these thoughts. I was hopeless, Sobbing like a child.  She tried calming me down and showed empathy. I did calm down some, enough to go to work. I was afraid I would start crying at work. I told my co-worker I was having a bad day, but I was there. And, I made it though the day.

I was drained that evening and slept through the night. I saw my psychiatrist today. Luckily, he did not overreact to the suicidal thoughts, they are gone right now, and just changed my medication a little. I am having trouble being hopeful. I feel pressure to stay well. I feel like I can’t get sick. That it would ruin everything.

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Forgiveness mental illness relationships Uncategorized

My Story of Forgiveness

Originally published PsychCentral

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/07/my-story-of-forgiveness-and-mental-illness/

forgiveness-1767432_1280

My mother came to visit recently. We have a past issue between us, that I have not been able to forgive. It has to do with when my brother was very symptomatic with a mental illness during my teen years. I have avoided talking about it. She always seems to want to keep to light, happy news and it never seemed appropriate,

She has changed lately. Become a little more down to earth. She brought the issue up on her own and told me of one thing she had done over those years. She had checked out housing for my brother, and told me that she had done all she could. She believes she did everything. I don’t think I did everything. I feel we failed him.

The best thing I can do is let go of the resentment. I will also have to work on forgiving myself another time.

It is hard for me, but, as Lily Tomlin says, “Forgiving is giving up all hope for a better past.”

I think it will help me mentally to not have this bitterness inside and forgiving can protect against the tolls of stress.1

I am trying to have compassion for how my mother must have viewed things. I know she has a lot of anxiety. Maybe, she did/does feel helpless.

There was a lot I did not understand at the time, and still don’t. Mostly, I feel guilty that I had a second chance after a breakdown that did not happen for my brother.

I still have some bitterness. I am a work in progress and forgiveness will take time.

The rest of my siblings have moved on. Maybe things did not trouble them as much or they are more forgiving.

I am hoping to build happier memories with my mother in the future.

She wouldn’t understand if I said it to her, “For what?” but “Mom, I forgive you”.