Mental Health Friday #7

Mental Health Friday #7

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If we truly do want stigma gone, we have to start treating ourselves better. We need to stop seeing ourselves the way stigma says we should. Acceptance and compliance to treatment does not make us weak, it means we see our limitations and that is a part of strength. Compliance to treatment says we are not ashamed. If I want to be treated well, I must first treat myself well. If I want someone to believe in me, I must first believe in myself. If I want someone to understand something, I need to first understand it myself. That is my responsibility.

This is an excerpt from my last post here on Ameena’s blog. I can not tell you that I have always treated myself as well as I do now. I can not even say that I treat myself as well as I should. What I can say is that I have learned on an extremely difficult road that if I don’t treat myself well, no one else will. If I don’t like myself I will change myself for other people. If I change myself for other people, I will never be with people that actually like me. If I am with people that don’t actually like me, how will I know it is ok to like myself? It sounds like a trap and it is. We trap ourselves, every time we accept less, we trap ourselves.

It is hard to step back and look at the trap we are in. No one around us sees us any better than the way we treat ourselves and so, when looking to our fellows for reassurance, which is normal by the way, we get none.

The thing is, we know. We know we are capable, yet we doubt ourselves when we look for reassurance from others and it is not there. In my life I have allowed myself to feel so low about myself and my life that I was spending my time just waiting to die.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder in 2001 my life changed and I crashed. My husband at the time had been complaining quite a bit about the behavior of my son, who had also been recently diagnosed. My husband was also looking at me differently. He suddenly decided I wasn’t good at paying the bills, although I hadn’t had any problems doing so. He became quite controlling as though I were a child and everything I wanted to do became something he doubted I could do. Driving the hour to Boston, especially at night. Everything became something I should doubt that I could do and I did doubt myself. As I failed and the behavior of my son got worse, my husband and I argued all the time, me constantly defending my son. Everything just seemed to fall apart and the stress level was at a dangerous point.

I went to my son’s therapist and with her sitting with me, I called the Department of Social Services and reported myself. My claim was that I was afraid I was going to hurt my son. When I met with the woman at DSS, she asked me if I wanted her to open a case and I told her I did. I went through investigation and my claim was unfounded. However, this did get some help to come out to my house. I was then deferred to an organization called MSPCC. A woman was sent to my house to sit with me and help me to get respite services for my son.

Before I go on, I want to say that I do not believe any of this situation was directly caused by my son’s behavior. I believe more that his behavior was worsened to a great degree by the stress in the house. Read more

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Mental Health Friday #6

Mental Health Friday #6

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What NOT to say to an ill person:

1)“You look terrible. How are you feeling?”: I am pretty sure if a person looks terrible, chances are, they feel terrible too. And I am also sure the right conforming answer here would be: I’m fine

2) “You’re looking thin, you sure have lost a lot of weight, I know its hard but you should really eat.”: I should point here that for a person going through chemo, this is totally inappropriate, because a) they do not have the appetite to eat courtesy of nausea and vomiting b) it doesn’t matter how much they eat, weight loss is a side effect of the chemo.

3)”Awe you don’t look so good, treatments are rough eh?”- but of course they are rough. Drugs especially, psychotropic drugs change the biological and chemical balance in our body.

4)”Well my (mum, dad, uncle, friend, relative) had a similar problem and they tried (?????) and it worked. You should do that cause it makes it go away”

5) “You’re looking a little stressed. Are your treatments going ok?”: and if you say they aren’t, I have a feeling the next statement would be no(6) below.

6) “well just keep praying”.

The above list was compiled and sent to me by Colin from meandray.com who is one of my greatest Mental Health Friday supporters since day one.

And it’s another Friday, which means another Mental Health Friday. I would love to do another of this list. So, if you were having a chronic Illness or mental illness, what are some of the things you wouldn’t want someone to say to you? Please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to include it in next week plus the link.

P.S: an MHF story would be published later in the day. Stay tuned and looking forward to hearing from you.

IMAGE CREDIT: Whisper.sh