Mental Health Friday #23

Mental Health Friday #23

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I’ve always been quite an anxious child. When I was young, if my parents would tell me they would be back at 8 or whatever, at 8.02 I am already panicked that they’ve been in a car crash.

When I was in about year 9 my anxiety got a lot worse, I was in a toxic friend group which worsened it over time without me realising. At the start of year 10, things got bad. I was at a point where I would come home from school everyday crying. After a lot of crying, I numbed out which I was so happy about.

Roughly 6 months after the ordeal with my mates, I decided to go and see a counsellor. I’m not sure what prompted it, I just decided to. I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety, although my counsellor didn’t really understand it as I was always so happy and laughing (which is just my default I guess. Everyone assumes because someone tells jokes and laughs that they are happy, but it can be quite the opposite). The fact that a lot of people didn’t believe I was suffering made it worse I think, it’s still something I suffer with.

I remember one of my mates told me once “I’m probably more depressed than you because you don’t cry”. A big myth about mental illness is that you’re in your room crying 24/7, but that’s far from the truth. Over the year (year 11, I think it was at this point), my depression kept getting worse and there were many nights where I contemplated suicide and even wrote notes on some nights. I am not sure why my depression was so bad, I had a great life. Another thing about mental illness- it can just happen, nothing bad needs to have happened.

I got put on anti depressants which helped me a lot. Then in September, I was raped (you can read my post on that to find out more) and because I was so numbed out on the anti depressants, it didn’t really affect me. In January when it did affect me and I told my counsellor, they told me ‘that explained everything’. But in my opinion, I was just depressed because of how my brain was working, not because of the rape. Read more

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Mental Health Friday: #1

Mental Health Friday: #1

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I was first diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder when I was five years old. At that time, my mother did not accept the diagnosis and moved forward with no help. At the age of 23, after I had my first child, I was diagnosed again. I did not accept my diagnosis at that time. At the age of 31, I was once again diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, ADHD and PTSD. I accepted my diagnosis’ and went for treatment.

Through my life, there have been great losses and broken relationships due to the stigma of mental illness. It amazes me when I come to realize how destructive ignorance can be. I wish the people in my life had been educated at least enough to know that mental illness, like any physical illness, is not a choice. It is not a moral issue. It has absolutely nothing to do with values and integrity. Mental illness does not mean less than.

There is so much brilliance hidden in people who are disregarded because of a diagnosis. So much courage, fortitude, loyalty and love. The creativity is endless. Just like anyone else, we are leaders, followers, teachers, friends, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. We are parents who love our children and children who love our parents. We are human beings.

What I would really like to see, is a way for people to appreciate the value of a person with a mental illness. Just like everyone else, we each have gifts to give the world. Great gifts and it seems such a waste to throw away such assets, based on ignorant assumptions. Over the past fifteen years, I have struggled to accept, understand and become compliant with my diagnosis. Bi-Polar to me is not a bad thing anymore. I know what it means in my life and those around me and I know what I have to do to manage it. Read more

Mental Health Friday #4

Mental Health Friday #4

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Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope? You just couldn’t take it anymore. You didn’t want to talk to anyone, be around anyone, and even form your brain to think about anyone. All you could think about was the extreme feelings of sadness you felt about yourself and your life. You experienced something that brought you down soooo low, you never thought you would be able to come out of it. Two years ago that was me. With the death of my mother and the ending of my long term relationship; those thoughts ran through my mind every day and night.

Heart racing. Shortness of breath. Tears beginning to well up in my eyes. Body feeling numb…every 3 to 4 hours the cycle happens all over again. I lay there trying to control myself, counting back and forth from 1-50… “1..2..3..4..5…….50…49..48..47..46”, praying that I will soon fall back asleep. Crying my eyes out sometimes because I can’t. When I finally wake up in the morning, the feelings I have are no better. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get up. This little voice in my head keeps telling me, “It’s not worth it. You’re just. Not. Worth. It.”

The moment when I realized that I believed that “little voice in my head”, is when I knew something was wrong with me. It wasn’t until one horrible day that I was forced to do something about it. The devil saw fit to ease his way in my thoughts and it went downhill from there. As I walked down Alcoa Road one Friday evening, I began to have thoughts that I’ve never had before. I was tired. Tired of crying, tired of hurting, tired of feeling alone. I started really thinking about the most painless way to end this all. Again, I. Was. Tired. My life was no longer important to me and I began to speak so much negativity over myself while devising a plan in my head. In the middle of all of that, I recieved a phone call from one of my sorority sisters. After ignoring the phone call 3 times I finally answered.

“Hello”
“Hey Bridge. What’s going on? Are you ok? I was just calling to check on you.”
“Yes, I’m fine”
“Bridge, you don’t sound fine. Are you ok?”
*hangs up phone*

I turned my phone off and cried my heart out for 15 minutes. Thoughts still pounding at my soul. Called her back and told her, “No. No, I’m not ok.” I ended up telling her everything that happened. All of the thoughts that were running through my head and how I felt inside. She told me to go to the doctor, but I refused. I worked at a psychiatric hospital and no one was about to call me crazy. I wasn’t having it. But after all of her begging and pleading I made an appointment and went to see the therapist and psychiatrist the next day. Read more

Mental Health Friday #21

Mental Health Friday #21

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I never thought I needed help, even during my darkest moments. To me, it was no one else’s business and I could take care of myself as I saw fit. The problem is, when you’re cutting up your body and someone finds out, it soon becomes everyone’s business.

I started feeling depressed and harming myself when I was 10 years old (I’m 22 now) and although I didn’t have any real identification for what I was feeling, I knew it wasn’t something that everyone dealt with. I kept it a secret until I got to high school but as my stress levels rose, so did the frequency of my cutting. It was both a freeing and a damning sensation but I couldn’t get enough of it. I had my reasons, depending on the day. Sometimes it was because I felt completely numb and other times I felt that I needed to be punished for some trivial matter which really wasn’t my fault at all. It was a release of all my anger, frustration, and pain. It gave me something tangible to focus on and to be involved with.

Eventually a friend that I trusted pressured me into admitting what was going on but I figured life would continue on as normal, at least my version of it, and it did… Until the day I got called into the counseling office. I knew immediately what had happened and my worst fear had been confirmed. The school knew about my cutting and called my parents. From that day on it became an even more difficult battle with my depression. My parents didn’t understand, my friends didn’t really understand, and eventually it became too much and I gave into the blackness inside my soul. That’s how I ended up in the hospital the first time.

Once I got out about a week later, it seemed that everyone in school had some sort of theory and the bullying I had previously experienced soon doubled based upon the idea that I was the “crazy” girl. My cutting got even worse, to the point where I tried hurting myself underneath the cafeteria table at lunch time. How desperate… How addicted do you have to be for that? I was in a dangerous place and soon enough, I was admitted to the hospital again for 2 weeks this time. Luckily, I had some friends who stuck by me and that’s what kept me sane and safe once I got back to school where the bullying tripled.

High school was extremely hard for me and I constantly felt as though I was at the bottom of a deep black hole that just kept slowly crumbling down around me, bringing me further and further into darkness. Once I got into college, things improved for a little but I soon stopped going to classes and couldn’t bring myself to care that I was failing. After multiple panic attacks and one really bad cut, I knew I needed to move back home andwork harder on my wellbeing. The feeling of utter hopelessness is something that cannot even be described. I was lucky to have found a therapist I adored and was put into group therapy with two leaders I absolutely loved. My parents took the time to learn more about my conditions and began to understand me more and work with me in more helpful ways.

Recovery hasn’t been easy. It took years for me to have more good days than bad, and I even managed to quit cutting for 2 and ½ years (I did mess up once a couple months ago during a horrible fight with my boyfriend but no one is perfect). It is a battle still. I won’t say that everything is peachy all the time, but I know now that things can be okay and that they can get better. I try to look at the little things because they are always there, you just need to find them. The darkness still hovers around me sometimes and I know that I may fight this for the rest of my life, but I know the good outweighs the bad, now. If I had ended my life when I tried to those times, there is so much I never would have experienced and I always remind myself of that. You can do it too. If I can and many others can make it through, then I know you can too. There is always a reason and there is always hope. You just need to find it.
With hope and love,
Clare


This week’s story was submitted by Clare of DestroyedRazors.com. She was diagnosed with Major Depression, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder while simultaneously fighting an addiction to self-harm. As her tag line says, Her blog is For fighters, survivors, addicts, loners, the hopeless, the hopeful and all those in between.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’d love to have you. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com. Facebook page: Words of a random. Image credit: HealthyPlace.com

Mental Health Friday #15

Mental Health Friday #15

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When the psychiatrist first told me I had paranoid schizophrenia, she started it off with, “I have some bad news.” I have heard my diagnosis described as, “Every parent’s worst nightmare” and many other almost fatalistic phrases.

How are you supposed to feel about yourself when people describe something that is so much a part of you as awful, terrible, tragic, or sad? Living with paranoid schizophrenia is not for the weak, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world either. Those of us with a mental illness know that suicide is the worst thing, because in the case of suicide everyone loses and the illness is the victor. Suicide should be every parent’s worst nightmare, not schizophrenia.

Unlike suicide, there is hope with schizophrenia. I have symptoms every day, but I live a good life. I worked most of my adult life as a social worker, a library assistant, and a marketing director. I am happily married to the love of my life, and I am currently enrolled in a certificate program for writing at UCLA. I am an aunt to some wonderful young women and men. I am a sister to all five of my brothers. I am an only daughter to my parents, and I am a niece, cousin, and friend to many people. Does that sound like “a parent’s worst nightmare?” No, it doesn’t and it isn’t.

Read more

Mental Health Friday #22

Mental Health Friday #22

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Hi. I’m Angela and I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar 2, borderline personality disorder, binge eating, and general anxiety. I can’t remember how old I was when I realized I had a mental illness. I know I’ve always been suicidal. I think my mind uses it as a coping mechanism. I know I was at least fifteen. It wasn’t until I turned seventeen that I sought help. The catalyst was I went from being suicidal to homicidal. I wanted to stab a kid in my class and it terrified me. I went to the counselor at school and started therapy. Still no one recognized my true diagnosis.

It took me twenty two years to finally get diagnosed properly. I had to get a psychological evaluation for myself. After being treated for depression off and on and then general anxiety with meds that didn’t help, I now have a good mix of medication and therapy. Most days I’m good and for those off days… Well I take one moment at a time.

One final thought… Always self advocate. I wish I had sooner. It took me almost being imploding to realize I need to be picky in my doctors and to get second opinions. We need to take care of ourselves before we can others.


This week’s submission is by Angela who blogs at I am my own island , do pop by and say hello. She writes about life in general, living and improving despite mental issues.

As always, The goal of Mental Health Friday is to break the silence, talk about mental illness with the aim of blurring out the stigma one story at a time. If you’d like to share your story, I’d love to have you. You can contact me at my email: mykahani@yahoo.com . For more information, visit HERE.

Mental Health Friday #20

Mental Health Friday #20

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How I made it to eleven years clean despite having a nervous breakdown and thinking terrorists had poisoned all the blueberries in my local supermarket.

When I went into rehab at the beginning of 2005, my seriousness and dedication to my treatment can be deduced from the essential items I packed:
12 pairs of Agent Provocateur lingerie (in case I got lucky)
A vibrator (in case I didn’t)
Enough benzos and diet pills to get me through the first week.
17 pairs of designer shoes (later smuggled up to 70)
36 handbags.

My therapist said I looked like I’d escaped from the set of TV Sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous.” I sincerely believed this was a compliment. I had chosen St Chillin’s, Britain’s most exclusive rehab, as I felt it would look best on my C.V. and hoped to bump into a celebrity. Despite having been arrested at Heathrow airport, as sundry dogs, passengers and tea ladies detected that my passport and all my possessions were heavily (and visibly) coated in cocaine, I considered myself to be a party girl who had simply partied a bit hard. Quite what party I was attending when I was scoring drugs in a Jamaican ghetto at midnight, thinking I was likely to be gang raped and have my throat cut, is still a mystery. Other adventures I’d got up to included being seduced by a (female) teenage stripper in Jamaica, who’d killed someone the week before (and then stole my car). And deciding that the best medication for a cocaine induced heart attack, was (naturally) to take more cocaine.

Only a few days after the benzos I’d taken into rehab ran out, (which caused major panic attacks as well as a serious problem with imaginary insects that kept on biting me) I was forced to do “Step 1” of the AA 12 Step programme “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.” The reaction from my therapy group to what I’d been getting up to in Jamaica was, instead of the laughter and applause I’d been expecting, shocked silence and a recommendation “to write it all down as a public leaflet to warn people not to take drugs.” That Step 1 changed my life, reducing my denial from the size of the Titanic to a one person canoe. Instead of just having a break from my using, I now decided I was going to get clean.

After relating a catalogue of disasters with my mental health, the psychiatrist at St Chillin’s diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and said I had “too many problems” to be treated in the private sector as I would “bankrupt my family.” This diagnosis came after previous diagnoses of clinical depression and bulimia in my early twenties. The psychiatrist said I needed to move to a state rehab. I decided I’d better listen, as my decisions had ended me up in rehab, totally broke. The only place my local council would fund that had a bed, was a tough rehab in South London, bristling with ex-cons, where I met the “love of my life” an ex-armed robber, pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail. Naturally, when I left residential rehab at the end of 2005, he moved straight in with me. But I’m not sure I would have got through that first Christmas out of rehab clean if he hadn’t been around.

I was going to 12 Step meetings, which I had always primarily viewed as places you went to pick up men, arriving at the end of the meeting, with my telephone number tattooed on an exposed breast. I had chosen a sponsor in NA because her handbag collection was much much bigger than mine. My local council decided I was too deranged to be left in society on my own, so my GP referred me to the Waterview Psychiatric Unit where they had a programme to treat people with Personality Disorders. I immediately renamed it the “Prison View Psychiatric Unit” as water was as absent as lakes in the Sahara, it was actually overlooking a juvenile detention centre. Read more

Mental Health Friday #18

Mental Health Friday #18

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“I felt as though I were standing in a box and the box kept getting smaller. Every time I felt ok, something happened that would knock me around again.”

The above is an excerpt from my last post. During this time, my emotional reaction was intense. The people in my life that I had always been there for, left me feeling completely worthless to everyone. Being badgered about my medications made me feel as though it didn’t matter what I did or said, and it didn’t. I was intensely hurt, and intensely angry. I can’t say how horrible those couple of years were, but I can say it was never as bad as being with my ex-husband.

When I first left, my physical state was one where I could not safely walk an eighth of a mile by myself for worry that my legs would give out on me. I had trouble with depth perception, balance and coordination. From the start, every time I was with John and I was in pain, he would ask me to go for a walk. I found that walking made the pain better and I began to walk everyday. At this point I was medication free.

That winter, I went back to my doctor once my insurance was all set and I got back on the medication. This only lasted a couple of days before I was unable to stand up. I was extremely dehydrated and my body was not breaking down the medications. I knew it was my liver. I went to the doctor’s three times over the next year and every time I was seen by a nurse. It took until July of 2015 to get an appointment with my doctor. Then they cancelled the appointment because the doctor had to take a month off. At that point, I made the decision to find a new doctor. Over the past few months, there have been a lot of doctor’s appointments and I have been in treatment for Hepatitis C for four weeks now.

In the spring of 2014, less than a year after I left my ex-husband, I got a phone call from a friend. I had known this woman for 18 years, although I had not seen her or talked to her since before the previous Christmas. When I answered the phone she asked me why I didn’t have a truck yet and I said I didn’t have the money. She said I should have had a job by then, that it had been over a year, (it hadn’t) I told her I was disabled and she told me that she sees people in wheel chairs bagging groceries. She said I was looking to blame someone for my life and when I asked why she was saying these things to me, she said because of the conversations she had had with me over the winter. I replied to that saying, “But I did not have a phone over the winter.” She insisted I talked to her on John’s phone, but that was never true. She had obviously spoken to someone else and was yelling at me for it. I tried to talk to her about this later on three different occasions, only to be told that she didn’t have time for it. I could not continue a friendship with this woman and it broke my heart. I did not, nor do I understand why she called me to say those things. Sometimes it is the not knowing that makes it the worst. Read more

Mental Health Friday #17

Mental Health Friday #17

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“When I moved into my new room at the sober women’s house on July 2, 2012, I was mandated to attend thirty A.A. meetings in thirty days, without exception. It had already begun that people in the program were treating me differently although I did not know why at the time. I felt uncomfortable going to the meetings, in addition to the fact that being forced to go made it difficult with my defiance issues. I have never been in a detox or any other facility where I was told what to do. John went to the meetings with me and I now found it very difficult to sit through the hour meeting now that it was mandated as opposed to being my own choice.”

The above is an excerpt from my last post here.

During the next couple of months, my mind was a whirlwind. It was overwhelming to feel free and on my own. I spent a lot of time talking to my friend Kay at the sober house and talking with John. As I mentioned, he went to the thirty meetings in thirty days with me. To get a slip signed saying I was there, I had to sit through the entire meeting.

One evening, we were at a meeting and I was having an extremely hard time sitting still. At break time, I was about to walk away and give it up when a man I had never met before came outside and sat with me. His name was also John and he talked to me and gave me the hope I needed to go back in. If not for this man who at the time had thirty days of sobriety, I would have walked away at that moment. I thank him for that.

A few days after I had moved out, my ex-husband told me that he was going to have to cancel my health insurance, but that he would wait until I had gotten my own. I knew he was not going to wait. I made the decision to wean myself off of my meds before my ins. was cancelled. It took two months for me to do this. On Aug 29, 2012, my then husband called to tell me that my insurance would be cancelled the next day. If I had not weaned myself off of the medications, I would have ended up in the hospital.

Going to my home group of A.A. became miserable for me. Some people in my group would not look at me and the ones who did insulted me. I didn’t know this at the start, but my ex-husband was telling people that I was manic and out of control. He was also telling people about my eating and sleeping issues. Every Friday, when I went to my home group, I was questioned on my weight. I had been 170 pounds, 40 pounds overweight, due to bloating from the medications and when I stopped them, the bloating had gone away and it was very noticeable. At first people told me I looked good, but one week they simply started to say I was too skinny, that I looked sick. They wanted to know if I was eating and sleeping. I do not go to A.A. meetings for eating.

Read more

Mental Health Friday #16

Mental Health Friday #16

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Today’s MHF is a continuation of Trae’s journey with Bipolar disorder. Up until now, we’ve seen her deal with her mother passing away, the negative effects of anti-psychotics and her relapse with addiction. We ended last time with Trae getting back her life with her decision to break away from abuse and her then husband.

When I came home from spending the night at my friend’s house the day after I had fought with my then-husband on the phone, it must have been late afternoon, because I sat on the couch and my now ex-husband said I needed my medication. He seemed concerned as though I had been through something although I saw no reason for him to feel that way. It was as though he saw this as solving the problem. He gave me my medication and I took them, not thinking that the dose he was giving me was what was directed on the bottle. One of those medications was Seroquel and he had given me 1200 mg of that along with my other medications. I was only taking 800 a day. My doctor had originally written the prescription out wrong, but I was never to take 1200 mg a day.

I don’t remember much after that. The next day, I woke up and as I sat on the couch trying to focus because I was so groggy, my now ex-husband was pacing back and forth in front of me, screaming obscenities and accusations at me in front of my sons. I could not respond. This was on June 15th of 2012. I don’t remember much of what went on in the house for the next three weeks, possibly due to being overmedicated and the stress level in the house was extremely high.

At some point, I went to my friend who I will call Kay. At the time, she lived in an apartment for sober women. She gave me the number to call and apply for a room of my own in the apartment, which I did. I was accepted, but my room would not be available until July 2nd.

Over the next couple of weeks, I believe my husband continued to give me my medications, but I can not say for sure. If he was, it would explain my foggy memory.

On June 30th 2012, two days before my room would be available, my husband told me he wanted me to leave now. I immediately called my Godmother and went to her house for the night. I spent the next night at another friend’s house and was in my room at the sober women apartment the next day. I did not feel as though I had left a home, I felt free.

It was a very small room, furnished with a bed, a coffee table and a chair. Kay was now my roommate and I confided my feelings about my life to her. She was a good friend.

At this point, I continued to have coffee with John, the man I originally had coffee with on June 13, 2012 and talk to him for hours. He listened without judgment and never offered any opinion on what I told him. He listened, never pushing me in any direction with my thoughts. I told him my entire life story, over and over until I began to hear the words I was saying and realized so much more about the situation I was in. It is true that you never really see how bad things are until you are outside of the situation.

When I moved into my new room at the sober women’s house on July 2, 2012, I was mandated to attend thirty A.A. meetings in thirty days, without exception. It had already begun that people in the program were treating me differently although I did not know why at the time. I felt uncomfortable going to the meetings, in addition to the fact that being forced to go made it difficult with my defiance issues. I have never been in a detox or other facility where I was told what to do. John went to the meetings with me and I now found it very difficult to sit through the hour meeting now that it was mandated as opposed to being my own choice. To be continued


Guest Writer: Trae from (TripleClicka.com). I’m honored to have Trae participate, help spread mental health awareness and blur out stigma by sharing her story, here on Mental Health Friday. She’d be back in two weeks with a continuation.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. You can contact me on My email address is: mykahani@yahoo.com . Image credit: HealthyPlace.com