Mental Health Friday #32

Mental Health Friday #32

 

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Today’s topic is one close to my heart and I could hardly wait for Friday, to unburden. So, here’s the thing. We all have someone (Atleast most of us do), who is battling with drugs, substance abuse and dependence. We might even be that person, because the truth is, you don’t really know a person until you know a person. And a lot of time, substance abuse doesn’t always come with a label on the forehead.

We, as a society, have tried shaming people who become dependent on substances (in other words, addicted), and how has that helped? Its only pushed them further into the throngs of abuse. Why? Because when you isolate people, loneliness is a hell of a thing, they delve further into their only constant friend- the abused substance.

Drugs have killed our society and shame has buried us alive. And until we find healthier and better ways of dealing with abuse, we are only building houses with glass ceilings. And those ceilings will come crashing eventually.

We’ve tried the whole- insulting, ridiculing, and making fun of those dealing with substance abuse. But name one person that has helped?! Time after time after time, we shame people from wanting to seek help, with our words and our manners. Read more

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Mental Health Friday #5

Mental Health Friday #5

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Imagine receiving a surprise invite to an amazing dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in your city. You know, one of those invite only establishments. The dinner is for the “who’s who” of the world…but somehow you received an invite. Excited about this unbelievable opportunity, you arrive to the dinner early and wearing your best attire. When you walk up to the registration table to find out your seat assignment, you are given an empty name tag.

You quickly try to give your hostess your name, but she replies “oh no, names don’t matter here.” Baffled, you scowl and wonder what type of place doesn’t take names. The hostess notices your confused scowl and says “once you put the name tag on, it will display the current state of your mind; and that’s your seat assignment.

If you had to wear the current state of your mind like a badge, what would it display? Would your badge read “depressed” or “anxious” or “elated” or something similar? Sadly, most people have never thought about this question, so the answer is likely “I have no idea.”

We have all been taught the importance of physical health, but we rarely hear about the importance of mental health. It’s almost as if we have somehow forgotten that the brain is also apart of the same body we strive to keep healthy.

Now listen, I use “we” to admit that I too am guilty of this. Depending upon which point in my life you asked me this question, my badge could read “I just came for the snacks” or “sooooooooo, you don’t have bacon”. Read more

Mental Health Friday #8

Mental Health Friday #8

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I am diagnosed (at the moment) with rapid cycling bi polar type 2, extreme anxiety, agrophabia, fear of crowds, but that stems from the anxiety.

I feel I was lucky that I had been in my relationship for a while, before I got diagnosed, because for my partner he was suddenly dealing with a different person. Rather than the out-going, always smiling, high flyer, he had known for the previous two and half years, instead, he was dealing with a 6 month pregnant lady, who would cry at the drop of a hat, refused to leave the flat and couldn’t give a flying fig about her job

Due to the fact that I was pregnant, it was easy enough to get me to the doctors and luckily, I wasn’t that far gone and was still able to see something wasn’t right. At that point I was blaming the hormones triggering something, but the fact is I have always been a little bit quirky, shall we say, and thankfully my partner who had known me for nearly 20 years, knew it too.

The doctor sent me for CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) and by the time my son was born, I was not only very stable but with the support of my partner, had started up my own little business and we moved into a house with a garden. Read more

Mental Health Friday #31

Mental Health Friday #31

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Today’s Mental Health story follows Lisa, who used to work as a therapist in prison, and her personal struggles with suicidal thoughts.

Firstly, I’ll say I haven’t had any intense suicidal thoughts the last few days. I’m trying to focus on- this is the Universe letting me know I’m supposed to go down a different path now. I’m telling you (my friends and family…and you too reader) who read this, so you don’t have to worry about me. But man, the day I was fired and the day after, I was thinking of suicide. I was thinking “I’m tired of this shit…” and I sobbed and sobbed. And I thought of how I would do it, and I thought of my furry babies and who could take care of them. And I would sob some more.

I REALLY would like a place of employment where I don’t have to worry about losing my job. The more I think about this past firing, they had NO reason to fire me. It all had to do with a personality conflict with my boss which sucks. I miss that job SO much.

After the first couple of days of suicidal thoughts, they disappeared. I spent the rest of last week depressed and not eating much (which is SO unlike me…I love to eat…I eat 3 meals every day). This week, I’m basically back to normal…I’m focusing on a test I need to pass.

Honestly, this is not the first time I have had suicidal thoughts. This is the first time I’m writing about it though. I don’t think it’s written about enough. More people need to know they are not alone in their darkness. That it’s scary when it’s dark. And I understand why people have thoughts of wanting to give up.

Read more

Mental Health Friday #30

Mental Health Friday #30

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Last week on Mental Health Friday, I shared the story of Rahul who was diagnosed with Vitiligo (which is white patches spreading on the skin as a result of decreased pigmentatio). He was going through a rough patch; what with the stigma surrounding vitiligo, low self esteem and suicidal ideation. Today’s story continues from there…

At that time, My Mom & Dad had many long conversations with me, where mom was obviously tender while Dad pretended to be little tough but, they both had the same motto – not to let me fall into depression. In the meantime, I got a counselling call from NIT kurukshetra (kurukshetra is my hometown as well) for Civil engineering. After another marathon session with my Dad and my brother, it was decided that given my state of mind at that time, I should straightway join NIT and not even think of dropping a year to prepare for IIT again. And that Ladies & Gentleman proved to be a great decision as the things stand today –> #Moving on is sometimes the best option available !

Hey wait! Story is yet to finish. Few days into the college, I realized that it’s not like school, it’s different here. The way you dress, the way you look matters utmost here, especially during the first two years. And so, by now my favorite enemy, the inferiority complex was back to haunt me. I remember one day crying heavily after returning from college. When inquired by my parents, I uttered “No one will marry me!” And my Dad gave me a look which clearly said – you moron, you are have just turned 20 and you have already started thinking of marriage and who knows, may be about kids also!!

Jokes apart, I had this insecurity that no one would like to be friends with me and that nobody will even invite me to their parties because I look so uncool with these white patches.

After quite a few bad days, finally, one winter morning while sitting under the sun, I gave it a thought – why am I so unhappy and so ungrateful to God all the time despite having such a wonderful family, a wonderful college, some really great friends, no financial worries, availing best possible treatment available etc. Read more

Mental Health Friday #29

Mental Health Friday #29

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Today’s Mental Health story entails the journey of Rahul, through growing up battling with a chronic condition- Vitiligo, in a stigmatising society, and its impact on one’s mental health.

“Ladki ka rang saf toh hain na ” (Girl’s complexion is fair, right?) – a question so often asked here in our country (India), even today, by so called well educated ‘to be mother-in laws’ of 21st century. Such is the unfortunate obsession for fair skin in our beloved country. But look at the irony of the fact, when your whole skin is about to turn white, you panic like anything because suddenly, you are being looked down upon for no fault of yours.

Well here I am, presenting my story (it won’t be sad & boring, I promise) spread over 13 long years of my struggle with a skin disease called Vitiligo or Leucoderma, which in layman terms can be simply put as a problem of white patches, whereby melanin pigment of the skin starts fading away and your skin colour starts turning milky white.

Irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure.

The reason why I want my story to reach masses is not to glorify my successful fight with an incurable disease, but to convey that irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure. Hoping against hope is basically the key.

Coming back to Vitiligo, well the disease in itself is not painful at all. There is absolutely no physical pain whatsoever, but believe me , the taboo associated with this disease just fills you up with so much of inferiority complex initially, that you almost start hating yourself .

The ordeal started one fine evening, when I was about 11 years old. I returned home after having a horrible cricket session with my friends (I was out for a Duck and went for too much runs while bowling, if I remember correctly). I was anyways, dejected because of the day’s proceeding, but suddenly my mom noticed a small white patch on my knees and she panicked –“It’s a white spot! Come here, let me see properly ”, she said, with her eyes already in tears.

This looks like fulveri (another synonym for vitiligo) ”, she said with a heavy heart. And a pandora box of worries & uncertainties started from there on.

My life was never the same after that day. Every now and then, my mom’s panic stricken voice and fearful expressions on being asked by her friends about my white spots, were more than enough for me to know that something huge and something bad has happened to me.

Then started a vicious and unpleasant circle of countless clinic visits to all the dermatologists in the city and in the nearby cities including Delhi. For the initial few days however, I was unable to understand the gravity of the situation (I wish I had never understood, for ignorance is bliss sometimes) and I was more in a confused state but eventually I started feeling a little odd, I started to hide my spots. So much so, that I intentionally stopped wearing shorts at all and trousers/jeans came to my rescue.

I can still recall that extremely uncomfortable feeling of insecurity, that feeling of guilt for the crime that I had never committed, which stayed with me for next 3-4 years during school. After that, though the treatment continued (steroids & all), but this negative intensity started to lower down a bit, not because I made peace with vitiligo but because I changed my focus. I started preparing for IIT. –> #Changing the Focus does help!

But despite the likes of Irodovs & Resnick Hallidays around (my engineer friends can relate to these terms easily), I could not clear IIT and boom!! Vitiligo came to haunt me again, this time more ferociously. It was all over me, spreading like a wild fire.

See the thing is, vitiligo is someway directly proportional to your worry hormones. The more the anxiety levels are, the quicker is it’s spread. That was a horrible time – a career failure after 2 years of rigorous preparation & an incurable disease which I was battling for last few years – just too much for a 17 -18 year old to handle. I started thinking of ending my life. Yes, it is true, I was really low on confidence and was almost hopeless. Had my family not supported me that time, I would have committed suicide. –> #Family Support does wonders!

To find out how Rahul overcame his struggles and lived to tell/write his story, be sure to look for next week’s Mental health Friday post! 

Thank you very much Rahul for sharing your story with us. Do check out his blog at The passportsouls.travel and say hello. 

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

 

Mental Health Friday #28

Mental Health Friday #28

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Hi, my legal name is Rayette but I go by Ray. I am totally blind and have been since birth. I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, PTSD and an eating disorder-Anorexia, to be more specific and it is something I have been dealing with for the past 17 years.

I was never officially diagnosed with an eating disorder because my grandparents didn’t believe in mental health treatment.

For most of my life, I have experienced physical, sexual, emotional, mental, verbal, mental, and ritual and spiritual abuse. I attempted suicide multiple times and have been admitted into the psychiatric facilities 23 times within the last 5 years.

PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) was my first diagnosis, the major depression and then the Borderline personality disorder. In December, I was diagnosed with Dissociative identify disorder. Read more

Mental Health Friday #27

Mental Health Friday #27

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Have you ever wondered if a therapist is right for you? Have you ever contemplated whether you should break up with a therapist or even how to go about it? Well, then stick around because for this week’s Mental Health Friday, I had the honour of hosting a therapist John Dennis who blogs at Parent family Solutions. Below are his answers to the questions plaguing many of us.

We need to break up!

It’s you, not me. OK, maybe I’m partly to blame too.

As a therapist, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about people seeing a counselor that wasn’t right for them. They had no idea how to bring it up or how to end things…and consequently it usually didn’t end well.
People will keep seeing a counselor even if it’s not a good fit. Often times, they keep going out of fear or guilt, hoping that they will still be able to work through their issues despite the lack of connection.

For most people who have gone to counseling, they have seen more than one therapist.

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve met with someone who probably should have been in counseling long ago, but, due to a negative experience with a first counselor, they avoided going back.

This post is going to explain how to break things off with your therapist.

First you have to determine what the issue is.

Is the therapist not a good fit for you?

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It’s important to feel there is a good fit with your therapist.

In the very first session I usually explain to clients and family members that it’s important for the client and family to feel like they have found the right professional. I go on to further explain that I’m not the counselor for everyone. All counselors are not cut from the same cloth. If that’s the case, it’s my job to get the client a referral to someone that may be a better fit.

Are they not the right fit in terms of their personality? Or their worldview? (Ie. They’re really into…fill in the blank…and you’re not. You’re an evangelical Christian and they’re an atheist). Now, I will point out that there’s a difference between feeling supported in your life, your choices, etc. and your wish for your therapist to support your cannibalism and heroin use. Just because they don’t support you 100% of the time and confront you on certain areas doesn’t mean they are the wrong therapist. I’ll further point out that doctor and therapist-shopping is common among those struggling with narcissism, substance abuse and borderline personality disorder. Read more

Mental Health Friday #26

Mental Health Friday #26

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I know, I know, there are quite a number of us here for whom the previous year was fraught with dampened expectations, punctured dreams, heartbreak and betrayal. I have a fair idea of what it feels like; I spent a chunk of 2017 popping Fluoxetine and Quitiapine, and I “coincidentally” lost a job one month after opening up to my struggles with depression.

I lived out of my suitcase for six weeks, waking up next to warm bodies in Calabar, squeezing my six-foot frames into Nissan Micra taxis in Ibadan, and rolling on large dusty mattresses in Port Harcourt. I was ignored by people from whom I expected support, and I overdosed on Haloperidol, but I’m still here, I’m still here.
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I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

There may be a large volume of uncertainty as one year gives way to another, and you really can’t be blamed for that (for some, seeing out each day was tasking enough), but I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

In 2018, I hope you find peace, I hope waves steer you to shores, and I hope that the darker rooms of your mind find light bulbs that last significantly longer. I hope you find love, and if you have, I hope that you sustain it. Never lose sight of the fact that every emotion of yours is valid, and you have the right to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to be intense without apology. If he is not comfortable with it, if she tries to stifle you, don’t be afraid to take a walk.
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I am all too aware of how helpless you can be when trying to hold on to love, and how hard it is to resist chasing after yesterday, but this year, I hope that you learn to move on and get over, I hope that you learn to attach premium value to your feelings. I am not oblivious to what it means when someone has you wrapped around their finger, but you deserve the one who wants to be with you everywhere (ok, almost everywhere, to avoid a restraining order), you deserve moments that are the stuff of dreams, and there’s need for you to stop having your heart dragged around.
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I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices

Sure enough, no one owes you anything, but I hope you run into people who’d be willing to help you with no long talk, I wish that this is the year you finally get it together, and I hope you come to terms with the fact that you can’t have everything (godliness with contentment, or something like that). I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices you have to make, yea, I hope Life finally allows you to find your rhythm in 2018.
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Much is made about worthy causes and progressive movements, but I hope that “group think” does not erode your mental faculties, I hope that you don’t shelve the values you hold dear in the name of being “woke”, heck, I hope that you get to have a mind of your own in 2018. Here’s hoping that you avoid needless drama, and here’s hoping that your decisions are well advised, so that those who detest you would find no opportunities to kiss their teeth on your account.
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True, not everyone attaches importance to the hype and anticipation that comes with another January, but I like to think that the calendar deserves its respect…and in all this, I am convinced that Someone is watching over us, so (for those who believe) feel free, send shout-outs to Him!
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Here’s to adventure and memory-making in 2018.

Written by Jerry Chiemeke who is a lawyer, screenwriter, writer, editor and a critic and writes at JerryChiemeke.com. I came acrosss the inspiring post above on one of the groups I am in, and requested Jerry for permission to share it here with You guys. 


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

Mental Health Friday #3

Mental Health Friday #3

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The effect of stigma on an individual’s acceptance of a diagnosis is something I find extremely important. As I noted in my last mental health Friday post, my first diagnosis came at the age of five.

At first glance, one might find it easy to stand in judgment of a mother that turns away the opinion of an expert. However, in my case, I was most likely one of the first children diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and at that time (1974), the term Manic Depressive was still prevalent. I can only try to imagine what the “label” would mean to my mother at that time. Something to the effect of her daughter being crazy, stupid, and/or dangerous. To look at her daughter, she knew those things were not true, but had she had a realistic view of what the disorder meant, she may not have so hurriedly pushed it aside.

the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses

At the age of 23, and receiving the diagnosis as an adult, I made an effort to educate myself. What I found to be the problem in seeing this in myself was that the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses. These things were not the case for me and so I turned it away myself, based on my oddly extreme ideas on what the diagnosis meant. Read more