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

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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 #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 #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

Mental Health Friday #11

Mental Health Friday #11

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People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are often thought of as manipulative, self harming attention seekers. Their lives are a mess … they aren’t able to function like normal human beings. Nobody would ever give them a job …

But, in reality, we really aren’t like that.

I was diagnosed with BPD last year. On 4th July 2014 I received a copy of a letter sent to my GP.

“Amelia is a 20 year old university student who lives at home with her parents.

Diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder with mood instability, self harm, atypical eating disorder, low self esteem, dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, and feelings of emptiness. Her mood is dysthymic and varies frequently.”

A week later I received another letter discharging me from the care of the Mental Health Services. Apparently there was nothing they could do for me.

The bottom fell out of my world. How could a psychiatrist label my personality as disordered?! How could they ditch me a week later? I have spent the last year trying to understand this big, scary, stigmatised disorder.

BPD is completely different for everyone. There are nine symptoms, and to be diagnosed you must fit at least 5 … so there are lots and lots of different combinations! Every day I understand it a little more, and for me it is a disorder of extremes.

I completely love my diagnosis and completely hate it in equal measures. Half of my life is so dark that I can barely drag myself out of bed. The other half is bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than you can imagine.

I can flip between the two in a heartbeat. Everything is black or white. I love you or I hate you.

I self harm. I have attempted suicide. I dissociate. I panic. I am impulsive. I can get angry. I am terrified of being abandoned. I don’t really know who I am. I have periods of feeling nothing at all. Everything is very very intense.

But I am human.

Having BPD doesn’t stop me doing stuff that ‘normal’ people do. Most people who meet me would have no idea that I have ever seen a psychiatrist, let alone been stamped with a diagnosis.

Believe it or not, I have a job. And I am a manager! Last week I went to a fancy works-do, and although I was struggling on the inside, nobody pointed or laughed or realised that I was any different to anyone else. Next week I am meeting with the CEO of the business. Again, it will be hard for me, but I will get the job done just as well as anyone else. I can be the ultimate professional.

My GP was so shocked that I have a serious mental health condition and a full time job that she jumped up and declared that I must be cured! She was so over-joyed that she immediately cancelled all of my mental health referrals (the sight would have been quite amusing if I hadn’t been so furious!).

Having BPD does not make me weak, incapable, stupid, dangerous, or a liability.

So many medical professionals have seen my diagnosis and treated me like an injured puppy. A crazy injured puppy. They have looked at me with pity in their eyes.

I hate that. I am a human being. I am not crazy.

One of the most empowering and helpful things for me recently has been starting my blog. Suddenly a whole new world has been opened up to me. I am getting to chat to other people with BPD and am privileged enough to read their stories. I am able to speak out about my day-to -day issues in a community where I’m not being judged. Finally, I am beginning to understand that I’m not alone!

I desperately want the stigma that comes with BPD to be broken down. I want it to be accepted that people can have a serious mental illness, and really struggle with it, but that doesn’t make them any less of a person. We aren’t all crazy dangerous monsters.

Today’s contributor is Amelia who blogs at Borderlineamelia.wordpress.com . She blogs about surviving the diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder one day at a time.


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 . For more information, visit  this post.

IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com.      

Mental Health Friday #24

Mental Health Friday #24

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I had a pretty good childhood until around the age of six, that was when I was raped for the first time. I was a kid, I didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t know how to handle the trauma. I turned to smoking at that young age. We had a security guard in the estate and he introduced me to it. The assault didn’t stop at the age of six and by the time I turned ten, I’d been raped two more times by different men. 

We moved from that area to a different state, but I was already hooked to smoking (I went on to smoke for about ten years); maybe it was a coping mechanism for me.
I was ten. I knew I was depressed and became suicidal as well. I tried to kill myself but didn’t go through with it; I guess, despite it all, a part of me wanted to live.

When I got into grade 10, I had a really bad time there, which forced me to look within myself. I realised, my life was a mess but I wanted to be better; I felt that I could do better. I overheard my parents talking about a colleague of theirs who was a psychiatrist, so, I stole his contacts and called him. We talked on the phone and he fixed an appointment for me. All of these, I did, without the knowledge of my parents.

I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He put me on medications but I never took them; Compliance to medication is not my strong suit.
Still, I kept on seeing him once every week. It was liberating, talking about everything without feeling like everything that happened was my fault, the rapes were my fault. I was fortunate to have a great psychiatrist.

My parents didn’t know I was seeing their colleague as my Psychiatrist, and so, one time, we met in public and my parents introduced me to him as their daughter. We exchanged greetings and he pretended he didn’t know me. I loved that he did.

I kept on seeing him secretly until I graduated from high school, I never went back after that. (I’ve been thinking a lot about going back now ). Although now, I can say that I learnt what I need to do for myself and how to take care of my mental health.

Still, I have so much anger bottled up inside about our attitude towards mental illness, molestation, child abuse and just things like these- I mean it is right there, happening before our eyes, but we just don’t see it. People think that if you are depressed or traumatised, there’s this somber image you fit into- but I wasn’t. I was the noisy bubbly child, the people pleaser and did not fit into “that image” at all. We are so self absorbed that we never pick up on the little things.

I find it brave of people who put a face to their mental illnesses and the trauma they’ve experienced.
So, this is it, my story. The journey of a child victim to an adult survivor and warrior.


This week’s Mental Health story is about someone who requested to remain anonymous and I respect that. Thank you very much for sharing the story of your bravery and for reminding us once again- Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault.

To everyone who showed up every friday to read these personal stories of our journey with mental, thank you very much for supporting this; with your stories and your emails and your likes and comments and shares. It is a blessing.

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.

 

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

Writer’s Quote: Awareness

Writer’s Quote: Awareness

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October is a month which helps to spread the awareness of so many important causes including, Domestic Violence, World Mental health day, Girl child day and the topic of this week’s Writer’s Quote/Poem Wednesday– Breast cancer awareness.

I found an old poetry book of mine called “Nineteen years in diapause“. I bought this book during my first year of medical school and as it was a time when I was in my early phase of poetry, I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty and gems it contained within its poems.

Nevertheless, there was one poem which stuck to me. And as I went through the book again yesterday, I came across the poem once more and knew I had to share it.

Annals of the closet by Katie Queen

No one is to disrupt mommy
when she is working,
she likes her space silent.

Her stethoscope is not a toy
and neither is our new greedy baby:
gurgling and mewing

in the room down the hall.
My room. My lavender coloured room,
a “babies room, not for big girls.”

Looking for mommy,
I found a wig
as she must have found the lump,

lurking in the deep recesses
of her lush closet,
hidden in a bag,

unearthed by curiosities
of nimble fingers’
exploratory cravings.

“For when i’m old and lose my hair”
she said, without hesitation,
Plopping the carbon copy in my head.

After that, there was no need to wonder
anymore. Not even
after I saw the scar-

a pink patch
of matted stretched skin
nestled neatly

between clavicle
and nipple-
something the baby must have seen,

or felt,
or licked,
did I question her.

 

Mental Health Friday #2

Mental Health Friday #2

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My story? Do you want short or long version? Oh who am I kidding, there is no short version with me. So, first of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Dawn, I come from one very small European country and I’m 24 y/o. Right now I’m sitting at home, smoking a cigarette, sipping coffee and listening to one awesome song on one hour loop. All good, all normal. I’m in my parents living room and you woudn’t find anything unusual here until your eye would catch one particular stack – stack of my pills. In the beginning, I would hide my pills far away, not that others can’t see them, but so that I can pretend they don’t exist. Let me get clear here, I’m not parading my pills infront of guest, but they became something that I have to take in specific time and it’s easier to remember to take them if you can SEE them.

My problems started around the age of 17 when I was in my first relationship. It was intense, nothing I experienced before or after. Yes, I’m married now and I love my husband, but that first love was something different- Unhealthy. He was like sugar to a diabetic, at the same time so usual, normal, sweet but also deadly. In the beginning, everything was awesome. We were spending every second together, but as time passed by, he was getting more distanced and colder. He would blow me off to go play games and that was a trigger which opened pandoras box inside of me.

I had strong, obsessive, unwanted thoughts. Voice in my head was saying, “leave him, break up with him“ and I was fighting it as much as I could. One day, I was screaming outside of a coffee place because the anxiety was so strong, I felt suffocated. I decided to take a break from him, from us, in hope that those thoughts would stop and everything would go back to normal. It didn’t. We got back together, then broke up again. Got back together, broke up. In-between those ,”together“ parts, he was cheating on me. It made me feel sick but it never crossed my mind that he is not worth it, that “we“ as a couple, were not worth it. There was nothing for us to talk about and nothing to do except have sex and talk about games. That “on and off“ period got really long, it lasted for 6 months I think, and it really killed my confidence in love, life and myself.

Anxiety was pretty hard, school bothered me more than usual and I changed overnight. From the innocent little girl, I became a booty-call for someone who doesn’t even know what loving anyone but himself means. I got so dependent, my day would consist of waiting for him to call me and crying because he didn’t. I even had some crazy ideas like “if I don’t smoke for next hour, and don’t touch my phone for a 30 minutes after that he will call“. I was a train-wreck, but since I told no one what I was doing and what I was thinking, there was no one to tell me to get some help, no one to guide me. So, I contacted “doctor google“.

The thoughts were getting pretty rough, violent. After some time, I did tell my mom what was going on, but she never took is as serious as it was and it kind of just stopped on it’s own. I don’t blame her for not reacting because she didn’t know much about anxiety or OCD so she thought that I was simply being a teen. Weird teen, but normal at the same time. Read more

Giving Up Is NOT The Answer

Giving Up Is NOT The Answer

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  Nicki Minaj couldn’t have said it any better. In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, I decided to share this picture. I know I’ve said this before (lots of times), but it is Okay to ask for Help. Life wasn’t meant for us to go through it alone. There are lots of people, eager, willing to help If we just look in the right direction. Mental Illness can be defeated; it is a struggle, a battle that can be won. So please, do not give up. I know it’s not easy, but you’ll make it. You’ll fight, you’d win and you’d come out on top. Giving up is not the answer.