Why doesn’t your Triangle part fit in the Circle puzzle?

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So many people see mental illness as cut and dry. You have this illness….you must have this that and this, you must react THIS way.  If you don’t then you don’t fit in that diagnosis.If you are on more than one medication for your mental issues, you are drug seeking.

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I have yet to find one person’s anxiety that makes them react the same exact way as me. Heck my anxiety doesn’t even react the same every time. In fact sometimes its the last thing I think of sometimes. Then I realize that maybe I am anxious about whatever is going on….typically if it has gotten to that point the only thing that helps is medication.

You talk about your anxiety way too easily. You must have it well under control! You have been on the same levels of medication and the same medications for over a year now. Medication is working! I don’t see how your anxiety could possibly be as bad as you say it is!

When I look up information on-line, it shows mental health as being a very complex thing. So it gets confusing when you talk to others, even health professionals, that class it in very narrow categories. You would think they would know better to say something as belittling as it doesn’t seem as bad as you say it is. Know what that does to me? Shuts me up. Is that the best thing? No. Is it a healthy thing? NO! I start second guessing myself and often overlooking very significant symptoms. So I tend to just rattle on and on. Everything and anything that occurs to me. This is not the best way for me to get the treatment I need.

Not only do we often have a hard time communicating what is actually going on in our heads with the professionals that treat them. There is such negative continuations about mental illness. We are to be shunned, locked up, ignored, forgotten.  Is it any wonder that we keep it hidden and just retreat into our minds? It wasn’t that long ago that women with severe Post postpartum Depression were locked away at an insane asylum. Can you imagine?

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I was diagnosed at five by a psychologist that I had A.D.D. I remember feeling singled out and being frustrated the most. Frustrated because I wanted to pay attention I really truly did. I remember being told to just focus. My parents did not believe in medicating and they certainly didn’t believe it was a mental illness. They taught me compensatory techniques. These also proved to be a frustration as well. I remember being told that whichever one I was using wasn’t working, in my head I was screaming yes it does I get this! It didn’t matter. I didn’t have a voice in it. I was told I did. When caught using the technique that worked for me I was admonished and told to use the one that my IEP had deemed right.

I saw a primary doctor for over five years before I said anything about mental issues. FIVE YEARS.  She had me take an online questionnaire and bring it in. She sat down and for forty five minutes we talked about some of these things. She said I can prescribe something but remember its not a magic pill I would highly recommend you see a therapist as well. It took me at least another four years before I would admit that I needed a therapist. It was oddly enough my eighteen month old daughter who convinced me. I swept her room which now I can say was not super dirty at the time and she stood there clapping her hands saying clean room clean room. She should be glorying in dirt at this age. Not excited about mommy sweeping her room.

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After the first two appointments which were each two hours, it was decided I probably had spiraled from A.D.D to OCD.  I had not left A.D.D behind but now OCD was the primary driving force. I had a great therapist that I made significant strides with.  I actually never felt like I was crazy when I was talking with her. I suddenly was able to be discerning! WOW!

Mention that you see a therapist to others….watch them try and smile and nod and back away slowly. This is what our society has taught is the right defense. Do not associate with the crazies. The only ones that understand are the ones who are seeing a therapist or have seen a therapist.  I was even told, its fine to see a therapist as long as its short term.  If I stayed more than six months it was just for gossip. I was also told I wasn’t raised that way.  That I was just going to complain about how mean my parents are. Really at twenty-five that was my biggest issue? No, not hardly.

I did stay with my therapist for four years. I probably would still be at least doing phone visits with her. She retired. I mean really the nerve! It gave me a whole new perspective on that movie. What about Bob? I totally get it!

Funny enough though shortly after I stopped seeing her….and shortly I mean a week maybe, if that. Things in my personal life came to a head. I know it was the skills she had taught me that allowed me to put up the walls that needed to go up. To stand up for myself and my family and say NO that is NOT right for my family. This is what I need to do for my family and I. That its okay to do this.

I wish I could say that with these skills that I don’t let comments or behaviors bother me anymore. Its not true. The secret looks the nurses give me when they realize anxiety is in my diagnosis. The people who say maybe you need to increase your medication when depression still leaks through. Sometimes that is true. However that is not a positive or supportive thing to hear. I have only one friend who I accept that comment from. She knows what depression is like, she knows what nervous breakdowns are like, she believes in coping skills and medication. She also believes in taking care of yourself. She doesn’t say it at every mention that my depression is strong. I wish everyone with a mental illness had a friend like her. It would benefit our world in so many ways.

To find love and support instead of hate and fear.

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I worked misdemeanor probation for four years. I know what they would think with the mix of meds that I am currently on. I also know that they believe in rehabilitation and that proper medication can make a difference. I saw so many people who the system let down. Some who were unmedicated and knew they needed the meds, some who were unmedicated and refused there was a problem. Some who were medicated with the wrong meds, those hurt the worst because they knew they needed help and were still let down.  When the system fails for so long and then gets it marginally right before going off in left field we had those who were now mixing the right medications with the addicting behavior they had when the system failed.  I feel blessed that I had people around me who made sure I got the help and the medication that I needed. Because when I look back I can easily see me falling into that last category,and it scares the crap out of me.

All this to say that when I tell people my diagnosis’s they are confused. How can you be OCD and ADD? How does that work? Its beyond alot of people to realize that my diagnosis’s are pretty much custom ordered. There is no other brain JUST like mine. No one else will have a chemical imbalance to the same exact degree as me.Not to mention that what works for one person might not work for another. I have a good friend who has severe anxiety..whereas I can say to myself that’s not a rational thought and push past it, she can’t. Where my anxiety shut me down and I can’t function, she functions just fine.

There are so many “invisible illnesses”. Its a shame its has gotten this bad. That physicians even question their patients to the degree they do.  The only way we are going to break through to visible on all invisible illnesses is awareness.  To raise our kids to understand sometimes you can’t see the issue,but that it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. To teach them to stand up for themselves and to demand the medical care they need. To not put physical health above mental health, to see them as equals. To research their diagnosis’s on their own. Don’t just take anyone’s opinion. Read enough so you know what you are dealing with. Don’t assume that the professionals are going to tell you everything, they simply don’t have that kind of time.

I can’t do anything about those who make uneducated ignorant comments, but I can not let it affect me. All we can do is try and be non-judgemental of others and hope for the same from other.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: GoodTherapy.org’s Mental Health Awareness Month Blogging Event

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