Can BPD make you a better person in the future?

As someone who is recovering from BPD and has come a long way, I have to tell you that not everything about BPD is negative.

I believe that going through it, enduring the symptoms and the consequences of your actions, can make you a better person.

It definitely feels like it for several reasons that I will explain in the coming section.

This isn’t a generalization of all people with BPD, it’s just my experience and some people relate to it, while others don’t.

Romantic relationships

Relationships are hard for everyone: being vulnerable, sharing everything, disagreements, etc. Before I started recovering it was a complete and utter chaos. Toxic relationships, sudden breakups for petty reasons, conflict, etc. I had almost no sense of commitment and I would get into relationships too quick, without analyzing the person first. Impulsivity was something that interfered with my relationships. Little thing you told me that I didn’t like? Might break up with you tomorrow. Terrible thing you did to me but you’re my FP? I’ll stick around and add fire to the flame.

As I started healing, I noticed that I had a sense of commitment. I communicated better and didn’t get angry. There was so much abuse and drama in my past that I did my best not to live through the same thing. Started fighting more for relationships, even a little too much but I believe that I will attain balance. I had very little arguments and lots of harmony. Never cheated on him, as I know how it hurts (not by experience because I never found out that a boyfriend was cheating on me), how disrespectful it is and how bad I feel after cheating. It’s one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. There are many steps before you cheat. Ultimately, going down that road is up to you and you only. You can stop at any time.

The “I hate you/ Don’t leave me” relationships started disappearing from my life. I don’t go back and forth with someone, with arguments and animosity, drama. I cut or dramatically reduce contact. Can’t stand it. It feels good in a twisted way but it also feels like a prison where I’ve been before. I just don’t want to stay in toxic relationships, because of how traumatic they were in the past. Even after 15 years of dating a narcissist and especially because I recently dated another briefly, it was like my heart was burned. It is burnt flesh that hurts like hell when people do and say certain things. Which in turn made me more mindful of what I say to people, I don’t want to hurt anyone.

Friendship

The “I hate you/Don’t leave me” model of relationship also refers to friendship. It was frequent for me to have toxic friendships. It could happen that someone was my FP and I would take turns in loving and hating them. One day, they were my whole life, the other day they were terrible and would abandon me, so I better abandon them first. It hurts less that way, not that it doesn’t hurt a lot because it does. An FP is like a drug to us. It’s a kind of passion.

Sometimes, I wasn’t the most loyal because I was a people pleaser. As I started growing older and healing, I learned how to say no and say things people might not like to hear (without being rude, of course). Learning to say no is a fundamental skill for someone with BPD, as our boundaries are so poorly defined in the beginning of our struggle. We learn by reading, DBT and watching others.

Friendships are also less tense and dramatic when you are recovering. I would have fits and do huge scenes, in my worst times. I must’ve embarrassed quite a few people with my anger and impulsivity. It was probably one of the factors that contributed to being abandoned by several people. Today, I get it. On one hand, I was severely sick. On the other, people were entitled not to feel embarrassed by friends, not to want to deal with certain situations. There were a few serious situations that could’ve ended badly but luckily nothing happened. I think I scared people with my instability.

We learn that lots of people can’t deal with us but some can. I learned to cherish those people. Help them in any way I can. Now, I can love them to death and that is a somewhat stable feeling. Minor things don’t influence my opinion of the person. With time, DBT, medication and observation, we learn about nuance: how someone can be simultaneously flawed and lovable. We are the first ones to recognize that people are flawed, as we are, but we can deal with certain flaws and character defects.

To grow, we need to surround ourselves mostly with people who are kind and validating but are not enablers. We live in a world of our own, like everyone else, but in our case it can be a quite distorted world, due to our poor coping mechanisms. It’s important to have friends that remind us of what’s right or wrong and help us make better decisions.

Boundaries

Oh, boundaries. How we need them. Boundaries fail us when we are experiencing more symptoms. We let people walk over us, we let people do things to us that we don’t want, we do what we can to keep certain relationships, be it romantic or friendships. We also tend to not respect other people’s boundaries, as we don’t have strong ones. We need to have boundaries in order to understand and respect other people’s boundaries. We have our own reality tunnels, shaped by our experience, personality and BPD. If our “walls” are weak and too flexible, we will think that others are like us. At least, that’s what happens in the beginning. If we grow and change, every time we cross the line is a lesson learned.

Family

I can only speak about my parents and other relatives. I’m not a mother,so that won’t be included in my story.

My relationship with my family changed a lot over time and became stronger.

My psychiatrist once told me that it was easier for me to change than my parents. That I should adapt and tanke charge of my choices. At the time, I was already taking a good combo of medication so it was easier to have self-control. That gradually changed the dynamics of the relationship. We had reached a breaking point many years before that and they didn’t know how to act around me. They have strong personalities so they simultaneously walked on eggshells and went off on me. To be honest, I wouldn’t wish this on any parent and neither do I wish that they suffer from BPD. Because I felt miserable. I needed my parents’ love and attention. But I also pushed them away. There were reasons for me to react the way I did but there was a lot of overreacting going on.

I still briefly bicker with my father on a regular basis but it never escalates. Retreat is a good option for me. Return to headquarters haha. My relationship with my mother is much better and we rarely fight. I think she’s happier now that I’m better. She just wished that I could have a better life, while she helps me get there.

Never forget, if your parents raised you with love, they probably still love you now and are on your side. A psychologist can help you immensely (and maybe medication but that is your call) to help you see from your parents’ point of view. It’s easy to get caught up in feelings and overanalyzing and not see obvious things, though we pay attention to everything. It can also help you learn how to communicate better with the people in your life. I’ve learned so much about myself and others with my psychologists. It’s really eye-opening and helpful. If you are curious about yourself and want to evolve in a healthy way, it’s one of the bets things to do. However, not everyone can do it and I respect that. Trauma is a like a thorn in your soul. It’s not palpable but it stings and sometimes therapy is the only way to deal with it. Doing trauma work is very hard but it’s worth it. Understanding how we can find new and better coping mechanisms, that are constructive and healthy. Find ways to soothe ourselves that won’t hurt us in the long run.

There are other aspects but these were the ones who stood out to me. Everyone grows in a different way and maybe your experience wasn’t quite like mine. There isn’t a fixed road for someone with BPD, nor is there for anyone. If you would like to add something that you think BPD helped you with, feel free to comment below.

Conclusion

Can you imagine what it’s like to have a somewhat normal childhood and troubled teens but your mental health was okay. You start to have these symptoms when you’re a young adult (at least that’s what happened to me). Everything changes. You are overwhelmed and hurting. Things are going downhill and you don’t even know how to explain to your doctor how you feel. Most people never go through this. They have their own aches but such a shift in your personality is not very common. Your personality is a mask that you wear and your identity. Everyone has an idea of who they are (an idea only because no one knows that for sure, if you go to the root of it) but you don’t. And you have this chronic feeling of emptiness that you desperately want to fill. People seem to know what they’re doing and you are just trying to survive. Trying to feel okay, try to not feel so much, trying not to see so much, not to catch all those details that you later overanalyze.

With age, you also learn that things aren’t always what they seem. The face that your friend made, what he said. It can be a misunderstanding. Overreacting is only going to blow things out of proportion and create problems. But it’s a fairly normal response for someone with BPD. We are scared, confused, we need some control over things, since we lost control.

If you have BPD, believe me, wanting to change is the first step in an incredible journey of growth. A journey that only you can make. You’ll be wiser, stronger. DBT or therapy will help you cope better and re-learn how to live in a healthy way.

Maybe today you had a terrible day, full of emotions and anger and whatever else you’re dealing with but a better tomorrow is possible.

Much love to you all.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Why Language Matters When We Talk About Mental Health

 

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You should never be defined by your condition. You have some symptoms but you are much, much more than that. It happens that sometimes people with mental health conditions are seen like that label by others. You are identified by your condition: the schizophrenic guy, the bipolar girl, etc. It’s easy to confuse the condition with the person but we should never forget that behind that label is a very complex person that deserves respect.

Details matter and the fact that we say “Joan is Bipolar” instead of “Joan has Bipolar Disorder”. You are not your condition. You are still an individual, with its idiosyncrasies. Language matters a lot because it shapes our perception or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that language stigmatizes people and that has real effects like refusal to seek treatment and anxiety when interacting with people.

People with mental health conditions expect to be stigmatized and discriminated against. The media is responsible in part for the bad reputation of mental illness. When violence occurs and there is no obvious cause, it is immediately speculated that the perpetrator has some sort of mental condition. On the other hand, there is no real effort to talk openly about mental health conditions, see real people that are still successful despite the diagnostic. When it comes to violence, the truth is that people suffering from mental disorders are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violence.

skull opened at the top, showing the brain. Brain has a band-aid,

Mental illness becomes a diagnosis that people try to hide due to its negative labels, stigmatization and possible discrimination. We still have a backward mentality when it comes to mental health conditions. People always saw the insane, the unstable ones as weak or deficient. It’s pretty much like that now, though people are raising awareness more and more. It’s not faceless conditions anymore: people talk about mental health, expose their identities (or not) but we are out there, spreading the word.

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We should advocate for language that reduces stigma, using empathy to choose our words. Understanding the power of negative labels and names is very important. We could use language that doesn’t enforce negative stereotypes and never name or label someone for his/her condition.

“In the context of mental illness, mental health, and wellbeing, negative words can be experienced as condescending, isolating, and stigmatizing, whereas positive words can convey dignity, empathy, and hope.”

-Veryan Richards

 

“In 2017, The Royal College of Psychiatrists outlined eight core attributes of good psychiatrists, which include communication, humility, respect, and trust. According to Richards, this “reinforces a stronger, values-based climate which should influence the principles that shape the language and terminology used in person-centered mental health care.” Richards is a proponent of first-person language, which first acknowledges a person and then identifies a condition (e.g., ‘a person with psychosis’ versus ‘a psychotic person’).

Richards argues that the phrase ‘mental health problems’ is often too vague. She suggests this phrase could be problematic when used for common experiences, stating “we should remain alert to overmedicalizing experiences and challenges that would be better understood as a response to social or economic factors and normal human experiences.”

At the same time, she proposes that using ‘mental health problems’ as a euphemism for more serious illness or crisis is also unhelpful. She writes, “some current terminology should be adjusted if parity is to be achieved within the language used in health care.” Richards gives the example of times when ‘patient’ may be the preferred language over ‘service user’ in medical settings.

Richards believes that a language shift can improve shared decision making. She states, “the quality of communication can facilitate a ‘doing with, not doing to’ clinical approach.” She also cites the 2015 UK Supreme Court judgment, Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board, which “raises the status of shared decision making from guidance to a legal requirement and concludes that all doctors need the communication skills required to support this process.” Therefore, she recommends medical schools require students to be trained in communication skills.”

Source:https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/03/words-matter-importance-language-choice-mental-health-care/

Psychiatrists and mental professionals are very important for this fight. They must use more empathetic language. That can educate both the patient and his/her family. Most people have some unlearning to do.

It’s much better now, though it’s still not enough. More and more people are seeking mental health treatment and more people talk about it, be it in social media or real life. That is progress and I see that millennials are much more open about it.

This needs to be spread and taught. It’s in our hands to change what we think is wrong with the language about mental health.

I have to be clear on something: I don’t support censorship of any kind and I believe that the change should be natural because it is a cycle: society’s view of mental health conditions change, people become more aware of them and language naturally changes. But changing our language is also a good way to help achieve the goal of people having more mental health awareness.

“Policing language is never popular and rarely easy. But it is perfectly possible to be both frank and polite. Words around mental health are not so much being banned as recommendations made so we can be sensitive. With that in mind, chatting to friends and colleagues, will I have another “manic” day at work? In all honestly, probably. But it’s hardly a chore for me to replace that with “super busy”.”

Source:https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2014/feb/28/mind-your-language-mental-health

If we are non-judgemental, use more neutral or positive language, as opposed as words with negative conotation; we can make our friends and family more comfortable in sharing their struggles with mental illness. You can provide incentive for their treatment, be a shoulder to cry on and whatever you can do to help that person. If you have the ability that is. I don’t think I could help or take care of anyone right now. I’m only capable of listening and giving advice. I commend the people that have the ability to help others in many ways. Hopefully, I can do that one day to someone. Paying forward what was done to us is a very altruistic gesture. I don’t want to do it because it looks nice and then I’ll post a picture on Facebook. On the contrary, I want to help without any kind of publicity.

I don’t like the terms “mental illness”, “mental disorder”, and so on. Normally, I say “mental health condition”. I think it’s a much softer way to say it. Try no to use the word crazy, insane, psycho, etc, as they are very negative and very stigmatizing.

“Mad Pride, held each year on Bastille Day (because the people released from the Bastille were deemed “insane”) seeks to “reclaim terms like ‘mad’, ‘nutter’, and ‘psycho’ from misuse, such as in tabloid newspapers, celebrate mental health survivor culture and explore the positives of madness”. Susannah Wilson is keen to highlight the positives: “My illness has taught me compassion and empathy for others who are suffering in ways I wouldn’t perhaps have achieved. It has also tested my strength and courage allowed me to make peace with the parts of myself I’ve disliked.”

Source:https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2014/feb/28/mind-your-language-mental-health

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About the media and mental health coverage:

 “The media is extremely powerful and is consumed by millions of people every day. Therefore, we would encourage journalists to recognise the influence they have when reporting on mental health so as not to reinforce damaging stereotypes or create sensationalist articles which can cause huge distress and offence to the one in four people who will experience mental health problems.”

-Kate Nightingale

The media must be more responsible in the way they write their stories and present mental illness. For example, if they said that a certain individual was psychotic and killed someone, they should also say that most people who are psychotic are not aggressive, can lead normal lives with medication and are more prone to suffer from violence than to perpretate. Both sides of the issue should be covered.

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Another thing that is also sensitive in the media, is the coverage of suicides. “Committing suicide” is loaded with archaic and criminal baggage. It doesn’t have a good conotation. “Sucessful suicide” is also not very accurate, as it should be an oxymoron. Sometimes the media doesn’t mention suicides at all, in order not to encourage other people to do the same thing. However, there should be a debate about this issue. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that one of my best friends died by suicide last June. He was depressed but refused to take medication. It was the stigma, plain and simple. He was also stubborn and didn’t like medication. It isn’t the end of the world to take one or two pills. If it helps you, go for it. No need to feel bad about it or thinking that it will ruin your health. Just avoid drinking alcohol, so you don’t overwhelm your liver. Alcohol is terrible for you anyway so you might as well stop drinking or just drink on special occasions.

All in all, all we ask is for you to be mindful of your words and the effect that they have on others. It’s not hard to avoid some words and phrases. It creates a more harmonious communication between people, without dehumanization or stigma.

 

 

 

What is Mental Health Literacy?

 

This concept is a product of the development of health literacy. Health literacy is something that helps with longevity and quality of life. As a branch of medicine, psychiatry also needed to have specific information about its conditions, in order to lower suicides and other injuries, and overall, provide a better quality of life for people with mental health conditions.

mental health

Mental health literacy means:

“More recently, informed by previous definitions of MHL and current definitions of HL, MHL has been defined as: understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health; understanding mental disorders and their treatments; decreasing stigma related to mental disorders; and, enhancing help-seeking efficacy (knowing when and where to seek help and developing competencies designed to improve one’s mental health care and self-management capabilities).”

Source: Jorm, A.F.; Korten, A.E.; Jacomb, P.A.; Christensen, H.; Rodgers, B.; Pollitt, P. (1997). “Mental health literacy”: a survey of the public’s ability to recognize mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment”. Medical Journal of Australia166: 182–186.

“More recently, understanding of HL has evolved into a broader construct that is considered fundamental to improving a person’s health outcome, decreasing health inequities in populations, and enhancing the operation of health systems and the development of health policy. Thus it is now recognized as necessary to improve health outcomes at both the individual and population levels.”

Source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4813415/

As you can see, it’s something that is very important and that concerns everyone, especially those of us with mental health conditions but not only us. People with no mental health problems should be aware of mental illness, in a natural and informed way.

Mental health literacy is composed of knowledge, recognition, and attitudes.

Knowledge is the largest part of mental health literacy. It is divided into 4 subtypes:

-Risk factors;

-Where and how to get information:  the networks and support systems people use to obtain information about mental health conditions. Friends, family, educators, entertainment or social media, among others;

-Causes of mental health conditions;

-Professional help: knowing how to get professional help and what type of help is available.

-Self-help: what one can do to get better without professional help, using self-help books and media, for example. It’s not advisable sometimes because of the severity of the conditions and its symptoms.

Recognition refers to the recognition of symptoms or conditions. Specific illness recognition refers to the ability to notice that someone has a mental health condition and which one. Symptom recognition is to determine by the behaviors, beliefs, and other manifestations of mental conditions, that someone has a condition; without knowing in specific which one.

Some efforts have been made on promoting knowledge but other researchers argue that changing attitudes by reducing stigma is a more effective way of creating real change in mental health discourse. Ultimately, both contribute to ending the stigma.

Attitudes are researched in two subtypes:

-Attitudes about mental health conditions and people that suffer from them;

-Attitudes about seeking professional health.

Attitudes are various and are often difficult to analyze or target with intervention.

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Surveys

There have been made surveys about mental health literacy, in several countries, and the results are not the best. People are very uninformed about it, mistrust medications and psychiatrists. They even state that only people with weak character have mental health conditions. This is what we face and why we have to keep quiet about mental illness most of the time.

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Ways to improve this

-Community campaigns;

-Individual training programs;

-School-based interventions;

-Sites and books aimed at the general public.

I wish I had the courage to share my blog with family, friends, and acquaintances but I fear being judged. There’s a possibility that I have said this before but I feel like I can only do it once I have success in life. When I have things to show for and achievements. The label of the aimless, mentally ill woman is not what I want. My blog will continue to talk about mental health, BPD and stigma. That’s my contribution to the word, right now. Though I would like to do more. Maybe do public speaking when I’m recovered. Do a Ted Talk. Haha. Something that pushes things forward, into the 21st century.

Let’s continue to write on our blogs about our lives with mental health conditions, our struggles, our victories. People will eventually see that we are not to be feared or mocked; medication and psychiatrists can be helpful; having a mental illness doesn’t mean that you’re weak, you’re just wired differently and you can have a normal life.

We are not inferior or defected or broken or whatever people want to call us. Information is key so I’ll try to provide more resources for people who seek to know about mental health conditions and those who have them.

Let’s show people that we have limitations, like everyone else but we still succeed. I see so many big and small victories on WordPress. People are evolving and growing. Becoming self-aware. Becoming more familiar with their symptoms and how to deal with them. Mental Health Literacy is key. We will do this endeavor and educate as many people as possible. It’s important that we share each other’s posts on social media, the best posts, the ones that really tackle the issue.

What bothers me is that some people seem to not be permeable to these ideas and concepts. They don’t know and they don’t want to know. I have no idea how to reach those types. The ones that will rant about Big Pharma and that all psychiatrists are quacks. The ones that tell you to stop taking your meds and just change your diet. Those people will be our biggest challenge but I believe we can do it anyway.

How is your mental health literacy? What are you doing to reduce stigma?

 

Images courtesy of Pixabay.

 

 

 

Mental health stigma I experience and night thoughts

I’m here to talk about mental health stigma again. How people choose to believe that medication is terrible and you’re hurting yourself, instead of focusing on the fact that I’m here and I’ve survived. All thanks to medication. I would really appreciate if that person had empathy towards me. You know the drill: cold person, really not a lot of empathy. Being blunt and brutal in what you say. I know a few people like this. The stigma is so strong and cultural. Meds may not be the best thing that happened to you, but to some, they are very helpful. Please, don’t discourage people from taking medication. It is vital to some. I have to agree with some of the tips but exercise and good food aren’t enough to secure good mental health.

woman hands on face and ears

You have “normal” people and “crazy” people. Mental health conditions are genetic and you always say that it runs in your family. It doesn’t add up. You have a mental health condition, too. You’ve had it since you were small. Something broke you. I’m so very sorry it was like that.  Friendship is healing. Friendship is a connection between kindred spirits. That’s the only way I can have. People can vent and console each other. It creates a very strong bond. Friends help each other and cooperate. The future is cooperative, not competitive, in my opinion.

I hope the future is good and prosperous. I hope AI turns out to be mostly great for us, without any serious disadvantages. Some people are predicting doom for society; others are hopeful, they think it will save humanity; and, finally, there’s me, the “wait and see” girl. The skeptic. It could go very wrong and very right. Who knows? State your opinion below.

Transhumanism is rising. Some people want to be immortal. Some want cellular rejuvenation. Human trials are being done. Lots of good things are happening. We need to focus on those. Cancer research is advancing. Some people say the singularity will happen soon. Others say it won’t happen any time soon. Again, who knows? Should we trust the techno-optimist specialist or the more skeptic one? Do you want to dream or be awake? The decision is yours. Always yours. You have the power to change.

I hope you don’t think I’m trying to be a motivational speaker or a coach or anything. I’m just a normal human being trying to cheer people up. That is my goal. To entertain people, talk about all sorts of things. I have so much to share. Poetry, prose, my journal, articles. I’ve only been writing my journal and poetry. I hope you’re okay with it. I’ll go back to writing more informative pieces soon. It’s been so emotionally tiring, mainly the breakup. I keep myself distracted. I hang out with friends, I write and draw. I work from home as a freelancer. That’s how I support myself. Someone asked in a comment and it’s now answered.

view of table with laptop, tablet and presents

4 am and I’m still up. Oh well. I’ll probably sleep in. I only slept 6 hours today. I’m tired but I feel like staying up to write. I’ve been going to sleep early. I don’t want this schedule to become the norm but I need to express myself. There’s this urgency about it. I can’t help it.

Feelings come and feelings go. Enjoy your good feelings and embrace or let go of the bad ones. Hack your feelings. You have the power to manipulate them. There are numerous ways. Some people fall in love, head over heels and see nothing wrong with a person. I, on the other hand, keep my eyes open and don’t let passion blind me. Red flags are red flags any time. You focus on the good parts, not the bad. But it’s good to keep your mind open. To see if the person is suitable for you. Don’t decide with your heart, decide with your mind. Trust your gut. Some people are just trouble. You can’t deal with them normally.

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I keep it to myself a lot. Sometimes people don’t know if I’m home or not, I just shut down, I never hear the doorbell.  I also don’t like unexpected visitors, so it’s a good thing that I can’t hear the doorbell. The weirdest people can ring your bell. I never open the door, unless I know the person and, even then, I might not open. You better call me before you come. Please, don’t ring the doorbell like a fool. That is unnecessary.

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I had a really great day, talking to M and Z. They are two of my closest friends. I know Z personally and M only online. He is based on the UK.  We spend a lot of time talking, exchanging ideas, etc. Ah, the wonders of modern technology. Voice chatting with friends. A poor substitute but still one of social interaction. Being alone is also good, there’s always something to do, something to learn, something to enjoy. I really like being introverted. People tire me after a day together. Sometimes after just a few hours. I get drained. I need to recharge by myself. Anyone else like this? I understand loneliness and solitude. A solitary life is not necessarily bad if you surround yourself with the right kind of people. Find people with no mental health conditions or someone who manages it by now. Find people that won’t be a burden to you.

Sometimes we like who we shouldn’t like. What do we do? Do we follow the feeling? No way, You ignore it and let it go away. You have to be strong and independent. You, me, him. Everyone.

I will talk about mental health stigma again and again. Its one of the reasons why I made my blog. I try to be as open as possible about my mental health condition, so stigma affects me directly. I’m the one with an issue and I take medication. You should do exercise and this and that. Doctors are not trustworthy, big pharma. Man, some people are just something. What weird phases people go through. I can tolerate it from a friend but that person will listen to me and see that the stigma is real and it hurts. It hurts a lot. It affects my mental health, my self-esteem. It’s not a good thing and I will tell you to back off. Or leave you alone without saying a word. This pisses people off but it’s one of my strategies to avoid conflict. Screaming or arguing is not my style. I prefer to keep it cool but express my feelings of disagreement.

What is worse is when people gaslight others, like myself. It rarely happens but it can happen. People are like that. “You’re too sensitive”, “You need to be strong”. I just can’t express how much I hate some of the criticism I get from people. Though sometimes, people are right and you feel terrible but enlightened. It’s good to have people like that in your life. The kinder, the better.  There are still people like that, they’re out there. My ex is one of them, he is a kind man. We’re still friends. It’s a good feeling. I will have a cup of coffee with him soon. He didn’t cause any problems or overreact. He was very nice and polite. He respected my mental health condition but sometimes he blamed all my actions on it and I didn’t like it.

Stigma comes in many forms. If you’re open about issues, it will happen to you and it is up to you to enlighten people. Just be mindful and aware of people who want to disagree with you, just because. That is annoying and not helpful at all. It almost never happens to me, thankfully. Maybe someone can relate to this and see it for the toxic behavior that it is. Toxic people also come in many forms. We must be awake and aware of them.

How are you feeling today?

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hardest post I have ever written

My friend J. committed suicide tonight. We were together until 9 pm and by 9:30, he was gone.

He was the person I mention on my last post. I was the last friend to see him alive.

I feel perplexed, in disbelief and numb. Right now, as I write this, I am listening to one of his favorite bands, Pearl Jam. It’s comforting. It’s like we are still together. I am still in shock so J’m sorry if I ramble.

We were close friends, I have so many good memories of him. He was that bohemian, dreamer friend. He was kind, funny and cultured. We enjoyed walking on the beach and going to random cafés. He was a tango dancer, he just loved it.

As I write this, I keep thinking that he is alive and then I remember the traumatic event that happened yesterday. It’s a weird duality, knowing that someone is dead but forgetting about it. Only to realize, a few seconds later that it did happen, that he is no longer with us.

He was a tango dancer, he loved milongas and that scene. How I will miss him, he is a great loss for the world. He truly made the world a better place.

This could have been avoided, if only there was no mental health stigma. He had mood swings. Went from being very excited and happy, to being utterly depressed. He refused to see a psychiatrist or take medication. The stigma kills. Many people refuse to acknowledge that they have mental health conditions. They feel that doing that is accepting that they are a lesser person, that they are crazy. I’m in no way criticizing him. He had his own reality tunnel, like we all do. I wish I could’ve helped him see that there is no shame in taking medication or being diagnosed. I told him many times, when he was suffering, that he didn’t need to suffer like that. We need to put ourselves out there, for J. and other people with similar paths, and let people know that it’s okay to have a mental health condition. That it’s okay to ask for help. We need to change this paradigm. It’s slowly changing, I can see that. That gives me hope.

8 hours ago, we were having coffee and talking. We talked about life and death, oddly enough. I keep reliving those hours in my head, wondering if I said something that upset him. He said that he would go out with me after dinner, if my boyfriend was too tired. I wonder if we had gone out, would he still be alive. That is going to haunt me. It is already haunting me.

He was a free-spirit. There is something really wrong with this society that young, healthy people seal their fate this way.

I will miss him immensely. My dear companion of adventures and good days. My confidant and kindred spirit. One of the few people I know that would grab a backpack and travel to other places, completely alone. I admired his courage and independence.

In one of our last conversations, he told me he would love to go Buenos Aires and dance. I will picture him there. I will tell myself that he is in Buenos Aires, dancing with a beautiful South American girl.

Image by pixundfertig, courtesy of Pixabay.

People with mental health conditions are not weak

I recently met a girl online, through a friend. She lives in another city. We have been discussing mental health and she said something that really grinds my gears. When people say you are weak for having a mental health condition (MHC). It infuriates me. I’m not weak and neither is anyone with an MHC.

You may find odd that I don’t say mental illness. I don’t like the sound of it, I think it’s a derogatory term that is also dehumanizing. It’s just like having a physical problem, only it’s in the mind. People react to things differently. We all have similarities and differences. We should respect our differences. Respect personal experiences we know nothing about.

Yes, I may be more sensitive and that is why I can overreact or be depressed for a few days about something. Isolate myself in order to not interact with anyone. Be avoidant. I have had many disappointments. I seek comfort in my space. I alienate myself but I can’t. I have to face things. I have started to take some steps in the right direction. Working out, seeing a therapist, waking up early. I still have to work on going to bed early haha. What I do and because my life allows me to do it at the moment, is take a nap in the afternoon to compensate for what I didn’t sleep at night.

People with an MHC are strong, they go through a lot. They have to overcome many obstacles, many things that people take for granted. Like being able to go outside anytime you want. Or going to a crowded place. People that hear voices have trouble falling asleep as the voices keep waking them up and scaring them. People with OCD have certain patterns and things they must do, in order to feel okay. And we still go out and do things. Against ourselves, struggling but we still make it. That should be respected and cherished. But it’s not. We are outcasts, invisible, forgotten, overlooked. Only truly amazing people see the good in us. See how we struggle and how we’re trying to do what we have to do.

I found these articles:

People Are Either Mentally Strong or Mentally Weak

There aren’t two categories of people – the mentally strong and the mentally weak. Instead, everyone possesses mental strength to some degree and we all have the ability to become stronger. Just like you have to keep working out to stay physically strong, mental strength requires ongoing exercise and practice.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201501/the-5-biggest-myths-about-mental-strength

Society often gives the message that displaying emotions or asking for help is weak. Well, society’s message is just plain wrong and ridiculous. Society needs some therapy. It is incredibly brave to get help. Some of the most courageous, inspiring, badass people I know have mental health conditions, got treatment and rock at their lives.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-griffin/6-reasons-why-people-with-mental-illnesses-are-strong-not-weak_b_9204122.html

I think most of the world’s problems is not respecting differences. Being afraid of people with an MHC is not helpful. I believe that the problem is society and our fears to be shamed or associated with people that are deemed weak or a misfit. Unless we find really compassionate and patient people that stick with us or we are left struggling alone or even being criticized by peers and family members. That is why online communities are important. We share what we are comfortable with, meet new people (in a less difficult way than it is in real life). We support each other. Some are struggling, some are feeling better and want to help others. There’s no need to feel alienated, there are people like you here and in other communities.

You are strong, you are beautiful.

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We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses and we are fighting for change. Focus on that and, slowly but surely, as more and more people are affected by it, mentalities will change. This is what I believe in.

Image by Tumisu, courtesy of Pixabay.