Daily Archives: 2014/04/21

The Phlogisticated Mind

I haven’t called any of the specialists my doctor recommended yet. In fact, the exact location of the paperwork is somewhat of a mystery at this point. This complacency is exactly what I mean when I say that the Anchor can convince me that everything is fine and that seeing a professional would be a huge waste of time and money. Logically I know how wrong that is. Emotionally it’s a harder pull. On the bright side, I started taking the meds again today. Guess I’ll need a refill and to make a couple of appointments.

Do I have the worst case of clinical depression on Earth? Not by a long shot. I could go through the rest of my life without treatment if I had to. But I don’t have to. Nobody should have to. There are economic hurdles to treatment. There are also social hurdles: stigma, judgement, lack of understanding. I can’t do much about the first one, but maybe I can about the second.

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A Frequent Sadness

Little or large, old or young, male or female, depression and sadness hurts us all. Maybe you’re here because you are depressed and can’t tell anyone, or feel that nobody understands. Depression is a very personal, unique disease – we all have different experiences, and what bites some, may have mercifully avoided others. And yet we are united in our sadness. Some of us wonder whether it will ever end – each new science report gives us both hope and dismay. A new medicine with fewer side effects? Something to calm the urge to hide in bed? Something to help us sleep? If only there was something that would help us just be bothered with anything.

Some of us might be more vocal about our plight – in a bid to raise awareness that we are not lunatics, and that: no, we can’t just pull up our socks. Put it this way: Imagine if both of your hands got chopped off, and you couldn’t tie your laces, and someone said you weren’t trying hard enough. That’s a little bit like how it is when people who mean well/don’t understand tell us to pull ourselves together. Well sometimes we CAN’T. and the worst part is we feel useless for not being able to tell anyone that. So.

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I blog about mental health because of the impact it has had on my life. At the age of 20, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. A few months later, I was diagnosed with ADHD. For the past 6 years, I have seen several psychiatrists, therapists, and holistic doctors to try and find the right treatment for me. I have been on almost every medication on the market for mental health conditions. . .

Anyway, I blog for mental health to eradicate stigma. It’s difficult enough living with bipolar disorder, but the stigma behind it causes myself and others to feel shame. To be embarrassed, afraid, alone, quiet, judged, left out, and the list goes on. I am learning to love myself and accept myself, and take pride in who I am. But not all of us have the support to do that. I blog about mental health for those people.

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Poetry and Hums

We all get called names when we’re young, and we all get labelled. Some are more hurtful than others. Eventually, I realized that many of my past labels were symptoms. Hyper, attention-whore, moody, sensitive, weird. Some labels we embrace as part of our identity: creative, emotional, energetic, low-key. And then somebody comes along and tells you that these parts of you might not be quite right, and even the parts you like might need to be “treated.” Your entire experience as being a human is invalidated, laid out on an exam table and picked apart.

It’s difficult to separate the Me from the Mania. Whenever I came out of a great depression, I felt high as a kite, and I’d say, “Wow! So this is what it feels like to be normal! To not be crushed by a daily weight that won’t lift!”

Then they told me that I’d been lifted a little bit too much, that my happiness and productivity and creativity were simply symptoms that must be managed, that I needed to slow down and have fewer ideas, fewer projects, and less intense adventures.

I’m questioning my identity, and whether or not I want to sacrifice some of the greatest parts of Me in exchange for stability, normality.

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Justin B.

Possibly somewhat fitting that I start my pledge to blog for mental health 2014 with a thought process akin to skipping a rough, oddly shaped rock across mirrored water.  It’s path darting side to side almost as a rabbit would run through trees escaping a fox.  Unknowing of its own path.  Choosing direction based on adrenaline.  Flee as fast as you can and sort out the rest later.  Am I a rabbit?

This writing thing is becoming more important to me everyday.  I might even pick up a book again one day.  This needs to be important.  This huge goal.  My little goal.  Stigma. . .

So why do we do it?  Are we all sadists to some degree?  I can’t let myself believe that people truly enjoy watching other people suffer.  We must be better than that.  We have created some amazing things out of the molecules that exist here.  Furthering our need to consume and understand.  Much understanding comes from creation.  We can create a new place.  Start anew inside our minds and the minds of those around us.

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