Hello Kings and Queens of the blogging community, wow last week been one hell of a ride. Trying to play catch-up it’s very dawnty to say the lease. This past week I had a birthday to work through. I always get very emotional around my birthday. Just found out a friend passed away. He was truly a kind soul with a big heart. There’s not enough words on this planet that I can use to describe how brilliant this person was. Still dealing with the aftermath of work place bullying. All the while trying to keep my “Chum” and his band mates “Manic” “Doubt” and “Panic” at bay. Yes its an overwhelming week of highs and lows and despite it all surprisingly I survived.
Opening A Healthy Dialog: I had an interesting conversation with two best friends about depression. I’m conflicted to share because I don’t want to come off as narcissist pig. I can only give option about my experiences with manic-depressive disorder aka my “Chum”. This conversation was an eye-opener because I got a look-see on how my friends view me which isn’t a bad thing. This whole topic is positive in a way that I actually helped answer some misguided idea on how people who suffers from mental illness or disorder is supposed to be. In this group of friends because of my outrageous behavior I was sometime viewed as the villain. My outburst of anger would often times get me into trouble as well as possibly getting the group tossed out. I never knew they didn’t know what my diagnose is I just assumed they knew. No I didn’t openly speak about it either they just assumed I was speaking about other people not in reference to myself. I see now the conversations we had in the past was often misunderstood. To my friends I was another angry woman because I never displayed any symptoms of suicide or drug/alcohol abuse therefore I couldn’t possibly have any mental disorder. Mind blowing revelation. Check out Casey blog about living with mental disorder; ” 24 Hours Living With Anxiety and Depression” and follow her on social media (Twitter) * (Instagram) * (Pinterest) subscribe to her website (Casestreettx.com)
Faces Of A Depressed Mind: It never dawn on me that people have preconceived ideas about how people struggling with mental illness or disorder deal with the symptoms. I realized that my friends all look at me and they didn’t see a person struggling with a mental disorder “manic-depressive”. In fact one friend said how could I possibly be manic-depressive without any history or drug use, alcohol abuse and I haven’t made any attempts of suicide. As I explained although the symptoms of mental illness or disorder is the same people reaction is quite different. I do have an addictive personality. I use to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day, that’s not good for a person who is a chronic asthma. I use to drink insane amount of whiskey mixed with soda but the worst thing I have every done to my body is overeating. I use food to cope with my disorder. Just like with drugs and alcohol, food for me is a drug that gives me that euphoric sense of high which I don’t want to come back down from. Eating that mac n’ cheese or that entire cheese cake makes me happy, calm and for the moment my troubles are gone. If I could live in that space or find a place with that kind of happiness I wouldn’t be as depressed. It’s understanding and acceptance of mental illness or disorder that will help not just cope but deal with the ongoing symptoms. As I explained this to them the look on their faces priceless of course but they have a new-found understanding of what the face of depression looks like.
Just Stop Eating: As I explained what other vices are not just the stereotypical alcohol and drug abuse overeating is right up there. My friend said “Well why don’t you just stop eating”. My thought to that was my gosh how insensitive. I responded with “Would you tell a drug user just stop using?” “Would you tell an alcoholic just stop drinking?” No you wouldn’t. If you cared, you would do everything possible to help them get help. It the same with someone who overeat. There’s many different levels on how people struggling with mental illness or disorder handles the symptoms. It’s not as easy as just getting up and turning off the light switch. In the end you have to do what’s best for you to help get through the tough times. Then my friend asked “Why do I call my mental disorder my “Chum”? A burning question right? My response: I call my manic depression my “Chum” and his band mates “Manic”, “Doubt” and “Panic” because for me these are the stages I go through when I experience an episode. I also use this term when speaking to people about my disorder as a way to sound less offensive, scary or alarming. It also brings guards down on both side and shows I am openly willing to speak about my disorder. Hint why I use metaphors when speaking and writing/blogging. The last thing I want is to have people give upset which can cause triggers to an episode. I want to be as transparent and open as possible without having to explain myself on the defensive side.
Staying Two Steps Ahead: Coping with mental illness or disorder is something overwhelming. I’m in constant fear of people making fun of me because the lack of understanding. Sometimes taking your experience and turning it into something that’s mean and hateful. I often tell those who are beyond struggling not to go on social media. There in that world you have to wear a thick skin, bullet proof vest and a knight’s armor even then somethings manage to get through. Taking time to take care of you mental health is just as important as anything else. Truly there’s no specific face to mental illness or disorder. Anyone can be diagnosed a neighbor, friend, teacher the policeman anyone person can have symptoms and each deals with the disease in their own way. As for me I tell my friends and family when I feel an episode coming and to be patience and give me space.