The societal bin labeled Mental Illness is where we toss the inexplicable marginalized of society.
Think about the mass shootings that seem to be more frequent. The first comments that are made is the individual is mentally ill. That is after making sure the shooter is not a Middle Eastern Muslim. In this case it is a terrorist attack and the machine will bring in so called security experts.
So when the media is satisfied with the mental illness designation, the media will bring in so called “mental health experts”. This circus will paint people as the wear wolf’s howling at the moon or something worse. None of the talking head pseudo shrinks have worked with people who commit mass murder. Do you ever wonder why people with mental illness want to hide the diagnosis?
What comes next is oxymoron statement, “The guns were legally purchased ” followed by the NRA minions screaming that we can’t use this shooting as the reason to start discussing reasonable gun regulations. One has to step back and ponder do these people make sense?
Into the Bin labeled Mental Illness we toss veterans who are homeless and suffering from war related mental illness. We throw in street people that seem not normal. We sometimes say, “That person is off their meds”.
We preach Christianity yet take the marginalized and shove the to the fringes.
What is missing is a serious discussion about effective mental health programs that are part of health care programs. It can’t be an after thought or programs that are contracted off to questionable groups. What we need is qualified professionals that can work with primary care doctors.
I am lucky to have very good medical and a very good psychiatrist. I am afraid this is not always the case.
We also need safety net psychological care programs. Not the 72 hour psychological evaluation or jails but care facilities that over holistic programs of medical and psychological care.
I know this is unrealistic when politicians are tripping over themselves to be radically conservative. That is tax cuts to the rich and elimination of social programs.
Depression is like that elusive “Thief in the Night”
Before the violent home invasions and the stock piling of weapons, there was that world where a thief would slip in to steal valuables like money, jewels and now electronic equipment. In the case of this thief you may wake up and find so many things gone or you may come home to find you home violated and your spirit damagef because you don’t feel safe.
Depression is not like the outside intruder that slips in and out with the valuables, rather in is an inside job like thieves at work. These are people who take a little here and a little there. The managers and owners of the business see the assets bleeding out the door but cannot put their finger on the culprit.
For me depression is definitely the inside job. As a woman with Dysphoric Mania Bipolar Disorder I bounce between depression and Hypomania more frequently than people with Bipolar disorder. These people will have long periods of Euphoria and the periods of depression. For me I can cycle in a day.
When depression slides in I feel like the thief is not after money or jewels. Rather this thief is after something much more beloved. Depression wants to steal slivers of happiness and at times parts of my soul. Over time I get a little bit more used to depression and at times I think depression is what I call normal. Dysphoric Mania can be chaotic and the hypomania will turn into a painful state. Depression can be a form of relief. In some cases Hypomania and Depression mix and I don’t know the difference. When the two poles mix, there is a sad chaos that becomes focused. Sound and light are painful. So if it is just depression then I can at least feel one state of mood. So at times I think minor depression is more normal. Over time a little bit more depression doesn’t feel like the insider thief is taking anything. In reality a new normal is being established.
What I have to do is resist thinking it is better than Hypomania. Neither state is acceptable, however I am dealing with brain chemistry and just wishing it away is not enough. I have to work with my psychiatrist to get to a normal, something that is neither depression nor hypomania. This means being vigilant with my meds. If I notice either pole is stronger, I have to tell my psychiatrist. Thinking Dysphoric Mania will heal itself is lunacy. It is also a guarantee that I will get worse. One of the tragedies of Bipolar Disorder is Suicide. In the past suicide was something I entertained and attempted. My treatment of my Bipolar Disorder was Alcohol. To go back to the days of self-medication with alcohol would mean I give up and accept death.
I refuse to let Depression become that thief that robs me of my happiness and soul.
There are days I just want scream at this entity called God. I want to look at Her and say stop fing with me! I am losing my sense of humor with the crap you have heaped on me.
I didn’t ask to have Multiple Sclerosis
I didn’t ask to have an abusive childhood.
I didn’t ask to be transgender.
I didn’t ask to be Bipolar.
No I shouldn’t have started drinking, however I had this noise from Gender Dysphoria and anger from the abuse. I wonder how many people would have dealt with these issues without alcohol. I look back and can see the beginnings of my Bipolar issues early in my adult life.
I know I can come up with altruistic ideas as to how to gracefully deal with all of these issues. I can say “maybe I can help others deal with their issues.” I hope that is true.
Maybe my Bipolar condition is making me pissed off, but I just want to scream. I don’t want to be graceful and strong today. I want to be angry and say f..off to people that give me disapproving looks. I also want to crawl in bed and cry.
Yes I am a confident tough chick that tries to gracefully deal with my issues. I give an impression that I can handle this by myself and most days I can. There are times I just want to be held by that special person who will tell me “It will be ok”. But I realize I am a transgender woman who has MS, is a recovering alcoholic and is Bipolar. I think I have a better chance of winning a huge lottery than having that special person.
Yes this is a rant and I will go out and people will see the graceful tough chick and never see the vulnerability lurking under the surface.
Mental illness has been stigmatized for a long time. How many movies or TV show have shown people with mental health issues as positive.
In the 1980’s we saw the dismantling of the mental health services and people were mainstreamed into a health care system not ready for the influx of people.
How many of us have seen a street person who has real mental illnesses and said they need to be on their meds? How many men on the streets acting out we make a not so positive comment? In reality many of the men on the streets are veterans. Maybe we should at least help the veterans.
When 9/11 occurred the criminals we called terrorists. When a kid shoots up a school or church the murders are said to be suffering from mental illness. We don’t call them terrorists.
So here I come onto the stage diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I am also transgender, I have Multiple Sclerosis and a recovering alcoholic. Bipolar disorder is linked to all of the the three conditions. So maybe I should ask people to see me as a woman working hard to live a balanced life. If I fixate on one of those issues solely will the other issues get worse?
If you look at me as an insane person, then you are blind to the real person I am
It is easy to get on a emotional rant and include mental illness with other violent activities. Doing this is taking a wide paint brush and lumping people like me with murders. Well the Pope has said transgender people are basically nuclear weapons.
26 million people in the United States have some level of mental illness and telling people we linked to murder, war and other violence is not reality.
Why not work to have comprehensive mental health programs and help people in need . Yes it will cost money, but we need to recognize the humanity of people with mental health issues.
Roller Coaster part 3
I am going to start the discussion of what it feels like to live in the high energy Polar region.
People seem to be operating in slow motion, which means my mind is moving at high speed. It is darting from one topic to the next. If I am doing an activity I will do part of it and the fixate on a different task.
For those of you who remember Super Balls think of it being perpetually in motion moving in random directions. This is how my mind feels
I will get frantic and the notion something has to change become a mantra in my head.
In this mode I can be very impulsive. I will go shopping and buy things that I might take out of the boxes. I will buy clothes and have to cram the new item in an already over crowded closet.
I will think having random sex with a guy is fine. Yes I have browsed the Craigslist adds.
In my cognitive mind all of this seems so absurd and I will see the boxes and wonder why I purchased stuff.
When I am entrenched in there manic high energy mode the thoughts of suicide creep in and I have to push back the thoughts. In the past I would start drinking to shut out the mental noise.
I will be talking about the subject of mental noise in the next entry and start putting a story behind how I feel.
Right now I am in dancing around the high energy region. Yes this sucks.
Roller Coaster part 2. The Diagnosis
In my previous entry I talked about feeling like I have been on a roller coaster emotionally.
I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and was brutally honest with myself and her about my past depression and what was going on now. I have been noticing that I am returning to chaotic thoughts and thoughts of suicide. Then the dropping into depression. The time where I feel normal was becoming shorter.
Yes I became worried because even my best efforts to fight the moods were starting to fail. I would end up exhausted and not caring if things got done in my apartment.
So after lots of questions and digging deep for answers, my Psychiatrist diagnosed me with mild to moderate Bipolar condition.
Is this the end of the world for me? No, it is a beginning of dealing with my mental illness.
Please don’t pity me or paint me with this condition. Rather listen and realize this just part of me and I am going to be healthy and continue to be honest.
As I emotionally process this diagnosis I will write more about what it is like to be Bipolar.
I hope to be a voice that can show mental illness is like any illness or disease. If I adhere to what my doctors want me to do, I have a chance to live a wonderful life as a woman.