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#34013 - 01/29/06 12:01 AM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
suzieQ and Vicki, hello! How did your day go?

Just wanted you both to know I'm thinking of you and sending lots of hugs, smiles and sunshine your way.

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#34014 - 01/29/06 04:48 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
This is a question I keep coming back to: Why do some people consider mental illness fair game for all the lame, insensitive jokes?

Why do people offer their comfort to their friends going through treatments for other diseases but shun their friends with mental illness? My own observation would even suggest to me that people with mental illness are avoided by others because they are almost afraid to be around someone with a mental illness. I don't really understand the feeling because I want to reach out to my friends who have mental illness, to comfort them and tell them that eventually everything will be okay. How can someone with a mental illness heal on drugs alone? They need the love and comfort of understanding people as well.
Just as we comfort a friend with cancer, or MS and any other disease, let's also recognize that we need to do that with people who have mental illness as well.

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#34015 - 01/29/06 06:16 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
Back many years ago when a good friend called me in tears saying she was going to end it all, I decided to learn a little bit about depression and mental illness. I went to the library and got several good books on the issue. I started looking at this illness in a new way. No, of course I didn't become an authority on it. (I'm also pleased to say that my friend still battles her demons but she won't let them kill her).

I did make many observations besides the ones I've already mentioned.

How many of us have seen and heard people scream, "you're sick, you need help!" Have you or did you notice that this standard put down is almost always meant in a negative way? After hearing people use this old, lame comment over and over to each other you have to wonder what the person who is saying it really means. It's certainly not helpful or supportive. Is it used to repel a person with mental illness?

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#34016 - 01/30/06 06:07 AM Re: 12 Step for anyone
kidogo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 30
Loc: New York
Hello, Ladybug. Glad you brought that up. I have been 'in the system' for 20 years. I usually ended up giving therapy to my therapists. I also ended up living with one of them for a couple of years. It was a habit of his to date his clients. He had more problems than Carter has liver pills; which is why he chose that field of study in the first place. He was almost as good as my mother at making me feel bad about myself. I know about the slurs ("your a sickie!"). I believed the lie for way too many years. Thank God, I no longer do. I have told that I no longer qualify for disability. It seems I was normal all along. It was the people that called me 'sick' that was the problem. I had to be taught that I did deserve the space I take up on this planet, etc. I deserved better. I take care of myself and others...always did. I just quit giving in to the real crazies in my life. When I did that, I no longer needed the medicine that never stopped the pain anyway. I had to understand that allowing myself to live in abusive type situations is akin to abusing my own self.
No, I'm not perfect. I don't know any perfect people. But the good news is that I am not ugly, I am not bad, I am not sick. I just made the mistake of believing the lies.

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#34017 - 01/30/06 12:43 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
Gosh, you are wonderful coming out and saying that! I've heard that term "sickie" too. You were being used and put down and when you finally realized it the abuse all around stopped.

I've come to my own conclusion that people who succumb to any mental illness are those who care deeply about others and give to others until their own needs are neglected. They allow others to sap their strength and spiritual energy. Then they get called names and are labeled as "crazy" and "sick." People who love themselves far too much never become depressed because they are selfish. I think everyone needs to love themselves don't get me wrong, but there are those who cut off a person in a minute if they just cross them the wrong way one time. These are the ones who will never succumb to depression or any other form of mental illness because they really don't care about the sufferings of others and willnot allow themselves to become involved with another person's problems. They take care of Numero Uno in other words.

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#34018 - 01/30/06 01:52 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
A person is "ripe" for mental illness when they do not get enough sleep, eat poorly (on the run at fast food places) and are dealing with the emotional or health issues of those they love. How can a person stay healthy mentally if you're not taking care of the whole person? When we throw in hormonal changes because of menopause it's a recipe for mental illness. Having an operation is considered trauma to the body and can also trigger depression. Sometimes while we're running and worrying about someone else depression just creeps up on us.

Have you noticed that when you stop the others from whatever form of abuse they are heaping on you this is when the ugly labels start?

In part, recognising what causes your mental illness can be a step in the right direction to help cure it or at least keep it at bay.

Society likes to deal in absolutes and what they can see in regards to a health issue. You can see the effects of heart disease, diabetes, a stroke, cancer, skin diseases. We give comfort to those people because we can see their trauma with our eyes. When a person has a mental illness we seem to be less understanding and the terms "it's all in their heads" becomes a convenient catch-all phrase. Society dismisses this pain.
Most intelligent people will research an issue they don't inderstand but how much effort does society put forth to understand mental illness?
Mental illness strikes far more people than many other diseases combined, yet where is the funding for it? Why does society turn a blind eye and a cold heart to this illness and make crude jokes about it?

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#34019 - 01/30/06 04:41 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
Vicki M. Taylor Offline
Member

Registered: 01/06/03
Posts: 2196
Loc: Tampa, FL
Mostly because they don't understand it. And when people don't understand something they make fun of it and attack it. There are those who do the research and try to learn more about it, but they're few and far between. We have to rely on ourselves to get the positive images out there among society that mental health isn't some crazy psych-ward boogeyman that's gonna get ya.

NIMH http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ needs support, because they are trying.

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#34020 - 01/30/06 07:03 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4875
Loc: Canada
quote:
Originally posted by ladybug:
A person is "ripe" for mental illness when they do not get enough sleep, eat poorly (on the run at fast food places) and are dealing with the emotional or health issues of those they love...depression just creeps up on us.

It took me a long time to recognize those as my three key triggers. While I've only had two major episodes of clinical depression, I've suffered all my life from dysthemia (low-level chronic depression) which went undiagnosed until my mid-thirties.

I've learned that I have to maintain these three main areas of my life: SLEEP - sleep deprivation is one of my worst triggers; DIET - I have to disregard all other fad-diets and essentially eat three healthy, well-balanced meals a day (good serving of protein, minimal carb, lots of fruit/veggie, and glass of water is my basic formula), plus a snack at mid-morning, mid-afternoon and a bowl of cereal before bed (if I don't eat something before bed, I wake up in the middle of the night starving and can't get back to sleep). (I also eat chocolate, not more than is healthy, but enough to bring comfort and joy!)

My third trigger is STRESS - I have to keep my mental/emotional life as toxin-free as possible. That has meant letting go of the negative people in my life, (which meant letting go of a few old "friends" recently when I was forced to make changes in my lifestyle). It's also meant learning Tai Chi, breathing/stretching exercises and learning how to STOP and just be...living life at my own pace instead of trying to run my life around everyone else's schedules and expectations. That was very hard to take control of, and lots of people didn't understand and left my life, but I'm much healthier, happier and more contented now than ever before, so what does that say!!

The thing I'm working on now is believing in myself, not letting anyone else define who I am, or define my worth by any other measuring stick than my own...which has become my core truth now...I am worthy simply because I exist. All else - what I do or choose not to do, what values I hold or choose to reject, what abilities I have or don't have - are my expressions of who I am, but they're not the totality of WHO I am. I'm much more than my depression, more than my words, more than my beliefs, more than any one facet anyone may think they see of me.

So these days, I'm working toward seeing my true beauty and an awesome phenomenal woman when I look in my mirror...and ignoring all the negative tapes in my head, ignoring all the quirks, failures and mangled thinking that have kept me from seeing who I really am all these years.

[ January 30, 2006, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: Eagle Heart ]

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#34021 - 01/30/06 08:07 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
ladybug Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 1402
Eagleheart, that's what I'm talking about and you've discovered it for yourself.

Those people who are no longer in your life weren't your friends to begin with. True friends stick with you and let you lean on them when times are tough. They don't turn away because you have a lapse in judgement and say something you shouldn't have. If they love you and care about you they try to understand what made you say or do what you did. You have rid yourself of excess baggage.

True friends try to learn about depression. Depression doesnot make a person a contagious leper. It only does if you believe them.

Take care of the whole body, learn to be a little selfish. Every woman has worth and importance. Just check it out when you're not doing your "job" at home for a few days. Does chaos not reign?? LOL!!!

When idiotic programs on tv demean people with mental illness get everyone involved and do some letter writing to the net works. We don't like smut on tv and as far as I'm concerned shows that perpetuate mental illness as something to be made fun of is in it's own way, smut. Intelligent people should be outraged that tv producers see this as funny.

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#34022 - 01/30/06 08:13 PM Re: 12 Step for anyone
smilinize Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
Mental illness is a frightening subject to us all. We fear the unpredictability of those with it and we fear losing our own mental abilities to it.

I think humor might be an excellent way to diffuse some of the tension around mental illness. Comedy has lessened tensions about race, age, wealth and many other sensitive social issues and it could easily increase public awareness of mental health issues while helping people see that the mentally ill are not as frightening as they may appear. It might also be good for those with mental illness to be able to laugh at themselves. I remember plenty of incidents of that when I worked in a psyche unit.

Ridicule can be hurtful, but there is nothing quite as healing as laughter, both at others and at oneself.

smile

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