The Pain of Fibromyalgia and Depression in Women

The WashingtonTimes.com reported that research from Sweden has shed some light as to why women are more likely to suffer from depression, chronic pain (CPS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) than men.  Also, the same study discovered why women are prone to depression and mood swings from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and post-partum depression.

Serotonin production, re-absorption and normal levels in many women are not sufficient and wreak havoc on the mind and bodies of those affected. The effect on female hormones is broadly significant. Serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone,’ plays a significant role in pain management.

Chronic or clinical depression can be the causation of chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to chronic or clinical depression, so healthy levels of serotonin play a significant role in managing depression and chronic pain.

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10 Different Types of Personality Disorders

You will find 10 distinct types of personality disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, (DSM-V). The different personality disorders are put into one of three clusters based on similar characteristics assigned to each cluster:

Cluster A personality disorders – odd, eccentric

Cluster B personality disorders – dramatic, emotional, and erratic

Cluster C personality disorders – anxious, fearful

It’s common for people to receive a diagnosis of more than one of the personality disorder types, most commonly within the same cluster. As we explore further, you’ll begin to see how the four common features come together to manifest in the different personality disorders.

Personality Disorder Types

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Paranoid Personality Disorder Explained

People with paranoid personality disorder are generally characterized by having a long-standing pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others. A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent.

Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive them, even if no evidence exists to support this expectation. While it is fairly normal for everyone to have some degree of paranoia about certain situations in their lives (such as worry about an impending set of layoffs at work), people with paranoid personality disorder take this to an extreme — it pervades virtually every professional and personal relationship they have.

Individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder are generally difficult to get along with and often have problems with close relationships. Their excessive suspiciousness and hostility may be expressed in overt argumentativeness, in recurrent complaining, or by quiet, apparently hostile aloofness. Because they are hyper vigilant for potential threats, they may act in a guarded, secretive, or devious manner and appear to be “cold” and lack in tender feelings.

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The Fog Between My Fingertips

BLACK DEPRESSION

Hollowness, loneliness

Black hole

No light at the top

Drowning

No one saving me

Why?

No future

Just black dreams

Despair

Feels like a prison cell

Handcuffed

Black fog

Feeling the fog between my fingertips

Nothingness

Empty

No treatments working?

No doctors helping?

Why?

What kind of life is this

Black death sentence

Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy

Guest Post ~ A Little Piece of Me

 

My guest poster today is J.E. from her blog “This is My Silence”. (Trigger Warning)

 Hello, I am J.E., 23 years old, and a PTSD survivor.

 I’m married to a wonderful man who has been my rock and encouragement throughout those days when I didn’t believe in myself, nevertheless, he believed in me.  I’m also delighted that I’m a working mother of two children (‘superheroes’), as the joy I see in their faces every day provides me with every reason, now realizing how past abusive years has an enormous impact on your life.

Writing is cathartic for me, and I’m using my healing journey to perhaps healing others.  “This is My Silence” is my first blog, and here is my story. 

https://thisismysilenceblog.wordpress.com/


A Little Piece of Me

Typing and deleting, typing and deleting.   As I am sitting on my couch, I’ve come to a realization that this is now my second draft and remain struggling with a conundrum.  It’s challenging to write about your journey, even though you may have memories floating around inside your head, writing them down on paper (computer) is difficult.

So, Where is my beginning?

I lay my jars of memories around me and search, and peering into each jar I take a moment to remind myself to breathe for a moment after each one.  As I continue my search, slowly opening and closing each jar, I come to a standstill, noticing that every single one of these memories speaks my story, but only one conveys the beginning of my life. So I will begin like this:

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Study says: CBT Showing Significant Reduction in Chronic Pain

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a helpful CBT intervention that improves outcomes in patients attending a rheumatology pain rehabilitation program

Summary:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on psychological flexibility and behavior change, provided a significant reduction in self-reported depression and anxiety among patients participating in a pain rehabilitation program, new research has demonstrated.

This treatment also resulted in significant increases in self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain acceptance.

To assess the potential benefits of an 8-week programme of group Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in people with persistent pain, measures of pain acceptance and activity engagement were taken using the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire. Measures of psychological distress using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and self-efficacy were also taken at assessment, on the final day of the programme, and at the follow-up six-month review.

For those chronic pain patients with scores at all three-time points, there were statistically significant improvements in all parameters between baseline and at six months follow-up, including the change in mean score of depression, anxiety, self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain willingness (p<0.001).

“To further validate the role of ACT in the treatment of chronic pain, specifically in a rheumatology context, a randomized controlled clinical trial that includes measures of physical and social functioning within a Rheumatology service would be desirable,” said lead author Dr. Noirin Nealon Lennox from Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

ACT is a form of CBT that includes a specific therapeutic process referred to as “psychological flexibility.” ACT focuses on behaviour change consistent with patients’ core values rather than targeting symptom reduction alone. Evidence for this approach to the treatment of chronic pain has been mounting since the mid-2000’s. A previous systematic review had concluded that ACT is efficacious for enhancing physical function and decreasing distress among adults with chronic pain attending a pain rehabilitation programme.

In this study, patients were referred into the ACT programme by three consultant rheumatologists over a five-year period. Over one hundred patients’ outcome measures were available for a retrospective analysis.

Source: European League Against Rheumatism

Article source: ScienceDaily.com

 

What is a Narcopath?

I was curious about this definition and found an article on Flying Monkeys Denied.com.

What is a Narcopath? 

Above and beyond traditional definitions for what the Baby Boomers and WWII Generation grew up calling a “Megalomaniac” is a new definition of a public figure as well. A new classification of “Narcopath” has also emerged to define a “Narcissistic Sociopath” separately identifiable from the terms “Dark Triad” or “Malignant Narcissist”.

Understanding Narcopathy is an emergent academic research discipline evolving in part due to the widespread epidemic of NPD and ASPD sweeping not only across the United States but also globally. Considered emotional terrorists, Narcopaths typically take great pleasure in being in positions of power — places they should never be due to their inability to reign in capricious greed.

Because they are oftentimes temperamental, reckless, and red-faced, when they attain positions of power, they cannot seem to resist the urge to behave selfishly. Frighteningly predictable, they are unable to control their own impulses to behave in ways that do nothing but promote fear or discord in their own lives.

As a result, the people who know them best tend to dread having to spend time around them. Why? Because no one who is not masochistic seldom enjoys being lied to, brutalized, dressed down with zero input of constructive criticism, manipulated, taunted, ridiculed, laughed at, or antagonized.

Like small children or petulant teenagers behaving with an unjustified and/or illegal sense of entitlement, the Narcopath cannot resist the urge to make malevolent mischief no matter what the day or situation.

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PTSD ~ Marriage is Supposed to be for Love

My guest post today is from Mariah’s blog “Recluse“.

I remember the day I realized that I was in an abusive marriage. I called my mom, who lived 800 miles away blurting out my abuse and fear. I will also never forget how she responded. Mom expressed her opinions and words, and it was if blinders were removed from my eyes.

That was the day I recognized that my husband was violent and things weren’t about to change.

The Beginning

When I was in my first marriage, I was very young.  I was 20 when we were married, and I had been with him since I was 17.  Needless to say, I was hell-bent on making it work, because I was “an adult now” and that’s what “adults” did.  They kept their promises, paid their bills and took care of their responsibilities.  Except when they don’t things begin to change.

Soon after getting married, my ex-husband slowly started to show his true colors.  Long story short, he was emotionally and verbally abusive, manipulated our finances, was addicted to pornography and video games, had drinking problems, and he had an affair outside of our marriage.

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PTSD ~ Those ‘Dirty Little Secrets’

I’ve written many posts about my PTSD (childhood sexual abuse); which was a ‘dirty little secret.’  Have you held on to secrets for years and years?

Recollecting my past, at around eight years old, while my friends and I played in our yard, the predator next door sat on his veranda puffing on a cigarette or repairing whatever under the hood of his car.

I was panicked for them and me, wanting so much to convey to them of the sexual abuse at the hands of this man, yet at the same time felt bewildered.

I had a secret; an ugly little secret, to something that I didn’t cause – or did I?

There was the distressing apology, forced by my parents to blurt out and recite with sincerity to this predator for abusing me.  That sincerity was met with confusion wondering how I wronged in the first place.  All kinds of feelings swished around: guilt, helplessness, and I was embarrassed.

A 30-year-old man is forcing sex on a child.  Would that warrant an apology?

Perplexing also was permitting this predator into our home for Sunday dinners.  Were my parents attempting to soothe the predator’s feelings for being wrongly accused?

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Do you know what Tardive Dyskinesia is?

FDA Approves Treatment for Tardive Dyskinesia

A new drug valbenazine (trade name Ingrezza) has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of tardive dyskinesia.

Tardive dyskinesia, a side effect of long-term use of antipsychotic medication, consists of involuntary movements of the tongue, face, torso, arms, and legs. It can interfere with walking, talking, and breathing.

The approval followed 20 clinical trials of valbenazine that included a total of more than 1000 participants who had symptoms of tardive dyskinesia in addition to schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder.

In a 2017 article in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researcher Robert A. Hauser and colleagues reported that patients who received 80 mg/day of valbenazine had a significant reduction in tardive dyskinesia symptoms after six weeks compared to those who received placebo. Participants who received 40 mg/day of valbenazine also had reductions in symptoms, although not as dramatic as with the higher dose.

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MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR MENTAL ILLNESS?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR DEPRESSION?

This thought has crossed my mind many times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, this illness first tossed me into a life of bleak depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs. With it came a loss of so many things, as well as myself. I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As an accounting supervisor, I had a well-paying position, enjoyed my job and colleagues, and imagined I would have continued with my career with that company.

A misfortune, becoming so ill with depression and hospitalizations, I ultimately lost my job, then hanging on for over two years frantically waiting for government disability to kick in. You discover swiftly to become thrifty.

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Have you experienced a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously. Dual diagnosis is a very broad category. It can range from someone developing mild depression because of binge drinking, to someone’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when that person abuses heroin during periods of mania.

Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first. A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience.

Research shows though that drugs and alcohol only make the symptoms of mental health conditions worse. Abusing substances can also lead to mental health problems because of the effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.

See more at:  NAMI.org

Study shows: Chronic Pain showing in adults with Anxiety or Depression

In a survey of adults with anxiety or a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder, about half reported experiencing chronic pain, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“The dual burden of chronic physical conditions and mood and anxiety disorders is a significant and growing problem,” said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author.

The research examined survey data to analyze associations between DSM-IV-diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders and self-reported chronic physical conditions among 5,037 adults in São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were also interviewed in person.

Among individuals with a mood disorder, chronic pain was the most common, reported by 50 percent, followed by respiratory diseases at 33 percent, cardiovascular disease at 10 percent, arthritis reported by 9 percent, and diabetes by 7 percent.

Anxiety disorders were also common for those with chronic pain disorder at 45 percent, and respiratory at 30 percent, as well as arthritis and cardiovascular disease, each 11 percent.

Individuals with two or more chronic diseases had increased odds of a mood or anxiety disorder. Hypertension was associated with both disorders at 23 percent.

“These results shed new light on the public health impact of the dual burden of physical and mental illness,” said Dr. Martins. “Chronic disease coupled with a psychiatric disorder is a pressing issue that health providers should consider when designing preventive interventions and treatment services — especially the heavy mental health burden experienced by those with two or more chronic diseases.”

Article source: ScienceDaily.com

Image: cherished79.com

 

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Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With All Invisible Illnesses

“Living in Stigma” connects with everyone coping with chronic pain, mental illness, and all invisible illnesses.

My blog Living in Stigma was launched in 2007 and originally dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness.  I felt as if I was living in stigma with my own major depression.

Many forms of mental illness comprise of DepressionBipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and much more.

I struggle with both mental illness and chronic migraines, and with news articles, social media, research and valued readers sharing comments and opinions on my blog, it’s a reality that invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, headaches, recurring back and leg pain, and so many more are also a vast portion of invisible illness stigma.  Continue reading

Mother, Do you deserve a Card? PTSD – Survivors of Abuse

As an unloved daughter of a narcissistic mother, the cards or flowers I handed to her with ‘love’ throughout the years were given with the expectations and desires that one day she would hug me with love.  Giving her a card each year was presented or mailed with a fake smile or strained “Love you always mom.”

She by no means ever deserved a card, lunch or dinner out, and especially a visit when I was an adult.  When I moved across the country, there was one year I ‘neglected’ to send a card or call.  This resulted in a ‘hissyfit,’ possibly threw one of her notorious tantrums including tears, resulting with my father phoning me, blasting “how could you treat your mother like this?”  I can’t recall my reply, but more than likely, I said I was sorry.

A few days passed, and what do I receive in the mail, a multi-page letter from my mother ranting how self-centred I am, this is the way I treat her after everything she’s done for me throughout my life, took care of me, and will sever our relationship now.  This was due to not sending a card?

To be honest, I feel jealous of others who have/had a wonderful mother.

So to all of those who are survivors of narcissistic emotional abuse, or never received the kind of motherly care, empathy, encouragement, and love; this post is dedicated to you. You are all Warriors!

Hugs,
Deb

It Takes Just One Question to Identify Narcissism

narcissist

Ohio State researchers believe they have developed and validated a new method to identify which people are narcissistic.

And, the beauty is that the tool is only a single question.

In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question (including the note):

To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.” (Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)

Participants rated themselves on a scale of one (not very true of me) to seven (very true of me).

Results showed that people’s answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).

The difference is that this new survey — which the researchers call the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS) — has one question while the NPI has 40 questions to answer.

“People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don’t see narcissism as a negative quality — they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly.”

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5 Things Sociopaths and Narcissists Say to Make You Feel Crazy

When you hear the word “psychopath”, you might think of Hannibal Lecter or Ted Bundy, but most psychopaths are actually non-violent and non-incarcerated members of society. In fact, there’s a good chance they’ll seem exceptionally altruistic and innocent to the average onlooker.

As described in the Psychopath Free book (author Jackson MacKenzie), psychopaths are first and foremost social predators. With no conscience, they’re able to use charm and manipulation to get what they want from others—whether it be families, friendships, relationships, cults, the workplace, or even politics. The bottom line is, they modify their personalities to become exactly the person they think you want them to be. And they’re good at it.

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Am I being punished for having Depression?

Rummaging through my unorganized closet, I came across an article I wrote during my years in the hospital fighting depression. A roommate during my stay, whom I became close friends with, recalled her descent into hellish depression, as well as her suicide attempt. She gave me permission to write this article (excluding her name).

Dreaming. In tranquil waters. I’m sitting in my dinghy cross-legged, floating. The sea and sky are black.

I awaken. Black. Black is black. The room is black, but it must be morning. I’m all mixed up. I thought I heard the food trays arrive. I sneak a quick look out my room, and yes it is morning, but the halls also look black. All I sense is dread. Am I in a dream world? I shuffle back to bed.

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Can you tell if I have Bipolar Disorder?

Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder, they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?” What does mental illness look like then?

Which brings me to my question: Do I perchance look like I have Bipolar Disorder? I don’t think I do. Am I perhaps making something out of nothing?

Self-confidence and self-esteem slid into the basement and remained there for too many years. Trudging through the mud, and finally locating a ladder to climb up, rung by rung, I achieved the surface. An awfully scary surface.

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A ‘NERVOUS BREAKDOWN’? what exactly is that?

WHAT IS A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN? WHAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO HAVE THEM?

When I was first diagnosed with depression my mother-in-law termed my illness as a “bad case of the nerves”.  I always shook my head at that one, and questioned, what does depression have to do with bad nerves; an incredibly old belief or judgment perhaps?

The term “nervous breakdown” is used by the public to characterize a wide range of mental illnesses. Nervous breakdown is not a medical term and doesn’t indicate a specific mental illness. Generally, the term describes a person who is severely and persistently emotionally distraught and unable to function at his or her normal level.

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PTSD and Narcissism ~ and that feeling of Emptiness

This article is wonderful explaining the huge impact emotional abuse and narcissism has on a child growing into adulthood.  It’s a bit longer than most of my postings yet well worth the read.

I experienced emptiness during my childhood as a daughter of a narcissistic mother who either ignored me most days or spewed vicious words of criticism and anger. I spent many hours in my bedroom reading, a huge relief from my mother outside my door.  Which was worse, being ignored or the vicious words?  Either way, I felt empty. 

Emptiness:   It’s not a disorder in and of itself, like anxiety or depression. Nor is it experienced by most people as a symptom that interferes with their lives. It’s more a generic feeling of discomfort, a lack of being filled up that may come and go. Some people feel it physically, as an ache or an empty space in their belly or chest. Others experience it more as an emotional numbness.

You may have a general sense that you’re missing something that everybody else has, or that you’re on the outside looking in. Something just isn’t right, but it’s hard to name. It makes you feel somehow set apart, disconnected as if you’re not enjoying life as you should.

People who don’t have it don’t understand. But people who feel it know:

In many ways, emptiness or numbness is worse than pain. Many people have told me that they would far prefer to feel anything to nothing. It’s very hard to acknowledge, make sense of, or put words to something that is absent. Emptiness seems like nothing to most people. And nothing is nothing, neither bad nor good, right?

But in the case of a human being’s internal experience, nothing is definitely something. “Empty” is actually a feeling in and of itself. And I have discovered that it is a feeling that can be very intense and powerful. In fact, it has the power to drive people to do extreme things to escape it.

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What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

People with paranoid personality disorder are generally characterized by having a long-standing pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others. A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent.

Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive them, even if no evidence exists to support this expectation. While it is fairly normal for everyone to have some degree of paranoia about certain situations in their lives (such as worry about an impending set of layoffs at work), people with paranoid personality disorder take this to an extreme — it pervades virtually every professional and personal relationship they have.

Individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder are generally difficult to get along with and often have problems with close relationships. Their excessive suspiciousness and hostility may be expressed in overt argumentativeness, in recurrent complaining, or by quiet, apparently hostile aloofness. Because they are hyper vigilant for potential threats, they may act in a guarded, secretive, or devious manner and appear to be “cold” and lack in tender feelings.

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Dark Clouds and Shattered Sanity

Dark clouds, isolated

Lack of faith

Laughter faded, only tears

~~~

I hate my mind, I hate my brain

I hate my heart for it breaks every day

~~~

I will perish this way I know

I’ve run away from life

I don’t fit outside

I don’t fit inside

I drown in my disgrace

~~~

Black circles beneath my eyes

Hands grip my head

I’m all alone

My life isn’t cherished

Why should I pretend it to be?

I’m not living for me

I’m living for you

~~~

Shattered sanity

Worthless, pointless, hopeless

Tears flow from my eyes

Depression has taken over

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Originally posted on Niume.com

“High Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

45 Truths People With Bipolar Disorder Wish Others Understood:

This article was written by:  from HealthyPlace.com (Breaking Bipolar Blog)

Sometimes people don’t believe I’m particularly sick. They meet me, I look fine, I interact, I charm, I wit and all seems, if not normal, at least something reasonably normal adjacent.

And that’s fine. It’s by design. Being a high-functioning mentally ill person, I can’t really afford to run around with my hair on fire. But faking normalcy, happiness and pleasure is a tricky and very expensive bit of business.

High-Functioning Bipolar

Being a “high-functioning” bipolar doesn’t really have a definition, per se. The term indicates that I’m not in a mental hospital, and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work, and whatnot. I would suggest that being “high-functioning” seems to indicate that I can fake not being a crazy person.

High-Functioning Weekdays

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What’s the difference between Sadness and Depression?

 

The difference between sadness and depression?  and why so many people get it wrong….. This article below appeared in www.psychologytoday.com written by Guy Winch Ph. D

Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes when our emotional hurt fades when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits.

Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible.

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My Mother is a Sociopath

 

How does a parent with mental illness impact their children?

Psychopaths

Also known as Sociopaths, have personality disorders, characterized by their use of charm, manipulation, deception, and lack of remorse for their continual vomiting of cruelty towards others. They tend to ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving their playing field littered with massive chaos and destruction and they maintain a grandiose sense of entitlement. “They selfishly take what they want, and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret (Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.).”

Because Psychopaths are master manipulators and typically wear cloaks of deceit to mask their true identity, it is often difficult to recognize them, unless you have the great misfortune of living in their household. It is their immediate family members that are able to see the inside of their real world, however, it is the immediate family members who are manipulated the most; and their world of chaos soon becomes their norm.

THE TYPES OF PEOPLE THEY CHOOSE AS MATES OR POTENTIAL VICTIMS

They include: lonely (often rebounding from a hurtful relationship or not currently involved in a satisfying relationship), financially stable, have good credit, believe in the basic goodness of others, do not consider themselves very attractive or have a lower self-esteem, enjoy helping others, are not street-wise, are typically very nice people, and believe in honoring their commitments.

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Panic Moments: Avoiding people

After years of depression and hospitalizations, I finally returned to the working world.

I worked for my company for six years, left unexpectedly due to “can’t function at this job any longer” depression, resulting in long-term disability over four years ago.

During those years of employment, it was never disclosed to anyone (including supervisors or managers) that I was struggling with a mental illness, namely depression. My reasons were largely due to trust issues and stigma. The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips who thrived on spreading news, so I imagined my secret escaping could impact a job loss in the future. Therefore, on my final working day, people questioned why.

Away from this company for those years, I’ve only run into about five colleagues, but then I’m somewhat of a recluse and luckily a quick ‘hello’, or ‘good-bye’ ensued. However, yesterday I was shopping for groceries, passed by my former manager in one of the aisles, but was uncertain if she spotted me or merely strolled by.

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I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

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