Yes, what about the funeral, what about when your abuser dies? Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and make excuses for not attending? It’s a crappy time for everyone. Do I pretend or fake I’m sad? Why should I pay for years of misery and abuse?
My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled? (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).
Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:
One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial? Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?
To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family? What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US? How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?
See the remainder of this article at:
(reposted with editing)
For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability. Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.
In the workplace, I was battling depression every so often, yet managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness. There still remains a major stigma in the working world and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.
It’s a personal decision, one that you may feel secure revealing, but what about the other person? Can they be trusted, will they empathize, or will it bite you in the butt for yearly reviews/raise/no raise?
This article in CBC News (health) is interesting pertaining to this topic.
Mental Illness In The Workplace
Other related articles:
Stigma and Mental Illness
Depression: Have You Ever Felt Handcuffed To Your House?
(edited and reposted)
Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.
Sounds dramatic, but I was at the time.
For countless years, and at times even today, depression with its dark, unforgiving black clouds still hover over me. Eventually, I recovered from those darkest days.
Recalling the arduous years of major depression, I was housebound and felt isolated from the world. Blackness overpowered my life; dark and muddy, depression was unrelenting, and the massive hands took hold of me demanding each full minute of my day.
Days upon days were devoted to gazing out my living room window and enduring life in the house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway.
Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist developed into an enormous production; quizzing what to wear, panicky about riding the bus or mixing up route times, and what to review with my doctors.
Unfortunately, I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and the words above describe my mother to a tee. Going “No Contact” with her in 2013 was difficult at first but the wisest decision I have ever made.
(I will be writing future articles on PTSD and emotional abuse relating to parental narcissism, as it crushed my soul and ruined my life for countless years.)
(I originally wrote this poem years ago, but it took a lengthy healing journey in therapy to finally reach the point where I felt strong and believed in myself).
YOU know you are strong inside despite what mental or chronic illness has dealt you.
YOU know you are doing the best that you can, with what life has handed you.
YOU can pat yourself on the back right now, for a job well done. Mastering and surviving each day with an illness, in my eyes, is a full-time job.
Only YOU will know when it’s time to return to the working world; if that’s your goal. It’s alright to be coached and nudged, but you are really the best judge.
Only YOU know the blackness felt during depression – how the thick black mud swallows you up and is unforgiving.
Maybe YOU don’t know how very precious you are, and that you didn’t ask for this illness, and didn’t choose to be ill, and that mental illness is not a character flaw.
YOU will find society’s thinking and attitudes on invisible illness stigma still remain, but with education, perhaps people will alter their opinions and/or judgment.
But YOU know YOU, and that is all that is important.
(Edited and reposted)
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019
Where would you be if it weren’t for mental illness or depression?
In the mid-1990s, mental illness first tossed me into a life of bleak, depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs.
I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?
I felt guilty for my deteriorating attitude, the considerable burden I placed on my husband, absence and imperfection at work and primarily failing myself. The slightest bit of self-confidence achieved throughout the years coupled with the status at my current job dwindled now appearing threadbare. I was losing myself.
Depression focusses on the negatives.
For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As a well-paid accounting supervisor, enjoying my job and colleagues, I imagined a lengthy career with this company, but, unfortunately, due to the constant absences caused by the illness and hospitalizations, I had no alternative but to leave my position.
Government disability followed after a lengthy two-year wait. You discover swiftly how to become thrifty.
Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. I was able to afford fashionable apparel, household furniture or other articles on a whim without fussing over budgeting our money. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on an actual vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).
Luckily, I worked through some issues in therapy, medication was stabilizing my depressive moods, and I was capable of returning to the working world after nine years absent.
The job I accepted was a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working for nine years, it was a daunting, rocky road in the beginning. I was appreciative that this company gave me a chance at employment even with a spotty resume.
I survived six years with this company, only to find myself ill with depression and severe migraines, leaving me with no choice but to accept long-term disability. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.
I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.
I envisioned participation in the writing field in some capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.
It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, ghostwritten articles for other bloggers, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar, etc.
I also wouldn’t have this fantastic blog (since 2007) that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.
If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other invisible illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have researched.
I continue to struggle with depression on an odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s not unexpected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.
We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.
(edited and reposted)
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019
Ladies, go with your guts. The chest pain you may experience could be a heart attack and not indigestion, a panic attack or just in “your head”. Don’t be afraid to show your face in the emergency room just because you are a woman and the facts have shown that men usually suffer from heart attacks.
My chronic migraines strike daily, and I suffered a horrendous two weeks of these excruciating headaches, and measuring on the unintelligible doctor’s pain scale of 1-10 the pain was nothing short of 10+ each day.
However, migraines had nothing to do with what was to follow.
Seated on my recliner chair attempting to ease the throbbing migraine pain, I suddenly felt an unusual kind of aching; surrounding my chest area above my left boob. It wasn’t an intense or stabbing pain, but similar to somebody wrapping and pulling a massive bandage across my chest becoming more and more agonizing.
As my upper left arm and shoulder gradually began to feel terrible pain, it was now radiating down my left arm and behind my shoulder blades. Also, breathing was becoming difficult.
What the hell was this? I was puzzled.
I’m aware from health research that pain felt on the left side of the body can signal a heart attack, but as a healthy female, with no prior heart problems or family history of heart attacks, I was questioning the ‘heart attack’ theory. Besides, the pain wasn’t overly “painful” compared to my migraines. Continue reading “Women Have Heart Attacks Too!”
I think about this statement often, and when someone utters these words, it pisses me to no end.
What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it? Are they so narrow-minded, wrapped up in religion, or in another world?
Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a plane crash due to a mechanical issue, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, people diagnosed with an illness, cancer, kidnapping, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason? Please explain.
For me, it goes way back to my very ill years struggling with major depression and my mother once commenting the ever so “everything happens for a reason” words. Really, mom? You mean the sexual abuse, which led to therapy, which led to depression, which led to hospitals, a myriad of meds, which led to suicide attempts, countless ECTs, which led to losing my career, almost foreclosure on my house, hubby losing his job, losing friends and let’s include the horrible migraine headaches etc. What exactly do you mean?
I don’t believe people recognize how much these words can sting, it’s almost a “whatever”, said in a flippant moment. IMO, just support that person, show comfort and most of all keep your trap shut.
Edited and reposted
Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2019
I suppose this is accurate, but you see, I’ve been on a bit of an adventure, and spreading my wings too thin.
I’m delighted I kept this blog open and sincerely thank everyone who continues to read all of my earlier postings while leaving comments that I’ve neglected. I genuinely apologize for that.
In early fall 2017, I began writing articles for a site called Virily.com (they pay writers for their work) and thoroughly relished writing quizzes of all things. My writing has steered me to various spheres, but I’m new to inventing a quiz!
What was most exhilarating was realizing an old passion; art design!
When I was on Virily, a blogging friend revealed that she designs for a site called “Redbubble.” This miffed me, but as soon as I heard the word ‘design,’ I needed to investigate.
Redbubble.com is a ‘print-on-demand’ (POD) marketplace whereby a designer or artist uploads an image of their design to appear on a multitude of Redbubble products. They sell merchandise such as framed prints, apparel, mugs, pillows, duvets, cellphone cases and laptop sleeves, clocks, tote bags, etc. via online shopping.
All production, shipping and customer service is their responsibility, therefore, you don’t have to carry your own inventory and uploading is free. They pay you a percentage of each sale.
I wrote this quote referring to my narcissistic mother. She fails to recall the days of ignoring me, criticizing or showing no empathy, nor caring about me the way a mother should. Her emotional abuse has had an enormous impact on my life, and I remain in psychotherapy to this day.
Now she is elderly, feels isolated and displays signs of illness questioning “Why don’t you ever visit or come over for lunch because it’s lonely every day in this apartment?”. Hmmm, I wonder why? Typical narcissist, not recognizing their own personality.
I finally went NO CONTACT three years ago as I was tired of her never-ending abuse. Best decision I ever made.
If my parents had of believed me when I was eight years old, I wouldn’t have been in therapy for 20 years healing from the impact of their ignorance.
Thank you, Mom and Dad
I doubt it. Success in seeing your doctor at the scheduled appointment time is like a crap shoot, and typically not my luck. I’m forever on time, I don’t know why she never is and I keep forgetting to bring my camping gear to set up for the day.
You recognize a dilemma when the receptionist slides the plexiglass window and smiles, “Hi Deb, she’s a little backed up this morning, we’ll call you soon”. ‘Backed up a bit, call you soon?’ “Backed up” in my experience translates to at least a minimum of 1 hour or more.
I detest these ‘backed up’ doctors, people are trapped in the waiting room fearful to leave for even a snack or pee break in the event your name is called. I think to myself, “Why did I take all morning off work, run like an idiot for the bus, not grab a coffee or something to read on the way, all so I wouldn’t be late for this appointment. Why do they book every 15 minutes, when they’re never on time?
After you have called everyone you can think of (most are at work or waiting at their doctor’s office), play scrabble or crossword on your phone or delete old contacts and your cell is frantic for a charge…your name is called. Yippeee! Now you are escorted into a smaller waiting room to wait and wait and wait some more!
~~~ Article written & copyrighted © by Deb McCarthy
No light at the top
No one saving me
Just black dreams
Feels like a prison cell
Feeling the fog between my fingertips
No treatments working?
No doctors helping?
What kind of life is this
Black death sentence
Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy
A women-only spa in Toronto, Ontario, Canada took some massive criticism and triggered a social-media outcry last week, that prohibits some transgender women from using their facilities.
On Facebook, a woman stated that she refused to revisit the spa on account that they canceled her friend’s (who is transgender) appointment due to their spa’s policy which states “no male genitals” rule.
The spa explained, “because we are a bathing-suit-optional environment, our current policy is to ensure all clients are comfortable in an environment with nudity, including minors.”
The backlash was extreme from the public, transgender and LGBTQ communities. However, the spa further clarified that it’s a ‘single-sex facility with full nudity, and unlike other facilities.’ They stated they supported these communities, but the spa has policies to adhere to.
I had to write this quote as it reminded me of a relative who visited me in the hospital. Perhaps she assumed I lost my marbles along with the depression? Perfect example of stigma.
“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 Depression, Bipolar 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 “Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With All Invisible Illnesses”
Hey, little girl, I saw you with that man
what were you doing, letting him have his way
didn’t you know it was wrong, why didn’t you stop it?
you could have said no, but you still let it happen
what’s wrong with you? how could you not know?
I tried to say no, he was bigger than me
yet he made me feel wanted and special for once
I was his “princess” and he said I “danced like an angel”
and I was invisible to everyone else
even though it hurt, it was worth the warm feelings
that I craved so much, and he granted me so lovingly
but then came anguish and pain
Finally, I did try to tell, but no one would listen
the words came out, yet no words were heard
no one will really know
that my mind and my heart
died back then
I was little and
I didn’t know how to say no
Written & copyright Deb McCarthy/2017
*I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it feels so much better to be able to say ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ now.
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!
These chronic migraines are not “pop 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” headaches……
That’s me, that’s what I suffer with. Winter has been unkind to me, especially January through March, where very few days did I escape not having a migraine headache. The pulsating, throbbing head and face agony had me bedridden most days, and other times unable to wear my glasses due to tenderness over the bridge of my nose.
Since thoughts of jumping over the balcony crossed my mind to end this crap and a trip to the emergency isn’t an option anymore (wait times approx. 10-14 hrs. and their refusal to use narcotics), I had to ‘suck it up’.
My neurologist suggested Botox treatments, but I’m unsure of this method for chronic migraines, and the research I’ve done has shown some people were worse off with the treatment due to constant stiff necks and even more pain + medications. I am considering chiropractic or acupuncture methods, but for this past week, I’m experimenting with a natural herbal medication which has shown good progress so far. Fingers crossed!
This wonderful link provides a more in-depth look at migraines @ HealthCentral.com http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/cf/slideshows/migraines-visible#slide=1
(updated and reposted)
Trust was broken
you knew it was
But that didn’t stop your
desire and craving
My hands were tied
above my head
to the bed
Who cares, you thought
I’m getting what I want
This secret between us
no one will know
I’d never tell
because you persuaded me
told me I was lucky and special
to have someone like you
a special person
for protection and care
Trust wasn’t broken
You were was entitled to this
Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy/2017
Presently, I still require individual therapy from my therapist, for she has been the most successful in tackling the secrets and hurts that I’ve been holding onto for so many years. I remain needy to be heard and reassurance from her, so I will continue on for now, and for me at this moment, it’s distressing to consider parting ways, but I recognize that day will come and I will have to prepare myself for it.
How gruelling therapy is in the first place, and yet to be so secure with a stranger, to trust and disclose your most private inner thoughts, secrets, feelings and emotions; a person who listened to you when no one else does or ever did, never criticized, nor judged and was actually absorbed in what you had to say. It’s a reassuring relationship.
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.
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
Worthless, pointless, hopeless
Tears flow from my eyes
Depression has taken over
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017
Originally posted on Niume.com
I have CPTSD (sexual and emotional abuse), and just hearing the word “fake” & “scam” was an enough to cause an actual trigger to my past, coupled with huge anxiety and intense anger.
Yesterday, while sitting in a coffee shop sipping tea and reading a book, two women around 30 – 40 years of age sitting behind me, actually had this conversation. True story. I’ll call them A & B.
A –Do you believe in all of this PTSD shit?
B –I don’t know what to think sometimes. I do know a co-worker who’s sister is going to therapy for it, I don’t know what exactly for, but she just said something that happened to her when she was young and has PTSD now.
A –Do you think it’s for real, or is she looking for attention? How old is her sister?
B –I think she’s in her 30’s, not sure. It’s something about molestation or something, I didn’t want to ask and be nosey.
A –Yeah right, like she can remember things that happened when she was a kid!
B –Well it’s her business
A –I’m just asking because I saw a show last night showing how some men in the military and some police are actually faking having this PTSD, just to collect disability. Some of them have collected $100,000.00, what a shame when people that have an actual disability need it.
And, their discussion continued……..
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. PTSD is a real illness that causes real suffering. (source: psychiatry.org/ptsd) Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?”
Most of my therapy has been individual, and I shied away from group therapy due to the fact that I was uncomfortable sharing my problems relating to depression and sexual abuse with a bunch of strangers. To be honest, my biggest fear was losing it and looking like an idiot if I started bawling my eyes out! However, I had no choice at the eating disorder program, it was 90% group and about 10% individual therapy.
I loathed it initially, others speaking out about themselves, revealing deep dark secrets that they had been holding onto, and slowly I became to trust them and I opened up. In short, it was very helpful in my recovery, yet I have to say honestly, I still prefer one-on-one. Give it a try though, it may suit you.
This article appeared in PsychCentral.com
Individual psychotherapy will always be the staple. It establishes the bond. It explores the ups and downs of that bond and probes the depths of the psychodynamic patterns of that bond and other bonds. It is the primary mode of understanding. It exists of and for itself and is not dependent on anything else. Group therapy is an adjunct to individual therapy.
There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.
Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.
It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.
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?
Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.
#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis. He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.
#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s. Continue reading “Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?”
I’ll admit I’ve been cranky with an awfully short fuse lately, however, I’ve also been bedridden with ice-packs stuck to my head, isolated, and living in dark spaces for months. Winters in Canada aren’t kind to me, the barometer changing from day to day and week to week promotes wicked chronic migraines. Weather changes are my triggers.
I’ve posted previously about my 40+ year struggle with these crappy recurring headaches doing anything to prevent a trip to the hospital emergency for an IV drip to end the agony. The waits are lengthy (8-12 hours), torturous and almost always have some nitwit beside me who wants to chit chat. Leave me be, please!
Currently, in my city, though, migraine sufferers cannot be treated with narcotics relief at any hospitals only providing Toradol which is comparable to placing a band-aid on my forehead. Best to remain at home and suffer in peace.
Have you ever had someone enter your life that really made a difference when you were a child, validated your feelings or listened with concern when you spoke?
Perhaps it was a mentor, coach, Girl Guide leader; you get the idea. Reflect for a minute who that person was. For me, it was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Fox.
Each day I was greeted with a brilliant smile from her, and the only teacher throughout my entire schooling that I connected with.
I was emotionally abused by my narcissistic mother, forever feeling depressed, apathetic, sullen, despondent and isolated. Her home economics course, for grades eleven and twelve, included both cooking and sewing/crafts (this was back in the early 70’s when it was assumed girls who graduated would ultimately become secretaries or housewives!).
What kind of question is that? Who would ask someone that? Mental illness stigma at it’s best.
There are still so many comments made by society concerning mental illness, striking close to home with me and my struggles with depression.
Dusting off some old journals, back from my days in the hospital, I came across one stay where I “interviewed” informally some fellow patients enduring their experiences. While there were many more stories; I only selected these three:
These are samples of mental illness stigma and what society perceives.
*Denise in her early ‘20’s gave a rather heartrending account of an outing just that evening with her mother.
Denise’s mother picked her up from the hospital for dinner at a mid-priced restaurant. It was trivial talk mostly, due to the fact that she had just undergone an ECT the day prior and depression was relentless. After dinner, they both drove to the mall where they shopped for a new outfit, but it was on the drive home that anger and that feeling of failure set in.
Nuime.com is a blogging platform which contains postings I selected from this blog, as well as, personal articles that I have written over the years with a mixture of other topics.
I was delighted when chosen “Niumer of the Week” and the opportunity to be interviewed. Here’s how it went:
Depression and mental illness affect many people all over the world, but despite its prevalence, it is still met with stigma, silence and even scepticism. There is still a notion many hold, that people who claim to be depressed are ‘making it up’, ‘seeking attention’ or just ‘feel sad’ and will get over it in time.
But the question still remains, why do we shy away from this topic and what do people who suffer from mental illness go through on a day to day basis?
Niumer Of The Week, Deb from Living in Stigma, bravely gives us her thoughts and explains what we can do to understand this issue better.
1) How did you discover Niume and why did you decide to use it over other blogging platforms?
Niume approached me via Twitter, so I checked your site out and was impressed by the layout and features offered. I have ‘signed up’ with other blogging platforms but my posts were not acquiring much exposure and others didn’t have well-defined spheres to post in. It became frustrating and I soon left.
2) Which of the others spheres do you enjoy browsing through?
I browse through most of the spheres, however, my favourites are Literature, Interesting, Humour, Lifestyle, Photography, Music and Art.
3) What are some of the biggest misconceptions about depression and mental health?
One word – Stigma. Mental illness is not a choice; it’s an illness. Who would choose to have an illness, and be so embarrassed and ashamed of it? This leads to isolation, fear, fake smiles, feeling hopeless, and worthless.
WHY WAS I A DISAPPOINTMENT?
why was I such a big disappointment
and what age did you start loathing me
your son wasn’t treated like that
and I tried everything in me to please
the sexual abuse wasn’t my fault
yet you made it and believed it to be
to save face in the neighborhood was so important
keeping the secret didn’t destroy you as it did me
I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it? Does it get ever any better? Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?
Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture. At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications. Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors. Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.
With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”
It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence. After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day. Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.