Why doesn’t she just leave him?

Really?  And women should just up and leave an abusive relationship; as if it were that easy.

‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ is a timeworn question about women trapped in relationships that are physically and/or emotionally abusive to them.  Economic dependence is clearly part of the story — many women lack the financial means to leave and find themselves trapped by both poverty and abuse.

Of the women who do attempt to escape the abuse, some opt to petition a judge for a civil restraining order, also called a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, for protection from abuse, harassment, threats, or intimidation. Research shows that PFAs can promote women’s safety and help women manage the threat of abuse.

Continue reading “Why doesn’t she just leave him?”

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.

Continue reading “Panic Moments: Avoiding people”

Bipolar Disorder – Just The Facts

In my opinion, for years now, whenever bipolar disorder is revealed on social media it relates to some heinous, horrid crime. Mass shootings or some horrific crime such as a vicious assault, or violent murders.  Less often is anything else said about bipolar, such as research or how the average person struggling with this disorder lives.

No surprise there is a stigma with mental illness, let alone bipolar disorder or depression.  I was diagnosed with BP in the late 1990’s due to a few hypomanic episodes, however, my history shows I’m usually in the “basement”, staggering through the muck, fighting depression.  I wonder how thorough that test was for the doctor to diagnose me as Bipolar?For me, it’s a label, but I hate to even divulge I have BP.  Shame really….imagine being ashamed of an illness?

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Judgment: And you’re so perfect?

Who am I to judge you? Who are you to judge me?

Dictionary: Judgement: the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, esp. in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.

Stigma: a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation; a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy.

__________________________________________________________

In my opinion, judgment intertwines with stigma. Why do we judge?

I have voiced previously about encounters with both judgment and stigma, however, this is an example of stigma from a family member. Not long after my hospitalizations years ago with major depression, my brother-in-law severed ties with my spouse and me fearing for his children (or so he claimed). I really questioned at times if he believed I was going to attack him with a knife!

Continue reading “Judgment: And you’re so perfect?”

Imagine asking: Are you even trying to get better?

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.

Continue reading “Imagine asking: Are you even trying to get better?”

STIGMA – IN THE WORKPLACE

STIGMA ~~

Considering so many people have such difficulty opening up to people close to them, it’s no wonder that there are real fears about being stigmatized in the workplace. The cost of mental illness in the workplace is enormous: 30 to 40 % of disability claims are for mental illness, and the losses amount to about $33 billion a year, not including treatment and health care—plus the unknowable costs in lost productivity by those people who suffer in silence.

Employees should think carefully about how much and to whom they are planning to disclose information. If an employee is performing a job well despite a mental illness, then there would be no obligation to disclose his/her condition. In fact, the benefits and risks of disclosing should be carefully weighed before any action is taken.

Sharing information with co-workers is a matter of personal choice. Trust is the issue, and although there is always talk among co-workers, be wise when or if you choose to disclose. This could be detrimental to your future with your company. Really ask yourself – am I going to be farther along by disclosing or just remain silent. Will it hurt or harm? And is it worth it?

*In my personal situation, I never uttered a word fearing possible job loss.  Trust was one reason but stigma was the main issue.

The Lady Found in the Snow

She was in her fifties and reported missing four or five days ago, a picture of a woman looking cheerful, with striking blue eyes, shoulder length light brown hair wearing a black and green mid-length parka. It was on the news and in the newspapers repeatedly, her picture of a woman with a warm smile.

To me it sounded peculiar, as if intentional or planned; waking in the morning, followed by calling in sick to work then vanishing. When reported missing, the police were summoned, then several friends and relatives began searching also. The investigation dragged on with no success, and it’s as if she went ‘poof’ into thin air, no trace, no use of credit cards.

Days passed, when someone identified her van at a cemetery, and not too distant from the van they discovered her body dead in the snow. The police didn’t reveal information as to the cause of death.

The newspapers stated that she was a registered nurse, worked for twenty-two years at the same hospital, extremely well liked and exceptional at her job. Her spouse was a clergy at the only church in the town where the family lived, and she leaves behind two children.

Continue reading “The Lady Found in the Snow”

STIGMA – And Mental Illness

What is stigma?

When someone appears to be different than us, we may view him or her in a negative stereotyped manner.  People who have identities that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized.

Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.  Society feels uncomfortable about mental illness. It is not seen like other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

Continue reading “STIGMA – And Mental Illness”

Guest Post: There’s Nothing Funny About Being Bipolar

This thought provoking article was written by Rebecca Lombardo author of “It’s Not Your Journey” describing both mental illness stigma and bipolar disorder.

When I have to look at a person and say, “I’m bipolar,” they get a bemused expression on their face as if they’re waiting for the punchline. That’s all there is to it, and believe me, this is not a joke my friend.

I can’t think of many more things as infuriating as someone using a mental illness as an insult. You’re going to hear, “Oh my God! Don’t be so bipolar!” much more than you’re going to get, “Wow, do you have to act so diabetic all the time?”

The truth is that there are many people that are bipolar and have done horrible things. Things like theft, murder, even rape. That does not mean that all of us are capable of such unspeakable acts. Hollywood doesn’t help matters at all. Have you ever been using one of the movie streaming services and caught a glimpse of a film that might be interesting? Sure, many people have. How many times have you clicked on the description of that film and discovered that the lead in the story is a horribly insane person, and you guessed it…bipolar.

Continue reading “Guest Post: There’s Nothing Funny About Being Bipolar”

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

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.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace 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.

Continue reading “Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?”

Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

stigma_2

When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

~~~~

Continue reading “Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma”

Are you faking PTSD for attention? Is this just a scam?

I have PTSD, and just hearing the word “fake & “scam” was an actual trigger to my past.

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 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.

Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? Is this just a scam?”

Don’t Give Up ~~ For all of us with Mental Illness, as we struggle each day

One of my Twitter followerers, @Edelheizer_48 sent this to me, an inspiring song that touched my heart and I thought of all people who struggle with mental illness (including stigma), here’s to you….

16 Ways Life Would Change in a World Without Mental Illness Stigma

This article was well written and appeared in The Mighty.  It contains quotes from people who have experienced stigma and how they feel their life would change if only they were free to be who they are.

I wrote a similar post that would set me free from the stigma of mental illness called “Stigma – What Would Your Life Be Like?” that I would like to share.  As some of you who have also experienced hell with this illness, I remain in the same boat.  It’s unfair, but we must remain strong while still getting the word out about STIGMA.

https://cherished79.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/no-stigma-what-would-your-life-be-like/

The Mighty Article

http://themighty.com/2015/10/16-ways-life-would-change-in-a-world-without-mental-illness-stigma/

How would a stigma-free world look like for you?

Having Bipolar, does this make me a Genius?

New study claims to find genetic link between creativity and mental illness

Results imply creative people are 25% more likely to carry genes that raise risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But others argue the evidence is flimsy

In a large study published, scientists in Iceland report that genetic factors that raise the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are found more often in people in creative professions. Painters, musicians, writers and dancers were, on average, 25% more likely to carry the gene variants than professions the scientists judged to be less creative, among which were farmers, manual labourers and salespeople.

Continue reading “Having Bipolar, does this make me a Genius?”

WHY…..and mental illness

 WHYAnd Mental Illness

        *       Why will we always have to accept that mental illness stigma will exist in our society, and we must continue to remain tight-lipped about this illness.  The outside world cannot fathom to the degree of the stamina, strength and what we have sacrificed in our lives.  Yet, we must live under a veil of secrecy for fear of reprisal in society and especially in the real working world.  Somewhat of a prejudice, for if another major illness was presented, there would be no problem.

 *       Why are we perceived as having a character flaw; what does that have to do with the illness?

 *       Why do people with mental illness, namely bipolar disorder, stop taking their medications when they begin to feel better?  It’s comparable to someone with heart disease, and whose blood pressure is finally under control.  Would he/she then stop taking the heart meds?  This doesn’t make sense.

 *       Why do some psychiatrists think they know everything, yet prove otherwise when we continue to remain unwell for years and years?

Continue reading “WHY…..and mental illness”

Bullying

The topic of a TV show I watched last night, centered on what kids would do when put into a situation where someone was being bullied.  It was interesting; some felt uncomfortable yet didn’t want to speak up, a few spoke, another went to the person’s defense, another comforted the person being bullied.  You know what’s right, but would you defend that person being bullied in a situation that would involve you?

Image source:  cheeta-fire (polyvore)

Who’s perfect?

I posted this fantastic video last year, and it’s one of my favorites.  Hope you will view it until the very end; it really sends a message. It brought tears to my eyes, yet huge smiles at the end when the models saw and were proud of their mannequin image.  We are all precious human beings despite our body image.   And who’s perfect?

Would you choose Beautiful?

This is another Dove PR experiment to observe how women see themselves.  What door would you choose – honestly?  Would you feel embarrassed choosing the door “beautiful” in front of other people, or do you honestly feel that door reflects you?  Why do you think most people have chosen ‘average’?

Panic Moments

I worked for my company for six years, then left unexpectedly due to “can’t take it this job any longer” depression, then resulting in long-term disability three years ago.  I never disclosed to anyone the struggle with my mental illness the entire time I was employed, largely due to trust issues and stigma.  The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips, so actually no one knew why I quickly departed.

Continue reading “Panic Moments”

Why doesn’t she just leave?

Really?  And women should just up and leave an abusive relationship; as if it were that easy.

‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ is a timeworn question about women trapped in relationships that are physically and/or emotionally abusive to them.  Economic dependence is clearly part of the story — many women lack the financial means to leave and find themselves trapped by both poverty and abuse.

Of the women who do attempt to escape the abuse, some opt to petition a judge for a civil restraining order, also called a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, for protection from abuse, harassment, threats, or intimidation. Research shows that PFAs can promote women’s safety and help women manage the threat of abuse.

Continue reading “Why doesn’t she just leave?”

The Whopping Financial Burden of Mental Illness

This article appeared on (PsychCentral.com) written by  , where she writes about the escalating financial costs of treatment for her mental illness.

——————

It has been just a year since I returned to see my psychiatrist for treatment. I was depressed and needed help. As an out-of-network provider, each month I submit her bill and complete the claim form for my insurance company and then I receive a percentage back. The reimbursement averages about 60 percent per month. The rest is my responsibility, or should I say, my family’s responsibility.

Continue reading “The Whopping Financial Burden of Mental Illness”

Just hearing those words “You’re Fired”

When you first hear those two words, you automatically think of losing your job.  I thought I would take it one step further and reflect on some of the times I’ve actually been ‘fired’ in other situations.

I will begin with my career position.  The ‘firing’ took place in 1994 during my first year in what would be a slippery slide into the world of deep major depression.  I was employed with this company for five years as an accounting supervisor, however, frequent hospitalizations, months off at home recuperating and the return to work following, just did not pan out.  In the end, I was essentially ‘fired’.

Continue reading “Just hearing those words “You’re Fired””

SUICIDE: THE TABOO WORD

Suicide: definition…is an act of willfully ending one’s life.

Males die much more often than females by suicide, while females attempt suicide more often. U.S. Caucasians commit suicide more often than African Americans do.
People commit suicide more often during spring and summer.

Suicidal ideation produces the perilous side of mental illness, acting as both a friend and seducer. Even though thoughts of dying encapsulate our mind on one hand, we yearn to remain living on the other. We desire just to feel better.

Continue reading “SUICIDE: THE TABOO WORD”

Fibromyalgia ~ This image just about says it all

There’s even a misunderstanding with the chronic pain people endure due to fibromyalgia, some people don’t see it as a disability.

Be kind, don’t judge.

Depression: Hopelessness, Helplessness

I wrote and produced this video in 2009 for part of my psychiatrist’s presentation to students and colleagues.  Today, I actually sat down and figured out how to upload (light bulb went on) this video onto YouTube!

The title “Depression:  Hopelessness and helplessness” describes depression.

Mentally ill more likely Victims than perpetrators of Violence

I found this interesting article on ScienceDaily.com that is interesting, yet not surprising.  The article goes on to say ~ New research shows that almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period, and that adults with mental illness who commit violence are most likely to do so in residential settings. The study also finds a strong correlation between being a victim of violence and committing a violent act.

The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University; RTI International; the University of California, Davis; Simon Fraser University; and Duke University.

Depression: my words

 

 

“Depression, best known of all the mental illnesses, is difficult to endure and treat.   It renders one feeling hopeless and helpless.  Experiencing a sort of wintry solitude, one is completely immobilized with any light of optimism dimming.   It creates emotional and financial fallout, coupled with a horrible emptiness and black death-like existence.  Life tastes sour”. –  Depression: The Lonely Dance ~ written by Deb