Tag Archive: mental disorders


Picture from Final Fantasy XIV

Like many who legitimately have PTSD (and unlike those who like to make light of how serious a mental health condition it really is, but that’s a rant for another day), there are things that’s people can talk about that will elicit a specific emotional reaction. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to control this reaction. I can try to control it, even attempting the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I’ve learned to try to control them. This doesn’t particularly work for me. I seem to function better on actually feeling whatever it is that I happen to be feeling at the time. It makes it easier to process feelings that I’m feeling than to try and subvert them.

I was recently triggered by an event at Burning Man. I didn’t go again this year for the same reasons I haven’t been capable to for years. It is costly to go. So, I didn’t see the event that made the news. And you know what, I didn’t have to. Instead a vast majority of my friends repeatedly talked about and posted the pictures of it. I didn’t need to be right there for it to be a triggering event because everyone else kept talking, regardless.

Suicide is a very delicate thing for me. It, in and of itself, can be incredibly triggering to me. And so, with seemingly everybody talking about it and not a lot of places for me to go for respite, I had to try to control how I was feeling. I managed to do it despite fighting off gluten sickness and exhaustion. I managed to do so for 6 days.

And on the seventh day I couldn’t fight anymore. I was tired. I felt emotionally worn out. And so, then I had to deal with emotions that I hadn’t for days.

And when I do that, it often becomes much worse because I haven’t processed and started letting myself heal. Instead, I kept hurting myself. When it gets like that, I get past anger and vere into hopelessness. That’s where I was. It’s harder to dig myself out of there.

One of the things that I have been incredibly proud of (and I think to a certain degree, rightfully so) is that as someone who’s been dealing with CPTSD as long as I have, I have nothing bad to show for it. I have almost all of the symptoms of it… and yet, I’m a largely functioning person. I work, I’m not an addict, I’ve never been arrested, I’m not a hooker, and more importantly, I’m still here.

As time goes on, that starts making it harder and harder. The desire to find ways to stop this pain becomes more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to step out of the trauma-filled haze in order to feel better? I find escapism increasingly desirable.

And yet I still have yet to give in. Thankfully I have a ray of light. The FDA has found Ecstasy to be a breakthrough treatment for people like me. This is great because that mans they can study it more. But that means that treatment is still out of reach for a while.

In the meantime, what can I do?

I have no clue. Try to avoid Facebook more? I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I shouldn’t have to. I also shouldn’t have to see people repeatedly posting articles with pictures of someone who decided to take their own life either. It would be great if everyone was sensitive to the emotional needs of each other. That’s also increasingly not the world we live in. So, I’ll feel and deal with my anger, my rage, my hopelessness, the hole in my heart that should have been filled by parents who loved me. I know that I’m broken. I feel lucky to have found people who want to help and by people who accept me as family. It’s that which gives me hope and keeps me going.

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Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

There are certain things that get under my skin. Things that I wish I could change, but I haven’t the power to change them. And while it might seem like a crusade, I’m genuinely concerned about the state of mental health care in this country (the United States).

It’s the unspoken thing that we all try to avoid. No one wants to talk about it. It’s embarrassing, like women’s health. No one wants to admit that they have psychological problems. They’re seen as a weakness, a flaw. Something to be hidden from the world. Except you can’t hide it. You can’t pretend it doesn’t exist because it starts to form the very base of our personality. It’s why we have the word “eccentric”.

We like to treat mental health by putting blinders on about the situation. When we have school shootings, everyone wants to know why such a thing could happen. What it doesn’t do is open up a much-needed conversation about psychology. Instead we talk about gun control. When really, both issues go hand in hand.

So, why don’t we talk about mental health? Why can’t we openly admit that the environment we live in has negatively affected us?

Perhaps it’s a stigma. After all, some of the old ways of treating mental were abhorrent. We’ve gone from trephining (drilling holes in the skull) to throwing drugs at it, but largely it’s always the same.

It is so frowned upon to admit to mental issues that we don’t want to hear the truth. Life is hard. Some people have it harder than others. It’s the severity of those hard times that cause a multitude of problems. Instead of treating people with respect and kindness (which is the cornerstone of pretty much every religious belief), we push away.

The only time we seem to be completely OK discussing someone else’s mental health is when it’s a celebrity. For some reason, the only time we feel at liberty to discuss mental health. Doing a quick Google search nets a ridiculous amount of hits from specific celebrities like Chris Brown, David Duchovny, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Douglas… The list goes on and on and on. This is the only time where we find it entirely acceptable to speak about mental illness. Unfortunately, it often falls in to the realm of celebrity gossip instead any real discussion of mental health… as witnessed by the Huffington Post Chris Brown article that I wrote about. An article that did absolutely nothing to forward the conversation and everything to just be gossip.

While I understand that this sort of thing makes celebrities seem more human, it also seeks to minimize what is a very real and painful issue. Something that we often brush under the carpet instead of talking about. Mental health is so frequently minimized and stigmatized that a large population of the homeless community is largely composed of people with mental health issues. It’s become so bad that some of them have been intentionally getting arrested so they can get the help they so desperately need.

When do we decide that mental health is something that we need to discuss and address?

As I was tramping around the internet last night, I saw an interesting article. Or rather, I would say it was interesting, but I found it to be entirely problematic. I found this article. It talks about the ramifications of Chris Brown being diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar. Except it doesn’t actually draw any conclusions.

Now, I’m going to be honest about this. The headline is intentionally inflammatory. I realize that it’s the Huffington Post and that’s what they want. But the article doesn’t even really touch on any implications this could have on the mental health community, or how society at large would view both of these disorders.

I’m pretty sure that I made it more than obvious that I’m passionate about mental health issues. I think that  a lot of people out there don’t understand what either of these illnesses do or how they work. To a certain degree, I hope that this will encourage people to have a better idea of  psychology and mental disease.

As someone who constantly struggles with PTSD and a child of a parent who has Bi-Polar II (severe manic depression), I also fear that this will most certainly put us all in a negative light. After all, Chris Brown is known for his violent behavior. Not everyone who has either of those disorders are violent. Like Chris Brown, I was a child of abuse. Unlike Chris Brown, I was also sexually assaulted.  I was beaten and verbally battered for 25 years of my life. I was raped and feared that I was going to die.  And neither of those have made me a violent person. If anything, most people would say that I tend towards the opposite of that. I also tend to be angry. That’s the unfortunate nature of the beast.

But anger itself isn’t enough to make someone violent. While PTSD does create a lot of angry people, it doesn’t necessarily trigger violence.

Neither does Bipolar.

I remember a lot of the things that happened when I was younger. I remember what it was like to have a mother who was up some days and down the next. She was never the one who was violent to me. She was more intent on harming herself. Bi-Polar is an interesting disorder… and a little more nuanced than is generally understood. There are actually three types of Bipolar. Only two actually qualify as Bipolar. Then there’s a much more moderate disorder that doesn’t need the heavy guns known as Cyclothymia. People who are Cyclothymic are often described as moody.

I could go on talking about the differences about Bipolar and Cyclothymia, but I know that gets boring and takes away from my opinion. So, I will stop digressing and continue on with my opinion.

The article’s title is “Chris Brown Has Been Diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar. What Does That Mean?”

It means absolutely nothing except now it can be used in a court of law that he has mental issues.

What does it mean to society’s opinion of these two disorders?

I can only hope that a lot of people would be curious about these disorders and do some research. Learn about what they do and how they effect the human brain. That’s my hope. The more understanding we have about mental health, the more we know about people.

My fear is that this will further stigmatize both of these disorders. People will take a broad brush and paint everyone with PTSD and Bipolar as violent. They will be more dismissive and it will only further stereotype those of us who struggle with these issues .

Do I know what the long-lasting implications of this will be? Of course I don’t. I can only come up with my own conclusions. These are my hopes and fears. Time will tell if this was harmful or helpful. My only wish is that mental health isn’t further stigmatized. There are so many out there that need help. I hope this might actually help them seek it.