My first year of college I was taking a math class. I noticed a boy who sat in my front of me had friends he would laugh and talk with. And one day I got a glance, it just caught my eye, of some cuts on his wrist. He found ways to hide them, but every now and again I’d see a glimmer of them.
And I wondered for weeks if I should say something.
I considered going up to him, pulling my sleeve up and say, “I do it too.”
I thought about how I wouldn’t want anyone to call me out on it if they saw my own.
I thought about how hard he tried to hide it and so I should respect that.
I thought about whether intervening was something I should do for his safety.
But I was in the middle of my own battle with self injury.
And I never did anything.
And I can never get it out of mind…
I never did or say anything to him.
Should I have?
******TRIGGER WARNING: Anorexia somewhat and EXTREMELY GRAPHIC SELF HARM******
DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE EASILY TRIGGERED BY SELF HARM ESPECIALLY IN GRAPHIC DETAIL.
You have been warned.
This is probably the single most important story in my life. It led to a cascade of events: hospitalization, my correct diagnosis of bipolar, getting kicked out of school, and finally getting the real help I needed.
It was 6am when I finally asked my ex-boyfriend for my knife back. We aren’t on speaking terms and we are clear that we can never be. We’re either together or not. And together is awful, dangerous, addicting, full of love, full of hate.
Today I see him to get it back, so I stress out about it of course. I overthink what I will wear. I felt the need to show him how much my appearance has changed, how much I have changed. Both of which are major improvements.
Should I go laid back in my cute dorm-room college girl get up all from Victoria’s Secret? Or should I go with my traditional assemble which people describe as “edgy” because its boots and leather jackets and what not?
Not long ago I was listening to the Heidi and Frank show on the radio. They were doing a show on OCD. I don’t listen often and hoped maybe it would be okay. After all, it was mental health awareness month, at the time.
No. It was a comedy bit. I realize that is their job. but they were making fun of callers and people they know. Calling them “Freaks and “Weird”.
I rarely respond to those types of things but I contacted the radio station and NAMI. I didn’t expect to hear back from the station. NAMI told me they don’t deal much with that diagnosis and to contact an OCD foundation. I passed on the info and let it go.
Now I see this article:
Mike Huckabee and Schizophrenia; NAMI Calls for Apology Over Supreme Court Remarks on Iowa Radio Talk Show
I understand Mike Huckabee is a Presidential candidate. Is that what makes him a good example of stigma? He called a man with no mental illness (Supreme Court Justice Roberts) “schizophrenic”. I don’t think that compares with calling someone with a disorder “Freak”.
I do think he should be called on it, like others in the media. The choice just seems arbitrary.
It has been bothering me for a few years now. The surge in young teens who seem absorbed in mental illness.
I first noticed it after I’d had my iphone for a while. Probably over a year after (I was 18 when I got it). I’d been diagnosed when i was 17, and was probably 19 when I noticed. I was on instagram when I got the random desire to see if there were posts about mental illness on there.
And what I saw horrified me.
Kids as young as 12 were posting horrible photos. Typically it was just the cliche depressed quotes over and over again. But there were also photos of other things… there was “thinspiration” where people would post skinny girls who were their “goal” look in terms of thinness. And then there was the pencil test to determine if you really are thin or not, so people posted pictures of those. And pictures of thigh gaps. But I can’t relate to eating disorders, never had one and don’t think I ever will. Then there were ones that flooded my search and were even triggering to me- self harm photos. They were everywhere. I was horrified.
I haven’t been able to work for over 10 years. Mostly because stress makes my symptoms worse. I have been thinking of attempting to work. I have sent out some resume’s and gone on interviews.
Those didn’t go so well, but I am still looking. I found an agency that places people with disabilities in jobs. The employer gets a tax break. I haven’t been very impressed with the company so far, but I haven’t seen any of the job leads.
But, I have been rolling the idea around in my head. Who will pick up the kids and do the things I do when I am around? Am I making a mistake? What if I can’t handle it? What can/can’t I do?
Here I find myself, papers scattered around- my assignments and my notes. My thoughts feel like they are shuttering, I can’t understand this chapter, I am lost. And I feel scared.
It makes me stop. And I have to ask myself, what’s happened? It has been weeks… endless weeks of nonstop studying. I grew tired of doing research for my essay but the only other thing I could think of doing was another homework assignment (due in over a week).
And now I’m stuck. My brain doesn’t know what to do. I am too burnt out to write the essay but I am stuck on this physics chapter. The Ritalin I’ve been abusing is nagging at me to keep going. But I realize that some part of me is very weary.
The therapist applauds me for my determination, motivation, and hard work. Even when I suggested I might be hypomanic.
The mentally ill person is not a child. I have had the experience of would-be helpers who treated me so. When I attempted to describe what I needed, they argued and belittled me for needing help. I felt very alone and one result was that I stayed away from the church where this person was not only a member, but an officer of sorts. It was hard for me to treat him with charity. I turned my back when he greeted me afterwards because I could not stand his hypocrisy.
We are sensitive about being patronized because of our condition for the same reasons that African Americans are sensitive about race. No one wants to be excluded on the basis of a condition that he cannot help. No one wants his condition denied. No one wants to feel cut away from the body politic. What we want is for people to take us seriously whether or not we are in episode.
Many of the problems that people have with the mentally ill have to do with communication. Those who wish to help (and those who do not want to help) believe that the objective of interaction is to get the mentally ill person to follow a treatment plan or pull herself up by her bootstraps or realize that it is “all in your mind”. (“Have you tried not being depressed?”).
I found this on Queer Secrets, an LGBT Tumblr blog devoted to posting the “secrets” that people send in. I know what it is like to feel this way about someone, at least to a degree. My person, however, was a boy. I will give him the pseudonym Angeline here, because like with Genevieve, I want him to have a pretty name. Angeline also means “angel”, and he was that to me also.
He was my angel because he was my friend. I often teased him, and he’d retaliate by chasing me around the yard we all called a playground. When he was given detention, I skipped my recess to be with him. When I found out he self-injured, I told Davina (another pseudonym) what was going on. Davina was the head teacher there, and she told Angeline’s mother, Kaleela (pseudonym), what was happening. I was known as so close to Angeline that one day, I asked Davina what was wrong with him. She looked a little hesitant, but led me outside.
“You know that Angeline had a brain tumor when he was very young, right? Well, that tumor affected his brain in certain ways. Much like your mother’s stroke affected her. As a result, Angeline cannot always tell appropriate behavior from inappropriate behavior. He needs special help for that. He also has a hard time with reading and writing, just like your mother.”
Hello all, this is drunk Quinn. But don’t discount me now- I have some things to say and being drunk shouldn’t turn you away. I want to explain myself, my drug use and bipolarity. Specifically I want to discuss self control.
There are two opposing parts of me. It is slightly difficult to explain. I am both very in control of myself and very out of control. I am incredibly impulsive, I can’t stop myself in many situations, but if there is one thing I cannot stress enough is that I know exactly what is happening and the consequences of it.
Tonight I went out drinking with my friends. I was essentially a “third wheel” but this is my little group of friends- just the three of us. I don’t have any friends I hang out regularly with until I met them. I talk to a few people but we never hang out. These friends I actually hang out with. And tonight, we went drinking at this pub.
I had been there before. I had to drive and I had class early the next morning. I figured just one drink would be fine. I was wrong. After they closed I had to sit in my car for quite a while until I was “safe” to drive. I had one drink, a Mai Tai, and I was gone. It is rare that I get that drunk. I learned though. That drink at that pub will do a number on me.
Diagnoses come to me long after the illnesses have wrecked my life. I received the label of “Attention Deficit Disorder” a few months back when I asked to be evaluated for it. My psychologist passed the information on to my psychiatrist who put me on Vyvanse.
I like to say that my mood-stabilizers put down a floor that allowed me to put up a house based on healthy changes in my life. Vyvanse created doors and windows that let air and light into the rooms.
The effect of the medication was apparent on the first day. I accomplished many tasks that I had been putting off and kept the motivation going for the rest of the week. When I started running out of things, I looked around the condo and found others to do. I compiled a list of future projects.
One by one, I checked them off and added more.