Thursday, 30 March 2017

World Bipolar Day 2017

CONTENT WARNING 

Before writing this blog, I wrote a post for Facebook, you can view it here.

Since starting this blog, it has been important to me to write honest accounts of my own lived experiences with mental health issues. You can find a whole slew of articles from the psychiatric world about what bipolar disorder is and how it is said to affect the brain.  Of course, medical journals should not be discounted. They are important and serve a function in the larger picture of psychological wellness. However, they are not entirely accurate should not be taken as the final word on any mental health issue.

If I were to ask you to describe the taste of a pear to me, would you be able to do so? You could probably make a good go of it but imagine describing the taste of a pear to an extra terrestrial being. One who has never seen or even hear of a pear. One who has different sensory processes than ours. One with tastebuds in their fingertips and eyes on their tongue.

Sounds pretty complex no? It is much the same when one is asked to talk about mental health issues.

I have read an inordinate amount of information about mental health issues, psychological development, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, medication, therapy etc etc. I figure that knowledge is power. Forewarned is forearmed right? I read a memoir penned by Andy Behrman that was an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish. Does it help? Maybe a little. However, we are all different. We come from different parts of the world. Have different coloured skin, hair, eyes. Tend towards different sexual predilections. Enjoy different recreational activities. Have different family units. Process things in completely unique ways. This applies to everyone, no matter what.


What is it like for me, The Bipolar Kid, to live with bipolar disorder?


Truthfully, I don't actually know. You see, I have Bipolar Disorder. I also have Borderline Personality Disorder, Insomnia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder... those are just the (diagnosed) psychological issues! There are unresolved psychological issues, addiction issues, physiological issues, moral issues, ethical issues...  and so on! 

So, what is living with all of that like? Well... It's absolutely fucking soul destroying. It's heartbreaking. It's debilitating. It's glorious. It's magnificent. It's hilarious. It's dangerous. It's thrilling.
It is all of the above and more besides.

Is there a "typical day" that I could describe for you? Actually, no. I don't know what a typical day feels like because I don't know what is "normal". I have never known normal. I couldn't even really describe to you a "good day". Not in a way that you would comprehend.


Every day I have to lie. To myself. To my boyfriend. To my friends. To my employers. To the general public. It's exhausting. I can't let them see my pain. My suffering. It's really not fair on them. They may pity me, offer well meaning advice, become standoffish, afraid, concerned. I don't want to do that to anyone. 

I don't lie to hurt people. I lie to protect myself. I know how general society perceives people like me. Heck, I've shared similar notions in the past. 

Being honest about my mental health has cost me friends. It has cost me family members. It COULD cost me my career and even my life.

I do me in the best way I know how. Some days I get it wrong. So incredibly wrong. But most days I get it just about right. Enough to convince everyone around me that I have my life together. 

There isn't really a "day in the life of an individual with bipolar disorder". There is no "typical" bipolar day. You will find posts on BuzzFeed about "What it's actually like to live with bipolar disorder". You will find lists that proclaim "Absolutely everything you need to know about Bipolar Disorder". HealthLine shares "25 things only someone with Bipolar Disorder would understand". There are even articles that claim there are things that people with Bipolar Disorder don't want you to know!

Instead of trying to understand, just accept. Know that I do the absolute best I can at any given moment. Sometimes that means waking up. Sometimes that means woking 60+ hours a week with a smile on my face. Sometimes that means surviving from one moment to the next. Know that other people do the same too, just in their own unique way.

We can't be fixed - we don't want to be fixed. We don't need to be saved. We aren't a charity case. We are human beings. Just like every other human being on the planet. Our brains are just wired differently. Just like yours! 

All you can really do for someone like me is be there. 






Saturday, 25 March 2017

CONTENT WARNING - Suicide

There is a post doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment and I want to talk about it.

Talking about suicide is helpful, it is useful, it is absolutely necessary. This post is neither of those things.

I didn't want to share the actual post but without it, I won't be able to properly break it down and explain why it's so dangerous to share messages of this nature. My annotations to this post are in red. Clickable links are in blue.

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Wanna kill yourself? 

First of all, suicidal people don't WANT to kill themselves. It's not about wanting. It's also not about killing oneself. In 2015 I wrote a post about Suicidal Ideation. It talks about my preoccupation with thoughts of suicide. When a person considers suicide, they will have thought about all of the outcomes. They will have spent time thinking about what their actions will do to others. They will have thought about how people will react. The butterfly effect if you will. This is not something people just do on a whim. Anyone who has reached that point will have exhausted all other options known to them. They may not be all of the options known to YOU but this isn't about you. This is about them! This is about their desperate NEED to end their own suffering. People who are feeling this way know that their behaviour is affecting others and the only way they can see to stop that is to complete suicide.

Imagine this. You come home from school one day. You’ve had yet another horrible day. You’re just ready to give up. So you go to your room, close the door, and take out that suicide note you’ve written and rewritten over and over and over You take out those razor blades, and cut for the very last time. You grab that bottle of pills and take them all. Laying down, holding the letter to your chest, you close your eyes for the very last time. 

A few hours later, your little brother knocks on your door to come tell you dinners ready. You don’t answer, so he walks in. All he sees is you laying on your bed, so he thinks you’re asleep. He tells your mom this. Your mom goes to your room to wake you up. She notices something is odd. She grabs the paper in your hand and reads it. Sobbing, she tries to wake you up. She’s screaming your name. Your brother, so confused, runs to go tell Dad that “Mommy is crying and sissy won’t wake up.” Your dad runs to your room. He looks at your mom, crying, holding the letter to her chest, sitting next to your lifeless body. It hits him, what’s going on, and he screams. He screams and throws something at the wall. And then, falling to his knees, he starts to cry. Your mom crawls over to him, and they sit there, holding each other, crying.  

This! Is any this actually fucking necessary? If you think that sharing a graphic description of someone taking completing suicide then you would be very wrong! This is dangerous and has the potential to push a person over the edge! There is absolutely NO circumstances that would make this ok. None whatsoever!  It is irresponsible and reckless! 

The next day at school, there’s an announcement. The principal tells everyone about your suicide. It takes a few seconds for it to sink in, and once it does, everyone goes silent. Everyone blames themselves. Your teachers think they were too hard on you. Those mean popular girls, they think of all the things they’ve said to you. That boy that used to tease you and call you names, he can’t help but hate himself for never telling you how beautiful you really are. Your ex boyfriend, the one that you told everything to, that broke up with you.. He can’t handle it. He breaks down and starts crying, and runs out of the school. Your friends? They’re sobbing too, wondering how they could never see that anything was wrong, wishing they could have helped you before it was too late. And your best friend? She’s in shock. She can’t believe it. She knew what you were going through, but she never thought it would get that bad… Bad enough for you to end it. She can’t cry, she can’t feel anything. She stands up, walks out of the classroom, and just sinks to the floor. Shaking, screaming, but no tears coming out. It’s a few days later, at your funeral. The whole town came. Everyone knew you, that girl with the bright smile and bubbly personality. The one that was always there for them, the shoulder to cry on. Lots of people talk about all the good memories they had with you, there were a lot. Everyone’s crying, your little brother still doesn’t know you killed yourself, he’s too young. Your parents just said you died. It hurts him, a lot. You were his big sister, you were supposed to always be there for him. Your best friend, she stays strong through the entire service, but as soon as they start lowering your casket into the ground, she just loses it. She cries and cries and doesn’t stop for days. This paragraph is just as bad as the one before it! Do you really want to burden a suicidal individual with all of this guilt? This is also reckless and irresponsible! 

It’s two years later. Your teachers all quit their job. Those mean girls have eating disorders now. That boy that used to tease you cuts himself. Your ex boyfriend doesn’t know how to love anymore and just sleeps around with girls. Your friends all go into depression. Your best friend? She tried to kill herself. She didn’t succeed like you did, but she tried…your brother? He finally found out the truth about your death. He self harms, he cries at night, he does exactly what you did for years leading up to your suicide. Your parents? Their marriage fell apart. Your dad became a workaholic to distract himself from your death. Your mom got diagnosed with depression and just lays in bed all day. Oh look, more guilt! Gee, that's going to make a suicidal person feel better... NOT! 

People care. You may not think so, but they do. Your choices don’t just affect you. They affect everyone. Don’t end your life, you have so much to live for. Things can’t get better if you give up. I’m here for absolutely anyone that needs to talk, no matter who you are. Even if we’ve NEVER talked before, I’m here for you. DO NOT Copy and paste this as your status to show people there are people out there that care.let's see who actually read all of it.
For anyone that feels this way

This entire post is just so god damn irresponsible that I can't believe people are actively sharing it and thinking it will help. I wish I knew who the originator of the post was so I could give them a slap! 

If you want to help people, be there for them. Send them a message every now and then, just say "hey". It doesn't need to be any more complicated than that. Even if the person doesn't open up about how they're feeling, the will know that you are there for them.


All this post does is make suicide about everyone else and lays the burden of guilt solely at the feet of the individual suffering. How is that even slightly helpful?! 


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A suicidal individual doesn't need a graphic description, they don't need to know how their death will impact on everyone else. They need a shoulder to cry on. They need an ear to listen. They need a friend who won't tell them to pull themselves together.

Tell me, if I came to you right now and told you I was suicidal, what would you say to me? Would you tell me how my suicide is going to impact everyone else? Is that how you save a life? Well, more fool you because this kind of post is likely to cause more harm than good. Take it from someone who knows! 


If you REALLY want to help people share this:



Direct them to Sane Textcare

Download this booklet from Mind

For men specifically, go to CALM 

For students, go to Students Against Depression

Direct young people to Papyrus


Share this blog

The NHS also has a website with a whole load of links. I've done most of the legwork for you! 

Do anything other than share THAT post because believe me, the only thing that post will do is add fuel to the fire. 

All it takes is a quick Google search of suicide support to find a wealth of useful information for those in need. 
  

Think before you share! 



Saturday, 4 March 2017

MANIA MANIA MANIA!!!!

Here is the deal guys.

I am manic as f**k! So manic that I am feeling my usual invincibility.


However, contrary to every single manic episode I have had up to this point (last year I had quite a few!) I have been in the grip of sheer terror! When I feel myself going into a manic phase, I don't stop myself because I know that I need to let things progress naturally otherwise things become compressed and it expands and BLAM! EXPLOSION!!


I am feeling, for no apparent reason, absolute joy, bliss, happiness, pleasure and other things I have no recognition off but I like how they feel!! My head feels clear and calm. My hands are rather shaky which is unusual I suppose but there is an underlying fear of experiencing things with which I am not familiar!


I feel like I am having an existential crisis right now. This is something I have experienced countless times. Why am I here, what am doing with my life, would the world really notice if I'm gone? I'm sure those of you who are familiar with my blog will have seen my crisis of self - there may have been more than one, right now I have no idea! 


I put up a post on Facebook and wanted to share it here too because sharing is caring I suppose! 



Rawr! My mania is now manifesting into a compulsion to connect with people. Typically, people terrify me but I think that the stark difference between Thursday night and early hours Saturday morning has got my head in a spin. I have felt more lonely, sad, depressed, worthless and all those negative things in the past few weeks than I remember ever feeling in my whole life. 
Right now though, through chemical alterations in my crazy mixed up brain I am feeling the desire to connect with people. Whether we know each other IRL or only via here, if you need someone for anything, I'm here and I want to help. Via messages, phone, webcam or in person, I am offering myself to you who see this message. 
Someone saved my life on Friday night and gosh darn it if that is not an opportunity to PAY IT FORWARD!!!!
PS this offer is all inclusive. Absolutely no subject is out of bounds. I will not judge. If I don't already know about it you can bet I'll want to learn about it. 
Please help me utilize this mania. Ask me anything!!!!
Please be assured, I hold no judgement against anyone whatever you beliefs, fantasies, desires, feelings, compulsions, I take everything at face value and make assessments before making informed opinions that are subject to change when presented with enough compelling evidence. Everything that comes into my inbox is 100% confidential!!

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I didn't actually manage to get this blog finished as my mania spiralled a little and I went on some crazy ramble about power and some such baloney...! 

Here is a little update: 

Mania is a cunt. Whichever way it goes. "Fun" mania seems to lead me to make decisions that will make my typical self feel ridiculously anxious. Talking with zero filter only serves to nake me look incredibly stupid and all the "doing stuff" has left me in excruciating pain!

FUCK MANIA! FUCK MANIC EPISODES! FUCK MENTAL HEALTH BULLSHIT!! 

Gah I don't think I'll survive another manic episode. Positive OR negative! Give me depression or give me death! 

I can't keep writing right now. My mind is still racing and OUCH everything hurts! 


FUCKITALL!! 


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Self Injury Awareness Day 2017



This is an extract from my empirical project I started at uni. Unfortunately I never got a chance to finish it. 

I would love for everyone to have a better understanding of self harm and the purpose it serves for people like myself. I will continue to challenge the stigma surrounding self harm on a personal level. 

I wanted to do this project to help myself understand more about my self injury and put myself in a better position to educate others. I no longer feel the guilt I did for harming myself. I have come to accept that it is as much a part of me as my arm or leg.

If anyone wants to read any journal articles about self harm and the functionality of it, please do drop me a message.

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Self-injury is known by many different terms. Self-harm, none suicidal self-injury, self-mutilation are to name but a few of the terms used. The DSM-IV lists self-injury only as a condition for further study.

The term “self-mutilation” occurred in a study by Emerson in 1913. Emerson considered cutting a symbolic substitution for masturbation. The term then reappeared in an article written by Karl Menninger in 1935 who classified self-injury into 6 different categories:

neurotic – nail-biters, pickers, extreme hair removal and unnecessary cosmetic surgery.
religious – self-flagellants and others.
puberty rites – hymen removal, circumcision or clitoral alteration.
psychotic – eye or ear removal, genital self-mutilation and extreme amputation
organic brain diseases – which allow repetitive head-banging, hand-biting, finger-fracturing or eye removal.
conventional – nail-clipping, trimming of hair and shaving beards. 

It was only after the 1970s that the focus of self-injury shifted from Freudian psycho-sexual drives of the patients.

The most common form of self-injury is cutting. This is present in around 70% of cases of self-injury.

Self-Injury is still very much a taboo subject with many self-injurers being branded as ‘attention seekers’ amongst other things. The actual fact is that most self-injurers will go to great length to hide their injuries and are usually only discovered by accident. One of the most frequent questions raised in relation to self-injury is; Why? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not so simple. The purpose of self-injury can, however, can be divided into two main categories: to communicate and to calm or subdue strong emotions. 

Briere & Gill stated that approximately 4% of the general population have a reported history of self-injury. This is only the percentage of the population who have reported a history of self-injury. The actual figure is very likely to be higher. Klonsky, Oltmanns & Turkheimer reported the same figure in their study of 1,986 military recruits. 

References for further study
American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. Text rev.)
Briere J, Gil E (1998) Self-mutilation in clinical and general population samples: prevalence, correlates, and functions. Am J Orthopsychiatry 68:609–620
Emerson, L. E. (1913), "The case of Miss A: A preliminary report of a psychoanalysis study and treatment of a case of self-mutilation", Psychoanalytic Review (William A. White, MD & Smith Ely Jelliffe, MD): 41–54