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BipolarLife101 Mental Health Blogs

BipolarLife101 Blogs

Bloggers from around the globe, discuss mental health issues facing people, friends, families and communities worldwide.

Stigma and hate

Some may say I’m too choosy about normals. But most of all I hate stigma, not normal people. Am I really too bad? Wonder how do people feel when they “never have any evil thoughts at all”. They’re telling lies anyway. They have evil thoughts too. I know my thoughts and struggle with them, such people just do harm impulsively.


What’s depressing, there’re people I can’t joke or ironize with about dark things. They will think me bad and get aggressive. Not once or twice I encounted situations, when I was not understood right. I can’t be light-hearted with people anymore, afraid of making any “mistake”. My irony seems vain and lost on them, as I’m not normal and they “can expect anything bad” from me.


What’s more, if people treat me wrong, seems like I have no right to be angry anymore, since I got sick. Have to swallow all insults and never say a word? Looks like I can’t be myself anymore. Only to watch out not to make a bad impression. Is it my imagination or what? And the more sick I get, the more I get insulted and isolated. The more reasons to be angry about. So unfair.


I’ve been trying what I can to reduce stigma of mentall illness, at least in my surroundings. But have I gained anything? Best of my friends are still those mentally ill and fellow shrinks. Talking to normals, I can think a person is nice to me, and then suddenly he starts to say “meds make you not human”, “you’re too silly to study (haha)”, “you’re dangerous because you’re angry with me for things I did”. And it comes not from one person, but from five or ten. I’m a bit tired. They’re so typical. I really try to be friends with some of them, despite their notions and behaviour. But sometimes it’s impossible. I don’t believe anymore, that all people can be stigma-free. I know some really intelligent people can be cruel and uncomprehending. And life can’t be changed by twitter-shitting. It’s about the overall level of kindness, empathy and understanding.

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Backfired

Stumbled across such term as “backfire effect”. It clearly explained to me why people react the opposite way in comparison with how they should when they suddenly see evidence, for instance that life on Earth wasn’t created in seven days, or that mentally ill people are not all degraded freaks running with knives and killing neighbours. That’s why people never change opinions, and the stronger the facts are, the harder they hold on to their old beliefs. If we always have in mind backfire effect, how can we possibly convince people in evolution theory or in goodness of people with delusional disorder? Backfire effect just proves my suspicions that people don’t change opinions, no matter what facts they see, and even get more hateful if they see something good in you.

And I experimented a bit on several people. I took six of my friends and six people whom I knew not too well, but who were expected to be suspicious of me. I intentionally put some words about how dangerous I might be, and my friends never believed it, as they knew me well and proved me I’m just sick and need some help, can have aggressive thoughts due to illness, but they can’t say normals don’t have such thoughts too. While those who were not friends, even after me pursuing about my intelligence and reasonable mind, after hours of exchanging thoughts and seemingly happy conversations, continued to believe I’m dangerous and going to kill them.

It occurred to me, that when you’re with friends, you can say anything, make dark jokes and smile, be angry, be sad, be happy, and it won’t shatter their good opinion of you. And with other people it is different. You have to watch out for “mistakes”, and even if you don’t do them, you’ll be considered “bad”. Then I recalled I’ve been doing the same thing – trying to convince people I’m good – for years. At first, maybe four or five years ago, I was stubborn and hopeful and wanted to change the world. But now I got completely calm. If stigma is explained by psychology, it means more struggle and I have to gather more strength for it.

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Stigmatized by Family

This subject is very important to me on many levels. I feel for the other people who live with or handle emotional and mental torture from loved ones in their life. I am saddened by my own experiences. While I was younger and lived in an abusive family home and in abusive relationships, I was constantly controlled by their rules and outlook on how I should act socially. Not only in the mental health aspect, but in sexuality as well.

I have finally been in a position to officially come out as bisexual recently. My father had always said he would disown his children if we "became" gay. When I was in grade 6, we were watching the news and a report came on about LBGTQ right activists. My father started saying that "all gay people should dig their own hole and shoot themselves into it". I obviously started defending human rights and saying love shouldn't be limited because there have been homosexual acts in the animal kingdom. You can only imagine his response.

I knew I was bi-sexual in grade 4 where my friend had our first "exploration/understanding of the female body" experience. Even from then I knew I liked the idea of being naked and having a relationship with women. Until this year, I have always had to deny and keep my sexuality secret from my family. As shitty as my father was, I was still afraid of him disowning me. Sadly my aunt agreed that he would have been successful, too.

With the fear of being disowned gone, I came out to specific family members. This news travelled back to my Nanny (grandmother on dads side) and she freaked out. I haven't talked to her yet because she doesn't have my new phone number but I am afraid to call her. When she found out my aunt defended me and also came out as bisexual. I do not have any idea how that went down but I assure you it must have been a blood bath.

On the topic of mental health, my father was so incredibly opposed to me attending therapy and taking medications. He never understood the illness that was developing in front of him and that he thought ignoring it completely would make it go away. Even until the day he died he never understood any mental health illness.

I feel so sorry that so many people have made a choice to live a lie in fear of another persons judgement. It sounds so silly when I type it out because the answer is so painfully obvious: kick them out of your life. Life is the longest thing we will ever do so why not make it a happy and honest one? If you are being stigmatized by family members or loved ones I hope you, reader, realize how important your mental health is over their reaction and judgment. You are more important than that.

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© Jenna White

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Is there life on meds?

 

I've come to encounter a very strange view on a mental illness. For instance, people who know I'm taking meds from schizophrenia, saw me improving and told me "you are healthy again, you can do anything", "you will stop taking meds, as your life gets better". When I answered I'm not healthy at all and I'm still having symptoms, they were surprised. As if I became relatively healthy without any medication, by my own efforts. I told them I might need to take meds all of my life, and they answered: "so you're mad! and silly!" As if before, praising my improvement and efforts, they forgot it's all from meds and then suddenly it dawned on them.

Another time, a friend wanted to change me very much, and one of his requirements for me was to take up some study and to stop taking meds. I'm quite despaired when it comes to studying something now. I have my skills in the fields I studied before, but it's hard to remember anything new now. I may understand a lot when I study something, but I forget easily. So the inadequacy of requirements made me desperate.

Giving up meds was the most outrageous of them. I wouldn't give up meds even if they offered money to me. I know this romantic mood, when I thought I was "strong enough" and can control everything in my brain. I gave up meds and was disappointed. Two times I got into a hospital with paranoia and the third time I hardly escaped it. Things seemed to be neat and clear while I had been taking meds. No paranoia bothered me. Rare doubts and suicidal thoughts were dealt with. But as I stopped taking meds, everything was gradually coming to the worst state. People were after me, suicidal thoughts were consuming me, paranoia and mixed emotions were tormenting my brain... There was an illusion of superpower over my mind that meds gave me. I thought myself strong enough to control my brain and I almost believed I'd give up mes and my illness would be over. But it had never happened. No one is strong enough to go against one's own brain. There're few things people are able to control in their bodies.

My friends' points of view had a touch of antiscientific notions. But even relatively intelligent, atheistic people live in illusions they're able to control themselves completely and those who can't - are bad and unworthy.

If you're told you won't be someone's friend till you give up meds, what do they think they're going to get as a result - me in the hospital? I just told them to fuck off. And the other's point of view was: "you are going to take meds for life - so you're a goner, you're getting ready for the residential home".

Can they really be so stupid? They don't say so to people with diabetes or else. Where do they get such notions? And what about some people with schizophrenia working and leading normal lifes on meds? I know some people thinking the same way as normals, they don't take meds and live absorbed in their mad theories and delusions. I also know those who don't get much result from meds, and are deep into their paranoid theories all the same, only high doses of drugs make them a bit out of it. But I also know people for whom meds work out fine, at least for some symptomes, like paranoia, suicidal thoughts or tiredness. And I know several people who gave up meds and are not in this world anymore. They suicided.

We don't get stronger by giving up meds. Symptoms remain as well as the chemical inbalance and changes in the brain. Not all peopel are lucky to recover from schizophrenia. We're not superhuman beings and we can't cope with real illness by words and thoughts. Such views are dangerous for people themselves. Most of them don't experience a mental illness, but if they do, they're stubborn and risk their lives trying to cope themselves. I was that way too. It's even worse when antipsychiatric views come from normal people. It seems so cynical to let people live without medication and see what happens to them! Times of lobotomia and insuline coma are gone, the positives of modern meds are lots more than negative effects, new researches give hope for evolving in this sphere, and still intelligent people don't take the time to explore it and shape their views on facts, they shape their views on their own judgement. Their points of view is created with the help of horror movies and news headlines like "a psycho kills three people". Even though the real danger from mentally ill people is rather low, due to statistics, normals don't go into objective consideration. If one normal person commits a murder, we don't consider all normal people to be fulltime killers. But if one insane person kills someone, they forget about tens of thousands of innocent mentally ill people. Normals don't care for rational views on the mentally ill, they care for bright headlines and pathetic horror movies. Those who make science move forward and those who help patients and promote healthy views - are much less heard in the society.

I'd actually had more pity for a psycho who killed someone in a fit of madness, than to a normal murderer who killed in cold blood and with good consideration. He was conscious, so he is responsible. Consciousness is not a synonym of kindness. Sadly, fully conscious people promote cruel views that shape opinions and change lives of millions of mentally ill people to the worst. Stigma surrounds us everywhere. Why should I feel guilty in taking meds for my illness and to think, "oh, he wouldn't give up on me if I didn't take meds"? It seems some people like my intelligence, but not the way I attained part of it. They think it's "artificial" to be on meds. I'd say it's artificial to take any meds, and those who care only for absolutely healthy people, are not worthy themselves. I care for a person, no matter if one is physically or mentally ill. The person matters, not the illness.

 

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© Elena Grebennikova

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Stigma is never right

From my experience with bullies, some people managed to tell me I'm a "wrong" schizophrenic, as I haven't killed myself or someone else yet. I thought normal life is an achievement, and suicide or homicide can hardly be a good aim in life.

Never thought there'll ever come a time when I'll be struggling for sympathy among people thinking me a living nightmare. Always thought that being intelligent gets you acquaintances easily. I got used to be valued and respected, and not used to be humiliated just for being sick. So for me it seems like a big step to tag my twitter profile with #schizophrenia and to show my real name. I haven't got nothing but sympathy here in five years, so I decided it's alright.

I know some of my friends who have schizophrenia avoid talking about it online. And all shrinks tell me it's the right way to conceal things. So when I started this blog, I thought it to be just a secluded place to vent my thoughts. But I always felt it's so wrong that I should be trembling at the thought anyone can get to know my real name or shuddering at learning that another person blocked me or stopped talking when he/she learned something about me. It's not how life should be arranged. People shouldn't be obliged to hide their problems that may lead to suicide or just death if they give up meds.

I see so many people with cancer, depression, bipolar disorder and other illnesses expressing their views freely and getting some kind of relief from it. Schizophrenia shouldn't be a taboo. I know there're so many people suffering silently, not able to talk about illness openly. Some write from anonymous accounts on forums etc. It seems so unfair that those who are most vulnerable should defend from bullies.

I know what usually happens after disclosing illness. People either block you or see you as a punching clown. If no one will be doing anything about it, how is it going to change? They treat you like you should be thankful you aren't euthanized, and even if they tolerate those who conceal illness and cope well, but they're merciless to those who can't cope. Though everyone accepts cancer and other serious diseases as nothing to be ashamed of. If there were more people with schizophrenia "coming out from the shade", it might have changed that attitude.

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© Elena Grebennikova

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