Mental Health

Mental Illness: Feelings, Thoughts and Behaviors

Here I am, still fighting.  My life is not easy.  Mental illness sucks and I really hate the stigma. I can not help that my brain chemistry is completely jacked up from all the medications, anesthesia, X-Rays and God knows what else they shot through and into my body when I was young.  Not to mention possible social issues that may have tipped the scales in one way or the other.  There is little control, the feelings and the thoughts run the show.  I have ways that I have learned to cope with it, but I need to remember to use those skills while in an extreme state of {name the emotion].  It’s overwhelming.  Even joy and happiness can be bad.  Too much of anything is bad, so how do you regulate?  Practice, Daniel Son!

Basically, in as simplistic a way as I can describe, it feels like this.  A tidal wave of emotion washes over me.  Overwhelmed and my brain spins out of control with worry thoughts, my body responds with all sorts of changes, ticks, pain, etc., breathe increases.  My brain goes blank and talking is difficult.  I try to slow things down, but that only speeds things up.  Fighting it with the opposite never works.  Oh wait, I have skills to use.  Use the skills.  What are the skills, again?  What is the right thing to do in this situation? Damn, I forget and now I am anxious, scared and still dealing with a tidal way of emotion.  Everything is too much. I give in, I dive into the vortex.  Day 1 goes by, then Day 2, 3, 4…I’m depressed.  I don’t have any energy or interest in anything; I’m merely going through the motions of my life.  I watch TV and sit on my couch.  I want to look for a quick way out that will wipe all of these feelings, body sensations and thoughts away.  I want to act out.  Alcohol?  Knowingly drinking Diet Coke because it makes me not feel good?  I need to call someone for help.  I gotta get home and be with family before something terrible happens.

I look at people buying homes, getting engaged, married and having babies.  I’m perplexed, yet happy for and impressed by these people.  I still feel like I am 15 years old.  How are people able to make those decisions?  I am still a scared little girl inside and out.  I am not ashamed to admit that, it is just a fact.  I have to live with it.  I can only hope that the people around me understand.  My victories are not going to look like everyone elses, still I celebrate them.  I’m excited because I did my own grocery shopping, made it to work every day and washed my clothes last week.  I can not know or judge what will or will not happen this week.

These entries, especially this one, are brutally honest because I want to remove the stigma of mental illness.  Depression, borderline personality disorder, addiction, bi-polar, anxiety disorders are all just about strange wiring, emotional and social imbalances and confusion.  I do not judge others that suffer with these issues.  I want more people to get the help they need if they feel something is just not right with them in their lives.  I hope I can convince others that mental illnesses are just like other medical issues, like diabetes, a sprain ankle or hypertension.  They are treatable with proper care and attention.  A combination of medications and a change in lifestyle are necessary for success.  Life can be fulfilling and rewarding.  Each day reveals that to be true, because every day we keep on fighting.

Thanks for reading.

**If you think that you are in crisis, there are local crisis hotlines.

One for the Boston area is Boston Suicide Prevention – (617) 247-0220

The national suicide hotline is 1-800-SUICIDE

If you are not in crisis, but want to begin looking into some therapy options, check out this website

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the therapists that practice it are the best places to begin.  Also check out David Burns book called The Feeling Good Handbook .  It is all about cognitive behavioral therapy.  The other form of therapy that I highly recommend is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  Check out any and all books by Marsha Linehan and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living.  

I hope to post some additional links in later posts.

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