STIGMA – And Mental Illness

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What is stigma?

When someone appears to be different than us, we may view him or her in a negative stereotyped manner.  People who have identities that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized.

Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.  Society feels uncomfortable about mental illness. It is not seen like other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

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Welcome – Glad you could join me

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This site Living In Stigma is dedicated to those individuals living with mental illness, affecting them most deeply along with their spouses, family and friends.

Many forms of mental illness take their shape in Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and other disorders including Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia just to name a few.  A major note is that mental illness is neither one’s fault nor a character flaw, however, we unfortunately  live in a society laced with Stigma.

EATING DISORDERS: CHEWING AND SPITTING

When I had my assessment for the Eating Disorders Program, I was asked do you ‘chew and spit’ your food?”.  I considered this an odd question, answered NO, yet after researching I came to realize that is a serious ‘eating behavior’.

On Scienceofeds.org they describe the behavior and provide comments to their article.  A TV programme had an entire program dedicated to this eating behavior.

Related Articles:

Chewing and spitting: an eating disorder of its own (Examiner.com)

The Silent Secret Eating Disorder – Chew and Spit (Anorexic to Athletic)

Obesity & Bipolar Disorder

This article was on PsychCentral.com via Twitter this morning:

If you’re like half the population of the United States, you’ve been worried about your weight at some point recently. That stands to reason as 39% of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 13% are obese. I am one of those people. In fact, when I came across the research on bipolar disorder and obesity, I didn’t want to write about it. It’s too personal.

I spend a lot of time worried about my weight. It’s not just vanity. Let’s be real, vanity is at least one factor for most of us who want to lose weight. I tell myself that if I were thinner people would respect me more, that my weight makes them think I have no self-control or self-worth. Well, the latter happens to be true sometimes because I have bipolar disorder; so there’s that. My focus is also on my health. I just want to feel better overall.

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Beauty Queen

Originally posted on Pint Size Fiction:

Lying to herself, carving out an identity fake
She doesn’t have a problem with this familiar ache.
Putting on a smile, being at her charming best
Sashaying through the night, fooling all the rest.

She says that no real gold would ever glitter
As she downs another round of that liquid bitter.
She titters with élan, has mastered the art of lying
Pretending to be happy when inside, she’s dying.

She’s the crowd’s favourite, their very own beauty queen
So rich and so famous, at barely seventeen.
Her eyes so deep, flushed cheeks so divine
Looking gorgeous in her pearls, sipping the red wine.

She says she’s happy, but we’d not be that way
Drunk and alone at night, and a star by day.
Getting high is fun, as long as it’s for free
But all she says is – “You don’t want to be like me.”

She applies some…

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I Don’t Need Your Acceptance

Originally posted on Silver Girl:

It feels so good not to need the acceptance of my family members. It used to hurt if they rejected me, it used to engulf me with pain. But it doesn’t hurt anymore. I have called out their bullying behaviour and now they can chose to be part of my past or part of my future – it’s their call.

SG xIf you live for people's acceptance, you will die from their rejection. ~

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Difference between sexual assault and sexual abuse?

In newspapers and media reports, it’s sometimes stated women were violated and “sexually assaulted” or “abused”. Although I’m cognizant that abuse is traumatic regardless, “assault” covers such a broad range.

My point here is, are the public aware of the seriousness surrounding the most horrific assualt cases.  I located information below on the Gov’t of Western Australia Department of Health  (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) website.

What is sexual assault?

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Women with Bipolar Disorder, sleep quality affects mood

Poor sleep is associated with negative mood in women with bipolar disorder, according to researchers.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The condition is marked by extreme mood episodes characterized as manic (highs), depressive (lows) or mixed.

Sleep problems are common in people with bipolar disorder, and poor sleep quality and bipolar disorder appear to exacerbate each other. Previous research shows that poor sleep quality is a symptom of depressive and manic episodes, and that lack of sleep can trigger mania.

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Fatal Prescription: Women and Painkiller Overdoses

In EveryDayHealth.com, they report that more women than ever are dying from painkiller overdoses.  This article was written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and asks, “How can you spot signs of drug abuse in a loved one?

Americans’ abuse of prescription painkillers has reached epidemic proportions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that 15,000 people die every year in this country from overdoses involving opioid or narcotic pain relievers.

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Bullying

The topic of a TV show I watched last night, centered on what kids would do when put into a situation where someone was being bullied.  It was interesting; some felt uncomfortable yet didn’t want to speak up, a few spoke, another went to the person’s defense, another comforted the person being bullied.  You know what’s right, but would you defend that person being bullied in a situation that would involve you?

Image source:  cheeta-fire (polyvore)

Speed Dating ~ Does Personality Affect Our Level of Attractiveness?

Part of what determines how much success you will have in the dating world is whether you have a good sense of whether people find you attractive. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that certain personality traits contribute to being a good judge of whether someone else thinks you’re worth meeting again.

The study is one of a series to come out of a big speed-dating experiment held in Berlin about five years ago. “Most of the prior research had worked with hypothetical scenarios, where people are asked by a questioner, ‘What kind of people would you like to get to know?’ and so on,” says Mitja Back of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, who co-wrote the new paper with Lars Penke of the University of Edinburgh, Stefan Schmukle of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, and Jens Asendorpf of Humboldt University Berlin. The problem, of course, is that what people say they like — honesty, humor, and so on — may have little to do with what they actually like — for example hotness.

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Blister Packs for Medications

As far as medication goes, remembering to take the required doses morning, noon or bedtime was causing chaos.  I would forget to take this med or that med, refilling prescriptions in time, and each med had it’s own pill bottle. Filling that 7-day plastic organizer every week was a pain in the neck.

My doctor suggested a Blister Pack – pure bliss!  My pharmacy fills them bi-weekly without a fee, and he calls the doctor for refills (saving me a trip to the doctor), I pick them up, all sorted, neat and tidy.  I still have to remember to take them!

Image source: google.ca
More on blister pack usage @
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_pack

‘Thunderclap Headaches’ update: why I was rushed to emergency

My post this week, “Thunderclap Headaches” ~ Probably the worst headache of your life, was emergency worthy and I was instructed to have it checked out immediately.  The ER doc appeared in snooze mode, however, did order a CT scan which showed no abnormalities, but said an MRI takes a closer look, arranged for an appointment; saying that someone will advise me of a date.

Well, today I received my appointment letter for the MRI, and the date is May 29, 2016 @ 8:50 p.m. but they “will attempt to inform me if that date will be changed or cancelled”. BTW, this is the earliest appointment I could get.  Imagine if I didn’t go to Emergency!

I see my neurologist in a few days, I’ll see what he has to say.

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

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What If You Don’t Like Your Therapist?

I’ve consulted a few therapists over the years, and it’s always been advised to “give it some time”, but just how long do you “give it”?   I prefer not to ‘therapist hop’, however, even after a few sessions I can sense if this is the therapist for me. I’ve been with the therapist I have now for almost 6 years, and knew almost immediately it was a ‘good fit’.

I found this article in Psychcentral.com interesting.

 

PTSD: The Secrets We Keep

We all kept “The Secret”, promised not to tell, or did tell and no one believed us, but we still held that secret inside of us for years, then it activated and we started to ‘peel back the onion’.

How faithful we were to those people who wounded us.  We were the children who were sexually abused, for we held tightly onto ‘the secret’.  The secret would cause us misery, resentment and shaped the way we entered our teen and adult years.  Due to our loyalty, our abusers slept peacefully at night, leaving us to endure nightmares and everything else that a child shouldn’t have to deal with.

“The Secret’, the family’s secret of the abuse that occurred, where someone knew, considered the child dishonest or deceitful and the abuser blameless.  Later, some of our lives would adjust through support, while others went in other hellish directions, (depression, eating disorders, broken relationships, suicide etc,) caused by childhood haunts. Continue reading

‘THUNDERCLAP’ Headaches – Probably the worst headache of your life

You’re relaxing in your favorite chair, or out with friends for coffee or perhaps enjoying a delightful soothing bath, when unexpectedly, BAM, you are struck with this horrendous pain in your head; the worst headache pain you’ve ever felt.  It’s different from a migraine, and termed a “THUNDERCLAP” headache.

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A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend

Originally posted on talkingthisandthat:

Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker…

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In Dreams of Another

Originally posted on The Vision of Poets:

In Dreams

The following poem was chosen as a finalist in the
United Poets Laureate International (UPLI) Global Poetry Contest
“The Natica Angilly Award” for Dancing Poetry
I am very honored by their recognition…

In Dreams of Another
 
I’ve wandered in your lucid dreams
Of forest mist and silent streams
Monastic robes in hues of gold
Where secrets never stay untold
 
You’ve walked with me on foreign shores
Exposed my fate behind closed doors
We spoke with faces on the wall
Reciting rhymes in whispered drawls
 
You’ve wandered in my lucid dreams
Of vagabonds and sparrows wings
The dawn absorbed in Persian hues
Where artists find their lucent muse
 
I’ve flown with you above the brume
Shared passions thirst where laurel bloom
We penned the writing on the wall
And changed the fate of raven’s call
 
We are but one in lucid dreams
Our merging souls like…

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