It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

Archive for August, 2014

When Love isn’t Enough….

    The one thing I haven’t talked about or just said verbatim, when it comes to mental health issues, is the topic of love and that it’s sadly not enough. I’m saying it now though, because it needs to be said. I’m only discussing this from a mental health activist point of view, I’m not discussing it from a platonic,familial or romantic relationship point of view,unless mental illness is a factor in major dysfunction of a relationships . Or if any kind of relationship while in it or out of it causes serious emotional distress, abuse or loss of life/lives. I’ll both explain and differentiate where love is necessary but it can’t be used as a measurement. Especially when it comes to mental health and mental illness. Even in cases of physical health issues and illnesses, as I go along. 

    The topic of love and what it means and what it doesn’t mean, is rarely discussed other than the love, absence of love and/ or self loathing that a patient who is suffering from mental health issues might feel at times. But people who lose their lives due to mental health issues ARE capable of loving others, even if they aren’t capable of loving themselves. The reason why this needs to be said is with all the talk regarding severe depression and suicidality, in the last week and half since Robin Williams died, not only is there stigma and shame that people who are now trying better to understand it, but there still is a ton of people who think it’s a selfish act to commit  (or try to commit) suicide (or whatever politically correct term people are using now a days)and/or they  have addiction issues whether they live or die from that.

  Carrying the opinion that it’s selfish, doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help those who battle severe chronic depression or battle some form of severe mental health issue/s  and it doesn’t help those who’ve had to survive the loss of a loved one, if they lost their battle and their lives to that. Or if they love and have to live with someone who’s suffering from mental health issues. 

    The problem is a lot of people  believe that, ” true love can conquer all things” because we are conditioned to believe in society, that true love is a cure all. I don’t want to burst anyone bubble, but it’s NOT. This is how we keep stigmatizing and shaming mental health issues by believing or thinking that the right kind of love will fix all things. It doesn’t help ANYBODY for this is a myth, that we need to stop perpetuating. Even though I understand why it’s perpetuated in the first place. But that fantasy has to go, if we are going to have any prayer in making inroads with those who suffer from mental illness and their loved ones for healing. 

    I’m choosing my words obviously very carefully because while I can say in any venue that I do my activism from, making  a blanket statement like love not being enough, also comes with the potential of people construing that if that’s the case, then having faith and hope will NOT make a difference, either. And that’s not true nor is it something I want people to think. We ABSOLUTELY need hope, faith and love to have the best chance to be in our best physical and mental health. We just can’t use that as a prescription or a means of a cure or a fix to people who have mental illnesses.Just like love can’t be a cure or means treatment or prevention for physical illnesses.   

   Understanding all of  this will help a lot of  people heal. Because mental health issues not only effect patients, it effects the people they love and who love them. Who feel rejection and shame when they lose people that they love due to mental health issues. And it can help loved ones cope when they are not able to understand when someone they love with mental health issues can’t get better  because they are incapable of getting better. But there still is that human personal perspective that people will  think if they were loved enough or if their love was good enough, people would be magically cured of of their illnesses. Or people wouldn’t experience the heartache of dealing with someone who is constantly fighting severe chronic depression, addiction, intentional or unintentional abuse  and other mental health issues if THEY were lovable enough. Let alone those who are survivors of loved ones who die because of mental health issues. 

  That’s a lot of heartache all of us are carrying around because we want to believe that in love lies a cure. Sadly it doesn’t. I’m most definitely NOT saying “don’t love”. Or that love, like faith and hope doesn’t help in time of physical or mental crisis. I’m just saying it’s not a failure of love in any way because it can’t fix people with physical and/or mental health issues. It makes the journey in illnesses and in life, easier if you have faith,hope and love. 

  How do we help anyone who’s suffering, then, if love isn’t a cure all? Compassionately understanding that different people have different means of treatment needs for the same diseases. Treating all human conditions whether they be medical or psychological, with the same respect, concern and kindness, and not associating choice when it comes to psychological issues. That just like there is no guarantee of a cure for a lot of  medical illnesses or diseases, there isn’t sometimes a cure or an effective treatment  for some  mental health illnesses.  I don’t choose to have Bipolar 2 disorder, anymore than I choose to have Migraines. But it’s the latter that’s going to get me the most empathy and just like everyone who’s struggling with something, whether it’s emotional or physical and/or combination of, and  it shouldn’t be that way.

   I didn’t hoard to punish my children, nor did I try to commit suicide 6 years ago because I didn’t love my children or family,enough. As I love them dearly.I always have and I always will.  I’ve explained though in other blogs in more detail, of what happened to us, in my circumstances.This particular blog isn’t for me, about me or my kids. It’s for a better understanding from an activist point of view of what needs to change, to help those who are hurting. But in my case, while I know I’m capable of love and kindness to others, that I’m not necessarily capable of showing to myself, because of my mental health issues. And I’m not unique in the fact that I can love others without loving myself, if at times when I’ve been  filled with self loathing and sadly being self destructive, did have consequences on those who I love the most. And it’s aspect about me and/or my illnesses that I’ve had from the time I was really young from physiological makeup, environment and circumstances. And I’m far from the only one who’s had/have traits like this.   

   This is where now though, where lack of  self-love and self loathing needs more de-stigmatization. In matters of those who are abused in some way or are abusers and have capacity to do violent  and/or intentional harm. I don’t have the credentialing nor do I have at this point, because of my cognitive damage to do anything, but best hypothesize, that we have problems in our society and it can play into  some patients’s mental health issues, when there is an absence of self love, and/or  love for others, self loathing but now add in HATE and/or RAGE. The difference between a suicide and a murder/suicide, is that some people have  hate and/or RAGE if not necessarily about themselves but for others. Sometimes, it’s due to a chemical makeup or predisposition. Sometimes, it’s environmental. Or circumstantial.  Or combination there of. 

  I,truthfully, struggle with the thought of having compassion for people who are capable of violent harm against another. I also don’t have the means to understand it or explain it, best, like a professional Mental Health expert, would of why it actually exists (which I’m sure there is many reasons) and what is needed for effective treatment and/or rehabilitation .

 . But this  matters in where and what  I say a lot in the activism that I do. Whether it’s saying that NOT all people with severe and persistent mental health issues are capable of any, let alone, great harm. It also plays a factor in people becoming abusers themselves, when abused. There’s also a physiological component to some people’s mental health issues, that they are not intentionally trying to be harmful but they still are, anyways, and we need to find more options for treating those who suffer from this and being more compassionate in our support for their loved ones. And we can’t compassionately support if we don’t dispel stigma. And start encouraging dialogue and discussion for those who have loved ones who are abusive and/or erratic, and/or  violent so that they can be supported. Even with domestic abuse initiatives, domestic abuse whether romantic or familial is still sadly, greatly under reported. Whether it’s fear or due to stigma.   

   Again, there are no easy answers. Human beings don’t each come with their own instructional manual. We all are unique and complex. But it’s easier to try to come up with solutions to help others in their suffering, when we understand and can identify what barriers that exist to help de-stigmatize and remove shame from those who suffer greatly from mental health issues and for those who love them, who can’t understand that  when mental health issues that result in tragedy in loss of life or a results in such a poor quality of life, has NOTHING to do about LOVE as we currently define it. If it did, there would be millions and millions of people still alive both from a medical and mental health stance. 

   In NO way shape or form am I discounting FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. We are humans and our souls and psyches need that, as well as our bodies do. Like we need oxygen,water and food.Not only to survive but to have the best chance to thrive.  It just needs to be put in a proper perspective, for people to have a better chance of healing from circumstances that they have no control over the outcome. Both with themselves and with those who they love and who love them. And sadly, mental health issues effect each and everyone of us to some extent. 

    I guess the best way I can say this is “use” love in an authentic way to help fortify your strength and your life, in your relationships with yourself and others. Do not use though love as an effective means of evaluating and/or as a measure of  your value as a person, when it comes to medical or mental health issues in yourself or those you love………… 

        

 

   

   

     

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The Mental Health World According to um, EVERYBODY……

Sigh….

I wrote my last blog in tribute to Robin Williams and published it, within an hour or so of learning about his death, when it started to trend on Facebook.

6 days 1/2 later and everybody now wants to talk about his Medical and Mental Health issues. And yours. And mine. The media shitstorm that this has created, lasted about 4 days longer then I gave all that is and makes up media and social media credit for. And everyone in the whole entire world’s need to express something. And I can’t honestly tell you that it’s all good. Even if it’s well intentioned. And I’ll explain why.

I don’t like being an “angry” activist. And normally, when I’m upset and angry it’s not a good idea for me to tackle subjects that need the sensitivity that mental health, severe depression, severe chronic medical illness and suicidality requires.

I know that, because Mental Health and Medical activism, is something I do everyday. Not just because it’s the cool thing to do, now. Just like living with mental, medical and cognitive disabilities is something I do everyday. And sometimes it’s a major battle. While I can have a sense of humor on occasion about my own disabilities including mental health, severe chronic depression is one of the things that is most unfunniest matters that exist. Sometimes my medical, mental health and cognitive disabilities feel like a sentence, even though I realize in a lot of ways that it’s nothing short of a miracle I’m still alive and that’s more because of medical and bizarre circumstances. Not because of my mental illness issues. But bear with me for a second, because I’m about to make a point.

This is also not the blog for me to go into what I do when I experience severe depression. This is the blog to explain why mental health issues needed and should’ve garnered attention before Robin Williams’s death. And in my opinion why it probably still wouldn’t have saved his life. Keep in mind, again, I’m not a professional mental health clinician.

We live in a society that is supposed (for good reason) to value human life over everything else. When people die, if it’s people we love, it’s a tragedy. Regardless of how they die. We live in a society that couldn’t be anymore health conscious as it applies to physiological health. We realize now, we have a ways to go when it comes psychological health. And suddenly the whole entire fucking world is now realizing the compassion we’ve been lacking as a society in regards to that due to Robin Williams’s death. That should be a good thing. Here’s a few reasons why it’s NOT.

It’s not fair to put on Robin’s memory or his surviving family and friends, or anyone for the matter that he becomes the poster child for why mental health issues need more attention and we need more resources. Even though his family has said they appreciate the support. But they’ve also asked for privacy, too. What we don’t need is everyone picking and choosing when to talk about this because his life meant more then compared to another. Or to prioritize because Robin Williams was a celebrity that a lot of people could relate to and because he brought us a lot of pleasure. The problem is that when we prioritize value of human life, because he was a celebrity that was globally adored, it will have negative effect on people who are fighting severe depression because it shouldn’t have taken his death, to help eradicate stigma. Or for people fighting for their lives because of mental illness issues right now, will give up thinking that if he couldn’t survive his mental health issues, how the HELL is someone who lacks resources and has no support supposed to??? I’m not saying if there are suicides as a result of this, that it’s his or societies fault. I am saying that it’s justifiably a concern of mine and other MH activists as well as mental health professionals for the reasons I’m saying that his death getting so much media attention is starting to be counterproductive although there are some activists and mental health clinicians who I’m sure will disagree with me.

And in people trying to honor Robin, for those who are in crisis they may not be able to differentiate the attempt to remove stigmatization is starting to resemble glorifying sucidality for those who are vulnerable. Because people are still confused on whether or not this is actually a choice. And in his case though, it’s being considered compassionate to accept that he died this way, but not the same compassion is shown for everyone who battles severe and persistent chronic depression. For those of us who are working on suicide prevention awareness, it’s getting scary just how much attention this is getting and this is a MAJOR reason why it’s not all good.

I am a mental health activist and advocate for a lot of reasons. Which I’ve gone into more detail on other blogs. I, again, definitely advocate for suicide prevention awareness. I also am an activist because to help dispel if not eradicate stigma that comes with all mental health issues. I’m an activist and try to give a voice to those who’ve died due to mental health issues, for those who tried to die because of mental health issues but still are with us but don’t have voice and to be supportive for those who’ve devastatingly lost loved ones in death or who’ve tried dying due to mental illness. Or their quality of lives for those who suffer and their loved ones, is poor to non-existant but people can’t talk about it due to being scared of being stigmatized.

If I actually thought I’d be getting the last word in, I’d call myself out on my being a hypocrite. I don’t think I will be getting the last word in, though. I think out of respect for Robin Williams’s family that the media and social media doesn’t make another 9 trillion comments, stories and memes. That’s the reason why I’m chiming in.

Think about it this way. What if this was your family mourning a loss of a loved one and had to spend the initial days after a tragic death of a loved one, hearing about it EVERYWHERE??? And in this case, sadly his death will be considered newsworthy for the wrong reasons for a longer period of time compared to other celebrity deaths. Again, realize I was a big fan of his, too. I get the sadness, that we are feeling, but it needs to be said how it’s potentially going to fail people. Think about all the people who’ve kept silent for so long because they’ve lost loved ones to severe depression and/or other mental illness issues because it’s been stigmatized for so long.

If you want to honor Robin, the best way you could do that, is by honoring by his survivors wishes, at this point. And to honor people in your life, asking of those who suffer from mental health issues or have lost loved ones due to mental illness issues of what they need in support.

Note: Respectful disagreements of my writings are welcomed in comments. Any comment that can potentially be triggering to another or is disrespectful to another person will not be approved.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

I was on Facebook for about an hour, when it started to “trend” that sadly the brilliant actor and comedian, Robin Williams has died due to suicide.

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I’ve had things to say but I didn’t have a way or the right words to say it. My own suicide attempt which tonight is the eve of the 6th anniversary of my suicide attempt (I tried to commit suicide early morning of 8-12-2008, and actually my 1st blog was on my 5th anniversary, a year ago, here on WordPress), went into great detail about it. On my first blog.

While Robin had been forthcoming about his personal demons and battles with depression, alcohol and drugs, news of late, seemed like he was on top of things.

I can’t speak for him. I can only hypothesize, and again, I’m not a clinical trained and/or credentialed Mental Health expert. But I do understand why people lose their battle with depression, and with that comes losing their will to live. And sadly some people will lose their life to suicide, no matter how much resources they have for help, they can’t see that. It’s the nature of the disease and I know that better than anyone.

I’m not being pro-suicide when I make comments like that. It is just debatable on whether or not “suicide” can completely be prevented. My answer is absolutely NOT.

Whether or not, Robin’s family will divulge any details, obviously remains to be seen. I do hope that the media (highly unlikely, tho) will respect his family’s right to privacy in such a tragic time.

In my past blogs, I’ve discussed mental health and chemical dependency issues as it applies to the end result in people dying of suicide or accidental overdoses as it applies to famous people as well just people who are not in the public eye. I’ve likened severe depression as an “emotional cancer”, and for some people it’s helped them make a little bit of sense of things that are not rational, but I know no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be able to make people understand if they haven’t experienced severe and persistent Mental Illness and a severe chronic depression of what an uphill battle it is. Most of us who are fighting it, usually at best will always take a few steps forward, and a couple back. For the rest of our lives. Then there is one end of the spectrum of people who find methods and treatment that do work for them, wonderfully and are in remission. The other side of the spectrum is the people who end up dying due to suicidality. For some, sadly it IS incurable.

In NO way am I saying that people should give up. I am saying though I understand why they do.

If I have to repeat this a million times, I will. We need to remove the stigma from Mental Health issues. We need not to shame those who’ve tried to commit suicide and those who’ve unfortunately lost their lives to it. I’m not saying that it should be glamorized but it doesn’t help anyone to demonize those who commit suicide, especially in this day and age where there are so many homicide/suicides. And the loved ones they leave behind.

I’ve wanted to write for awhile what it’s truly like, even 6 years later, to live with severe and chronic depression. Because sometimes for some of us, while there are many things that I’m grateful that I survived to see, even I can’t say with absolute certainty that I will not die from this. I’m not remotely suicidal, but I know how brutal this disease can be.

We need more treatment options for Mental Health issues. We need to be able to speak about what’s hurting us without judgment and stigmatization. And we need to understand that we can NEVER walk in another’s shoes. Don’t judge what you don’t know. If you can’t be a part of the pro-active solution, don’t be a judgmental stigmatizing shamer.

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams. Thank you for wonderful work you did that made people laugh so hard and your amazing acting ability for drama, that made us cry. The world was a better place because you were in it. And luckily we have so much of your work, that is immortalized you, that’s in film for many generations to enjoy and laugh from. Thank you for your honesty about your trials and tribulations. You were much more forthcoming then you had to be.

Robin, you will be dearly missed…………

*Resources for those who are suffering from mh issues and their loved ones*

*Crisis Resources*
http://www.nami.org
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/
http://www.211.org
http://www.211us.org
http://www.samhsa.gov/
http://www.save.org
http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/help http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

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