Considering how prevalent mental illness is, why do so few bloggers talk about it?

The aim of this blog is to write about my experience with mental illness, developments in my life as well as issues in the field of mental health all the while keeping a feminist framework.

I hope you can take something from this blog, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Religion as Therapy

Here is an article that you may find interesting about using writing to honour our struggles as a form of healing. While I do not abide to any sort of organized religion, I do see the significance of recognizing a higher power during recovery (and life after/between illness).

I use to see myself as a Christian but my illness really quelled that idea. The Christian outlook on God (or at least how I always understood it) was that He only gives to us what we can handle and that He has a higher purpose for His actions. While this is all very well in theory, in the midst of my depression I started to think, what kind of asshole would put this upon those he supposedly loves? (Not to mention that it drives many to suicide for which He then punishes them for)

I still consider myself a spiritual person but believe in a more abstract form of higher power; more like there exists a power or powers that can guide and comfort, but has little power over peoples actions or their fate. I also believe my ancestors are with me and I pray to them when I need comfort or guidance. I cannot blame my life's problems on a higher power such as these but can find strength in them being there for me.

How does religion tie into your healing?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A little taste of the reality that is living with this illness

A couple months ago, I had 3 or 4 days of anxiety symptoms. I didn't blink the first day (I had had minor symptoms intermittently over the course of my recovery and they generally go away the next day). Day two, I was like... 'hmmm what's going on?' So, I took an extra dose of my anti-psychotic (as recommended by my psychiatrist. Do not adjust your medication without supervision!) The third day. I panicked. I was an absolute mess. 'It is starting again! It's all down hill from here' I was convinced. 'No, I cannot do this again, I can't!' My partner tried to calm me. 'It's okay, it has only been a couple of days, and if it is a relapse, we can handle it.' It was good knowing that there was someone who would be there for me (I remember many years of never having that privilege and was so thankful that there would be that support for the relapse I felt was inevitable), but I really could not be consoled.

But, after a couple days of bumping up my dosage, everything went back to 'normal'.

Of course, me freaking out, didn't help my anxiety symptoms and my anxiety symptoms didn't help when it came to freaking out.I cannot even explain how panicked I was. What that felt like was so powerful. I was so thankful to all the faith I have in this world.

I wish I had some sort of moral to this story. I learned how thankful I am for my medication and loving support of my partner. It reminded me to be thankful for the 'sanity' I enjoy but also that if things had gotten worse, it would be okay. I would use the skills I have learned in the past and I would have handled it. But god, I am so thankful it was a mere three days. I haven't enjoyed this long of a stretch of 'sanity' since before I was diagnosed in high school. I pray (in a secular way) that it will not be taken away from me. This is something average people don't understand: how fragile our quality of life is.

You know, re-reading that last paragraph, I realise I am completely lying! I wrote, "if things had gotten worse, it would be okay. I would use the skills I have learned in the past and I would have handled it". That is bullshit. I wouldn't have handled it. I would have continued freaking out making my depression worse and probably inspired a manic episode. I would, however, haul my ass to the psychiatrist ASAP and beg for more drugs and then pray they would work (all the while, freaking out!)

It's just, and here is that pessimistic side of me I am more familiar with, I have learned that therapy and the skills acquired there can help but they do not solve the issue (for me, anyways). So I could have begun the practice of self monitoring my thoughts and calming my automatic reactions to them, but my slide into a relapse would not have been stalled. And of course, this mere belief would have helped that fact come true.

Ahhh god, I am so thankful.

Bitch! How I love thee

Bitch, my favourite magazine, has a great blog you should all check out. They define themselves as a feminist response to pop culture. They are in my top three favourite blogs. What is even better? Right now they are doing a series of articles about mental illness. Definately check it out.

I am so excited to see a feminist blog doing a series on mental illness, and judging from the comments, there are many readers who would agree.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on Me

wow its been a long time. finding inspiration is a toughy apparently. things are going really great so I have to be thankful. recently my dosage of the anti-psychotic I am on has gone down. originally I want to switch brands of the drug because it was simply too expensive to stay with the brand I was on ($200 a month). talking with my psychiatrist, however, we decided to forgo the risks of changing brands (it was hard enough to find one that had manageable side effects in the first place) and instead lower my dosage. its been about 3 weeks and its going well, I haven’t felt a difference (thank god). it will only save me about $60 a month, but that’s better than nothing.
I am still keeping a mood journal and documenting anything of note. things are going strong with my partner, and my life is generally pretty stress free. this may be changing soon as we are looking in to doing some work overseas and that kind of pressure and change can challenge anyone.
all in all I am very thankful for my situation in life, and feel secure in my mental health. I am so lucky, and I am thankful for every day that I have in this health. I know one day I will be challenged again to fight off my disorders, but I feel more confident than I ever have, that I will be able to do it. fuck ive turned into an optimist, gag.
thanks for reading, I hope to post some critical commentary on mental illness and a related feminist issue soon.