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I mailed off the paperwork to SS yesterday to let them know that I now have a professional job and don’t need ss anymore.  I had phoned and mailed them a couple months ago. They then sent me  a bunch of new or more forms to fill out. The forms asked questions about employment from years ago. I m not sure why they were asking all those questions, because they should already have the answers to those in their files already. And some of the questions were about how much money I made in a specific month years ago.  I don’t have paperwork from that far back. Also questions abbot supervisor’s names from years ago…I don’t remember or those people have moved on to new jobs.

I phoned a woman at the office about a week and a half ago. She seemed friendly enough and just told me not to spend the SS money since I had started my new job. The paperwork asks for names and phone numbers of my current supervisor. I also told her I would prefer if they didn’t phone my boss and ask question because of the stigma involved. (I don’t need my new boss know that I have an illness.) The woman told me to simply write on the paperwork that I would prefer if they didn’t contact my new boss.

I was supposed to have finished the paperwork a couple of weeks ago, but I have been so busy with my new job AND the questions are about details and fact that I don’t know where the documentation is. Obsessive and organized  I am not. I finally figured I would just answer the paperwork questions the best I could so they would know that I was at least trying to answer them. sometimes in life trying to do something rather than doing nothing because you can’t do it correctly is the best way to get help or to let others know you are doing your best.

One of the best ways to write a book is to practice writing everyday. I’ve been thinking about writing a book for a long time now. I want to write about my recovery from mental illness. I want to write a book, but I’m not sure why. I used to think it was because I wanted to help others. I now feel like someone who is “passing” for a normal person. That most people who know me now wouldn’t ever even dream of my struggle with mental illness. I have a lot of things I ‘ve done in my life that I am ashamed of, and I don’t know if I really want to write about those things. I wouldn’t want to embarrass my children or my parents. So, I wonder if I really want to write the book. I keep thinking I need to be just a little more successful before I can write the book.

How successful to I need to be? What is your definition of success?  For now, my definition is that I need to be off disability and holding down a full time job with benefits and also having a little status in my community. I know I was actually successful before I was off of disability. And in this economy defining success by a full time job with benies, isn’t really the best thing to do. Why does anyone have to be a success by how much money he or she makes?  Well, I just want others to see, “yes, it can be done, a doctor can diagnose you will a “genetic, brain disease, give you so much mediation that you are doped up beyond able to function, and yet, you can recover and lead a “successful”, “normal” life.
Writing also keeps me sane. I remember once, when I had been very depressed and the psych doc had recommended that I go into a pych unit…that one of the “excerises was for me ( all of the patients to write down their feelings.) I didn’t do it, not becuase I was noncomplient, no, rather, I didn’t have any feelings. Later, a freind of mine said “you sould have written, ‘Today, I feel nothing.'”  Yeah, I should have. We also  had art thearpy and I made a little plaster puppie. When I go out of the psych unit . I had that plaster puppy sitting on the ledge by my fireplace. But, whenever I looked at it, it just reminding me of my time in the psych unit an dwhat a awlful time it was for me. One day I picked up that plaster puppy and threw it in the garbage.

Which reminds me of another thing I did during that time period. I had a job in which I thought people picked on  me and treated me unfarily. I had the phone numbers of my colleagues written on a piece of paper. One day I picked up that paper and held it over the sink as I lit a match under it and watched it burn.

Merry Christmas!

If you have read my blog in the past or have just stumbled upon it, I want you to know that recovery IS possible. I am totally weaned off of drugs. My goal five years ago was to write an autobiography about how I was written off as disabled, almost a “throw-away.” Many, especially the professionals, thought I should be on meds for the rest of my life.

I am a successful person now.  Success is in the eye of the beholder, but I am willing to bet no one in the town I now live, would ever guess that I have a mental illness or that at one time I was basically a drooling fool. Drooling because of the meds!

As I said, I thought I would write an autobiography, but I am still to scared to do it. I feel 90 percent recovered. I head up a small non-profit agency and I am an artist. At this time I don’t make enough money. I am scared that if I went public with my story, I might need future employment. Will employers not really want me?

I will give you an example. I have been very, very busy so I wrote a generic email and blind carbon copied it to several of my friends. In the email I said that I was too busy to put up my Christmas decorations and that we didn’t have electricity for the part of the house that we wanted to put the decorations.  Well, a friend who knew me from my depression and bipolar mania days wrote back to say she was so sorry that I was feeling blue.

Blue!  I was busy, busy, busy. I’m wasn’t sad, blue or depressed.

Now this person was/is a very good friend who stuck with me through the worse. But I suspect she will always see me as mentally ill. We never see each other any more. We met in the days before Internet and we live thousands of miles apart.  I guess I haven’t told her about my long journey off the meds. She saw me at my worse. To be fair, she doesn’t know about the new me.

But the fact that I my busyness was misconstrued for the blues as why I had no decorations was revealing to how people view you once you have been labeled as mentally ill.

You know, most people don’t know how offensive that is. This weekend I went to a party where many people seemed “liberal” in their social beliefs. In fact they were angry because gays are not given equal rights. But in a previous conversation during the evening someone had mentioned Mary Todd Lincoln and how Abraham Lincoln should have divorced her because she was mentally ill. I just about said, “So, maybe he loved her.” Or “Well if she had had MS should she be divorced?

It really bugs me when people say things like that.

One time in talking to a friend I told her about some strange behavior of my husband. She said I could divorce him if he were mentally ill. She had no idea how that just shut me up about telling her any of my issues. She had no idea that I was once labeled “mentally ill.”

You might want to read this story about her in Newsweek: Helcat or Helpmate: The Mary Todd Lincoln Sage

I used to say I was treading water and that was okay because I enjoyed swimming. I wasn’t sinking or drowning and I wasn’t struggling.  Everything was okay. (See my February post about treading water and the stigma of mental illness here.

Well, today I met with a a person to give me business advice.

He said to me, “NG  you have been saying for months that you are doing a half-baked job, you just need to set your mind to it that you are going to really work and to an excellent job.”  He went on to say that I knew good from half-baked why did I continue to do a half-baked job?

I wanted to say, “You know, I know how to do a better job, but you have no idea how fast I have to run to just keep my head above water and now, well, now I am floating, and floating feels pretty darn good.”

I used to have an anxiety disorder. I used to be medicated.

Course if I really believed that just floating was okay I wouldn’t have contacted him for advice on how to improve my skills.

My customers don’t care what my problem is. All they care about is a good product, which I give them at this time. But I want to some day get off disability so I need to do an even better job so I can command more money.

So on the one hand I am asking for advice and my friend is telling me…you just need to set your mind to it and do it.  On the other hand part of me doesn’t really know if I can. I lack self-confidence. I think as long as I am not stressed out and medicated who cares….I am floating…and it feel so good.

And then someone on a listserve or group sends you a link of how the insurance reps can deny you insurance when you need it for a life threatening condition because you honestly forgot to tell them about some minor ailment you had treated and you wonder, “Why am I even trying to do this?”

Because I feel the disability it holding me back. I want to excell. I want write a books some day that say, “I was written off and look at me now.”

So hubby and I went to see “The Soloist” last night.

We liked it. I think I caught onto some stuff that other people may not have caught.  I certainly understood why Nathaniel got angry when he read the word Schizophrenic in the paperwork Steve Lopez tried to get him to sign.

I caught that the main worker at the Lamp said that many of the people have had 16 diagnoses..and they didn’t help a bit.

But I wondered if the other people sitting in the theater caught on to why the Lamp worker didn’t want to push meds or why Nathaniel didn’t want to take them. That wasn’t really explored…at least I didn’t think so.

I also caught a headline about Scientologists beside the column Steve Lopez’ column.

You can read the original column Points West here.

I was excited to see that they are a part of Participant Media but I was disappointed to see that it links to a NAMI site. If you go to the website it has links of ways you can help homeless people.  Take Part or Participant Media has links to

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • The Nataniel Anthony Ayers Foundation
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Ocean Park Community Center
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • Help World USA
  • Lamp Community
  • Mental Health America
  • Covenant House
  • NARSAD
  • NARSAD Artworks
  • League of American Orchestras

Hey, maybe some of the alternative mental health groups should try to ally with links also! ?

I am not going to add all those urls in the list above…if you are curious click here.

Uggh!  I just read this on one of the links for tips on on to help:

Myth: Psychiatric disorders are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. People who have a mental illness are just “crazy.”

Fact: The fact is that brain disorders, like heart disease or diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be treated effectively.

(If this is a fact…ask for a blood test, a tissue sample or a urine test. The doctor will tell you that there is none. Do you know of any other diseases that can not be proven?  When they can’t be proven they are know as syndromes. And the medical community admits they don’t have the answer.)

Tell you what…the movie is good….some other organizations are making hay with it.

It never, ever said mental illness was biochemical. The movie never ever said meds would help.

It said FRIENDSHIP and CONNECTEDNESS would help.

I haven’t been blogging much about good food and supplements.
I have been reading Gianna’s and Mama Dharma’s blogs.  (I wish I could have blogged when I was a young mother. I was fine when I was with people, but anxiety ridden when I was alone.) I like what they both have to say about psych recovery and even using those very words.

I am feeling invalidated by my husband. I know it isn’t good. Social Security is reviewing me. I am searching for ways to make enough money to support myself without SS.

So last night when I saw him again I told him. “I tried to tell you my feelings and how hurt I was. You told me to ‘suck it up.'” He denied saying that I should, “Suck it up.”  He said the he said, “Don’t let it bother you.”  Hmmm….to me that is the same difference.

On Saturday I had imagined myself going over to his place and laying on the bed and having him rub my back saying, “There, there.”

Hey, I know it can get tiresome listening to someone complain about their hurt feelings, but then again I was really, really hurt. He didn’t hear me out.  I feel like I was verbally abused by one person. And then emotionally abused (or negated or ignored) by the person I went to for comfort.

Maybe that should be all I need to make my decision to leave him. Or maybe he meant “Don’t let it bother you it a positive affirming way.”

I looked in the newspaper for jobs. There is only one half page of jobs. It sure would be more economically secure to just stay with him.  I gotta finish paperwork for SS review.  Ug!

What are the rest of you out there doing for a living?

New store plays upon the negative sterotype and inhumane treatment of mental illness

New store plays upon the negative sterotype and inhumane treatment of mental illness

A new donut shop in Campbell, Calif. is using negative stereotypes of psychiatric illnesses and treatment as their hook to sell their product. So look this over, Psycho Donuts. The owners say there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.

They have a padded cell, a nutcase display, their employees were white coats, some donuts are named after disorders on the DSM. M.H.T. stands for “massive head trauma” and their is one named “bipolar.”  The staff wear white coats and are called “nurses” or “psycho counter girls” and the website shows a “nurse” with a huge injection needle and a weird look on her face giving a shot to a someone in a straight jacket.

SARAH TRIANO is helping to organize protest of the Psycho Donuts  store mis-use of terms about “mad people.” Sarah is Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center.

You can listen to her on MadRadio. She is about half way through the show.

The CEO of this donut shop has a blog named The Psycho Buzz in which he says, “To those who are spending countless hours building an intricate strategy against us, we have a simple solution — go buy your donuts elsewhere. Or if you don’t like donuts, go spend your time on the bigger problems in the world. North Korea is testing their Nuclear muscle; our economy is at the brink of disaster. Go find a donut shop you like, or focus your concerns on something other than two guys trying to sell donuts. “

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