I chose to publicly discuss what other people would normally hide or only tell their priest or Therapist. The reaction has ranged from positive to hateful. It’s also caused me to question myself many times and opened my eyes to just how much Stigma is attached to Mental Illness/Addiction/Suicide or anything related to these subjects.
But the Stigma, confusion and misinformation doesn’t stop with those who don’t have these issues. This I find even more appalling. When I’m attacked on Social Media by someone who has been through misdiagnosis, psychiatric hospitals, and receiving the wrong care or no care it angers me.
When I’m ganged up on and told I don’t know what I’m talking about I become furious.
A person who follows me on Twitter is promoting a book about his personal struggle with a misdiagnosis of ADHD, medicated with 9 different Psychiatric Medications for over 3 years when the root cause was PTSD and Vision Issues.
After a recent musician’s suicide he wrote “I’ve got a ton of failures in my past- the difference is that I did NOT give up (even during a suicide attempt, which I stopped suddenly)”
One of his Followers wrote after that “Suffered from Depression for 11 months. Music and exercise, not tablets (pills) helped me snap out of it and determination”
I admit I’m not myself lately and I become irritated or angered easily. I am more sensitive than usual which if you knew me you would know this is extremely bad.
My responses were respectful. I didn’t want to appear incoherent or disrespectful. I replied to the first one “I’m happy that you have been strong enough or able to keep going. Unfortunately not everyone is the same and every illness is different.”
He asked me “Is there anything you are grateful for?” I can’t say I took that question well. I waited to respond and when I did I told him I was grateful for “My father and the people I’ve been able to help who are like me, who went too long without help, who suffer daily, the invisible ones.”
The other one I told “The reason there is so much Stigma surrounding Mental Health is because people say things like “snap out of it” when it isn’t possible with a Mental Illness like Bipolar or Schizophrenia”.
The reply was “You don’t know f*ck all about it. I did snap out of my depression! 5 weeks after snapping out of depression I was kidnapped by the authorities an injected by force!”
This is when I realized I was arguing with a person I probably was wasting my time arguing with. When I actually looked at their Twitter page and it said they were the Governor of Rowanwood and held many Amateur Boxing Championships (amateur was spelled wrong 3 times) I knew to let it go. This person was dealing with more than they probably knew about.
There comes a point where no one around you wants to hear about anything related to Mental Health, Medications, Doctors, Stigma, or how you feel. They become numb to your pain and tears and even annoyed. I can’t say I blame them. The problem is it never leaves my head. The stories linked to Bipolar and Alcoholism. The way I behaved and the consequences. The people I hurt and lost along the way. The people I lost when I stopped drinking and they found out I was diagnosed as Bipolar.
There’s also a physical component. I self medicated with alcohol for over 20 years. I have Celiac Disease but I didn’t find out until I stopped drinking. Every time I drank I was poisoning myself and doing permanent damage to my body. I mostly drank beer and shots. It took about 3 days to recover sometimes from a hangover. The last few years I was vomiting blood and my liver was enlarged. I damaged my brain, immune system, my white blood cell count is always too low, I’ve lost significant grey matter for my age, the list goes on. I did it to myself but there were also so many professionals who missed it all.
Now, I’m left feeling worse than I ever have.
WHAT I WANT TO DO
There are a few things I would like to do if it’s possible to feel better again.
I want to travel more. I love to travel to warm, sunny, beautiful places. Hopefully with wildlife.
I would like to try to speak publicly about my story to help others.
I want to take my Dad to local areas he’s never been to but I know he’ll enjoy.
I want to try to sell my jewelry.
I want to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary.
I want to live instead of exist.