bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, suicide, Uncategorized

13 Reasons Why

***Trigger Warning***

What do you do when you have a bad night? Like laying in bed thinking about suicide, considering how your husband would react when you found you when you got home from, and worrying about if your baby girl wakes up before he gets home.

I’m having one of those nights. I haven’t watched 13 Reasons Why but my husband just finished it last night and told me that the suicide scene was really bad. I asked him how she killed herself (big mistake) and he told me about the scene. I thought about it all last night. It took me forever to go back to sleep. I just kept replaying over and over again what I imagined it would be like. I can’t get it out of my head.

That is the problem with shows like this. I don’t care if it is getting people to talk about mental illness more. How is that helpful when it is alienating and triggering people who actually have mental illness. I have so many people tell me how intriguing the show is, but I still chose not to watch it because I know myself and I know the dark place I’m in right now. And I know there are others like me. People who want to talk about mental illness but want to do it without dramatic rape scenes and a traumatizing suicide scene.

I don’t know if anyone heard about this but earlier this year a young girl live streamed her suicide. The camera stayed on until her parents found her and turned it off. As soon as the website/police realized it was online it was removed but it had already been shared. Did you get what I just said? A video of a live suicide had been shared on the internet.

It is my belief that situations like this and 13 Reasons Why aren’t helping us talk about mental illness, it’s desensitizing us to suicide. NO ONE should be able to sit through a suicide scene. My husband told me he had to turn away and was almost crying. This is from a guy who saw active duty in Iraq. Yet I already have friends who are starting the show over because it was so good the first time. That sickens my stomach. I don’t care how well written it is (and I know because I have read the book), suicide is real. Life isn’t like 13 Reasons Why. You don’t get to watch a dramatic scene unfold and then fast forward through the suicide so you can sleep at night. People need to start talking about mental illness, not suicide.

I know lots of people may disagree with me on this and that’s fine. What I want people to understand is that you can’t just put trigger warning at the beginning of an episode and pat yourself on the back for acknowledging mental illness. I chose not to watch the show but it is constantly being thrown in my face on social media and in my own life.

Anyone can watch a show about mental illness and suicide but how many of those people would have held me last night while I cried and hallucinated (my husband did). Mental illness isn’t a fiction story, this is so many people’s real life.

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bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, Uncategorized

Blame it on Bipolar

Over dramatic. That is what I get called on a regular basis. I’m over dramatic when I get more emotional than other people.

Guess what?

That is what Bipolar is. I have stronger emotions than people without Bipolar disorder. In fact, check out the National Institute of Mental Health and it says, “People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion”.

Sometimes having crazy strong emotions is so cool, being able to feel so much can be like a high. The ability to live in this state of black and white horror is something other people don’t get, it sets us apart from others.

But on the other hand, people who don’t feel those emotions, don’t understand those emotions. Which is how we get back to the over dramatic. I hate being called over dramatic or emotional or sensitive. Unfortunately, my emotions are usually so scattered when someone calls me one of those words that I end up crying or getting angry, thus proving their point.

So what do I do? Do I hide my emotions or try to act like I’m not “crazy”. Or do I let myself be me regardless of what people think.

Bipolar is such a big part of my life. I am who I am because of bipolar disorder. But people don’t know that. Most people don’t know that I have bipolar disorder. I contribute to the stigma of mental illness because I keep my disorder a secret. I am too ashamed of my mental illness to be open about it. The thing is, people treat you differently. They might try not to but it still happens. All of the sudden you can’t babysit their kids or volunteer at that school event. There is a fear that you will snap at any time.

I am such a high functioning bipolar that I’m not going to let it destroy my life yet. But here we are again encouraging this stigma that people with a mental disorder are treated differently.

Oh well. For now I will continue to allow people to think I am over dramatic and too sensitive instead of just blaming it on bipolar.

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bipolar, Mental Health, mental illness, suicide

Mental Illness

*Trigger Warning: Suicide

 

Let’s talk about mental illness. What is mental illness?

It is defined as a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. As someone who has a mood disorder, I am living proof of this definition. I love that this definition includes thinking. Our thoughts are so important.  Our thoughts lead to our feelings which lead to our actions, no matter how damaging those actions will be.

Since I got out of the hospital and have been working with a therapist I have been more aware of my thoughts. You can’t be complacent about suicidal thoughts. You have to actively fight against them. It is a conscious decision to tell yourself that you will not entertain those thoughts. That suicide does not run your life.

Your decisions do not have to be based on the thoughts of  doubt and worthlessness. You can control what thoughts you dwell on. When you are depressed it is so hard to handle the thoughts. You don’t have the energy to fight your feelings. That is what makes depression so dangerous. The thoughts that you can’t control that make suicide so appealing.

So how do we change our thoughts. I’m not 100% sure, but I will share what I have been working on with my therapist.

We realized that I have a progression of suicidal thoughts. First, the thought pops into my head. It may be the thought that I could jump off this bridge or step in front of that train. Second, I keep thinking about it. I dwell on this thought, I imagine it really happening. How I would feel before I died, how other people would react. Then third, the depression comes. The idea that I really could go through with it. The thought that I could end it all and that would be it, I would be done forever, no turning back.

So once I realized that this is how my thoughts worked I had to consciously stop them at that very first thought. As soon as I even get an idea of suicide, I immediately have to distract myself, think about something else, call someone, turn on Netflix. If I can stop the thoughts at the beginning, I prevent the inevitable depression that would normally follow.

Do you still not agree that thoughts are important?

When it comes to mental illness, thoughts have the power to end your life.

And your life is important.

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