Hihi everyone! Pull up a chair and relax as best you can, because today’s post is all about things my mental illnesses have lead to- and some of the quirks I’ve grown to have through experiences not all pleasant to the ever curious eye. If you’re easily triggered by things like hospitals, suicidal thoughts, some minor cursing, or just generally find mental illness as a topic too uncomfortable, you might want to skip this soul-searching session.
That said, let’s move on to today’s Soulful Saturday! Let’s show our support for Mental Health Awareness Month!
Before I can go through my story with mental illness, I think it’s important I share with you my list of diagnoses that will be discussed over time, not necessarily only in this post. I’m diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks; schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type; OCD; Borderline Personality Disorder… And I know there was something else, but I’ve honestly forgotten. My memory isn’t that great with all my meds and other health issues!
But there, now you have a base. Today, I’m going to focus mostly on the schizoaffective and the anxiety disorder. Why? Because honestly, I could write a book about Borderline, and I don’t feel like starting it now. Maybe another time.
My schizoaffective was likely the biggest problem for me in my youth. I’d be too afraid to leave the house if my hallucinations were bad (some weren’t scary, others scared my socks off). My mood would (and still does) change on a dime. But really, I want to focus on the schizo part of this: because it’s my schizo that led me to being hospitalized in high school. Well, the schizoaffective and the medicine I was put on because of it.
To The Hospital
For those of you that aren’t aware, I had a heart condition growing up, which I only got fixed maybe two years ago? I was put on a common antipsychotic called abilify- but the warnings on that medicine includes ‘do not take with a heart condition’. My doctor, however, was a total asshat. He threatened to have me taken away from my father if I didn’t take it! I told him about the reason, I told him when my heart problems worsened, and this horrible man just didn’t care a rat’s ass about my health swirling downward instead of getting better.
Now, I mentioned I was hospitalized. This isn’t because of the voices- this is because of my being triggered by mother’s day, which resulted me becoming depressed enough to contemplate suicide, as my homicidal rage towards my mother always made me feel worse. My mother abandoned me- how was I supposed to celebrate the woman that never wanted me outside possibly curing (or at least permanently putting into remission) her Crohn’s? So, after writing my journal about the pain, I shared it with my therapist… Who immediately called an ambulance. I’d been asking for years to go to the hospital, and I was finally getting what I wanted.
I was there ten days, and I saw a lot. One person tried to jab a pencil into their throat to commit suicide. A little kid constantly needed shots in his butt to calm him down. A guy kept eating the paper for the ward’s point system… I witnessed a lot, let’s just keep it at that. I was thankful to be off the abilify (first thing they did when they looked at my health file). Truly, I was. That’s probably why I was only there for ten days.
After the Hospital
For many, including myself at the time, it’s not well known that after you get out of the hospital, you often go to a day program called ‘partial hospitalization’, meant to help you return to your normal life. There were therapy sessions galore, from regular group therapy to art therapy. And I learned some valuable things! For one… I learned to hate the word ‘fine’, and to avoid using it when telling someone how I’m doing.
Now, I know many people see ‘fine’ as a bad term to use because it often means they don’t want to be honest. But there’s more to it, I learned. You see, fine is an acronym. There’s a reason it’s taken as opposite of the term’s meaning. You see, here’s what it means:
That acrostic doesn’t sound like a great thing at all, does it? Ever since learning this at the partial hospitalization program, I’ve stopped accepting ‘fine’ as an answer to how someone’s feeling- because I know what it means: it’s a cover-up to avoid explaining what’s really going on in your life.
And that, my friends, is what I truly wanted to share with you today. I wanted to share how mental health can coincide with your body health, and how a visit to the hospital can teach you and change you. I know I haven’t gotten in as deep as I’d like, but… For now, just digest what I’ve shared so far. If you feel like sharing your own experiences in the comments, I’d love to hear them! But no matter what… please, never tell me you’re ‘fine’.