Hello dear reader(s)!
Are y’all ready to get real? No matter how flat you make a pancake, it’s got two sides. Now, I’m sorry, but I didn’t just come in a on a truckload of turnips. That dog don’t hunt. This ain’t my first rodeo. Now, let’s get real.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I am a cancer survivor (not that I came out physically fine after), and have two diagnosed mental illnesses. (PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.) And occasionally, like many bloggers, I write about it, the stigma associated with it, and how crappy I think our nation treats the mentally ill and all the problems that come from it.
But I am not a mental health professional. And neither are most of them (unless they are, in which case, you know, they don’t count in this). My blog-type-thing should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness or disease with the exception of that illness where you like to read crappy blog-type-things. You shouldn’t be reading this or anyone else’s blog as a substitute for attempting to find actual help. If you find a tip or technique you can use that isn’t harmful, by all means, use it, but not in exchange for actual help.
I am between professionals right now, because I am supposed to be moving very soon. I might turn to the internet as a stop-gap, but it should never be mine or anyone else’s first choice. Frankly, many of the people writing these posts are not at all on top of their own illness at the time they write them, and sometimes, they are just full of shit.
Much like the TV doctors, nobody can diagnose and treat your illness in a few minutes and without really engaging with you. Nobody without training should even try.
I have a friend, who I am absolutely convinced is bipolar. Am I right? Fuck if I know, I’m not a doctor. Seems like it to me, but that could be through my fucked up perspective and untrained eye.
But what about if you suspect you have an issue? What if you have all but self-diagnosed? What then?
Get off the internet, unless it is trying to find help, and stay off until you have found that help. And when that doctor is terrible and so is their staff (they will be, at least once), you keep trying until you find someone that can actually help. Then, if you can deal, go back online. Take everything with a grain of salt when you get there, though. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “Don’t believe everything you read online.”
Especially in the world of the mentally ill.
In a world that pushes the positive and acts like anything negative aired is a capital offense, many people try to place a positive spin and a idea that they are doing better than they really are. That happened recently, when someone I interacted with committed suicide. Nobody saw it coming, because although you knew that person was hurting, they made it seem like it was all under control. Honestly, I am not doing well with the knowledge of what happened and that maybe I could have done more even though I didn’t know that person outside of a few blog posts and comments. I am not doing well with the guilt that I really have nothing meaningful to say on that person’s page. I am not doing well with the stress of this move, the physical effects that remain from my cancer treatment, some personal issues, and just feeling like I will never be a successful individual who won’t have to rely on the kindness of others for the rest of my life. I am upset about the way I haven’t been able to get any sleep for a while now. I am upset that I feel as though my illness is not being taken seriously by those who have seen my good days and seem to assume that means I am fine and can actually function every day.
But was that last paragraph fun to read about? It wasn’t fun to write. So occasionally, we focus only on the good, and give people a false picture that we are doing much better than we actually are. We don’t want to bring them, or ourselves down.
We are not authorities or experts on anything but how we feel. Even the professionals are not going to be one hundred percent accurate all the time for each individual.
Some of the common bullshit “articles” and most offensive to me personally are the ones that try to tell people how to deal with people who are symptomatic. Not everyone presents the symptoms of the same illness in the same way, and therefore, not everyone responds the same to the same things. If you want to know how to deal with someone having a hard time, find a time where they are more okay…and ask them.
What these articles tell you to do to someone during their panic attack, might result in a punch to the face if you tried it during one of mine.
The other issues I have with these articles is that they seem to imply that our illnesses are something you are obligated to deal with. You’re not. If it is too much for you, let us know, and go. Hopefully, some friends and family will think we are worth the hassle. Hannah stayed through my cancer, and I loved her so much for it. She didn’t have to. I would have stayed battling her issues, if she would have survived them, but that would have been my choice. Our issues are ours to deal with, and anyone who chooses to take that on should be appreciated. They are not obligated to stay, just as we are not obligated to accept anything less than the support from them we feel we deserve.
To summarize, if you have a mental illness, or suspect it, and want people to accept you, you have an obligation to try to mitigate. Sometimes that will be possible, sometimes it won’t. But you need to try. And you shouldn’t expect everyone to be okay with the effects of your illness, especially if you are not trying. Trying is not believing every meme and “article” written by people online. Trying is not using your illness as a cover for the times when you are just a dick and you know the difference. This isn’t a cut that you can put a band-aid over. You need a professional, not a post or meme. Good luck and good health.