The Price of Sanity

I’ve made really not very pleasant discovery last week and that is what it costs to have long-term therapy.

I was seeing therapist for almost a year in my university town and it was great, it helped me a lot and the therapist was amazing. And it was covered by my insurance, which was also great help. Unfortunately, everything ends and so did my therapy, because in June I moved back to my home. So I went to see my psychiatrist here and asked for recommendation of new therapist, because the last one advised me to continue with the sessions. And I learned that I could get insurance payed one, but only short-term, which means about ten sessions and that’s it. If I want long term, I have to pay for it myself and it’s not small amount.

Personally, I think I could afford at least two sessions per month, that’s not the problem. I have the money, so I’m ok. But it got me thinking about the whole big picture. Imagine someone is having really bad depression and/or anxiety and it prevents them from having a regular job and supporting themselves. They are short of money and they are told that they get only ten sessions covered by insurance and if they want or need long-term therapy, they have to pay for it full. Which they can’t, because they can’t have a full-time job, so they don’t have the money to pay for the therapy that could help the get full-time job and get money and so on.

I guess other insurance companies might have better options, but honestly, I don’t believe it much. The one in my college town was probably only covered because it was in a support center for children and young adults. And I don’t know what is the solution, what is the way to get the help and support mentally ill people need. I just know it makes me sad and angry…

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The Unsettling Thoughts

I always wonder what have to happen to people to get suddenly really hateful. I was going through my facebook feed and saw a friend posting a news article about a man sentenced to jail for rape. The crime is terrible and it’s scary, but what was also scary for me was the discussion that my friend and other people had under the post.

You see, the man was schizophrenic and whenever a mentally ill person is involved in a crime, I’m really worried about the comments. I’m no expert on this particular illness, but I know at least something and I know it’s really complicated. And that it’s the one illness that scares people the most, because schizophrenics are mostly presented as dangerous insane criminals. So this person was called “schizophrenic idiot”, one person said they doen’t believe that the rapist didn’t know what was doing and that people like this should be shot, because they are no asset to society…

It’s not the first time I have seen this, what people don’t undestand, they shame and hate. I was really surprised by that outburst, not only for what this man did, but also for his illness. I don’t want to appologize him, what he did was wrong. But what I find interesting is that he was tried before, for different things, but it was stopped for he was found insane. Why nobody helped him? Shouldn’t he have gone to hospital and be treated? Instead, he was probably just released and he harmed young girls and he’s sentenced and everybody is blaming him and he’s the dangerous schizophrenic. But where was the system?

I always feel kind of scared, when people start this hating for mental illness, because for some reason, what happened to us is our fault.

This really has no big point, I just always feel unsettled when I see things like this comments, and I needed to clear my head.

Marinashutup: What They Don’t Tell You About Depression (and my commentary)

Today I’m going to share two videos made by a youtuber Marinashutup, where she talks about her experience with depression. I agree almost completely with her and I will comment more down after the videos.

The first video is true in the sense that after starting taking antidepressants, you can experience a lot of energy and positive feelings, because your brain is on fire, metaphorically speaking. I know this, because I experienced it too, after taking the pills several weeks, I felt like I was bathing in sunshine and positive feelings every single second. It was great, but it didn’t last forever. Back then my psychiatrist told me that this is normal experience, way to kill my buzz… It is kind of naive, but I like the numbers she mentions, about the number of people affected and treated. It’s scary and sad.

I agree a lot with Marina with what she says in the second video. It is hard to admit to yourself, that you’re not ok. Getting diagnosed and treated is not easy, there is a lot of stigma. I mentioned in my previous post that I waited too long because I was afraid of the label “mentally ill”. And also, because I read about this, of course, but I had never thought it could happen to me. What she calls a relapse in the video, it’s what I call a roller-coaster in my blog. I go up and I go down and it can be really exhausting. In my case, the relapse can take from several hours to several days or weeks. Usually I can spot it, I get too tired, too emotional, too restless and anxious, sad and feel really bad… Really, after years with this disorder, I usually get the message. I can even spot it in my blog, the very bad and sad posts I put here, those are the moments when I relapse. It’s not permanent, I get back eventually, but it is exhausting.

I also like that she stresses the problem of disbelieve. Mental problems tend to be dismissed, especially in teenagers. I wrote a post, which you can find here, when I was really sad and emotional after reading a discussion on a page dealing with mental disorders. I admit, when I read about people dealing with similar issues, I get teary a lot. It hurts me that so many people go through this, nobody deserves this! And saying to them they just made it up? That’s the worst, don’t do that. Somehow, some people think I need to flaunt my disorder to feel special, yeah… It feels really special to know my brain is not working as it should, I feel like a totally¬† special person.

I think Marina makes good points and I admire her courage to share her experience.

Going Down on a Roller-Coaster of My Life. Again.

Once again, my disorder is messing with my life. This weekend I was supposed to have a workshop with our school choir, but no, not for me. Not that I don’t want to go there, I was looking forward to it for weeks. I love singing and I fancy myself to be a good singer, at least a little bit. But no “dreams come true” for me, I guess.

The thing I have always wanted the most is to belong somewhere. To have a group of people I could call friends, who would love me and accept me for who I am. People I could laugh with and go out and have fun. But every time I thought that this is it, this is where I belong, it ends. At the beginning of this semester, I thought it again. People from school started to meet every Monday, started a choir, it was great and I was happy. And then my brain decided that happiness is not for me. I want to go out with people, but every time I’m happy and excited, it last only for a while and then it starts feeling bad, like really bad. It’s like a candle that burned too quickly and now it’s darkness. I start to feel that people think I was stupid, embarrasing, fat, terrible and so on and it just destroys my happy memories.

And this week, my anxiety got so much worse. I have problems falling asleep, but when I do sleep, I have nightmares, really vivid nightmares, that leave me restless and disoriented for most of day. I’m tired, because I don’t really get some rest during nights, I feel pressured to do some work, do things I have to do, go to school, find a job, be independent, start writing diploma thesis and so on and so on and…my brain just got overload, which means depression and anxiety. Leaving the flat seems scary, with so many noises. At random times, some noise gets into my head and it seems much louder than it is and I got anxiety attact. When I’m outside, I try to control it, I push my boundaries to calm down, because nobody wants to meet a freak like that. Unfortunatelly, this builds up the pressure and takes a lot of strength, which ultimately leads to more attacks and worsening of symptoms.

Right now, I feel like I’m going to break down any second. Every thought scares me, I don’t see any meaning in even trying to be normal and I’m tired of all this. I just want to be normal, live normal life, have friends, go out and be happy. But I’m not and I don’t know, if this change sometime in the future. I really wanted to go this workshop, have great time with friends, may be go for a beer or two after it, sing and be happy. Instead, all I have is fear of noise and fear of silence, exhaustion and fear of sleep, lot of work to do and no will to do it, desperate wish to belong somewhere and be appreciated for my skills and fear of going out, fear of what people really think.

Suicide and Homicide, the Role Models for Mentally Ill

One of the inspirations for this entry was an article from another blogger living with schizophrenia. I recommend you to read it: This Has Been Heavily Edited to Suit All Audiences.

 

Role models. Those are people who inspire us in some way, we want to achieve what they did, look like they do or something like that. We try to imitate them, behave like them, dress like them, talk like them, so we can have something they have. It might be a successful person in bussiness, it might be our parents, it might be a fictional character and so on. The “fun” starts, when you have some mental illness. Oh yes, looking for someone to inspire you is…well, bitter to say the least.

I tried to think about some famous people in my country with mental illness. I came up with few, one died of heart attack at pretty early age, one combined alcohol and pills and the combination was lethal, one died in mental hospital, because his illness got worse, the other two comitted suicide… When it comes to famous people abroad, some singer, actor, politician, just someone, I can’t come up with anyone. Well, I can, but Robin Williams also comitted suicide, so…

And that’s the “fun”! Think about representation of mental illnesses in media. How many fictional characters can you come up with that are mentally ill, but have normal happy life? How many of these stories are in news? Honestly, I can’t think of even one… But how many fictional villains are mentally ill? They are depressed, schizofrenic, just twisted personalities… Yeah, maaany… And news representation? Oh yes, stories of a mentally ill murderers are common, just think about the last one, which inspired me to write this blog.

The German pilot crashed a plane in Alps and killed 149 people and himself. That itself is terrible, but at least for a week media was full of him being depressed as the reason for this act. I stopped reading articles about this right after this discovery, it was too much. Unfortunatelly, I wasn’t spared the “depressed people are crazy” sort of comment and it actually came from my partner… He read some article and then said something like “it turns out that the pilot was crazy, he was depressed”. I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember the feeling. He sat with his back to me, so he couldn’t see my face, but I felt like I froze in place. And then I got really angry, thinking if this is what people think about me behind my back, that I’m crazy. Then I got bitter, wondering if I can actually be angry about that, considering what is the media representation of mentally ill people. And then I just got really tired of this situation…

We are portrayed as crazy people who cannot control themselves, who are just incapable of living normal life. Which is harmful in so many ways. First of all, think about the people who just realized they might have some mental problems, but are afraid to see a doctor and get treatment, because they are afraid of being labeled as “crazy”. Second, think of the people who are living with some mental problems, what are the messages they get, there are no role models for us, who would give us hope that we can live pretty normal life despite our problems. Yeah, our self-esteem might get really low because of this at times… Third, think about our families and friends, how are they to cope with our problems, when the messages they get are again that we are crazy, unable to control ourselves, our lives are doomed. Fourth, what about the strangers we meet, for example when we apply for a job, should we tell them, will it influence their opinion about us, will they think us uncapable of performing the job? And so on…

As I was looking up some mentally ill famous people, I made a mistake and read some comments under the articles about their deaths. And there is was, some people writing that people just need to work more, that they make this up to feel important or different, that they are just weak, because nobody strong would ever fall for such a nonsense. Oh and one saying that living with such a person (meaning mentally ill person) is something nobody could ever stand for more than few days. It felt really “great”, but it didn’t really surprised me…

It makes me frustrated and tired. I would really love to see someone out there, who I can relate to, who has mental problems and is happy and living normal life. May be even famous and successful. I’m tired of media emphasizing the fact that some murderer was mentally ill in a way to say “you see, normal person would never do that, this is just a crazy person”. Or in the case of the pilot, it is “you don’t have to be afraid of flying, this is just an isolated case of crazy person, nobody normal would ever do such a thing”. Which feels very “supportive”. I’m tired of questions popping up in my head, wondering if I actually have a chance for normal happy life, wondering if this is not exactly the reality that awaits me, ending up as another one commiting suicide, because they can’t take it anymore. I’m just tired of all this. And fed up of dealing with this everyday.

Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share

This is an amazing TED talk by Andrew Solomon and I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn something new about depression and anxiety. I can absolutely relate to his experience and his opinions, I went through all the stages of depression he describes, I went through the thinking of “where do I start and where my medication starts, what’s real and what’s not”. This is really amazingly personal and also informative video about depression and I’m so glad that Mr. Solomon put all those thoughts and information into his talk. I mean, I cannot stress enough how truthful is everything he says, it was so great to listen to someone and feeling like “wow, I’m not the only one feeling this way”!

Just Hide All Sharp Objects

I just wish for this day to be over. I need to go to sleep, I’m tired, exhausted, but just getting to bed seems like to much work. I’m being crushed by the whole world, cold. I know I’m not good enough, never was and never will be. My anxiety is on super high level and so is my depression. As always, my head is split in two parts. One knows what is going on, I’m depressed and I should take my meds, go to sleep and get some rest. The other is clouded, foggy and cold, telling me “you know you’re ill, just take a grip and get over it, you’re just pathetic, weak and I hate being part of you”. For several days I’m figting my need to punish myself, avoind sharp objects especially, although I know it would bring me peace. I despise myself, it’s not hatred, more despising, because I’m weak, terrible, not good enough. I hear this in my head all the time “you’re not enough”. I don’t even know what “enough”, I just know I’m the worst person there is. My mind brings me the need to punish myself, to find release and I’m trying to fight, even though it’s just crushing me. I can’t breathe, hiding in my bubble, pretending emotions, going through my day. It gets exhausting, thinking this is my life, this roller-coaster ride up and down and spinning, hiding, running from myself, fighting, feeling lost and cold. Sometimes I’m not sure I’m able to stand this, I don’t know if I’m strong enough, feeling like I might break any second. Why can’t I just be good enough? For myself, good enough girlfriend, friend, student, person. I try harder and harder, but it’s never enough and I don’t know what to do. I’m exhausted always trying, always fighting, pushing boundaries to just endure more days, make through this day and the next and the next… Even if I think I’m ok, I don’t know, because I just don’t know what is normal, I’ve never been normal. It’s crushing me, I can’t breathe, can’t think, yet I have to, have to study, go to work, put on my normal face, pretending that no, I’m falling apart, I’m not walking on a wall risking painful fall all the time. Will it ever end?

At times, my sanity comes back, telling me I’m ok, it will be ok, it will pass. It feels like suddenly seing clearly, breathing freely, being alive… I wish for it to last.

2011-10-13-a bad day