March 25, 2015

Is my blog simply narcissistic?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. For about the last six months, things have been horrible for me. I've endured severe depression, bizarre med changes, and a thwarted suicide attempt (thank you to my husband for finding me in time). Finally, coming out of hell, I've started examining my life (bad idea), trying to change bad habits (good idea), trying to be more productive and less of a procrastinator. I've lost 13 of the 40 pounds I gained, and still on my way down. I'm trying to figure out where to fit in exercise, spirituality, and my never-ending-longer-than-I'm-tall to-do list. I miss bread baking, but haven't been able to feel inspired enough to get back to that yet. Mostly I need to get out of my habit of hiding from the world and doing nothing, to doing the things I love again. Or maybe those things aren't my "passion" any more. Too much self-reflection, not enough "just get off your ass and do something."

I know that there are some people that actually read and find my blog important, I know who you are, I don't need comments to tell me how valuable a contribution to the mental health/illness world I am. Lately it seems more of a narcissistic thing to me. I mean, as far as I know, the majority of people in the MI world do not read my blog, which I started with grand delusions of making a difference to a large amount of people all over the world (see Definition 1.1 below).

As defined the the Oxford Dictionary:
1. Excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.
1.1 Psychology Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
1.2 Psychoanalysis Self-centredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

Am I wasting my time, your time? Should I just be journaling instead of thinking that the world is interested in my brain vomit? (rhetorical questions, no answers necessary). There are many blog posts and psychiatric articles about this subject, but the one I like best is "Blogging is Narcissistic (Except When It’s Not)" by Tom McFarlin.  
"Ultimately, my point is that for those of you who are blogging to keep at it and keep sharing. The majority of us love to see what it is that you’re working on, and we love to get into the conversation when possible.
But know that blogging can be as narcissistic as you make it. Don’t listen to whatever anyone else is saying. Write on – whatever it’s about – as we, or someone, do want to hear what you have to share."
Others state that in a non-clinical way (as opposed to NPD) bloggers may be narcissistic, but we may also truly believe we make a difference to at least one person. I know from comments on and off my blog, that I do affect at least four people. My stats tell me many more read my posts, but just don't comment. I wish I could climb into their brains and know what they're thinking...this is bullshit, wow I can really relate to this, or I never thought of it that way.

I used to feel bad if I didn't blog on a regular basis about interesting facts about bipolar disorder, mental health, or domestic violence. One of those feelings I put on myself, I have many of those shouldisms left over from my past life as a controlled zombie.

For now I think I'll simply accept the fact that I do matter to some, but allow myself to continue being sporadic and random. One will either read it or won't, I cannot control that. I can, however, control how I feel about it. Perhaps I'll go back to believing what I say matters, but it doesn't matter how often I say it.

Normally, I'd say "I welcome your comments," but in this case I will reiterate that I don't need confirmation of my importance from those of you that I know read my blog. It embarrasses me, and that's not the purpose of this post.


 

February 19, 2015

Stolen



for almost 8 months
my body tried to destroy her
I fought to save her
with modern medicine

centuries ago
my body would have won

would it have been better?
for her
for me
for them

dangerous birth
problems for the next 20+ years
different diagnoses
different doctors
different psychiatrists
different therapists
different medications
nobody knew why
nobody knew what
nobody had answers that worked

anger
guilt
frustration
sadness

stolen from me
as if she were pulled
from my arms
when she was born



 

February 9, 2015

Time for a refresher course

The fifth version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses) came out in 2013, and people still seem clueless (but then, who really reads the DSM).  Regardless of whether or not you have bipolar disorder, or you have a partner or friend with bipolar disorder, or just want to be able to understand what someone is going through, it's important to get both professional and anecdotal evidence (as long as the person has actually been diagnosed with bipolar disorder).

It's quite often difficult to diagnose someone with bipolar disorder. I was originally diagnosed with major clinical depression and anxiety. For me, I think it was because of the abusive situation in which I was living. Being depressed most of the time, it makes sense that the diagnosis would be depression. It wasn't until after I escaped the domestic violence that I received the correct diagnosis at the age of 40. Looking back I can see it throughout my life, and it was actually a relief because it explained a lot of behavior that I didn't understand and of which I was ashamed.


This is from an article by Natasha Tracy about myths of about bipolar disorder. I strongly suggest that you read the whole article, she goes into depth about each myth.

Myths About People with Bipolar Disorder

These myths are brought to you by the commenters, here, at HealthyPlace.
  1. Bipolars are liars
  2. Bipolars cheat on their partners
  3. Bipolars are manipulative
  4. Bipolars are “spoiled teenagers”
  5. Bipolars feel it’s “all about them”
  6. Bipolars are angry and violent
  7. Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are almost the same thing
Well now, that’s quite a list. It’s amazing I’m allowed to live outside with all the “sane” people. For my own part, I am nothing like those seven things. I have never known a bipolar that was those seven things.

The following is from an article on the Healthline website:
The highs or extremely joyful times are called manic episodes. Low periods marked by sadness or hopelessness are called depressive episodes. A mixed state is a mood episode that contains moments of mania and depression.
Manic Episode Signs: Some people experience several mood episodes in one day. Others may have sustained periods of one single mood or experience episodes infrequently.
Not all manic episodes are marked by happy or positive feelings(*see note). You may just as easily act anxious, restless, and irritable. Your speech may speed up and your attention may be easily diverted.
People in manic episodes often have difficulty sleeping. Sometimes, a manic episode can cause a person to energetically start a new project or work extra hard on something. But a manic episode may also lead to reckless behaviors, especially those related to sex, drugs, or money.
(*Note: I get agitated mania, not pleasant one bit. This is when I'm in danger of harming myself or others.)
Depressive Episode Signs:  Depressive episodes are long periods in which a person feels discouraged and hopeless. Like someone with clinical depression, a bipolar patient often withdraws from activities that were once enjoyable, such as having sex, socializing with friends, or dabbling in hobbies.Sleeping and eating patterns often change when a person is in a depressive episode. In serious cases, a depressive episode can lead a person to alcohol or drug abuse. Patients may also have thoughts of suicide.
Mixed State Signs:  A bipolar disorder patient in a mixed state may demonstrate some of the best and worst aspects of the disease, which can confuse those close to the bipolar person. For example, someone in a mixed state may be very energetic and hard working, but also seem very depressed. Mixed states can be especially frustrating for the bipolar patient. Feelings of elation may be accompanied by crying, for example. Changes in appetite and sleeping habits may also develop during this state. (Note: I can certainly attest to mixed states be especially frustrating).
Bipolar Subtypes:  Like many health challenges, bipolar disorder can be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. There are three subtypes of the condition: (Note: I think this is why most people who do not have bipolar disorder get confused, it even confuses us at times. FYI, I have Bipolar I Disorder.)
  • cyclothymic disorder: the mildest version of bipolar disorder. A person still has highs and lows, but they’re less dramatic.
  • bipolar I disorder: the most serious subtype, with extreme shifts between mania and depression.
  • bipolar II disorder: less serious than bipolar I disorder. It can still cause problems in relationships, school, and work.


Some excellent sources for information and support for both people with the disorder and loved ones is DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), PsychCentral, and, WebMD

And if you want to get really technical (there are all kinds of "Bipolar Disorder With..." diagnoses) checkout the DSM webpage, following are their diagnoses (which I believe will be updated soon).
  • Bipolar I Disorder, single manic episode
  • Bipolar I Disorder MRE, manic/hypomanic
  • Bipolar I Disorder MRE, depressed
  • Bipolar I Disorder MRE, mixed
  • Bipolar I Disorder MRE, unspecified
  • Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorder
  • Bipolar II Disorder AND Other Specified Bipolar and Related Disorder

And finally, from the Mayo Clinic Website: 
Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).

Please comment below about your experiences, or any corrections or additions you may feel are important.