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Living with a sick identity

Tortoise

Tortoise

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Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
21
Location
London. UK
Aaaargh!:mad:

Why is it the curse of human beings that we can see things from several different points of view?

No offense intended, but aren't we just ordinary people under all this Mental Health Mumbo Jumbo? Someone on here implied that 'normal' people can't have fun. Now what is that supposed to mean? Are we all some kind of elite clique on here then?

Don't get me wrong. I can recognise the value of sites like these and welcome the opportunity to use this facility. I attend a Social Services Day Centre from time to time, but I feel little affinity with most of the other service user's who go there. Perhaps I'm not as 'ill' as some of the others or maybe I'm not playing the game properly and they are all secret wizard's whilst I'm a naive sincere fool!:unsure:

My CMHT has a thick red file with my Mental Health history in it. Every scribbled note that a Psychiatrist has made about me goes in there. Naturally, I'm curious. But I'm also ashamed, frightened and angry with it. I'd like to rip it up or burn it and leave all this confusing business behind in some alternate existence.
Then again, I can cling to it and say, "Look...here's the evidence. I'm a depressed man who warrants enough interest for a thick file... or do I have schizophrenia like one of my brother's may have had? But if this means it's genetic how come my other brother doesn't have it? How did he manage to escape whilst I'm locked in with all the keys?

The advantage of that file's existence and being on their list does have some advantages of course. Every time the Benefits Agency start poking around for evidence of my incapacity or pick my medicated brains for a loophole I can't justify, I can wave my status with the CMHT in front of them like a shield and say...''Look. Go to my alibi. Still sick. Can't work. Resent being pushed into a situation I can't handle".

I'm doing the best I can but the meds aren't really working. Therapy? What Therapy? I only seem to read about techniques like CBT or Mindfulness in books. They don't translate into the real world.

Maybe I'm in the wrong cachement area but it seems like chaos wherever I am. My life seems to be one long series of misunderstandings, mis-timings and half-baked attempts which send me backsliding to the introduction again.

Thanks for reading. I hope you can make sense of it. It's about as honest as I think it could be. Never complete of course and probably needs editing.

If I've offended anyone, 'apologies' and 'tough' in equal measure. :innocent: :p

Any responses to surprise or put me in my place would be welcome.:oops:

Take care all. :tea:
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
About sums it up for a lot of us I think.

I haven't really been that bothered about what they have on file about me, or who knows that I have had difficulties - so what? I try to see things from the perspective of helping with stigma if I tell people my history as well. I don't advertise it; I don't wear a T-Shirt saying I'm mad, although my friend gave me a T-Shirt that says 'I hear Voices, & they don't like you either' lol. I haven't worn it.

In a just, open, & as free as possible society, where there wasn't discrimination - then people with MH problems would get as much sympathy & concern as anyone else with an illness. I look at the stories about cancer sufferers - 'heroic fight with cancer', & a picture of someone in bed with a bald head smiling, surrounded with friends & flowers. I know it isn't all like that, & I'm not glamorising that horrible disease. But I don't see many stories about heroic schizophrenics or heroic depressives, & everyone stood by them, with smiles & flowers.

There is this underlying current of mistrust, contempt, & general animosity towards the mentally ill - I don't need to explain what it's like - you know how it is. Like these conditions are something to be ashamed of - as weakness, as defective & weak willed persona, & constitution. Like we are infected with some kind of infectious & hideous condition, & need to be ostracised, put down, ignored, & forgotten about.

I know that there are good people out there that do care. & I do have some good friends that accept me for who I am. But in general there is this attitude of revulsion & disgust towards the mentally ill. I have a friend who drinks, I argue with him a fair amount, he goes on at me, that I go on about my MH problems all the time, which I don't. But he thinks I shouldn't talk about it at all, that if I didn't tell anyone then no-one would know, which they probably wouldn't, due to my functioning. But I say to him - why is it something to be ashamed of? Why should I not talk about it?

I see a lot of the problems with a MH difficulty, not so much in the condition itself; although that can obviously be devastating - But rather in the attitudes of society, the lack of care, the abysmal services, the poor & ineffective levels of healing & treatment, & in the massive amounts of stigma & discrimination. People in my life, & my life changed when I was labelled 'paranoid schizophrenic' - I have lived more on the fringes since then. Since I was labelled with this, I've not had a girl friend, not worked, & felt socially excluded from the wider society. There are multiple reasons for why things have been that way, but a large reason I think, is the largely unspoken stigma - the general attitude that schizophrenia is like some kind of foul leprosy.

I had gotten away from psychiatric services a number of times, I was quite good in the past of escaping from them. After the first admission I was discharged for 4 years, then after the next contact I escaped for 2 years, then after the next admission I escaped for around another 3 years. I have been back under the LMHT again for the past 4 years. This is the longest time that I have gone without being discharged. It wasn't that I was well in the past when I ceased to have contact, it was that I hated them, & wanted out from anything to do with them. I finally reached a stage of realising that it was better to have some kind of contact with psychiatric services; due to my record of having been so ill so often, & some horrible experiences of being very ill & having no contact at all with any services whatsoever - even a GP surgery. It got to a stage of realising that I couldn't just blank out the past & move on as a 'normal', as if nothing has happened. This stuff takes it's toll.

Instead of pushing stuff to one side & just getting on with things, I eventually had to realise that the mental illness issues weren't going away; & such things were the story of my life. I could no longer block stuff out like I once had done. I can't not talk about this stuff, & my experiences with MH. It's why I go on-line so much as well.

Sorry - I wrote a book :oops:
 
Tortoise

Tortoise

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
21
Location
London. UK
Hi Apotheosis

It was a good read! No need to apologise.

Thanks for replying to my post and giving me the information about your own experiences. Your comments were chunky and juicy too!

On balance, some kind of contact with health services, even if it's only your GP, is a sensible thing to do. I agree on that one.

It's a big stigma and it won't go away overnight. Maybe some of us in the MH system will always be regarded as fakers or shirkers or just plain useless so far as the needs of government and society are concerned. I get this crap from members of my own family and the few friends I have. Sometimes, they don't even need to actually say it.

I've got a diagnosis of Recurrent Depressive Disorder which can be sort of scary and frustrating because the recurrence seems to occur when I'm under any kind of serious threat, both real or imaginary.

You sound as though you've had a tough time. Don't rule out another girlfriend in the future. I haven't had a girlfriend or any kind of serious relationship for over 12 years. Not my fault. They don't know what they are missing! :)

Take care. Be safe.:tea:
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
Tortoise I read your post this morning having had a day off yesterday,
It was very kind of Apotheosis to share his experience with you and I think it sosftened your attitude in so much that I thought that your opening lines were sounding like you were above people with mental illness.

In 2000 I was to far up my own arse to go to a day cenetre yet in 2008 I realised just how much goodness I had been missing there is more compassion, tranquity , feelings in them "day centres more than you would ever find on the streets.
N yes we are still normal under this mumbo jumbo but thats whots mental illness is" its our lifes"

I would first want to recognise my self and feel that the cmht services understood me before ever asking them to fight my case for the dwp, my life is much about who I am not that I have a large file at the cmht that can fight off the dwp n to be quite honest the dwp have their own ideas now so dont be to sure that your red file will be a guarntee fro your benefits.

I therefore I will forgive you that you sounded so stand offish regards people with metal illness and has you said apoligies and tough in equal measures, I think that you will find this forum to be both supportive and fun to be a part of and it might change your attitude towards mwmi, I hope that you enjoy being part of our community, good luck and keep posting. JD

I just noticed you did say you welcomed replies that would put you in your place
 
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A

Apotheosis

Guest
You sound as though you've had a tough time. Don't rule out another girlfriend in the future. I haven't had a girlfriend or any kind of serious relationship for over 12 years. Not my fault. They don't know what they are missing! :)

Take care. Be safe.:tea:
Thanks.

I think that we all have a tough time with this stuff. I have been over 12 years now without a girlfriend. I plod on & try to be accepting of stuff. I am more contented a lot of the time these days, I have more moments of peace, & feel that some peace of mind is slowly returning. But I get moments of loneliness, I miss the human touch. I am out of shape, & I don't think that meds have helped with that, the meds have given me moobs. I know I am not alone with things, & others have worse. But I don't really have that much hope that I will meet anyone nice any more.
 
Tortoise

Tortoise

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
21
Location
London. UK
Checks

Hi...

Apotheosis: Like you, I also miss the human touch. At least you still have some hope. Sorry if this sounds corny but I have to cling to the possibility of change and I hope you do also.

Jamesdean: points taken. Please believe me, I don't think I'm above people with mental illness and I realise that there are no guarantees against the ravages of the DWP or BA (which is it these days anyway?).
I have a lot of sympathy for those who have negative Mental Health experiences like mine but it would be unrealistic and naive to say that i get on with all of them.

I mix with people who have all kinds of Mental Health difficulties and there are times when it all becomes ridiculous.

I'm supposed to be a visual artist and once heard someone say that artists are always up their own arseholes. That can be partly true. But it could be a major source of creativity. The sun can shine out of it too.
I know she can be hard going, not for the faint hearted and full of long words but Dorothy Rowe wrote about something like this in her seminal book on depression.

Anyway, sorry if I caused offence. I get a bit contrary sometimes. It's that different point of view which we human beings are afflicted with.

All the best. speed kills.:evil:
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
You didnt offend me at all I responded like you asked,

I defended the mh community, if you like, only because some people can not fight for them selfs,so if I can do my bit in life then so be it; though most people on this forum are quite strong I would say, it is a lovely forum and I hope that you can enjoy it, it is both supportive and you can be of support in the same measure.

I personally have had a very negative experience from the mental health services.

I know that also sometimes you need to try and take time away from mh if you can I try to treat it likes its a job n so I can have a couple of days off but it doesnt work like that I know but there are sometimes when I will try to go with the flow even though I will suffer faterwards terriably.

I am struggling today badly with anger and anxiety terriable and this morning I had all sorts going off in my head though I have tried to rest, relax with it all n I think its all sarting to calm a little.

You are right I like to try n have alittle bit of alot of things in my life I dont agree with everything and put all my eggs in one basket.

My guess is I think that you were testing the water with your post.

Take care JD


 
Tortoise

Tortoise

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Apr 2, 2009
Messages
21
Location
London. UK
Checks 2

Hi JD

Sorry to hear about the bad time you're having. Trying to rest and relax is best thing to do if you can manage it.

My apologies for the delay in responding to your reply. Like you, I am also trying to deal with a lot of anger which I habitually turn in on myself because I'm afraid of the consequences if I were to suddenly display it to others in an uncontrolled way.

I suppose I was testing the water and being provocative. Always a bad idea because I find it hard to take criticism. I know I can be extremely irresponsible in many ways and try to console myself by saying that I'm ill. Which I suppose I am because I feel so much emotional pain. As a man who labours under the diagnosis of 'recurrent depressive disorder', I find it frustrating that I can't seem to progress any further with my recovery and keep on repeating the same old mistakes time and again.

It's hard to explain.

I've tried to help people at the daycentre I attend, but it can be so demoralising. I have to remind myself to keep my arrogance and anger in check when confronted with people who seem to be playing some kind of obstructive game which I can't, or sometimes don't want to understand.
I don't know whether MH difficulties can be attributed to poor communication skills, poor education or just bad luck.

However, I respect what you say about doing your bit. In a wider sense, I know there are many people with far worse circumstances than mine and I do try to keep this in mind.

Sorry to hear you've had negative experiences with Mental Health Services. I get so pissed-off with some of these so-called 'professionals'. Some I've met seem to be incompetent or poorly trained. They don't seem to take the job seriously enough. Some of these young girls who train to be Occupational Therapists act as though they are still at school and the unfortunate MH service users they deal with are just material for a good laugh over a glass of wine in the pub.

I had my first meeting with a new consultant today and came away feeling completely miserable and forlorn. Keep taking the tablets and see me in two months. Bloody useless. After making a few statements about my personality type and asking a big question I could never answer without careful thought and reference to personal papers, he probably has me pegged as a patient who lacks insight.

No wonder we get angry and then get labelled mad.

Sorry for going on JD. I just have to get some of this off my chest somehow.
I know it's all me me me and I know how irritating that can be at times.
If you've managed to read it, thanks.

All the best and take it easy.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I don't know whether MH difficulties can be attributed to poor communication skills, poor education or just bad luck.
Despite how that comes across, I don't think that it's far off the mark. Mental Illness is far higher in poverty groups. I missed a large amount of early schooling. But I wonder how much of it all is 'chicken & egg'. If you weren't in relative abject poverty when you became severely mentally ill; you certainly have a good chance of ending up in it.

I had my first meeting with a new consultant today and came away feeling completely miserable and forlorn. Keep taking the tablets and see me in two months. Bloody useless. After making a few statements about my personality type and asking a big question I could never answer without careful thought and reference to personal papers, he probably has me pegged as a patient who lacks insight.

No wonder we get angry and then get labelled mad.
If we are perceptive; then isn't it the same for almost all of us?

I have taken to writing reams of stuff before each psychiatrist appointment & mentally preparing for weeks before hand. Sometimes I give them what I have written, & other times I don't. Quite often I write them letters after the appointment. I have got so used to not being listened to, & having had so little 'orthodox support' that it has had this effect. I try to pre-empt what the psychiatrist will say. Like you, I can't answer a lot of stuff without careful consideration & often a lot of thought about things. A lot of things don't come to me until after.

I do wonder how all this writing makes me come across with them, but I am compelled to do it. I suppose it makes me appear quite mad sometimes. But the truth is that I am mad, & whatever the actual & original problems were; I feel that I have been driven more mad, in a different way, by life, by society, by the system, by people, by psychiatrists, by the MH services, by the tablets; by the whole bloody thing.
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
I have read both of your posts tortoise and Apoheosis.
The first thing that I'm going to say is I know your age Apoheosis but I dont know yours tortoise I would take a guess that you are about 35/7.

So I'm going to say that I am older I think than both of you and certainly in terms of the mh services I reconise where you are with them Apeohosis I used to be exactly where you are when I was about 33 and I would write reams n reams but now I think like a good friend once told me "Fuck them" they dont listen at all and I remeber when I spent about the following 7 years in isolation because that all they did was say keep taking the meds I will see you in threee months, It must be standard practice So then in 2008 I stood up to them n said I'm fed up with this crap and my diaganosis then was recurrent depressive episodes.

However that was changed tp dysthymia with super imposed depressive episodes but I dont honestly believe that covers the depths of experience of mh, to me just call it clinical depression n be done I was all for accepting the latter diagnosis but the psych was such a bitch I have questioned her though leyt me tell you they all stick together in the establishment so to speak.

I'm pleased that you have opened up tortoise because each day is a nbew day n we just dont know whot that day will bring this forum is very interseting because you never know who you are going to meet and I'm plesaed that I have meet you sorry if that sounds corny Dont worry about your post being all about me me me I woudl say if you think you are going to like the forum then why not start a journal it can be so valuable to off load your feelings esp the anger.

I know that I'm abit all over the place with this post this morning but That interseted whot you said Apoheosis "if you werent in poverty when you hit the services you most certainly would experience whilst in the mh services.

I did hit rock bottom when I had my breakdown because whilst I could work physically I did mange to build quit q well off life style though it wasnt right in the ned I did losse loads of money in my retaurant house n cars.

But money dont really bother me though I have no fear of being stinking ritch and would welcome the prospect in my life I have to say that when some profesional, christian well do gooder tells you there is meaning in suffering its bollocks the only thing that I will go with is that on a good day I do feel special n important in this world on a bad day (Well juust read my journal). Though I acccept that God didnt mean for suffering.

I wrote in my journal last night this meaning thing is crap I've kinda believed it a little of late but no its CRAP.
(Say it like it is Frank)

I have just looked back at your post tortoise and read about others playing an obstructive game I dont think that possiably that some are I guess we are a cut above in so much that we are capable of helping others i personally had a clear idea of wanting to become a support worker this time last year it hasnt worked out but I think generalll y in the most in my life I do try to help others that are not so capable, though n I will be honest I will not be around people that have bad bo because I lived in hostels and there is always plenty of soap n water so there is no excuses.

I did visit someone at home n believe me the place was up to its neck though it didnt smell and this person is spotlessly clean, so it didnt bother me that there was just an edge of a armchair to sit on, I took comfort that this person gave me a nice glass of fresh orange juice and a chocolate bisiuit.

I have enjoyed talking with you both this morning my reply is alittle scatty in lay out but its been enjoyable take care both best wishes Frank
























 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
So I'm going to say that I am older I think than both of you and certainly in terms of the mh services I reconise where you are with them Apeohosis I used to be exactly where you are when I was about 33 and I would write reams n reams but now I think like a good friend once told me "Fuck them" they dont listen at all and I remeber when I spent about the following 7 years in isolation because that all they did was say keep taking the meds I will see you in threee months, It must be standard practice So then in 2008 I stood up to them n said I'm fed up with this crap and my diaganosis then was recurrent depressive episodes.
My friend who is a similar age to you says the same things to me - that the help I am looking for will never be there. He went through a lot in his youth & a stay in psychiatric 'care' - swore that he would never go back & didn't. But he isn't well, he gets difficulties as well. I wonder if his situation is better for having not used these services; & in trying to deal with things in his own ways? I don't know. He is off meds a long time, he won't go to the Doctor with his depressive type stuff, & the other issues he has; as he doesn't want the tablets or limited counselling sessions, as he says they won't do much

I have to say that when some profesional, christian well do gooder tells you there is meaning in suffering its bollocks the only thing that I will go with is that on a good day I do feel special n important in this world on a bad day (Well juust read my journal). Though I acccept that God didnt mean for suffering.
I don't know. I respect that you see it that way. I tend to think that there is meaning in suffering. My friend is again similar in his outlook, to you; he doesn't see a rhyme or reason to a lot of things, & not any meaning in a lot of suffering in the World. I don't know what God intended.

:hug:
 
G

GrizzlyBear

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As I was reading the initial post I became uneasy at the thought of my own file. When I say something 'interesting' (in any negative way) to my CPN he scribbles it down....adding more weight to my file to be used both for and (potentially) against me. Labels and diagnoses don't interest me (and indeed I feel they are links in the chain that so many feel shackled by) beyond obtaining the support I need to cope/improve/recover. Yes, the file is now my alibi and I will use that for as long as I can - because it has become a reasonable witness to my difficulties. Telling people in simpler terms failed. Now I have it in black and white I am finally taken seriously.

Now that my mental health has improved enough to take me out of the 'crisis' zone I am feeling that even the 'misunderstandings, mis-timings and half-baked attempts' are drying up and I am facing the possibility of backsliding into crisis. Not because I consciously believe that that is where the support is (although I do think that) but because I am struggling almost single-handedly to maintain my recovery. Not very forward-thinking of them, really.

"You look alright to me!"

"Well, whatever.....I'll be back when I'm in crisis again then?"

Heroic depressives? Hmm...perhaps I have been fortunate....lately I have felt that I have 'impressed' people with my 'heroic' recovery. If I am not at least semi-recovered I am a disappointment and source of frustration.

As for girlfriends/boyfriends...(moobs or no!).....I think of something Henry Ford said..."Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right". Personally I have no doubt I will find a new partner. Sure, it will be different now that I am a person with an even messier history but I still believe it will happen.

Positivity has been hugely rewarding for me in terms of recovery - and manifestation of other pleasant things in life. I had to have help reaching the stage where positive thoughts were even possible - that's the crux.

People don't always agree with me but I believe help is really only available when terrible things happen - which is why so many people are suffering MH problems for decades. Eventually, as with me, it may come to the point where the pot boils over onto the stove and someone gets scalded. 'They' then offer to treat the scalds and, maybe, mop up some of the mess. Surely it is easier for them to help watch some pots?
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
Someone told me that the trust that i'm under is reactionary rather than preventitive, n they work for the trust not much hope there then thank you please
 
Tortoise

Tortoise

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Checks 3

Hi Apotheosis ,Grizzly Bear and Jamesdean (Frank by name, Frank by nature?)

Really interesting comments. Can't give them enough care and attention now. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

I have to go for a blood test today. I have type 2 diabetes. The Agoraphobia is playing up, so I have to psyche myself for a walk to the hospital.

Am I rubbing you guys up the wrong way or something? When I read your posts, I start to get hot flushes.

I hope this forum can provide some moral support,a certain reassurance and a big dollop of inspiration. I'm not the greatest of intellectuals. It's my emotions which bother me.

By the way Frank.Your guess about my age was wrong. I'm pleased to have met you too, by the way. You sound like a man who has really got his hands dirty. I respect that.

Take care. Be safe.
 
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