People who give unwanted advice

ill

I think it should specifically state “mental illness,” too, even if it’s implied in the chronic illness category.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily improve or cure mental illness. Also, it is very likely they have already considered it. And for some people, doing it is difficult. People with limited mobility may obviously have a hard time exercising, but also people with mental illnesses which make it harder for them to get out and do things. Also applies to yoga.

As for marijuana, if it helps you with whatever, great. But please quit telling me (and others who don’t want your advice) to just smoke pot and it will cure all your ills. For some people, it makes things worse. For others, it may not do anything positive.

Stopping all medications: good gawd. I’ve been told this so many times, by so many people. “Don’t you think you’d feel a lot better if you’d just stop taking all the pills?” No, dipshit, because I’d be dead. I need corticosteroids to replace the hormones my body doesn’t make, which are necessary for me to continue being alive. This also goes for people who take psychiatric drugs. Any time a person mentions a negative side effect from a psych drug, the anti-psych meds people have a field day. “The ‘cure’ is worse than the disease!” etc. I’ve had some tell me that NO ONE, as in no one in the history of mankind, has EVER been helped by a psychiatric drug. [*facepalm*] They are so anti-drug, and they apparently see everything in such black and white terms, that they don’t comprehend that some things have positive and negative sides. A pill might give you a dry mouth, but if it helps you to function better, it may be worth it.

Vitamins: the only time you need to be supplementing vitamins is if your doctor has diagnosed you with a legitimate deficiency through blood tests. Otherwise, you’re paying for expensive pee.

Natural remedies: many DRUGS came from plants and other natural sources. The difference is that medications are regulated, tested, and you know how much active ingredient you are getting. They are safer. Alternative medicine which has been shown to work is called “medicine.” Alternative “medicine” has either not been shown to work, or shown not to work. It is possible that people want medicines that actually work.

Going veg*n: I have nothing against people who do this for their own reasons, but it’s problematic to push on others. If you do not feel the need to do so for ethical reasons or whatever, then there is probably no problem with continuing to eat animal products. A lot of the arguments (other than ethics) seem to come back to a sort of black and white thinking: the inability to understand that moderation is a thing that exists. If a huge amount of red meat can be bad, that doesn’t mean a little bit here and there will kill you. Additionally, just eliminating meat or animal products, on its own, does not guarantee that your diet is healthy.

Acupuncture: it has never been shown to work better than placebo.

Colon cleansing: no, not sticking hoses up my butt. This has also never been shown to be healthy.

Sleep: some people have trouble getting the amount of sleep they want, but you talking about getting more or less probably won’t help in any way. This is another thing that everyone has already thought of.

Positivity is really my biggest peeve on here. If you say that, people accuse you of being a champion of negativity or something. No, I am just saying thinking happy thoughts does not cure physical or mental illness. You can’t think these things away, or no one would have them.

This goes along with the people who say “the only disability is a negative attitude!” No, disabilities fucking exist and they can make life harder for people who have them. And yet you get people with no physical disabilities, no learning disabilities, no other major issues, talking down on people for not being positive enough because that’ll fix everything. It minimizes the fact that some people legitimately may have obstacles keeping them from doing some things, or performing as well, doing things are quickly, etc. as people without those issues. Again, this is not saying people with disabilities should sit around feeling sorry for themselves; this is acknowledging that their disabilities exist and may impact their lives in some way.

Shit I am sick of hearing

First and foremost, I am sick of people saying if stuff sucks, you can just go and change it. I can’t make my adrenal glands start working again, and the majority of my problems are caused either by this or by the medications for this. I am very sick of people saying you just need a positive attitude. If you’re in pain from the minute you wake up until you go to sleep at night, it can be somewhat challenging to be cheerful all the time.

That being said, I am also sick of people telling me I probably complain to people all the time. I can’t remember the last time I complained, out loud, to another person. I avoid human contact if I am not in a good enough mood. And then, at the same time, people tell me I should talk to people about myself and then I’d feel better. [*facepalm*] In any case, I don’t talk to people about myself much at all and have very much crawled up my own asshole and died, to paraphrase Vonnegut.

I’ve also had numerous people tell me that I can’t possibly be suffering from things like impaired cognition, poor executive functions, short term memory loss, and attention problems, despite these being listed as side effects or symptoms from my meds and health problems. I’ve done things like making lists, but writing things down is a poor substitute for being able to think clearly and remember things. My former therapist suggested maybe I would benefit from ADHD-type meds, but I have not tried this or discussed it with my regular doctor yet, and I have enough trouble as it is remembering to take the pills I’m on and dealing with the side-effects of those.

I also think about parallels with dealing with grief. People often say that it is work, that you need to do it and get through it rather than repress it and remain in denial. That tends to be how I think about negative feelings in general: that they are often valid feelings and maybe you shouldn’t repress them 100% of the time. If things kind of suck, I think it’s probably ok to acknowledge that they suck now and then.

Anyway, I don’t think my current situation is the result of mental illness alone. I think I coped with things quite well before getting seriously physically ill (adrenal crisis can kill you quit rapidly and I’ve come close more than once). If I am sometimes in a shitty mood, it is because I am sick and I do not see a way out. I only see things getting worse. I’m subscribed to various groups for adrenal and pituitary-related diseases, and am bombarded with “in memoriam” posts about people with the same and similar illnesses dropping dead before they are 45. That and the medical literature also makes it seem like I don’t have a very long life expectancy, and that all that remains of that life expectancy is going to be miserable most of the time.

Anyway, though I am sure positivity has its uses, people telling me to deny that anything is wrong with me physically or that my meds have a very negative psychological affect does make me want to say “fuck your positivity.” Unless your life is perfect, you probably can’t be positive all the time. I have seen my entire life turn to shit and all my dreams and goals in life as well as my health crumble within the past 10 years.

I used to at least enjoy things like writing or painting, but the brainfog has impaired any sort of creative urges to the point where I find myself unable to write, no matter how much I push myself. Some might consider this unimportant, but it tends to mean that there is absolutely nothing in life that I am able to enjoy or feel good about, so I consider it a great loss. I didn’t even let people see or read most of my shit, I did it for myself, but I enjoyed it, and I don’t have that anymore, either.

It is possible that someday in the distant future, I will be able to get off of the corticosteroids. The endocrinologist said it will, at the very least, take years. I’ve also read that the negative side effects of long term corticosteroid use can persist for years after stopping the meds, and it’s quite possible that 10 years of high doses of steroids has really fucked up my insides and lessened my life expectancy, and yes, that bums me out sometimes. And I feel like it’s ok to be bummed out about that sometimes, especially since I only mention it on the internet and no one is forced to read it.

Why I made this blog

Over the years, I have read a lot of bipolar disorder (and other mental illness) related websites and blogs. I related to bits and pieces of them. What struck me was that a lot of them talked so much about health and wellness and living in harmony with their mental illnesses. That’s all well and good and I am not disrespecting them, but where were the ones who were not well, who were not living in harmony with anything at all? My guess is that they weren’t blogging much.

I have discussed this before, but I have been in and out of therapy for the past 25 years. I have tried dozens of medications. Nothing helped. Everything cost a lot of money. At great length I decided if I can’t find medications that make me feel better, and if therapy has not helped, then I will have to find a way to live with not feeling good, and in some sense, embrace the idea of not being well.

That’s why I am here, I think. I largely left Facebook because I couldn’t relate to anything on Facebook, not even in the mental illness-related groups. A lot of them seemed very anti-psychiatry, and I am not. I choose not to be on meds anymore, and I choose not to see therapists for the time being, but I am not against any of those things and I think people should try things that might help them. The rest of Facebook seems filled with positive-thinking memes and I’ve also discussed why I dislike those. Happiness is not a choice, and may not be attainable for everyone. Additionally, I think/hope there are things in life other than happiness to strive for.

But mainly, this is a place where I can say whatever I want. If you are reading this, it means you are on my turf and I don’t have to apologize for saying anything disturbing. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. I always felt that everything I posted on Facebook was probably considered distasteful by 90% of the people reading it and I find Facebook to be, on the whole, a very unwelcoming and ugly place.

Another big reason I dislike Facebook is I feel it encourages you to post and repost garbage rather than anything with any sort of content, and it encourages people to press “like” rather than participate in any kind of discussion. I’d rather be here talking to myself than promote that sort of thing.

On the other hand, I liked livejournal a lot when people still used it (which is to say, before Facebook became popular). It had the lj-cut option for longer posts, you could add images and links in the things you wrote, and so on. I think that’s because it encouraged people to think about what they wrote, rather than posting nonsense every five minutes. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that, too, but leaving Facebook would largely solve that problem. If I’m going to post here, it’s going to be in complete sentences and paragraphs, in any case.

All in the brain?

This article criticizes a TV program on mental illness hosted by Stephen Fry for making mental illness seem too physical, too brain-based, too much talk of “chemical imbalances.” It suggests, and rightly so, that many people are influenced by circumstances and trauma. Certainly, circumstances play a role or you wouldn’t have things like PTSD or situational depression.

What I found interesting here, though, was the idea that emphasizing the idea of a chemical imbalance somehow does a disservice to people with mental illnesses. I’m not sure I’ve heard that particular point of view before.

Additionally, I don’t see where he’s coming from by claiming that, just because people mention chemical imbalance, this somehow means conditions occur “out of the blue.” He then mentions genetic vulnerability, which seems likely since conditions often seem to run in families. But that still doesn’t mean they occur out of nowhere or have nothing to do with circumstances.

And again, I can’t comment on the television program because I haven’t seen it. If it shows up on YouTube or streaming services, I may try to watch it at some point in the future, though.

What I mostly found interesting was this fellow’s extreme emphasis on circumstances (“misfortunes,” as he puts it). While I don’t deny they can play a role, it goes against my own experience, I think. I feel like mental illnesses have largely caused my misfortunes in life, rather than misfortunes bringing on mental illnesses.

I also find it a bit baffling that someone would say that emphasizing the role that neurochemistry plays in mental illness would be doing a disservice to people with mental illnesses. I’ve used the diabetes comparison myself (namely, you wouldn’t tell a diabetic to just “be strong” and “deal with it;” you’d realize they have a problem with their pancreas producing insulin and require medication/insulin injections to remain healthy). Likewise, if a person is clinically depressed, it’s possible that no amount of “being strong” or “thinking positive thoughts” is going to fix it if it is a condition in their brain.

Patients’ dissatisfaction with an exclusively medical approach is well founded, because research has shown that this approach has been extraordinarily unsuccessful, despite what clinicians often assert.

I also can’t comment on the state of psychiatric care in Britain since I live in the US, but the quote above sounds like the way people (usually people with no history of mental illness) complain about psychiatric medications being over-prescribed. I’m sure that’s a legitimate problem in some cases, but people seem to extend this idea so far that they think no one is helped by medication, and that becomes a problem.

I saw something elsewhere today talking about how it’s “too easy” to get antidepressants. In the US, anyway, there are 2 problems with this: (1) when a person sees a doctor, they expect them to try to fix the problem, not send them to long-term therapy or to other specialists, except in extreme cases, and (2) some people can’t afford that long-term therapy or more specialists. That doctor appointment may be their only hope of doing anything about the problems they are having, at least in the immediate future. They want to feel like their doctors are doing something for them. It would be great if everyone had more time to spend with medical and mental health professionals for these discussions, but I don’t see it happening in the near future.

The more that ordinary people think of mental illness as a genetically-determined brain condition, and the less they recognise it to be a reaction to misfortune, the more they shun mental health patients.

I just find this bizarre. Why would something having a biological basis contribute to stigma? He even says earlier in the article that it’s a “predisposition,” which means the person isn’t “broken,” they are just predisposed to either having something go wrong with their mental health, or reacting badly to circumstances. But not all mental illness is a “reaction to misfortune,” that is just absurd. I may not be a professor of psychology like the author here, but from my own experience, I don’t feel like my mental illnesses are a “reaction to misfortune.” I feel like my mental illnesses, which I may well have been predisposed to genetically, have caused me misfortune.