Mental illness is dumber

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TheBlackSheep
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:55 am

Whistler wrote:I just read on Wikipedia (sourced to the DSM) that at least half of cases improve over time, so my stereotype is not true.
Yeah, both the psychiatrist and my group's therapist have both stressed that BPD is treatable, and that with 6-8 years of DBT, etc. many people (most people?) can stop having enough symptoms so that they are no longer diagnoseable. They know I have a mental health background, so they've been reassuring, which I've appreciated, since in the course of my career I've heard therapists and case managers complain about their borderline clients, how unmanageable they are, how they are probably never going to get that much better, etc. So it isn't a life sentence necessarily, and thank you for reminding me of that.
Whistler wrote:If you're comfortable talking about it, I'm curious about how your self-conception has changed with the diagnosis. Do you have different expectations of your future mental health now? I also understand if you're not in the mood to delve into it here.
Well, in some ways it is a relief. I've had a lot of therapy and a lot of tries with meds, and I have never really improved. Now there is an explanation for that. I also have more of an idea of what I need to improve (DBT, mindfulness, etc.).

I don't have a "classic" BPD presentation, which is probably why I have never been diagnosed before. For example, I don't rage out on people (but boy howdy what happens in private) and as far as I know other people are not usually overwhelmed by my emotions. I've always known I had borderline tendencies, and I feared that I might have BPD, but nobody ever diagnosed me with it. I guess I always thought of myself as someone with good control of their emotions (except the depression and anxiety), but now in retrospect I realize that I have very strong, out of control emotions that I have managed by shoving them down until I cannot feel them anymore. I've thought of myself as someone with a lot of self-control, but now I look back and see impulsive, self-destructive choice after impulsive, self-destructive choice. It's like the version of myself that I am least comfortable with has now been confirmed to be the true one.

All of a sudden I can see how my extreme fear of abandonment has really screwed me up for my entire life. The word the DSM uses is "frantic," and that is absolutely accurate. I guess I just always glossed over it until now. Unstable sense of self is also absolutely accurate. I pinned my feelings of emptiness as depression but they make more sense in the context of BPD. I have never taken my paranoid ideation seriously, or my chronic dissociation. Things are clicking into place, but it isn't a place I wanted to be. I wanted to be stronger than this (though, of course, having a personality disorder does not make one weak, obviously, and I would never characterize it that way about anyone else).

The DSM took out the axes when they published the V, but in my brain there is still a big difference between axis I and axis II. Axis I disorders (depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, etc.) mean that your personality is sound, but it got sprinkled with some maladaptive stuff, which can be fixed. Axis II (personality disorders, etc.), though, means that your personality, your base, is messed up, and it may never improve. It's a much more fundamental, inherent kind of damage, I guess, at least to me in this moment. I worry that I can't get better (though, as I said, I'm grateful for a reason that the standard 8-12 weeks of CBT didn't cure me years ago), and also that people have just been putting up with me politely all this time. I worry that if I do start to improve, if I do start to untangle my emotions, I'll end up going full, classic borderline and destroy my life, such as it is. (Not that it's great now. I mean, it's pretty well destroyed. I finally ran out of resilience over a year ago.) I worry that people, if they find out, will write me off as truly crazy, even if that isn't fair or accurate or compassionate. I worry that I've been an out of control mess all this time and that some of the things my particularly awful ex-boyfriend said to me about me are actually true.

Anyway, long, ranty answer, but it changes a lot. It also gives me hope, though, as I had stopped believing that anything would help me and had pretty much resigned myself to killing myself. I was giving day treatment a shot because those closest to me asked me to give a higher level of care a shot, but I didn't think it would work. Now there's a reason and a prescribed path. So, at least there's that.

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Whistler
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Whistler » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:06 pm

TheBlackSheep wrote:It's like the version of myself that I am least comfortable with has now been confirmed to be the true one.
That is existentially horrifying. At least if the diagnosis is accurate, it explains some of your mental health sufferings despite your best efforts to treat it.
TheBlackSheep wrote:Now there's a reason and a prescribed path. So, at least there's that.
There are definitely upsides to a diagnosis. When I was in college I got really sick once, partially from neglecting to see the doctor sooner. But then the next 4 years afterwards I would see doctors for trivial things, to the point where I saw a therapist who diagnosed me with General Anxiety Disorder. At the time that really scared me and I basically decided that it couldn't possibly be true. I don't think my anxiety is bad enough now to be diagnosed into GAD, but looking back at the experience, it makes me think about how a mental health diagnosis can really be hard to accept.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Zedability » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:34 am

By all accounts, your ex-boyfriend was a shitty person. So while there may be a kernel of truth you discover in old memories in light of your diagnosis, remember that that kernel has been heavily filtered through the context, tone, and worldview of a narcissistic asshole who did not have your best interests at heart or a constructive motivation for saying what he said. This can synthesize a deeper meaning that is NOT true.

It can be enlightening to reinterpret the past with this new lens, but be kind to yourself. Don't do yourself the injustice of accepting other people's bullshit along with it. Don't fall prey to the fallacy of composition or association. You are not the worst version of yourself.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Cognoscente » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:15 pm

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TheBlackSheep
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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:21 pm

Thanks for the reminders, Whistler and Zed. I needed them. Thanks for talking sense. It helped me.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:14 pm

So, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" recently went there and the character received the same diagnosis. It's a very humorous and sympathetic portrayal: you might like it (or might be horrified and not ready to go there, who knows?).

I don't think it's surprising having abandonment issues or identity crises in a world which is systemically, purposefully awful to women. The #metoo movement made me realize how difficult it is to be a woman in this world. Frankly, I think the LDS system compounds underlying vulnerabilities. I've said that the Mormon God is the original absentee father figure in my life, heh.

Until we heal the culture, I think that vulnerable individuals will struggle needlessly.

Your ex was part of this abusive system, imho, to echo what Zed said.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:57 am

Portia wrote:I've said that the Mormon God is the original absentee father figure in my life, heh.
Ha, Stuntman and I did an episode of our podcast on that idea (and attachment in general). Fantastic.

Thanks for the kind words. My psychiatrist and new therapist each reminded me that BPD only really exists where there is a lot of trauma and that I came by it honestly. I think what you say about the church and patriarchy at large are also true. There are a lot of reasons I have what I have, mental health wise.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:09 pm

Just checking back in. Thanks to everyone who commented and made me feel more secure about this. I'm now a lot more comfortable with the borderline diagnosis, and I'm choosing to think of myself as a warrior for surviving as long as I have and not completely alienating people as a result of this disorder.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by yayfulness » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:42 pm

TheBlackSheep wrote:I'm choosing to think of myself as a warrior for surviving as long as I have and not completely alienating people as a result of this disorder.
That’s how I’ve always thought of you. I’m glad you can see yourself that way too.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:46 am

<3

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Whistler » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:25 pm

I have questions for those of you who have experienced suicidal thoughts. My daughter's babysitter recently attempted suicide (!!), stayed in a mental hospital for 10 days, and is undergoing outpatient treatment. I asked her if she felt up to babysitting next month and she said she wanted to as long as I was okay with it. Part of me thinks that keeping her environment similar to what it was in the past (i.e., babysitting my daughter) won't help her with her depression. But another part of me wants to trust her to know herself well enough to say if she can keep babysitting or not. :-/ Ideas?

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:52 pm

Whistler wrote:I have questions for those of you who have experienced suicidal thoughts. My daughter's babysitter recently attempted suicide (!!), stayed in a mental hospital for 10 days, and is undergoing outpatient treatment. I asked her if she felt up to babysitting next month and she said she wanted to as long as I was okay with it. Part of me thinks that keeping her environment similar to what it was in the past (i.e., babysitting my daughter) won't help her with her depression. But another part of me wants to trust her to know herself well enough to say if she can keep babysitting or not. :-/ Ideas?
You definitely need to prioritize your daughter's wellbeing over any other concern. I'm not her medical professional, but I would say that people who struggle with suicidal ideation can benefit from structure. Is she a minor or adult?

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Whistler » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:38 pm

She's an adult, with two kids of her own who get along really well with my daughter.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by TheBlackSheep » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:38 pm

Structure is the best thing. Normalcy is good. I would have been mortified and frantic if I had not had those things.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Whistler » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:15 pm

TheBlackSheep wrote:Structure is the best thing. Normalcy is good. I would have been mortified and frantic if I had not had those things.
thank you, that helps me feel better about trying to stick to the same schedule we had before.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Emiliana » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:38 pm

I am (with my doctor's assistance) attempting to reduce my dose of cymbalta. I feel like shit.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by vorpal blade » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:54 pm

I have been reading about Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. I had no idea. It must really be awful. I am so sorry for you. I can see why you are working with a physician to reduce your dosage.

What was your dosage, if I may ask.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Portia » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:54 am

Portia wrote:My therapist is actually 100% on board with me running away from this garbage news cycle for a while and just mountain biking in the wilderness and I think she has a good point. My day to day functioning is fine I guess but I feel like I'm about to snap.
Always listen to your therapist. I think I should go to Tahoe or Moab and just snowboard or mountain bike for a while and escape the media cycle

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Amity » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:22 pm

I've got a big international trip planned in a couple of months (read: lots of awesome new things to see and less easy access to Internet/WiFi than I usually have) and I am so looking forward to using that time to do a news purge and reset the way I usually follow news. Hopefully when I get back I'll break some of my bad media habits and will have better mental health as a result.

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Re: Mental illness is dumber

Post by Emiliana » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:48 pm

vorpal blade wrote:I have been reading about Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. I had no idea. It must really be awful. I am so sorry for you. I can see why you are working with a physician to reduce your dosage.

What was your dosage, if I may ask.
Thanks.
I've been on 60 mg for more than 5 years. This week I've been alternating 60 with 30. The first day was the worst, but now it isn't so bad.