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Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

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Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Frank Decent on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:07 am

Hey. I realize we have a few threads about various things regarding our mental health - Depression, anxiety, etc. However, it's all spread out, and scattered. I thought it would be cool to have a giant, general thread where we could discuss more of these issues as they relate ourselves, and our loved ones.
We've all been touched by mental illness/instability/etc., whether it was our own struggle or a family member or a friend. The trouble is that as much as we've learned, there still remains a stigma. There remains a fear, and a shame. This place does incredible things. Many of the people that frequent this place - the people drawn to it, seem to have a lot of love to give, and perseverence, and a desire to put out the best of themselves -to really connect. I'm not trying to gush or blow smoke - just noticing what's already been laid out.
It would be really great to use those strengths to help kill the stigma of mental illness - to normalize the subject, thereby making it easier for folks to get help faster and more effectively.
If everyone thinks this thread is a bad idea because it weakens the other ones I totally get that. I could be off on my impulse here, and that's fine. I don't mean to offend.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby VaticanShotglass on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:27 am

I feel like the Post While Depressed thread has helped me personally with most of these goals. However, if this is different that's cool too. It seems like the other thread is already pretty personal, self confessional, and group supportive, but it is sprawling and if you needed to look back at something it might be hard to find. I am no master of the Kerble. I leave that to others.

I did really want to echo your sentiment about this forum being a positive and helpful space. Folks here have made me feel better about all sorts of things. It might be nice to have a place for good articles and resources and comments on them. I often feel like it would step on the realness of the other thread to talk about theory and research there as acknowledging the legitimacy of the subjective experiences of forum members seems like the right priority in that context.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Frank Decent on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:38 am

I'd like to share a few things. I believe I've shared some of it here already but I'm ready and wanting to share more of what I've been going through lately. I'm pretty sure a lot of folks will relate, or have had similar experiences.
Anyway, over the last few years I've experienced those most and closest loss I've yet to see. An uncle and an aunt ended up dying early, and awfully due to untreated mental illness and addiction. My mother got cancer and has gone away. While this was happening and I was learning how to deal and to support, I suffered an injury at work. I don't want to go into detail, but it was violent in nature. My job involves dealing with compromised people who can be quite violent and I became the victim of a "traumatic" episode. I have been off work since November. They won't let me back until a professional deems me fit. I am in the midst of this, still trying to understand it all. I've been seeing a therapist, regularly and this has been one of the best… maybe the best thing I've been able to do in my life. I've also been ordered to have an assessement with a psychologist, and while that has been completed, the next steps are taking a long time to complete.
In the meantime I guess my mental health has been degrading. Since the incident I have been struggling with almost daily "panic attacks" or whatever. I have a med for it. Ativan. It has been a life-saver, but it makes it very hard to do certain things like be creative and I am afraid of becoming addicted to it. But, I am really struggling with that thing -this panic. It seems uncontrollable. My emotions feel like fireworks and It's really hard to figure out wher the old me is. I tell this story with great fear. But, as I stated in the opening I have an interest in killing that fear. However, I live with the deepest fear, everyday. It's hard to express, but I feel that I am generally a coward. A "pussy", as Marsup would say. I don't really like myself much and I am starting to see that I am very angry, in general. I am starting to see how this energy has been directed into creativity, without me realizing it. Maybe that's what people refer to when they say music and art is theraputic.
I have thought about suicide for much of my life, but never acted on it. Lately, the bad thoughts have gotten much worse. I have had many periods before where I have gotten what I call "stuck". I can't move much, or do anything, and I just sleep all day and night. Or sometimes I barely sleep at all, and just stare at screens or ruminate on an idea or feeling, not interacting with people or real life. But, lately these episodes have gotten more frequent and intense.
And, while this has been happening I've been seeing the therapist. Things have come to light. I was finally able to get a regular doctor after years of not having one. Together, they have decided that I am a very strong contender for having some level of ADD, or ADHD. We've been trying a medication but It has had very little effect, good or bad. The only real effect is that my armpits won't stop sweating. Lovely. So, with the information gathered in therapy and assessments, and based on my injury and how my med doesn't seem to work, they've decided that I am most likely suffering a combination of PTSD and Depression. They've informed me that this a good reason why the ADHD med won't work. Until those things are dealt with, I won't see an improvement from that.
So, luckily my doctor was able to get me a referral to our small city's best psychiatrist. We don't have many, and apparently this one is extremely successful in dealing with cases like me. So, I am fortunate in that regard.
In the meantime, I remain stuck a lot of the time, and the ugly thoughts become overbearing. At those times I have found that my local crisis hotline has become invaluable. That is something I never ever thought I'd be saying. But, that is also because I spent a lifetime ignoring myself. Now, I am here, doing my best to deal. And, I feel alone. My family would never understand. I cannot talk to them. I have a partner, and she's amazing. Really. I am so, so lucky. But, I can't burden her with all of this all the time. So, the hotline has helped me with my panic by forcing me to ground myself to reality. I'm accumulating various tools for this like breathing exercises and, as mentioned, the grounding exercises.
I tell all this shit with great fear of being rejected by a lot of who, because I've grown to love my extended family. I've said that the BBQ changed my life. That is because I finally felt like I found my tribe. Getting to hang with you all helped me see my own strength and I want this thread to offer at least a facsimile.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby The MayorofRockNRoll on Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:10 pm

Frank Decent wrote:I'd like to share a few things. I believe I've shared some of it here already but I'm ready and wanting to share more of what I've been going through lately. I'm pretty sure a lot of folks will relate, or have had similar experiences.
Anyway, over the last few years I've experienced those most and closest loss I've yet to see. An uncle and an aunt ended up dying early, and awfully due to untreated mental illness and addiction. My mother got cancer and has gone away. While this was happening and I was learning how to deal and to support, I suffered an injury at work. I don't want to go into detail, but it was violent in nature. My job involves dealing with compromised people who can be quite violent and I became the victim of a "traumatic" episode. I have been off work since November. They won't let me back until a professional deems me fit. I am in the midst of this, still trying to understand it all. I've been seeing a therapist, regularly and this has been one of the best… maybe the best thing I've been able to do in my life. I've also been ordered to have an assessement with a psychologist, and while that has been completed, the next steps are taking a long time to complete.
In the meantime I guess my mental health has been degrading. Since the incident I have been struggling with almost daily "panic attacks" or whatever. I have a med for it. Ativan. It has been a life-saver, but it makes it very hard to do certain things like be creative and I am afraid of becoming addicted to it. But, I am really struggling with that thing -this panic. It seems uncontrollable. My emotions feel like fireworks and It's really hard to figure out wher the old me is. I tell this story with great fear. But, as I stated in the opening I have an interest in killing that fear. However, I live with the deepest fear, everyday. It's hard to express, but I feel that I am generally a coward. A "pussy", as Marsup would say. I don't really like myself much and I am starting to see that I am very angry, in general. I am starting to see how this energy has been directed into creativity, without me realizing it. Maybe that's what people refer to when they say music and art is theraputic.
I have thought about suicide for much of my life, but never acted on it. Lately, the bad thoughts have gotten much worse. I have had many periods before where I have gotten what I call "stuck". I can't move much, or do anything, and I just sleep all day and night. Or sometimes I barely sleep at all, and just stare at screens or ruminate on an idea or feeling, not interacting with people or real life. But, lately these episodes have gotten more frequent and intense.
And, while this has been happening I've been seeing the therapist. Things have come to light. I was finally able to get a regular doctor after years of not having one. Together, they have decided that I am a very strong contender for having some level of ADD, or ADHD. We've been trying a medication but It has had very little effect, good or bad. The only real effect is that my armpits won't stop sweating. Lovely. So, with the information gathered in therapy and assessments, and based on my injury and how my med doesn't seem to work, they've decided that I am most likely suffering a combination of PTSD and Depression. They've informed me that this a good reason why the ADHD med won't work. Until those things are dealt with, I won't see an improvement from that.
So, luckily my doctor was able to get me a referral to our small city's best psychiatrist. We don't have many, and apparently this one is extremely successful in dealing with cases like me. So, I am fortunate in that regard.
In the meantime, I remain stuck a lot of the time, and the ugly thoughts become overbearing. At those times I have found that my local crisis hotline has become invaluable. That is something I never ever thought I'd be saying. But, that is also because I spent a lifetime ignoring myself. Now, I am here, doing my best to deal. And, I feel alone. My family would never understand. I cannot talk to them. I have a partner, and she's amazing. Really. I am so, so lucky. But, I can't burden her with all of this all the time. So, the hotline has helped me with my panic by forcing me to ground myself to reality. I'm accumulating various tools for this like breathing exercises and, as mentioned, the grounding exercises.
I tell all this shit with great fear of being rejected by a lot of who, because I've grown to love my extended family. I've said that the BBQ changed my life. That is because I finally felt like I found my tribe. Getting to hang with you all helped me see my own strength and I want this thread to offer at least a facsimile.


I think your honesty and candor here is actually quite brave. There should be no shame in at least seeing a trained, professional therapist. I've considered the same thing. It's great that friends are there for me, but there's also a recognition that they do, they have their own issues and I, personally, don't want to go unpacking my baggage on their floor.
Still, don't take that to mean you can't talk to your friends, or that you have to always resort to making light of or making a joke out of what bothers you (which is, admittedly, my own preferred defense mechanism).
I do feel like, since this has grown into a legitimate and active community- dysfunctional as it may be- that this is one purpose of community.
I am kind of afraid of getting medicated, though.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby ::: on Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:48 pm

I think your honesty and candor here is actually quite brave

+1

I had little inkling of what you've been going through from your Facebook presence. I did remember that your mother had passed away recently, but the other stuff is news to me -- that is some serious and difficult shit to contend with. I'm just some random internet person, but I hereby encourage you to share what you're going through, without fear or shame, because it helps both you individually and the people you share with who can relate, of whom there are probably more than you realize now.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Maurice on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:39 pm

::: wrote:
I think your honesty and candor here is actually quite brave

+1

I had little inkling of what you've been going through from your Facebook presence. I did remember that your mother had passed away recently, but the other stuff is news to me -- that is some serious and difficult shit to contend with. I'm just some random internet person, but I hereby encourage you to share what you're going through, without fear or shame, because it helps both you individually and the people you share with who can relate, of whom there are probably more than you realize now.


Thirded. This is a lot of difficult stuff to deal with, and help (professional, casual, random-internet) is important. Tell people things--it's ok.

One observation that might (or might not) be helpful is that the negative thoughts are just thoughts. People tend to treat negative thoughts as being somehow perceptive or specially forceful, but a lot of these thoughts are just noise. (Here's an article that goes into it a bit more.) It sounds like some of the tools and techniques you're learning are related to that. Best wishes and feel free to PM anytime.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby jimmy spako on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:12 pm

oh, frank, i feel for you.
i have been through a lot of what you write.
everybody is afraid. if someone would shame you here, then they are in the wrong place, because this board is, was and always has been an endless source of support. may it always be that way.
there is no heroism in not feeling your feelings. there is much heroism in being naked in front of yourself & going from there.

i have one question for now: do you want to go back to your job?

do whatever you have to do to feel better, it can be as sloppy as it has to be.

wishing you peace & resilience,


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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby circle_ruler on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:35 pm

FD, i couldn't do what you do. i am the archetypal pussy. i am also fucking amazing in a trillion pussyish ways as are you. here's to the amazing diversity of humankind and especially the anxious and the weak. we have to fight every day in ways that some people will never understand and i hope for their sakes they never have to. bless their arid, calloused hearts.

ok that's enough for now. prod me whenever you're in need. you're a great person in trying circumstances but you will prevail.
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Hang in there bro. Don't give up on the meds so soon.

Postby seanurban on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:12 pm

Mental Health's rhythm section is tight, but the singer drones on way too long.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby ben on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:13 pm

Just wanted to hop in here to say that I can be counted among those who struggle with persistent bad thoughts. Throw one more on the pile.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby VaticanShotglass on Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:37 pm

I'm very sorry to hear this is happening to you, yet I'm glad you didn't keep it to yourself. You are very much not alone. The things you describe sound very familiar to me. The being "stuck" part is so hard. It's all hard though. You had some very real and horrible stuff hit you, and there is nothing unusual or pussy about the fallout you are suffering. It's not wallowing or being indulgent to acknowledge this stuff; it is really the responsible thing to do to in the hard path to helping yourself, which you are doing very good things to get done. Seeing a therapist and addressing medication are hard things to do and you're doing it. I've had different but related struggles and there wasn't even any sort of violent incident to really kick it into high gear. If there was I'd wrecked and would not be able to say all things you just said like you just did. I'm trying not to sound cheeseball or anything. I just wish people told me these things years ago when I went around keeping it all a secret.
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Re: Hang in there bro. Don't give up on the meds so soon.

Postby Frank Decent on Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:40 pm

seanurban wrote:Mental Health's rhythm section is tight, but the singer drones on way too long.
Stigma Killing Machine used to have bass player (i think). What happened to him?


He got hooked on brown tones and went nuts.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Frank Decent on Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:43 pm

Hey, it's surprising to see the response. Thank you, everyone for the encouragement and for sharing what you have. I appreciate it. And, these responses are exactly what I was hoping this thread would be - a place where we can freely talk about this shit and normalize it. It's so widespread an common but no one wants to really dig deep and talk about it, so I just think every little bit helps.

Again, I'm not trying to undermine the other threads. Maybe this one can serve as a catch all for what doesn't seem to fit the other ones.

*Edit - sorry if this response seems lacking, but I'm a bit overwhelmed at everyone's candor and kindness and don't know what to say, except thanks and let's keep going.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby lemur68 on Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:04 am

I have a pile of neuroses that are never severe enough to make me hit a breaking point, but just bad enough to make life a pain in the ass. Mainly depression, anhedonia, shit self-esteem, traits of autism spectrum disorder that aren't enough to put me actually ON the spectrum, excessive ruminations on mortality (because I DON'T want to die--no, I want to see how this all plays out, but I also feel like it's around the corner at any moment).

Recently I realized I'm just kind of flat most of the time, unless something pisses me off, which is the only strong emotion I seem to have. I mean I feel "up" sometimes more than others, but basically it seems like my emotions are 25% anger and 75% nothin'. Flashes of happiness but not really finding pleasure in most things, even awesome things. Hell, during and after Thundersnow it was like, "Yes, I am acknowledging that this is something cool and awesome that is happening", but it felt like just another thing that I was doing. I mean yeah, it was way more fun than being at work, but I wasn't bursting with that "WOW AWESOME" feeling that I'm envious of other people for having. Nothing's really triggered that feeling in a good while.

Oh, but cut me off in a parking lot or post a Fox News editorial on Facebook and watch my head pop like a thermometer.

It'd be nice to feel good things again, instead of just numbness punctuated by rage.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby seanurban on Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:22 am

That's when I think about learning how to fight, but then I'd just be angry and constantly sore. I'm too old for this shit.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Anthony Flack on Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:38 am

Frank, everything you've said on the board suggests to me that you are most Decent. Hang in there, bud.

There should be no stigma to having mental health issues and it strikes me as deeply delusional when anybody gets sniffy about it, because nobody is fully right in the head. We're all at the mercy of our brain chemistry and internal wiring, and like an old car with a temperamental engine, we just have to find ways of keeping the ol' girl running smoothly as best we can. That might mean medication for some people. It might take a while to find the right balance though. Get it wrong and it will just give you a whole new set of problems.

I know so many people who are half-crazy in so many different ways. Some harmlessly, and some incredibly destructively. My girlfriend is an acute psych nurse by training, so our house can be like an informal visit to a therapist for our friends. And man, everybody is nuts. Some people know it, and some people are in denial, and that's the worst.

Whereas you look more the type to make it through like a fucking champ. If your meds are fucking with your creativity, I could ask my girlfriend about that, cos she knows a lot about the various types of medication and their side effects. And loss of creativity comes up a lot. I expect that creativity is potentially a form of madness.

Well, everything is potentially a form of madness for that matter. We're crazy humans, full of our own individual little manufacturing defects.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Frank Decent on Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:16 pm

lemur68 wrote:I have a pile of neuroses that are never severe enough to make me hit a breaking point, but just bad enough to make life a pain in the ass. Mainly depression, anhedonia, shit self-esteem, traits of autism spectrum disorder that aren't enough to put me actually ON the spectrum, excessive ruminations on mortality (because I DON'T want to die--no, I want to see how this all plays out, but I also feel like it's around the corner at any moment).

Recently I realized I'm just kind of flat most of the time, unless something pisses me off, which is the only strong emotion I seem to have. I mean I feel "up" sometimes more than others, but basically it seems like my emotions are 25% anger and 75% nothin'. Flashes of happiness but not really finding pleasure in most things, even awesome things. Hell, during and after Thundersnow it was like, "Yes, I am acknowledging that this is something cool and awesome that is happening", but it felt like just another thing that I was doing. I mean yeah, it was way more fun than being at work, but I wasn't bursting with that "WOW AWESOME" feeling that I'm envious of other people for having. Nothing's really triggered that feeling in a good while.

Oh, but cut me off in a parking lot or post a Fox News editorial on Facebook and watch my head pop like a thermometer.

It'd be nice to feel good things again, instead of just numbness punctuated by rage.


Lemur, thank you for sharing that. The 75% "nothin'" intrigues me, and makes me feel for you, as I cannot relate, and it's something I've wondered about - feeling nothing. Most of the time I feel like I feel everything, and in overwhelming amounts. I've fantasized about feeling nothing, and sought ways to do so. So, to hear you struggling with that is difficult. It was great hanging out with you, if that means anything. Take care, and keep sharing what you need. I appreciated it.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby samizdat on Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:22 am

lemur68 wrote:I have a pile of neuroses that are never severe enough to make me hit a breaking point, but just bad enough to make life a pain in the ass. Mainly depression, anhedonia, shit self-esteem, traits of autism spectrum disorder that aren't enough to put me actually ON the spectrum, excessive ruminations on mortality (because I DON'T want to die--no, I want to see how this all plays out, but I also feel like it's around the corner at any moment).

Recently I realized I'm just kind of flat most of the time, unless something pisses me off, which is the only strong emotion I seem to have. I mean I feel "up" sometimes more than others, but basically it seems like my emotions are 25% anger and 75% nothin'. Flashes of happiness but not really finding pleasure in most things, even awesome things. Hell, during and after Thundersnow it was like, "Yes, I am acknowledging that this is something cool and awesome that is happening", but it felt like just another thing that I was doing. I mean yeah, it was way more fun than being at work, but I wasn't bursting with that "WOW AWESOME" feeling that I'm envious of other people for having. Nothing's really triggered that feeling in a good while.

Oh, but cut me off in a parking lot or post a Fox News editorial on Facebook and watch my head pop like a thermometer.

It'd be nice to feel good things again, instead of just numbness punctuated by rage.


I could have written every last word of this. I'm right there with you, lemur68.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby Frank Decent on Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:08 pm

I'm recognizing some cycles going on lately, all involving the things I mentioned earlier. My therapist was able to help me find or develop a few new tools for dealing with the extreme stress responses during a panic, and this is going to sound silly, but I'm finding that colouring helps. I'll talk about that in the depression thread.
I'm also becoming aware of my potential addictions, particularly to pills. I think I am falling into a habit of burying myself away from feeling anything and some of the meds I'm on offer that. That's the job, after all. But I can feel where it might slip into abuse.
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Re: Mental Health and Stigma Killing Machine

Postby etch on Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:13 pm

Thanks for putting your feelings out there, FD. It's still so hard to talk about this kind of stuff, I know it is when it happens to me.
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