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I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

Posted by denninmi 6A SE Michigan (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 5:11

I have struggled with trying to feel the least bit worthy of being alive some days. It's bad enough to feel this way about myself, it is far worse to have other people tell you that you are somehow a threat, a menace to society because of something you didn't ask for and don't want. Believe me when I say my experience has been the most degrading and dehumanizing thing I have been through.

Once in a while, I can feel good about myself for a few minutes. And if I can help someone else I feel even better.

Yesterday was very nice here, hazy sun and 58 degrees. To hold on to the vestigial remnants of my mind, I exercise a lot. Cycling is my big thing, it is a few hours of freedom when no one knows I am a " mental defective" as the archaic but still used term goes. I ride as much as I can, put in the better part of 2000 miles since Labor Day.

So, cycling through one of my favorite, enormous subdivisions, and I stopped for water and to take off a layer. This vehicle pulls up along side ... can I ask you a few questions ....

The guy is a cop who lives in the sub, he said he has noticed me riding all the time, and that I've lost a lot of weight (45 lbs) and look good.

He had a lot of questions, he was pretty heavy and said it was imperative he lose a lot of weight, because it is a problem on the job.

So, I told him what I've done, told him he could get a free weeks pass to my gym, and who to talk to if he was interested in joining and/or one of the organized fitness groups or in personal training.

Best traffic stop I ever had.

At least I had a few minutes of peace. It's gone now and I feel pretty low. Have the satisfaction of knowing maybe I helped the man in some tiny way.

This post was edited by denninmi on Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 15:41


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

As I mentioned on another thread of yours, one of my daughters has been bipolar since before puberty and has struggled with both manic and depressive stages for the past 40 or so years. Aside from her meds, she has benefited greatly from professional counseling to get past the low points. She has also developed a good support group of other mothers. She used to teach/lead pilates but developed joint problems and so is limited to long and vigorous walks. She can no longer ride bicycle for any distance.

So, while she still struggles to cope, she has worked out ways to avoid self-isolation and other potentially dangerous behaviors. Good luck. Sounds like you are on your way to a healthy lifestyle and supportive behaviors.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

58, holy crap!

Dennis, you said before you do not suffer from depression, but this sounds like depression to me. Low-level depression is probably the most common thing out there. It certainly strikes me from time to time.

Being able to be highly physically active is a gift. Be happy about that.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

I have never been in the place you are so I feel a bit inadequate commenting - but I want to say that you absolutely do have value as a human being. I have no doubt, just from learning about you here, that you have touched many people in your time on Earth ... and you will influence more to come.

As marshall said, I encourage you to seek help to get through these low points. You are worthy and we're glad you're here.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

Well, of course you have value as a human being. You are bright, articulate, intelligent, and certainly interesting.

It is probably your illness, but you seem to be falling into the trap of defining your "worthiness" by how others perceive you. Or, you seem to think you only have value if you're constantly pleasing others or being useful to others. But that's not really the measure you should be using.

Of course, that's easy to say because, when you're drowning in adverse brain chemistry, you lack the ability to evaluate yourself beyond the misery caused by the depression. What seems logical and reasonable to those of us who don't suffer from PTSD and/or bipolar is very different from the misfirings in your brain that cause you to be absorbed by these dreary thoughts and feelings, to the exclusion of reason and reality.

I'm not saying that you should engage in phony positive thinking, which doesn't exist outside of those people who already have the innate ability to be positive and cheerful. That would be unreasonable, although it might be worth the laughs you could give yourself for trying something completely unrealistic.

I think what Marshall is saying is that, like his daughter, you need to gradually learn to incorporate diversions and "fake it 'til you make it" strategies. However, even then you probably have to have a good antidepressant portion of meds to give you the ability to step outside of the morass and make it possible to think somewhat rationally so that you are able to assess when you need to deploy those strategies.

The depression portion is temporary and will pass eventually.

Please call your doctor. There is no need to suffer like this.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

A method of getting your self able to understand your self is biofeedback. When I was in college my adviser was psychologist at Cal Poly Pomona. It is an engineering school and some of the students were building biofeedback machines as projects. My adviser would let students use them for an hour at a time and it was a great way to spend time between classes.

Since then I have seen the use and benefits of this therapy to help many different physical and psychological difficulties. Here are a couple of links that you may appreciate.

Wiki on Biofeedback

Here is a link that might be useful: Biofeedback Software some you can use at home on your computer.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

"Well, of course you have value as a human being. You are bright, articulate, intelligent, and certainly interesting."

The problem with that criteria is where does it leave people who are not any of those things? And severely psychotic and difficult to boot? Speaking of "value" when it comes to other people seems like a slippery slope.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

If I've learned one thing in life, it's never to tell someone how he/she SHOULD be feeling. If I do that, I'm arrogant enough to think that I know what is and isn't best for another.

Instead, my thoughts about what you've written denn only relate to the impression I received from the subject you've given this thread. I detect a bit of a "victim" attitude. In my experience, the victim worked hand in hand with depression. But to the extent I kept taking the victim role, I was giving myself permission to sit back and not take ownership for my behaviors. It was only when I truly started to dig within that I could own the positives in me along with positives in my behaviors. And with self-ownership came the realization that in every single aspect of my life, I have and make choice. With that, depression lifted.

For me, much of this happened with the help of counselors.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

"no one knows I am a "mental defective""

Stop right there, Denni. You are a human being with a condition that responds to medical treatment.

Are you taking your meds as prescribed? Are you keeping track of your highs and lows? Do you have regular appointments with a mental health professional? I think your doctor would very much want to know what you've shared with us today.

Do yourself a favor and check in with your doc. Maybe your meds need adjusting. It's not a do it yourself thing, you know. Call your doc and give him or her the opportunity to help you feel better. They can't help if you don't check in and let them know what's going on.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

In depth, honest communication between patient and doctor is imperative... as is consulting the right types of doctors... and ensuring medications are adjusted properly. Depression is often not seen so much by the patient, as it's seen by those who surround the patent and interact with them on a regular basis. There's nothing wrong in getting more than one professional opinion, regardless how mild or severe the issue.

Every human being has worth. There are many variables and levels to the various issues we'd call mental or psychological in nature... a good majority that can be easily treated through today's medical and pharmaceutical avenues... but a chemical imbalance within the brain can happen to anybody. It doesn't by any means make a person less.

Sometimes, it's a lifelong struggle... and sometimes, it's temporary, as simple as "rebooting" the chemical processes within the brain using medications. Either way, there is no shame in needing or asking for help... the trick, I think, is finding the right combination of doctors, medicines, and other treatments that make us feel comfortable and whole as individuals. We all have worth. We have to know that, and feel that, for ourselves.

I have physical limitations that some might say make me less... but I don't necessarily feel that way. Sure, it's frustrating at times.. but I am worthy, of value, as a human being. We all are. It's not always our fault that others don't, or can't, see our worth. Sometimes, that fault belongs to others.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

"The problem with that criteria is where does it leave people who are not any of those things"

pnbrown - I think lionheart was referring to denni specifically wrt to the "you". My brother was schizophrenic but wasn't articulate or interesting but he was bright and he was hardworking. I have a friend who suffers from depression and is on meds but she is a wonderful and caring mother.

I really believe that everyone brings something to the humanity table regardless of other limitations that they may or may not suffer from. None of us is perfect and some of us have been identified and labeled as being such.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

You are as valuable as any other human being regardless of mental or physical issues. I'd say you are even more valuable be the way you express so clearly, so intelligently, so openly.

Truly

This post was edited by Roughseas on Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 19:11


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

Yes, I was talking to Denni personally. Thank you, Blfenton.

Denni's character comes through on posts and it's nice to able to provide positive feedback to someone who is down. We are occasionally at each others' throats when in the throes of debate, but that doesn't mean we can't respect others, or provide a small measure of comfort where it is due.

If I thought Denni was none of those things, I would have found other characteristics to acknowledge. We all have traits that are positive, and sometimes a person should be allowed to hear the good things about themselves.

"The problem with that criteria is where does it leave people who are not any of those things? And severely psychotic and difficult to boot? Speaking of "value" when it comes to other people seems like a slippery slope."

Well, I wasn't talking about a hypothetical person here. We're talking about Denni, who is able to communicate some barely perceptible (to us) mental health issues, but is not extremely dysfunctional and is capable of having a healthy, pleasant relationship with others.

I wasn't looking to talk about strangers who are severely dysfunctional and unable to have a meaningful and somewhat sane relationship with anyone.

Of course, if we are faced with such a person, that doesn't mean that we have to cruel. You deal politely, as best you can and to the level you are able to handle, then move on.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

I think I should really apologize for even posting this. It is pretty inappropriate, actually, to turn HT into my own personal forum to vent personal issues. That was never the purpose of this forum.

I have really struggled with feelings of shame and disgrace over this entire fiasco. Intellectually, I know this is something brought on by some combination of genes and environment. But it still feels like I have done something wrong. Couple that with fear of stigmatization and my own, admittedly not very informed beliefs about mental illness, and I was a mess. I was beginning to accept things and feel better a while ago, slowly but surely feeling like things might be ok.

And then Newtown happened. Things became very ugly in cyberspace for anyone like me. Gun advocates seeking to shift the focus away from weapons are happy to blame people with mental illness, and it seems like isn't just the NRA, Bloomberg's group as well advocates some form of registry. Due process and equal protection, as well as the right to privacy seem to go out the window under these proposals.

So, yes, I tend to feel like the world views me like some kind of felon on parole. Not a very good feeling.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

I guess my point is that one has to acknowledge that every person has value, it's a truism. Difficult as it may be to so acknowledge, at times and in certain cases.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
Buddha


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

Denninmi, you need to understand that you are going through a process that wont be rushed. Your mind is probably going to be turning over ideas and thoughts as you try to make some rational sense of the effects of your disease and its impact upon your life.
You have been through and are going through something that has rocked the axis of your world. You have to allow time for the proper medication, proper dosage of medication to be figured out, this takes time and continuing, frequent, kept appointments with a psychiatrist, until what works best for your chemistry is hit upon. Then you need to be doing deep and frequent work with a good psychologist in order to learn how to not only process this past year in a healthy way, but to learn how to view yourself and your world in a healthy way that you can find benefit and then learn how to find the best approach to living your life now and in the future as fully and contentedly as you can. None of this will happen overnight. It will be a process, just as every deeply life changing event takes time to process and adjust to. I am glad you post here, as you have found, it is probably one of the safer places on the internet for you to be. For me, there is never a reason for you to apologize.

Perhaps your therapist can direct you to a good group, perhaps you could find a measure of stable ground by talking to others who have been through it, if not you could always quit.

It is the frequent sessions with your psychologist to work on things and frequent checks with your psychiatrist for medication adjustments are most important right now. Try not to be too impatient with the process, you have so much to think about and work out, it will be retrospectively, more than likely, that you will be able to measure your progress.

You must ignore what you hear about generalized statements regarding those with mental disorders, especially those surrounding the topic of the slaughter of the children and adults at the school. It comes too frequently from people with no degrees or years of study, from those who do not know that you exist. Decide that they are not talking about you, because, after all, they don't even know your name. Ignore the white noise going on about this past tragedy....and the one that is next to come.

Your job is to work on yourself, that is something you can actually accomplish, while the rest of us endlessly bicker. Stick around, offer your own thoughts and ideas on subjects but don't feel you have to apologize, not to me certainly, at any rate. I'm glad you are here.


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

No one here can make you feel like your worth while (I never understood that concept anyway)
They can tell you you are worth while but what is that anyway but a set of value factors determined by?
I arrived at a tenuous bartering with it when I was 25 & decided to hold out as an experiment to see how often my opinion changed or if I shifted focus to things other than my own center of gravity. The gravitational force of my own tyrannical self appraisals years ago are occasionally interesting reads today as I'm sure today's inventories may be looked upon more kindly by and even more nurturing me someday.

There's been years of externalizing the inner critical voice (s) that would have fed me whole to Ammit. It has announced the obvious, the feared, the suspected, the well hidden everything to & including ..and you got bad breath.
My only considered response theses days is tell me more!

I wish you (interest in your journey) & hope you shine a light for others to mark the rocks & reefs!


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RE: I do have value as a human being, even with a mental illness.

I love it when people ask me for directions, etc. I was also stopped by a cop when I was mountain biking. He wanted to discuss trails in my local area, and reminded me of a great trail (my biking friends would use the term "sweet") that I hadn't ridden in years.

My riding buddy and I started to incorporate that trail on our rides- the trail had a name 'Soaring Hawk' but we started calling it the 'twin sisters' because it had 2 almost identical climbs about a few miles apart from each other.

You've helped me, because I haven't been riding for awhile, and I think I'll start up again.

Here is a link that might be useful: pictures of the area


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