Own Your Illness

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by NYJmpMaster, Nov 3, 2013.

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  1. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    If a lot of people would spend more time reading and educating themselves about the illnesses and diagnoses they freely admit to then it would likely be easier for them to understand why they are feeling a certain way. Understanding may or may not make it easier to deal with, but it would allow them to at least understand the why instead of asking why.

    We are all happy to explain away our feelings with a diagnosis - love to tell how many different ones we have or have had, and many seem to nearly boast about how theirs is worse than others.... but all we want to own are the parts that induce sympathy and make it "not my fault".

    Some very small research will tell you that with depression and the common disorders like borderline personality disorder, the most striking symptom is a perception problem. The way somebody that suffers from depression and BPD (and numerous other disorders) perceives things is wrong or distorted. If you have depression or one of these disorders, asking why everybody hates you and turns on you is probably not going to do you any good because THEY DON'T. That is the distortion in perception that is caused by your illness. Allowing yourself to be sucked into the belief that it is an actuality is bound to lead to endless hopeless situation because you are spending all your efforts on changing something that is likely not true. You are trying to make people like you that already do or overpowering them with that to make up for the distortion in perception that YOUR ILLNESS is causing.

    With depression - everybody no longer sees a reason to live and no longer takes joy in things. That id not you. That is what depression is. It is a symptom of a disease. Your life is usually not any worse or better than that of the "everybody else is happy " people you talk about. You BELIEVE it is hopeless and there is not joy- because you have an illness and the symptom of that illness is the inability to feel happiness from things that would make you happy if the illness did not exist. Spend a lifetime chasing happiness- you will never find or attain it until the illness that is causing the inability to perceive things correctly is dealt with.

    Another common trait of depression and many personality disorders are anti social behaviors. While it is a mixed bag of people willing to take responsibility for the actions that were caused by their illnesses and the common anti social behavioral traits these illnesses cause the most common by far is a certain selfishness and narcissism that nobody wants to admit as everything begins to revolve around their own pain. Nobody wants to own this one ever - but it certainly applies to all of us that have any of these illnesses. We are not nearly as nice and helpful and caring about our friends and family as we wish we were, and the same perception issue that makes us think that they do not care makes us think we are doing far more than we actually are.

    We (or many of us) have depression or some other disorders or illnesses. Read all of it , not just the parts that justify your feelings and generate sympathy. Own the illness by admitting that things are very often different than what we perceive because that is the illness. You can still feel the same way and it will not eliminate the symptoms for certain- but understanding that it is not in fact reality may help you stop wasting time trying to change something that is not even true.....
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Resident SF Sims Enthusiast Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    I think, while I understand where you are coming from and I do agree with you to some extent, I think you have forgotten an important point. While I do accept there are people who do nothing but malinger and wallow in their illness, and who do not paint a true picture, for most of us, there are times where our illnesses do get the better of us. For example, today is a pretty normal day for me, if it were not for the fact that I feel physically wiped out, I'd even go as far to say that this is a good day. On my okay or good days, I can accept my illness as just that, an illness. It doesn't define me or the person I am. On mildly bad days, okay days and good days I can accept that I will have bad days and that is normal. I can keep in control of any symptoms and use my coping mechanisms well. I can even have periods of mild depression where although I feel low, I can accept that it will pass. However, when I am psychotic or in a severely impulsive and suicidal episode, all of that goes out of the window. I cannot listen to reason or reality, not because I don't want to, but because at the moment in time my reality I see (no matter how delusional) is completely different than the reality you see. I could be convinced the government is spying on me and that every police car or ambulance I see is trying to catch me to lock me up. You may see this as completely irrational but that at that moment in time is my reality, although today I would agree with you and tell you that is irrational and delusional. But I can't help that, at that moment in time. When I slip into acutely unwell, all the good work I've done up to now doesn't matter, it completely takes over. Sometimes everybody has bad days where their illness takes over, but it doesn't mean we don't want to be in control of our illnesses. I think that is the nature of mental illness, it is completely unpredictable, even for those who know their illnesses inside out, it can even take them by surprise.

    I think in the case of chronic depression and personality disorders, it's not as easy to accept that the things around you aren't necessarily happening or is a result of you. It often takes years of work in therapy for people to overcome their fears and issues, mostly around abandonment and being alone. In the case of someone who has BPD, black and white thinking is not easily changed, especially if that is how you have thought and felt for your entire life. For people with BPD, something either is or it isn't, there is often no in between, often no grey area that me or you may see. That person cannot always help it, no matter how annoying, trivial or completely irrational it is. It takes a LONG time for people with BPD to adapt their thought processes and their perceptions.

    I think what gets to me more is when people constantly complain about how down they have been, how depressed they are, how they have this symptom and that symptom but they choose to do nothing about it. I know it's not easy to seek help and it can take someone a while to come round to that idea, have the courage to book the appointment and then have the courage to go. I tend to lack sympathy for those who choose not to do anything about it. Who know they should, but they won't. Some people like having things to complain about, some people do like the attention. Then it annoys me more when they go and self diagnose lol. I hate that. Or people who simply lack life experience, who thing because event x has happened, it is the end of the world and refuse to listen to people who have considerably more life experience than them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2013
  3. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I am not sure it is wallowing or malingering most of the time - even when people think it is - it is more than possible to not be able to react differently often or to do what others see as the obvious answer - that is also part of the illness and a symptom - along with the perception is the inability to act that is not willful. Simply doing and pretending is not going to change it or make it work. That is the part that people that do not have experience with the illness do not understand- that it is sometimes a matter of :"CAN NOT" and not "do not want to".

    That does not mean however that we cannot be open to the possibility that it is the illness and not the world. We may not be able to change how we feel about things, but we can be open to the possibility that what we feel is no more reality than the voices or hallucinations that may come with some illnesses. Perhaps everybody does not hate us, and in the instance of how we are treated we may not be able to help the way react to things or do things but that does not make them any less self centered or selfish and overly needy and it is not the fault of everybody else that we have these symptoms either, and not their responsibility to help cure them anymore than it is if we have a cold, flu or any other illness.
  4. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN

    This is something I am guilty of, and sometimes it is both wallowing and malingering, and other times it is simply cannot do the things I know I need to do to make things better for myself. When I feel miserable about everything and consider how big a proportion of my life is spent feeling sad and hopeless compared with the brief flashes of happiness, it does feel pointless and it does generate suicidal thoughts.

    However, many of the things that make me sad about my life, I am aware are things that I could (and should) ameliorate myself, and that I caused myself. My social life is next to non-existent and most of the time I put this down to friends abandoning me for one reason or another - but the truth is that while there are one or two cases where that is, in fact, true - the more regular instance is that depression and inability to find pleasure in socialising caused me to push away my friends.

    I do not 'own' my illness - not in the way described by NYJ - but in that I do not acknowledge it and, more importantly, I do not fight it as hard as I could. When I feel physically unwell or in pain, I force myself out of bed, I take drugs and I go about my business as normal. I do not like being ill and I fight it. When it comes to depression, I more often refuse to acknowledge it exists and when a particularly intense bout takes hold, I do not fight it. I let it take over - sometimes feed it - and spend days at a time shrouded in a black cloud.

    Even writing this, a part of me is thinking 'why should I have to fight it? It isn't fair that I have it.' Which is a ridiculous attitude.

    I agree with Butterfly - it can take years of meds and therapy to be able to fight the though patterns - but I agree with NYJ as well that blaming other people for things that are caused by our own illnesses is abdicating responsibility for getting better. Equally, the 'I can't help it, I have *****' refrain found here so often, is regularly excuse not to do the difficult thing. The fact that it is easy for other people feels unfair - why should we have to fight so hard for things that other people do so naturally? It isn't fair - but it is the hand we have to play. Sitting out of the game simply guarantees you will not win.

    So I think the point here is not only to 'own your illness' but is also to acknowledge the need to 'do the difficult thing'.
  5. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    I did this when I suffered from bipolar. Learning about it did help a little.
  6. FrainBart

    FrainBart Staff Alumni

    I can say I am also guilty of this, but have improved in recent weeks.

    I see it more now, how persistent people are to prove a point to make the effort to push people away when they are just trying to fulfil a prophecy concocted in their mind e.g everyone hates me, I'm alone... the list could go on. But its sad to see not one person putting as much effort as pushing those away into other proactive resources, Like getting help, speaking to a doctor, if people spent half the time complaining that they aren't getting the help they need, and twice as much effort and time actually doing, then things would also be greatly improved.

    Doctors and psychologists are not psychic, they do not know what is on your mind, you need to tell them.
  7. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Thank you for the insightful post. I would add one of the biggest myths conjured up by people with depression and many disorders is this last one though - that it is easy for the other people and hard for us. Having had the good fortune of many years of relatively "normal" life - I can say for a fact none of the things were any easier or hurt any less - simply the depression I developed after becoming physically ill and unable to work has caused me to react less well to the situations. It is a myth that that it is easier for most people - most people suffer just as much as we do - they just have the benefit of still having the ability to enjoy the highs as a counter balance but it is not easy by any stretch. In most ways my life was far more difficult before the illness - just it was also far more rewarding.
  8. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    Couldn't agree more with the angle taken on this thread. From what I have seen, there's a number of people who have said "I can't do this because of the illness" - effectively allowing the illness to dictate how they are instead of making the most of what they can do.

    Taking FailingHope's post itself into account, she's improved (re: her thread in the Positive sub forum - A different person) - because she's taken the time to fight for herself to get better. And it's proving to be a positive boost where things are looking better for her in a number of ways albeit there's still a way to go.

    It's also worked for me to be able to have someone to talk to (psychologist) and even though I've been on and off medication, I've also discovered that I'm fighting through and still working irrespective of the potential for me to have a number of complications with my diagnosed condition, now I've come more to terms with the fact that I have it, and analysing that life doesn't stop because of it means that I just have to manage myself differently to what I used to.
  9. Adam

    Adam SF Supporter

    Well I was going to write a response to this post, but it got long and then I started to wonder why even bother? What am I even doing? What does this thread even attempt to achieve? What of adding to it would be of value? I was going to open up a much wider picture and challenge certain generalisations and blanket statements made that I found distasteful and flawed. Then expose why they are flawed from a psychology and sociology perspective. Maybe I should just leave it to be an empty echo chamber of universal agreement.
  10. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    What it attempts to achieve is to get people to consider they have an illness....that illness is real..... that illness is the source of most of their problems..... that understanding the illnesses symptoms include distorted perception won't change those perceptions but might allow a person to consider they are not correct.... that this real illness is the reason they cannot do things sometimes- not laziness or inability....that a real illness is the reason they believe they are worthless- not that they are worthless... that an illness and the symptoms of the illness are to blame for most feelings - not other people- people likely do not hate them , that is a symptom of the illness to feel that way.... that another symptom of the illness is anti-social behaviors often....that just like we are not able to prevent the symptoms from effecting us it is not the job or responsibility of everybody else in the world to change for us - we are sick not special or entitled......

    among other things ... unless you disagree about the illnesses and symptoms being real?
  11. TheLoneWolf

    TheLoneWolf Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry - look, I understand that many people here do have legitimate illnesses that cause them to feel the way that they do, but I don't believe that my own depression is an "illness". My depression is the result of me feeling bad about things that have happened in my life. It's entirely possible that those things are the result of me having some other kind of illness, such as social anxiety, or an inability to relate to and connect with other human beings... these things make me very sad. But the sadness I feel is not an illness in and of itself. It's not something I can just go to therapy and take some pill for. If anything, antidepressants just made me feel like a disconnected floating head zombie clown. My sadness is a symptom, not a diagnosis. I can't "own" my illness because my depression is not an illness. I'm not "sick". I'm sick and tired of my life being the way that it is. I don't have a "chemical imbalance". I have a "life imbalance". The reason I am unhappy is because there is too big of a gap between the life that I want and the life that I have. It really is that simple.

    I don't need a doctor. I need a new life.
  12. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Nobody claims every case of being sad is an actual illness ..... in fact that is where the distortion comes from - so far as your particular situation is concerned you would know better than anybody else here - it is the difference between "being depressed" and "having depression" -- I might suggest self diagnosis of either is laughably ridiculous - in the one case most people do no thave the expertise to diagnose themselves properly and do not have the ability to look at unbiased tests or observations so they have no basis for the Dx they give themselves, and in the other when they are certain they do not , if they did the symptom of flawed perception and judgement makes their own conclusion moot....

    So far as Meds - there are hundreds, some work for some , some do not, some have side effects for some, and many who claim they do not take meds because of side effects have never taken or when they do take they stop because it is even more scary to see the world correctly than through the mental illness they are used to .... and it is very common for substance a abuse to be a symptom of some illnesses and but even more common for the substance abuse to be the root problem rather than mental illness yet they claim this is "self medicating" and the same ones that refuse meds as they "make me so I cannot feel or I feel separate from life on meds" instead abuse drugs and alcohol to put themselves into a feelingless stupor in their own little world many times a week .....
  13. aqua

    aqua Banned Member

    I understand what you are saying NYJmpMaster, I know I am sick, that there is a lot of irrational thinking going on, especially when I am going through a psychotic episode, that's when I think things are happening and I am not in my right mind, but I do not expect the world or anybody else to change me or fix it, or that its their fault. I know you are writing this to help people
    but in my head I am taking it as if you directed it to me, and I know that's not true, I get a feeling you are tired of hearing what I say, I was invited to post how I felt and encouraged to post what I was feeling. i don't blame anyone here for the way i think. i do own my illness and its a lonely one. thank you for the help,
  14. TheLoneWolf

    TheLoneWolf Well-Known Member

    I see what you did there... I'm sorry, but the "doctor" who "diagnosed" me as being "clinically depressed" spent no more than 30 minutes talking to me, and I'm guessing less than 30 seconds actually listening to me, before prescribing me some drug that had probably been tested on less than 30 lab rats. I'm guessing that said "doctor" had been given many perks by a certain pharmaceutical industry in exchange for handing out prescriptions for said drug like bags of candy on Halloween.

    So my self diagnosis is ridiculous? Okay, scenario. Take one seemingly normal child. Subject him to years of child abuse and bullying, and a family who doesn't love him. Subject him to a life of no friends and no real relationships with other people. Give him a dead end job. Let 30+ years pass. How has the child fared? Oh - he's unhappy? Gee, he must have a chemical imbalance. He must be abnormal. Quickly, we must medicate him with untested drugs and brain-chemical inhibitors. Because surely it is highly unusual for him to be unhappy given his circumstances.

    I'll make no excuse for my alcohol abuse, aside from this one little tidbit - alcohol has been used (and abused) by human beings for centuries. We all know the effects of alcohol. What do we really know about Paxil, or Prozac, or Zoloft? How many centuries have those been around for? Should I willingly subject myself as a guinea pig simply because I've been the victim of a crappy life? If you call being under the influence of those drugs "seeing the world correctly", then I can tell you right now, I have zero, and I mean zero interest in seeing the world "correctly". Because if that is how the world is meant to be viewed, the world is even worse than I thought.
  15. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I am glad you have been posting here on the forum and hope you continue to do so -hope it helps to have some place vent and say what you are feeling and your ability to recognize it as being what you are feeling is going to hopefully help you in the road to recovery....
  16. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Couldn't have said it better myself.
  17. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Then clearly none of this would apply to those without any illness at all ... and not certain why they would have a lot to say about an illness they do not have.
  18. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Because you said depression is an illness. That's someone's effective reply that it is not necessarily any "sickness" at all, but an unsatisfying existence not caused by chemical imbalance or onset of some disease that a doctor can repair. I agree with that. Some cases of depression may be some chemical imbalance, but this is not necessarily so since it can also a result of life. I don't know what kind of information you're passing along that you thought was the best thing since sliced bread from your therapist or whoever told you this, but having a psychological problem, unless it's one that specifically causes a mental deficiency or hallucinations, does not cause irrational and delusional thinking nor an inability to reason. That's just some excuse to dismiss someone by saying "oh, you're crazy... I mean "ill," so therefore you don't know what you're talking about."
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  19. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    I don't think there are definitive answers to mental illness...its causes, and how to cure it...yet.

    Maybe depression is a bit of "which came first, the chicken, or the egg?" No one knows exactly what "causes" depression. In some cases, it can be purely a chemical imbalance. In other cases, it can be that the person has a brain that is "predisposed" to depression-chemistry, and it is triggered the first time by a specific event...but the response to the event changes the brain's chemistry and depression starts. In other cases, perhaps the person is severely unhappy with his/her life's circumstances and has a "situational depression," which is not triggered by chemistry or fixed well with meds, because it's the person's level of satisfaction with their present circumstances that is the root cause. However, if I were a scientist investigating depression, I'd want to look into whether or not prolonged unhappiness/dissatisfaction eventually triggers a chemical imbalance in these folks, too. And if any of these people have a subsequent episode of depression, I'd want to know if started on its own (just brain chemistry) or was there a new triggering event.

    Depression, started by, or eventually occurring with, a chemical imbalance is definitely "pathological" and has symptoms that seem to be widespread and common to most depressed patients. So symptoms such as misperceptions, low self-esteem, negativity, fatigue, aches and pains (and so on) are both physical and mental. So yes, one's thinking can be off. No, not every thought, feeling, or perception will be irrational or wrong. But it's good to be aware that we might not be thinking as clearly as usual, that our brains might be fogged by a chemical imbalance, and that maybe we need to rethink our perception of a situation.
  20. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    For the majority of us, depression is just a generic term, it's not an illness. I fight relentlessy to maintain that I am who I am because of everything that I have done and encompass. I don't lump a series of failings and lack of care into a term. That's dangerous and inevitably creating more work in the end. Perhaps it's needed to gain a perspective on things, but it's hardly a breaking point. I try to keep a clear line of sight and just stay real about it.So depression/illness.. not my thing.

    However if there is some proven medical condition, then even in that, it's like everything else. Fighting/maintaining what you care about and resisting everything that seeks to deminish your ability to care and ability to act. Beating yourself up because life isn't going well, or hasn't been what you wanted or thought isn't an illness in my books. I would say when it comes to depression, ... well.. I want to say alot more. But at this moment I really don't care, sorta tired of words. Would rather dissolve then remember I am what I am.

    Touchy subject.. considering the terms and sensations all lumped together. I cringe at it because it's so definitively "explanitive" it's essentially diagnosing in itself. Which is essentially why alot of people stay quiet about their problems because of slapstick label syndrom and the ease at which you can aqcuire one and how easily one slides into the next.

    I think if you're going to talk about depression and Illness, like this, you need to actually be more precise so to not create confusion. Talking about being in control of your feelings, thoughts and actions is one thing when dealing with being "down". But the association between being "down" and "ill" is a pretty dramatic difference when you're saying "own your illness" and then using depression as part of the terminology. Just an opinion.
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