I’ve always disliked a lot of the language around normalizing mental health, because a lot of it doesn’t focus on the health it focuses on the illness and though depression and anxiety are common I want to normalize coping mechanisms and treatment not the disordered behavior that comes with them. That behavior should be recognized, treated kindly, but used as a gateway to treat it not to simply accept it.
Just because mental illness is normal doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aim to fix it, and most people agree with that, I just often find accounts or groups who push for acceptance that this is just the way it is, and honestly the purpose of normalizing mental health is to help people feel unashamed enough to ask for help and find healthier days ahead.
If your motion is radical mental health acceptance without a push towards treatment (whether medication or not, both are fine) than you have no place amongst those trying to heal from it. It’s harmful to push for acceptance without healing and we wouldn’t be having this conversation about physical ailments. Mental health is physical heath and should be treated the same.
I was once asked how I could believe children were over diagnosed while having a correct childhood diagnostic. I don’t think it’s as much of an oxymoron as people think.
There are a lot of things children can be diagnosed with, but some are more common than others. Bipolar is pretty rare in a child and it’s what I got diagnosed with. I had clear symptoms, and here’s the kicker they weren’t just symptoms inconvenient to our societies adults. I say that because when faced with heavy numbered diagnoses you see that a lot of it is triggered by inconvenient. It’s why so many young boys are labeled with ADHD, then a shocking number of them stop needing treatment as they get older. Is it because they outgrew it or is it because little boys have problems sitting through hours of school with ever shortening physical play? We’re the ones that are shortening outside times and pushing non-active electives instead of more physical ones (like shop which is hardly found anymore).
We get very locked into our bad times, they swallow us whole and seem to threaten never spitting us out. When your in middle of a bad spell, whether it be situational or emotional, you feel like it’ll go on forever, even if you believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel you feel like it is a million miles away. It’s terrible and it’s normal- but I still find that the best thing you can say during these times is that they will pass.
We can’t fix everything and if you have solutions then great! Share them! But it’s true that a lot of darkness just isn’t easily fought off, that we have to simply just get through it. Sometimes that’s really annoying to hear in the middle of the darkness, but it’s true. Surviving is the strategy. Surviving depression till you find the right medication or therapy. Surviving your bad job till you can financially quit or find a new one. Surviving until the timing just lines up.
It’s not glamourous and it’s hard to advise yourself to just get through, there is a reason why suicidal thoughts are common, but waiting while you work is the key to make it through. Try to make your situation better, even when it seems hopeless there is normally small things you can do to make it better, put that work in, but know that in the end it will get better. Life will move pass this and you should be there when it does.
The knowledge is said often but it’s not fully comprehended till you’ve seen it unfold and come to pass multiple times. Sometimes even then it can seem hard to swallow, but there is always a way out of the mess you are in and that way is not death or giving up.
Before I say anything else I know that someone will disagree with my use of “false” all moods are real and all thoughts come to our head are thoughts, I know that, what I’m talking about is the moods and thoughts that are controlled more by our mental illness or imbalances than they are by us. They are false answers to questions we could normally answer correctly.
Those moods and thoughts are a lot of time out of our control, but how we acknowledge them and how we act on them is completely our choice. Once we know they are “false” or from our imbalances it is easier to choose to not act on them or to do so properly, the problem is a lot of these moods and thoughts feel just as real and rational as our other thoughts and learning to tell the difference between them is insanely hard.
It might be easier to know where our thoughts are coming from if we ran every one by a group of trusted peers, but even leaking some of them toxic thoughts can hurt people and it can hurt us having other people tell us what is “real” and what isn’t. So how do you go about trying to figure it out?
Sometimes thinking about what a trusted peer would say to it can help a lot. It can give you insight. Sometimes thinking about what you would say when you were more stable can give you insight. Would you have reacted this way when you were in a happier mindset? No? Why not? Would your calm and collected friend widen her eyes at your thoughts in response to something?
I actually haven’t heard this phrase from anyone but myself, you see, my bipolar has been controlled for years, so I have a mask of normalcy over me. I’m a stable home for a child so no one worries about it, but this is something a lot of bipolar women deal with, even if they are projecting it on themselves.
Bipolar is a genetic disease. It’s not given that your child will be bipolar if you are, but the chances are higher. I could have a bipolar child, it’s very possible, it’s even kinda likely.
So why does reproducing not bother me? Why do I not see it as a risk, or as I’m sure some anonymous poster would say “irresponsible”?
The biggest reason is because I’m bipolar and I’ve lived a wonderful life. My life has been worth living. The swings have not taken away from my value. My life has not been so horrible that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
That’s the basic and end all argument against eugenics, but I won’t go into ranting about that because I could go on for hours.
Would a child have it easier if it did not have the risk of bipolar hanging over them? Maybe, but maybe not. You hear the argument to adopt a lot in situations like these, but you have to realize, there could be a disorder and illness in any child. People have things in their genetics that are hidden and undiagnosed, some disorders and illnesses aren’t based on genetics at all and can pop up in anyone, and they do, regularly.
And I know how to deal with bipolar. I’ve lived it. I know which medications my family can take for this disorder and I know how to talk about it and find proper treatment for it. I’ve learned coping mechanisms outside of medication that I can pass down. I will raise this child to know what to look for in their emotions to help alert them of a mood swing so they can get help before they have to face the aftermath or fallout.
Who is better to raise a child with this disorder than someone who has it? Even more, someone who has the disorder and has been able to find stability and normality?
I know how to handle my family’s genetic traits, from bipolar, to bad teeth. I’m prepared for it should it pop up. But again, there is no guarantee it will. We have it in our family tree and there are a lot of us that aren’t bipolar. It’s a roll of a dice whether any of this matters.
But it is a question a lot of women wrestle with. It is a topic you’ll find in the deep web comments. And as a pregnant bipolar woman I found a need to discuss it with you incase it is a topic that’s ever crossed your mind.
Pregnancy reminds me of my bipolar disorder. That’s a weird statement to make, but it’s true. Your hormones are all over the place, and not unlike the chemical reactions in your brain that make you cycle from manic to depressive. It finds you in the exact same strange space were you know your emotions aren’t 100% correct or rational but you know you are feeling them fully anyway.
A lot of the mood swings make me ponder the lessons I’ve been trying to teach myself for years. Is this a rational feeling? How can I try to turn it into one without devaluing the fact that it is real?
Just because you know an emotion isn’t right doesn’t make it go away. Knowing your manic doesn’t let you switch off your manic traits like a light switch, but it is a start, and lets be real, you have to start somewhere. It lets you start trying to fight for control.
I’ve found most of my control in this disease through medication, but even those of us who have had a lot of luck with our bipolar medications can tell you that we still swing some, and I still have to take on those swings one on one. Rational brain verses the chemical brain.
I’m bipolar, I write about it a lot. I cover a lot of mental health topics on this blog. I’m passionate about it. But even people who are super understanding and have been through a lot have their limits, and I want to talk about that. I want to talk about something that deeply annoys me in bipolar communities, and that’s people who have access to treatment and refuse it because they like the high of mania despite the fact that they are putting their loved ones through daily hell.
Untreated bipolar happens to everyone with the disorder. We all start untreated. Sometimes people can’t afford it. Sometimes we have to go off our medications for health reasons. Sometimes we haven’t found the right treatment and we’re in limbo as we try to get it right. It’s hard and I will support people through those rocky years without any hesitation. It’s when people have no excuse for being untreated. It’s when they give up because it’s difficult to find the right meds and therapy. It’s when they don’t do anything to try and prevent their toxic actions that hurt people. It’s when they roll over in defeat without caring the consequences.
It is very hard to tell people about the hardships you are going through without being an overall mood crusher. It’s why a lot of people suffer in silence- without support. They are afraid of being turned away. They are afraid of the texts coming in less and less, especially those who suffer from chronic depression. At some point people want and expect a different answer when they ask you how you are doing and start pulling back when they don’t because they can’t handle it.
It is easy to blame this all on bad friends, they don’t love us unconditionally! They should, at least we feel so, but we also have to know that talking about our depression all the time can drag other peoples mood down too making it harder for them to support us and also harder for them to cope.
Hoping to find a balance? It’s possible though, like most things with mental health it is also very difficult.