yukinoomoni: (Youko)
[personal profile] yukinoomoni
I am mentally ill.

To most people reading this blog, who've read this blog for over a decade, you know this in some way. But it's only lately that I've been able to actually say it frankly, without hesitation, and without shame.

This post will be to the point, detailed, somewhat graphic, and very personal. But I don't care if people know what is going on with me. For the sake of length and possible triggers for suicide, assault, bullying, and self-harm, I will cut this entry, but it stays public.

From here on in, no limits.

I was bullied growing up. This is obvious when it comes to my social behaviour and distrust, and all-around anger and meanness when it comes to seeing others suffer my fate. Back then, I was born soon enough to benefit from the internet in my teens, but not in my younger age, since it didn't exist everywhere yet. So when I say that I was bullied, I mean physically and verbally. Ever since I can remember, despite being small and female, I was a target for both sexes. Girls would steal my things and lie about it, pinch and push me, spread rumours about me, and the more aggressive ones would vandalise my things or beat me up. The boys... were worse. To this day, I still loathe little boys (generally), for their hatred, their meanness, their all-around crudeness, because of what they did to me when I was a little girl. They would push me, slap me, spit on me, steal from me. They would actively hunt me all over the school-grounds to find some way to humiliate me. And they would do this every day, every year, for the entire duration of my school life. It luckily never progressed to sexual assault (save once), because I wasn't seen as a female - not really. I was seen as something less, something outside of being human, even. Or so I assume. I can't imagine why else I would be treated as such.

At first, I didn't know what to make of it. As a little girl, I was imaginative, loud, and actually rather social. I wanted friends, believed in magic, and wanted to be loved as well as love. So when I got abused, I remember, very young, that in order to comfort myself, I would steal stuffed animals from school and lie about it. "Oh, it was old and they wanted to get rid of it." "It was toy giveaway day." You know, obvious lies that a thief employs to get what she wants. I did grow out of it, and never progressed to shoplifting, but I stole a lot from school. I still have these toys that I stole. I think they're important; I would resort to such underhanded tactics because I wanted to at least pretend someone liked me enough to give me a toy instead of a fist. To this day, I still find solace in a stuffed animal, because back then, they were my only friends, ill-gotten or not. Humans were unreliable, so I retreated into a world of stuffed toys who loved me, had feelings, and cared about me. I would create imaginary friends that I wished with all my heart were real. When I lost my pets, I would shatter, because they were the only living things outside of my family who loved me and whom I loved without being punished. I still have this connection, to pets and to stuffed toys.

I'm sure some of you are tempted to make a furry joke. Well, don't. It's not sexual, these feelings, but emotional. So don't even.

As I grew up, it was clear that the problem with me - according to the kids - was that I was ugly, smelly, was a four-eyes, was stupid, and was an accident of nature. Nobody wanted me, nobody would, because I was disgusting. That was why they hated me. These were the only reasons I got. Parents like to pretend that kids bully other kids out of jealousy, but it's a lie. It's a straight-up lie, and everyone, every kid, knows it. They didn't hate me because they were jealous. They hated me because they saw an ugly, bespectacled, loudmouthed, lonely loser, the runt of their litter. And even when it came to other kids, before kids were educated into thinking differently, who had real developmental issues and would usually be free bully-fuel, when I was in the class, they were never touched. Perhaps, looking back, it's better that way, since they focused on an able-bodied child who at least wasn't born broken.

No, I HAD to be broken first. And, honestly, I was.

Back then, in the 80s and 90s and aughts, there were no anti-bullying laws or guidelines. If I went to a teacher to complain (and keep in mind, I was brought up in the Catholic school system, the supposedly nice school system. [I have since discovered that Catholic children are the worst when it comes to bullying and social torture. And they grow up to be politicians. Seriously.]), I would be told to get over it, ignore them, put ice on whatever part was hurt, and move on. That was how it was done. Even when teachers could see that all I wanted was a friend, to be loved, and they WATCHED me get torn to bits, they did nothing.

I have to explain about this because it's a huge part as to why I have a mental illness. It's part nature, part nurture. I was bullied. A lot. I luckily had a great family (despite a few divorces and ex-spouses who left debt behind them) who loved me, encouraged my creativeness, and would always help me when they could.

But they couldn't always help me, no matter how hard they tried.

I could wax on in detail about these memories I have of being bullied, things long-buried that are recently coming back up like a bad reflux, but I don't think it's appropriate. Suffice to say, save perhaps two moments in my life, in my school career, I was friendless and loveless. And it damaged me.

In high school, I started to cut. I stopped eating. I abandoned reality and went online to role-play in chat-rooms, to be anybody but myself. I lost weight, and the cuts got deeper and deeper. At one point, my dad, mum, and family found out. And then, the doctor.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression at age 16. Now, 13 years later, I am still diagnosed. Only it's gotten worse, with the botched surgery and the chronic pain. While some things are better - I have a long-term relationship, a few close friends, and most of my family still has my back - there are things that make it bad, still.

Because I am mentally ill. Just saying it is a brand. People shy away, think it means "crazy", they bring out the kid-gloves and handle me with patronising sweetness and cloying falsity. I'm on medication and see a psychiatric team, and that makes it even worse, because then "padded room", "druggie" and "strait-jacket" get thrown in. And yes, before you ask, I still get bullied. By strangers. Based on my looks. So again, it's hard to ignore that, too.

Just recently, I was in crisis before the holidays, and I did describe briefly the shit-show (no other phrase for it, sorry) that came from it. I could have - would have - had time to kill myself in that waiting room, in the state I was in, the pain I was feeling... and by how I was IGNORED by the staff that were supposed to care. The staff at the hospital knew why I was there, knew I was one breath away from doing something to kill myself, and I was ignored. For almost two hours. And when I left and told them why, they didn't bat an eye.

And that is one of the major problems right there: the lack of care or responsibility of the health care system.

No one cares about the crazies, because that's all people see. They don't see real people, who are actually in so much pain that they can't breathe, think straight, have to scream it out to try to alleviate the pain, and instead of being comforted, helped, and embraced, they get shot and killed, beaten up, tasered, and thrown in jail.

As a result, I do not trust anyone when I walk out my door. Which isn't often, now. I'm afraid that if I have a panic attack, go into crisis again, someone will hurt me for it. Because that's the circle I've been stuck in for my entire life: I want to be loved. I reach out. I get struck down. I cry, want answers why, make excuses for my tormentors, trust their assessments. I change myself and try again. Repeat.

And I still catch myself doing this. I still catch myself latching onto people I find rapport with, hoping for someone to love me, and 9 out of 10 of them are gone. I'm probably forgotten by now. Only a handful of people have stayed at my side - you know who you are, and my eyes fill just thinking of you bunch - and I would lay my life down for you.

I have so much love to give. And it makes me "crazy". But I am a person like you, whoever is reading this. If you are reading this because you are not mentally ill, and want to understand, the only way I can word it for you in a way you can understand is like this:

Picture a moment that you lost someone you love, a pet, a parent, a friend, anyone. It doesn't have to be death; just someone gone. That pain you feel, the regret and anger, the remorse and almost desperate urge to try and get that someone back, and the disabling reality that you cannot. Feel that feeling. That pain. That whirlwind of negative emotion that threatens to overcome you. Only for you, it hasn't. For us, the mentally ill, IT HAS.

We feel each rejection, each loss, so brightly and painfully that it slowly eats away at our sanity. We feel the stigma, the judgement, the mockery, and we want to die. We don't get to shut those feelings off because it NEVER GOES AWAY. It adds up, metre by metre, over the course of living, and then... it kills us. Usually young. We kill us, or cops kill us, or security guards stand by and watch it kill us.

I am so glad we are finally getting it out there. I am so glad teens have a way to connect with other people, to make friends online and form friendships that actually can be real, if unconventional in general standards. I am so glad that, for the most part, a queer teen can come out and not have to transfer schools and go back into the closet, like I often saw growing up (and that was the best care scenario, too).

But we are still killing ourselves, young and old. And as someone mere breaths away, recently, from killing herself as well, I need to make this clear:

We have a long way to go.

We can't just "treat" patients and send them away if they show slight improvement. I know, because it's happened and is happening to me. We need lifelong support, because it's a disease with no cure. Actually, wait, there is a slight cure: BEING CARED ABOUT. How hard is that? Very hard, and expensive, apparently, because people with worse cases than mine are being discharged from clinics on a daily basis out into the world that sent them there to begin with, only slightly stronger but no more able to fight back than before. And then cops go and shoot them when they can't handle it.

How does that help? Anyone? Ever? It hasn't. What helps is a movement like this, when those of us who are mentally ill but are able to still fight - just a bit - and speak up for those that can't. What helps is a populace willing to learn and help, willing to educate themselves and understand, instead of ignoring it or pretending it happens to someone else. I (don't) hate to break it to you, but you know someone mentally ill. You may not know it, though, because of the fear that comes with that confession.

I have lost friends, jobs, even family, from my mental illness. I don't want anyone else to suffer this way. So let's talk. Let's get it out there. And let's start fixing the problem. Because what we're doing isn't working, and needs to change. Forever. And for good.

Thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-29 01:42 am (UTC)
elle_white: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elle_white
I became depressed and anxious after a lot of bullying in school. It became much, much worse when I entered high school.

I agree that the way people are "treated" for mental illness doesn't actually help. I've been to a psychologist who was ridiculously expensive, helped with a few worries, then let me go after a slight improvement. As you said, what people really need is care. My family, although we've had our difficulties, have always been there to support and listen to me. And gained some great, supportive friends in uni who are also there for me. I think more than therapy, what people with mental illness need is a strong support group.

And even though I can't be around physically, I want you to know that I'm here for you when you need someone to talk to.
Edited Date: 2014-01-29 01:44 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-31 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] agentjayhere
You've been through a lot, huh?

It's trite saying this, but sorry it's been hard. I've kinda been more or less lost in life for ten years, so maybe I can understand a bit of where you're coming from. It's terrible being betrayed by life.

...I think psychiatry can't help much with these sorts of problems. If someone's hurt inside, they need comfort and warmth, while the entire field seems filled with robots in human skin. The person I saw was like that, and my psychiatrist aunt is like that too even though that's supposed to be her field. It seems like treating emotions is too superstitious for a doctor and they want a checklist to mark off instead.

Also, their role is to support the patient who has to build up their own strength. Ideally, doctors don't take the colds away, instead creating ideal conditions for a person to heal themselves in body and mind. The less one relies on antibiotics and pills the better. I don't regret my choice to stop the antidepressants--I could tell the happiness was fake since my mood never changed depending on what I was doing.

The insides of one's mind tend to be bizarre in the first place. It's when all the strangeness leaks out a bit that normal people get a bit frightened, so the important thing is to channel the strangeness into writing or some other form since it's all pretty valuable stuff.

Do you read Jung? I mean, even books about Jung count.
His stuff is a bit dense, so I've cheated and have mostly looked over summaries of his ideas.
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