Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A guide to surviving mental illness

  I have not updated my blog until now - the reason being is that I wanted my last post,"How being bullied changed my life forever" to get its much deserved attention. 

  And my next post was going to be about proactive ways to curb the bullying problem in schools, but that post has yet to be edited by my friend Mark. That particular post needs to be near technically perfect to be seriously considered by its intended target audience (High-School Teachers, and Principles). 

  However for now I will write my guide to surviving mental illness. This guide will be the product of my suggestions I personally follow within my own life.

  As mentioned in my previous post, I live on disability for chronic depression, generalized anxiety, social paranoia, and Attention Deficit Disorder. I've also had my share of insomnia, and panic attacks. 

  Aside from suffering and struggling with the symptoms listed above, I struggle most with the judgement I face from society, and my own self doubt. The problem is that my disabilities are only visible to those who have lived with me for some time and have consequently witnessed the gravity of my personal struggles. 

  As a result I have been accused of being a parasite in society, and perceived as a criminal who masterminded a disability pension after fooling dozens of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, and nurses, and countless tests and examinations. 

  The reality is horribly unfair, I have suffered enough because of my disabilities - and I'm judged on top of it all. 

  And because of this judgement, I live a lot of my life in shame, and the mentally ill should not have to live in shame. Which brings me to my first point - recognize and accept your limitations.

  1. Recognizing and accepting you limitations. 
  
  The longest I have ever successfully held a 9-5 job is 2 weeks (my personal best), so it's highly unrealistic that I am going to start working tomorrow and keep a job for the next 5 or 10 years. 

  My limitations restrict me from being part of the never ending working force. It involves a lot of positive self talk on my part, and pushing myself to ignore my paranoia and social awkwardness. It is a truly uncomfortable position for me to hold. 

  That's what I appreciate about volunteering, I can work within my own schedule and comfort, and all of my efforts are appreciated. Best of all volunteering provides the greatest sense of purpose because you give without reward.

  I ultimately settle for odd jobs found through networking through friends and family. 

  Accepting my limitations relieves me of the guilt I would otherwise feel for (quote) not contributing to society. 

  2. Sense of humour. 

  A sense of humour is absolutely critical to survival. It brings great relief and levity to otherwise overwhelming problems the mentally ill face. 

  3. Don't do drugs and alcohol. 

  Whether or not you take my word for it - drugs and alcohol and mental illness do not mix! Even smoking marijuana will become a coping mechanism for boredom, stress, anxiety, and any other emotional problems - soon nothing will seem enjoyable without it.

  Drugs and alcohol will soon define how you miss-manage your problems, your identity, and what you ultimately stand for. 

  The critical point is that it requires a lot of effort, self-awareness, self-examination, and trial and error to properly manage the mentally ill mind but drugs and alcohol will distort all of these efforts. 

  4. Medication and treatment. 

  It's critical for those afflicted with mental illness to take their prescribed medications. However what tends to happen is that the mentally ill start to feel better while on their medications, and consequently stop taking their medications. Of course this is proof that the medication 'was' working but eventually the brain will return to its previous troubled state. 

  And of course it needs to be impressed that psychiatry is very much a process of trial and error. And because of this fact many patients will be deterred from the psychiatric process of prescribing medications - too many pills with too many negative side-effects. 

  In lieu of the above mentioned, all I can suggest is to pursue more testing to target the problem more accurately because once the problem is better understood - the more accurately it can be treated with fewer complications.

  And patients should never shy from changing their psychiatrists, some psychiatrists and patients will never work effectively together. 

  5. Pursue a purpose. 

  The popular ideology of our society is that our job is our purpose in this world. However just because some one does not have a job does not mean they have no purpose in life. 

  My purpose in life is the same as any one else - it's to help and serve others, for a life not lived for others is a life not worth living. 

  Currently I am pursuing my new purpose through sharing my own experiences with bullying, and mental illness.  Perhaps others like me will feel some comfort in knowing their not alone and/or even benefit from my knowledge shared. 

  But my most important purpose it attending to my physically disabled wife, and being a father to my daughter, Raven.

  Personally I think everyone who has suffered because of mental illness should publicly share their experiences. For the public needs to be educated, and too many people like myself feel completely alone and misunderstood. 
  
  There is great purpose to be found in volunteering and not necessarily through a non-profit organization but simply helping people in your life that needs to be helped. 

  6. Choose your friends very carefully. 

  The most damaging people you can have in your life are judgemental people. People inflicted with mental illness like myself are so fragile that harsh criticism from judgemental people can destroy us to the point of possible suicide. 

  There is a distinct difference between concern and judgement, and people speaking out of concern and simply judging. 

  In judgement there exists little to no empathy for your fellow human being. In concern there exists a wanting for a better life for your fellow human being. 

  Judgement is not proactive, it is simply destructive.

  7. Challenge yourself. 

  If you know me, you know I have a Guinness World Record, and 3 other world records with RecordHolders, and have been published in 2 books (one being the, Ripley's Believe It or Not, 9th annual hard cover book). 

  And it all started with documenting my progressive record bests. 

  Challenge yourself academically or athletically or spiritually - every new accomplishment you achieve will bennifit your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence greatly.

   8. Be receptive to input.

  In many things I do - I ask for input from those I trust. It is an effective measure in keeping a proper and effective perspective and balanced ideology. 

  It's a good means to relieving self doubt, and growing as a functional and impacting human being. 

  These are all simply suggestions from my own learned experiences. 

  


  

1 comment:

  1. though there continues to be numerous advancements with the means of treating mental Problems on the past 50 years, there may be still the certain stigma surrounding your views with mental illness. Many people still mistakenly believe It somebody with a mental illness is actually very easily lazy or maybe they will area blame to the parents whether or not your patient is often a child. mental illness

    ReplyDelete

Please Comment (anyone can comment) ...