A Distinction Between The Mental Illnesses

NOTE: Severe mental illnesses, more often than not, are chronic and disabling. That’s bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder.

My schizoaffective disorder is chronic and has been particularly disabling for the past year.

Things have always been bad, and it’s not a sometimes-thing (or a badge of honor) when I say that my every day experience is shit!

The reason for this post is that sometimes non-disabling mental illnesses are lumped into the same category as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder.

Why does this distinction matter?

It matters because I do not want people being misinformed or disinformed, and this is a blog that is primarily about my lived experiences with severe mental illness.

Yes, all mental illness is bad! And, I am often quite liberal in saying that.

As I share this with you, it feels like I will be accused of invalidating other mental illnesses (i.e. anxiety and depression).

Invalidating others’ experiences is not what I’m about!

But, I will write more about severe mental illness than any other topic. And, I ask that everyone understand this, and do not invalidate me (or any of my readers) for this.

I know all too well that all mental illness SUCKS and that it’s not a competition.

Before I got my final diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, I had anxiety and depression.

I didn’t know I had those things, but looking back, that’s exactly what I was dealing with.

Why am I telling you this?

Untreated anxiety and depression can lead to psychosis, with an emphasis on these conditions being “untreated.“

For my handful of readers, I’m not sure I needed to share all of this, but I wanted to reiterate a few things overall.

Thanks for your understanding!

What Mental Illness Does To Those Who Have It

I’m coming off a particularly challenging time with my mental illness.

What I’m going through is cyclical.

And, the worst of it probably took place today.

The raw emotion I was going to use to write this post has slipped away, which is good, because that means things are on the upswing.

Now, I’m not sharing this information to garner attention, but to bring about awareness, so please don’t assume anything negative, or take things in a negative fashion.

In general, living every day with mental illness is difficult, with days like today taking the cake.

On those days that do take the cake, I want to be all but dead.

The challenge is not will I hurt myself today, it’s how long will it take for certain particular fears surrounding my suicidal thinking, to dissipate.

The fears I speak of are, “am I strong enough to withstand what I’m going through?”

And gratefully, I am. Or at least I tell myself that I am.

And, in any event, I have been. 🙂

All mental illness is bad, and anyone who calls it quits has my understanding, but I myself, want to be helpful.

I know (as do many of my readers) what those toughest days look and feel like.

So, the point of this post…

1) You are not alone. You never know what others are going through.

2) I get it. I’m someone who lives it.

3) There is help available. In the U.S., you can call a hotline (800-273-8255).

Outside of this, I hope everyone has a good day today!

My Frustration With Not Having Enough Energy

My not having enough energy to do basic tasks is difficult for me.

There was a time when I had energy, but that time has passed.

It’s a lot to handle to be honest.

I have a lot of suicidal ideations, but have no plan to do anything about them.

I just endure. Endure. Endure.

That is life with chronic mental illness.

I also recognize that chronic illness in general is tough!

Thus, it’s difficult to know where to turn some days!

Lately, I’ve been putting my efforts into discovering new music.

Billie Eilish and Adele each have new music I am listening to!

I love female artists!

Just when will women rule the world?

I think they’re on their way! 🙂

Can We Ever Understand Another Person’s Suffering?

For those who don’t understand severe mental illness, I have made attempts at times to show you, the reader, what it’s like.

I am unsure, however, that I could ever succeed!

I think you have to have a close loved one have it, in order for you to truly get it.

Some of the things I presently deal with (as things cycle a lot), are suicidal ideation, depression and not wanting to do anything, lack of energy and not able to do a lot, plus delusions and hallucinations.

Most of the above symptoms are mainstays, but there are times when my suicidal ideations are better, and that’s about the only real difference for me.

Anyhow, I don’t figure many people will come to understand the chronic suffering.

I take meds, and there are lots of people who are in full support of that, which makes sense for my diagnosis (schizoaffective disorder), but some of these supporters don’t realize the double edged sword of psych meds.

They don’t heal, they don’t even fix fully, they simply help us to cope… in a rather dismal way much of the time.

Basically, if there is a takeaway on understanding something you don’t understand (and, this applies to many, many illnesses)… it is… give the other person the benefit of the doubt!

I won’t even say “have compassion,” because I think that having compassion can be difficult to come by in today’s society.

What are your thoughts regarding compassion? Do you think it’s an all or none type of thing?

A Final Post On Mental Health Awareness For The Month

There is much to be aware of in the world.

Unfortunately, the topic of mental health is all too often treated with apathy and disrespect.

The fact that I know this is good, but it also means that people like me, need to be out there, contributing and sharing… in whatever way we can!

Life is so short and we have to continue to try to make things better. Not just for ourselves but for others…

We must do what we can! Each and every time!

Be well all…

If You’ve Read Any Part Of My Blog, Then You Know…

That I make an effort every day to make my illness more manageable.

Yes, it is difficult, but I shall not give up!

I fight hard every day to have some semblance of peace and happiness.

I also have a partner who is sticking things out with me, and I with her.

There are no easy solutions that I’ve found involving chronic illness.

You just have to do your best and make the effort.

Even when things are tough!

Something that tends to make the day brighter is diet soda.

I know… that probably sounds funny. 🙂

But, I’ve recognized that five cans spread out over the course of eight hours, seems to do me good.

What about with you? What is your relationship with caffeine or even sugar? Tell us something about your approach to these chemicals.

Btw – If you don’t do caffeine, I’d like to hear about that too!

Why Accuracy In Mental Health Matters

I used to think (until very recently) that they caught my illness early.

After all, I had a psychiatrist once tell me they did.

But, what constitutes early?

My first break was in the Summer of 1998 and I began taking regular meds in the Fall of 2001.

To me, that is not early.

Maybe earlier than some, but certainly later than others.

In any event, I feel I went through a lot of needless suffering in that three year period.

And, a lot of it was my fault.

I was just so arrogant in those days, that I was difficult to reason with.

So, while that’s all in the past now, I no longer feel like I am doing as good as some others.

Maybe I am, but I am also learning to question a lot of what psychiatry tells me.

What about you? Are you the questioning type? What sorts of things do you need to inquire about, before you are satisfied with what you’ve been told?

Trying Doesn’t Guarantee Overcoming

I try every day to make a dent in my life, but remain attached to my antipsychotic meds (which I need).

Progress happens, but it’s slow… and I’m slow… and my energy levels are in the dirt.

Anyway, the message of hope is… hang in there… even if your life sucks.

I get it. A lot of us do.

Just be kind to yourself.

It can and will get better.

Not perfect, but better.

Keeping A Schedule, And Life And Death

On days where I’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep, I try to keep a schedule.

When there is a lot going on, I tend not to keep a schedule.

My schedule is something I’ve spent a great deal of trial and error on.

And, my current schedule iteration is helpful to the extent that I know what I should be doing.

But, let me tell you, what I should be doing is the exception by far, over what I am actually able to do.

I am trying to come to terms with life and death as well, and that has not been easy.

I really only want to focus on the day at hand, and getting enough sleep is really the only thing that even makes a decent day, possible.

As for life and death (and having psychosis), I ask myself, what kind of thinking do I want?

For instance, should I worry incessantly (which I tend to do), or should I worry and find some amount of peace, at the same time?

All or none thinking is forcing me to focus “elsewhere,” like in the middle on all things that pertain to my illness.

And, how is striving for the middle helping me?

I actually have a lot more work to do, but it’s a lot better than the extremes, which I desperately want to avoid.

Thoughts And Observations On My Mental Illness At This Time

I sometimes think I’m doing great—and, so much better than other people with my diagnosis.

And, while I believe I am doing pretty good overall, I struggle with basic hygiene, staying awake, getting enough sleep, bad dreams, and anxiety/depression/delusions/hallucinations.

It never seems to end really, but I keep hanging in there!

I also wish to help others who are struggling, since many of my symptoms are being managed (they haven’t vanished—hardly—but they are managed).

Blogging and being there for one another in cyberspace, is what I am here for. That’s what I signed up for.

That’s what this blog is largely about, helping myself as well as helping others.

So, to all those who are struggling right now—do hang in there. Be good to yourselves and give yourselves a hug, plus extra time to feel better.