Mental health

Ugly Truth 008: Spoon Theory is Real

Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. – The Matrix Dear Readers, This week, I did something kind for someone else at the expense of myself. Perhaps this is why kindness is so rare, because it does indeed come at a cost. The truth is, Spoon Theory deeply applies when you have a chronic illness, even in the face of intrinsically motivated choices. If you’re not familiar with the idea, Spoon Theory is a disability metaphor that suggests you are allowed a fixed number of spoons each day in terms of energy, and you must decide carefully how to spend your spoons. Likewise, when they are gone, they are gone. When you have a health condition of any kind, you must divy up your time in a strategic way so as to ensure your most basic needs are met. This may be in the form of a shower, cooking, cleaning, socializing or working. Once fatigue sets in, you’re out of moves for the day. This is why you’ve might of heard me say, “I’m out of spoons.” Currently, I work as a Caregiver to a family with great needs. They are good people who have entrusted me to help them. Having worked in the industry for ten years I have come across all types of people. So far I have learned that I am passionate about helping those with a legitimate need, rather than a convenience of good wealth. I am someone who craves work with a purpose, but even I have my limitations. Still, I pushed through an act of kindness this week and not only was it recognized, but rewarded. Naturally, I suffered physically for my efforts, but at the end of the day I felt good about this small victory. After a blundering week of tears and losses, I had some wins to be accounted for. I find relief in assigning pain a function. Suffering allows compassion and unconditional love. The truth is, reciprocity is the key when achieving kindness through sacrifice, and we must share our spoons wisely. When was the last time you lifted a burden for someone else? Additional Reading: The Surprising Risks of Being Nice, The StartUp **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Ugly Truth 006: Mental Illness Isn’t Trendy

“Stigma against mental illness is a scourge with many faces.”
Elyn R. Saks
Good Afternoon Readers, Today I read an out-pouring of depression authored by another blogger that so resonated with me. She described the loneliness, the worthlessness, and the lack of familial support she was experiencing. She was expressing fear for losing her job after repetitive no call-no shows. She described the inability to get out of bed and the love of her husband. It all sounded so familiar. It reminded me next of a comment I read elsewhere that proclaimed concern for mental illness becoming a trend, or an excuse for poor behavior. When suddenly it all came together in one final thought: Who on earth would ever choose this? While depression is fairly common, it can manifest itself in many ways creating trenches of misunderstanding even among its sufferers. I will use myself as an example. I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Depression is not the same as Unipolar Depression. What’s more, I do not experience typical manic depressive mood swings. I experience mixed states. In a mixed episode, symptoms of both mania and depression exist simultaneously. For me, depression may present itself in the classic form of fatigue, grief, loss of interest, and suicidal thoughts – OR – it may present as irritability, agitation, anger, guilt or rage. I believe this variability is why I went misdiagnosed for a decade, and why stigma continues to thrive. Mixed episodes are markedly difficult to spot and stigma finds fuel in misinformation. We fear what we do not understand, and remain a generally discriminating species as a result. I have to bully myself every morning to do what I need to, and cry through it more often than not. I suffer from irrational fears and false beliefs. Under extreme stress I hallucinate, have panic attacks and nightmares. I have considerable mood swings, paranoia, and insomnia. I have chronic pain, flashbacks, and anxiety so severe it changes my vitals. If you think this is trendy, then perhaps you should see a doctor yourself. Perhaps the concept that one should “snap out of it” or “get over it” has been addressed by the rising mental health awareness in recent years. Perhaps the number of diagnoses have increased because our detection has improved, and we now know the importance of early intervention. The truth is, mental illness is not a trend or an excuse. It is a valid medical condition that responds to treatment. Have you ever been marginalized because of mental illness? **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Ugly Truth 005: Being Sick Makes Everything Harder

“Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.”
Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman, or A History of My NervesGood Morning Readers, As we continue this ugly truth series regarding mental health, consider your own secret truths. Has something been vexing you? Are you in a conflict that no one knows about? The purpose of this series is to shed light on all the things we want to say, but often don’t for fear of harsh judgment or loss. Perhaps I can provide a voice where there is none. Perhaps I can help a young man or woman in another part of the world feel less alone. I have been writing this series as things arise with very little prior planning. Last night I came down with some kind of nasty virus. When the tears stopped, it got me thinking about the relationship between body and mind. Being sick is no fun for anyone, but the ugly truth is physical ailments often compound the struggles of those of us with mental illness. As if symptom management is not overwhelming enough in a fast paced and unforgiving society, we are then faced with an attack on the body as well. In general, I am a fairly sensitive person so it doesn’t take much to knock me down. I don’t get sick often, but when I do it is legitimately severe. In the same way, I feel the exceptional strength my father instilled in me from an early age. Still, physical sickness often reduces me to tears due to the noise and discomfort of it all. Likewise, my lack of sleep is often worsened making me even more susceptible to fatigue induced tears. The truth is, I am a mother, a girlfriend, and a caregiver who lives with mental illness and chronic pain. I spend all of my time caring for others because that’s the nature of my heart. However, when I fall ill my capacity falls short and I am unable to indulge the need of a day in bed. The truth is I cried through making waffles for my son this morning. The truth is my boyfriend offered to help, but there is nothing to be done. The truth is I drank Theraflu instead of my morning coffee. The truth is, life goes on whether we like it or not regardless of our health or energy levels. In a pull-up-your-boot-straps culture, one has little time or sympathy for sickness. This is a mistake. Adapt or die is a common and reoccurring theme in my life. The truth is, I write all the time about self-care, but the American way seldom encourages self preservation unless we are still somehow in service to others. This is stigmatizing. If nothing else, today I offer you validation. What have you had to sacrifice lately? **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!