Monday, October 17, 2011
There has been so much talk recently about teenagers taking their own lives especially because of gay bullying. As a lesbian chatting to gay male friends it seems that men/boys who are gay get it so much worse then us girls/women.
I didn’t come out as a lesbian until I was 35 but in highschool a friend of mine was gay and I never ever had a problem with her, oddly. I am lucky to have come from a family who is completely accepting of who are gay…
I remember during my teen years I was extremely depressed. I would go through periods when I didn’t talk. I had friends but I never told my friends I was suffering even after my dad died when I was 11. To this day I have a friend from highschool who is baffled that and am not married; don’t have a house; a job or kids and she asks me why don’t I (snap out of it)? Sometimes I still cry because my life is so difficult that somedays just getting off the sofa to make an actual meal is painful (emotionally).
I never dropped out of highschool yet I remember wanting to but staying because I knew mom wanted me too.
Today watching “Anderson,” Anderson Cooper’s mom, Gloria Vanderbilt told one of the audience members who had tried to kill herself to focus on the ones who love us and would miss us if we died. I don’t even think I was thinking of anyone or thing outside of myself when I attempted, on numerous occasions in my 20s. I do remember making a conscious effort to turn my thoughts off at the time I would cut, burn or ingest pills or worse. I really had a craving to lose my pain and because I was in pain I figured more pain was comforting. It was familiar…
Today I have more labels, more panic attacks, and cry plenty out of being easily frustrated. I feel sad and depressed for long periods yet I rarely have thoughts of suicide. I think for me the reason is that I have a ton of support. I chat with Kerri, my ex/BFF even though she moved away. We chat for like an hour on the phone most days. Also, I can access my mental health workers answering machine or e-mail her. My outreach worker at my past group home has a phone number and someone is there most of the day/night who I can call if I need too.
It’s really important for people with mental health issues to have access to services that are not friend or parent related. Sometimes I think my problems will just depress people I know in my personal life even though most of the time mine are simple problems with intense moods which change my perspective on ‘the truth.’
I use to take great comfort in accessing my area
which had a walk- in for mental health clients where they can chat with a social worker. I got to know and feel comfortable with the same staff and could call in ahead of time to see who was working… Community Mental Health Center
I hope people grow more tolerant of gays. We are getting there but it’s a work in progress. It’s really stressful to keep secrets ya know. I have had that experience!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
My family doctors have done nothing to help me deal with my anxiety.
I used to be able to volunteer for 15 hours a week and I loved it! I use to be able to take the bus, shop for food and even drive. Now I lie on the sofa and usually tune into HLN where I can watch high profile criminal trials in the US and hear the same evidence and lies over and over again and then rehash it all again in the evening while I think of what I want to eat because its hard for me to eat when I am anxious…
I haven’t had a psychiatrist in 6 years. My labels are bipolar, social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD and panic disorder. I go to the doctor to see residents doctors who change every 2 years (my doctor has hour long waits) and they won’t actually assign me to a specific resident unless I ask…
Today I had a phone session with my mental health social worker Jenn. I have been feeling so frustrated because one of the Occupational Therapist’s had said she thought I was just using her because I was not able to function on my own after she worked with me for 3 months. Jenn assures me the OT had never dealt with someone with agoraphobia and panic disorder before. The OT would come once every 2 or 3 weeks for 3 months but even I could tell her I didn’t feel any better. Jenn says I really need someone to come get me out every day or something.
I’m just so sick of feeling that people are thinking that since everything is ‘in my head’ I can just snap my fingers and get out and be whoever I want to be just like that. I told Jenn that I have been telling my resident doctors and my actual doctor who sees me periodically that I have anxiety. I figured I must not be speaking clearly because they don’t offer me help for it. Jenn comes with me to my doctor appointments and told me that I do speak clearly but they do not offer to help me…
The residents see me come in with conversion disorders, and stress headaches that last a month. They send me for a CAT scan to make sure it’s not because of my hydrocephalus but nothing shows up so they expect to see me back when my meds run out in 6 months.
It’s not like I did not fight to have a life with these panic attacks. For a year I continued to show up at my volunteer jobs. The staff would tell me to go lie down and rest for a bit if I was having a panic attack. They would let me deal with the attacks on my own because I told them it would go away on its own. I preferred to be alone for the most part.
On the way to my volunteer job I started to have panic attacks on the bus and then in the Rideau Centre walking to get my connection. Then the panic attack would pass and I would put in my hours volunteering like nothing had happened. Then I started having panic attacks at the bus stop or waking up in the morning…how could I fight back?
Clients would ask me ‘are you a student’ ‘do you work?’ To them I was just a human and I didn’t look like someone with a mental illness. Sometimes I would tell them that I was not able to work because of my mental issues and do you know what? I have gotten so much respect from people for just being honest!
But doctors, answer me this, with all my problems why do I not have a psychiatrist who does psychotherapy? Gratefully after 6 years of this progression of anxiety my worker has given my family doctor’s consultant shrink a referral form (like a month ago) to help me get a doctor at our local Mental Hospital who specializes in anxiety to work with me…the waiting list is about 6 months and Jenn has offered to drive me.
I really hope I get help but when I feel really scared or depressed sometimes I really feel that there is no help for me. I hope I’m wrong. I do have so much to offer the world and I would like to help out in some way and give back…