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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

EDGE OF MADNESS

By Catherine Gourd

Although Catherine has been labeled by her diagnoses, and was once ashamed of them, she is not anymore. She has accepted that she suffers from mental illness. She has anxiety, depression, and a mixed personality disorder – a mix of borderline personality disorder and dependent personality disorder. Catherine is now 30 years old, and the one unifying thread in her life, besides mental illness, is hope. In her mind, she is a survivor, she is strong, and she believes that there is always hope.

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PERFECTION IS FRAGILE

By Lauren Black

A flower looks beautiful and strong at first sight… but when you touch it, you feel how fragile it is;
just like women who felt strong, but had to face their fragility when they were touched by the hands of mental illness.

Lauren Black (not her real name) was born in 1991. Since her early childhood she has been having issues with anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses. After nearly a decade of incorrect treatment she was diagnosed with severe depression (suspected bipolar disorder) and several anxiety disorders as well as a mild perceptual disorder.

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Photo by Lauren Black

BROKEN DREAMS

By Lauren Black

London, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague… she had always been a city girl at heart. She loved the people, the melting pot atmosphere, walking around the streets at night. She simply enjoyed the anonymity of the lifestyle and the adventures that could be found around very corner.

She had plans for her future… bright dreams swirling around in huge, colorful clouds around her head, that filled her heart with glee and her stomach with a light tingling every time she even thought of it… New York, L.A., San Fancisco… she would no longer be forced to follow the beaten track. She would be the first one of her family to leave that stuffy, suburban life behind… she would stop existing and would start living.

It was a beautiful morning in Paris, although it had already been hot and stifling for days. The streets were buzzing and the people were chatting and laughing… simply enjoying life and everything that came along with it… even if it was a hangover after a long night of partying. Paris just like so many other cities around the globe, never seemed to sleep.

Everyone was apparently just happy, except for a young woman who sat right in the middle of a pavement in Montparnasse. She was so pale that she really could be considered as cadaverous-looking; her upper body was slightly swaying back and forth and her hands were tightly clutching an almost empty water bottle. That was when she got to know the reverse of the anonymity-medal. Everyone who passed her simply just preferred to stare at her, but no one helped, although already half an hour had passed since she had collapsed right there where she still sat in silence, except for a small whimper that escaped her lips now and then every time a wave of nausea broke over her.

At last, a man squatted down beside her: ‘Excusé moi? Do you need help?’

She looked up, desperately trying to focus on what was happening around her, but all she could see was a blurry mash of colors.

A hospital, a handsome doctor and these lights… lights were everywhere… and then, there was just darkness.

‘Miss Black? Miss Black? Don’t you wanna get up? It’s time for your sports therapy.’

I turned around to face the wall and tried to blank out the annoying voice of our dear nurse in charge.

‘Are you ignoring me?’ She stood right in front of my bed looking like some kind of bogey on the prowl. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and tried to go back to sleep, but she wouldn’t let me.

‘You can’t just skip therapy,’ she said sternly, ‘You already missed the group therapy session for NO apparent reason. I’m not gonna let you slouch here while the other patients are out there, working on their well-being. Don’t you wanna get healthy again?’

Was she serious? Get healthy AGAIN? Couldn’t this stupid woman understand that there was no going back? Once a nutcase, always a nutcase. With no dreams to dream and no life to live. The healthy Lauren no longer existed; she had been left behind on the streets of Paris.

She was just a nurse, with dreams to dream and a life to live, with a family and a house and probably everything else a decent person in today’s society needs to rank among the ‘happy ones’. Me and most of the other patients at the Asylum would never have any of these things.

Mental illness is mostly tantamount to loneliness and isolation. Mentally sick people can even be lonely in a crowded room or in an embrace of a loved one, because their way of thinking or talking is different.

Two different worlds.

And because it hurts to be alone, even around people and because it shows you how pathetic you really are, it always seemed to me as if some of us freely chose to be all alone with themselves and their thoughts and their crazyness… when you’re alone, there’s no one around you can compare yourself with. When you’re alone, you’re almost normal.

My perception is not her reality. My reality is not her perception.

‘FUCK OFF!’, I yelled, ‘YOU KNOW SHIT. LEAVE ME ALONE.’

The nurse just looked down at me for a couple of seconds and then, with an affected smile on her face, she said: ‘That’s very disrespectful and I’m disappointed. I think I’d better consult the doctor on call. He’ll be taking care of you. And of course I’m gonna talk to your therapist about this… outburst.’

‘Do what you want’, I spat at her through clenched teeth. ‘Go and get the doctor, I already know him, at least he’s got packages full of pills and not only a mouth full of stupid jabbering.’

Lauren Black (not her real name) was born in 1991. Since her early childhood she has been having issues with anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses. After nearly a decade of incorrect treatment she was diagnosed with severe depression (suspected bipolar disorder) and several anxiety disorders as well as a mild perceptual disorder.

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Sylvia Plath was born in the 1930s, and enjoyed much success as a poet from a very young age. However, she has been said to have suffered from depression, anxiety disorders, and possibly even bipolar disorder. She was hospitalized for a ‘nervous breakdown’ (a suicide attempt) and was given shock therapy. However, this did little to help her.

At the age of 33, Sylvia Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in a gas oven. She first sealed the kitchen off with wet towels so that her sleeping children would not be affected by the gas. She was found by her au pair with her head in the oven.

In the following – rather graphic – poem, she talks about the beauty of pain. Could she have been a cutter?

CUT

By Sylvia Plath

For Susan O’Neill Roe

What a thrill —
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of a hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian’s axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz.

A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they on?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to kill

The thin
Papery feeling.
Saboteur,
Kamikaze man —

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux Klan
Babushka
Darkens and tarnishes and when

The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump —
Trepanned veteran,
Dirty girl,
Thumb stump.

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A Scarlet Cord of Hope

by Sheryl Griffin

Guilt, shame, and fear have played a major role in my life, although I never realized the power they held over me until three and half years ago, when I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, along with panic and anxiety. For me it was not one event but rather a life time of events that included my parent’s marriage and divorce, their alcoholism, their bitterness and anger at one another, my mother’s (untreated) mental illness, my own promiscuous youth and teen pregnancy, abortion, more guilt and shame, and finally an emotionally and physically abusive marriage (that was almost nine years long). It was not until fourteen years after my divorce and eleven years into my second marriage that my brain finally relaxed. It was as if my brain said, “You are in a safe place; now let’s deal with everything”. So, after two ambulance rides, three ER visits, and numerous tests, scans, and blood work, I finally found my diagnosis. I sought the help of a psychiatrist and she is the one that diagnosed me. After nine months of therapy and medication, she referred me to another doctor, one who she felt could take me to the next level of help. This doctor specialized in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR has held the key of healing for me. While I cannot fully explain all of the hows and whys, I can tell you, I know that it does work. It allowed me to re-process my memories in a way that no longer triggers me. It helps my brain to get out of the flight, fight, or freeze mode it would so easily go into with certain people, triggers, or situations.

Several other things have helped me along the way. One of the important ones has been to recognize that I am not alone. I have also realized I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Once I accepted my diagnosis I was determined to deal with everything once and for all, and face my scarlet cord of guilt, shame, and fear. My faith, my husband, and my children have also played a significant part of my healing and moving forward. I try to live my life one day at a time, one moment at a time, and remember that there is always HOPE!

Sheryl Griffin is an author, an encourager, and a mom. Her story has three important elements: courage, forgiveness, and hope. Sheryl is grateful for the opportunities that God has given her to share her story, a story about her own scarlet cord and the ultimate hope she found. To order a copy of her first book, A Scarlet Cord of Hope… My Journey through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope, please visit her web site, http://www.SherylGriffin.com or send her an email at Sheryl@SherylGriffin.com. Sheryl is also available for speaking engagements.

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