In earlier blogs, I’ve talked about my conversion disorder, and how my brain doesn’t process emotions quite like most other people. Suffering from conversion disorder has been a really complicated journey for me, not just because it took forever to figure out what was really happening, and not just because I had excruciating seizures and consistent tremors that exhausted me and made writing notes in class difficult. Conversion disorder has been the most complicated because I have a lot of trouble labeling and understanding how certain situations make me feel. Sometimes when something really exciting happens, I just won’t get that excited, or something not that bothersome makes me very angry. I have to constantly reign my emotions in, or gauge if I’m responding to a situation appropriately while trying to understand what I’m really feeling.
I remember spending a lot of time with my psychiatrist trying to label my emotions for various situations, especially ones that bring about negative emotions. What I immediately noticed, was that my “go-to” emotion for most situations was annoyance. If a friend wouldn’t show up on time for something, I would say I felt annoyed.
Got a bad mark on a test? Annoyed.
Had an argument with a family member? Annoyed.
Ended up with a concussion because of a seizure? Annoyed.
Because most people say situations annoyed them when talking about it to other people, I learned that I must be feeling annoyed too. I couldn’t label what I was really feeling, so I just said I was annoyed. My emotional responses were learned, not felt properly, and it’s hard to interpret other people’s real feelings without being in their head, so naturally I didn’t get the whole picture when I looked to others for my emotions.
After realizing that I couldn’t label every situation as annoying, and discovering I had to actually think about what I was feeling, rather than settling on annoyed, I spent hours thinking about how various situations made me feel. (more…)
Before I was even diagnosed with depression, and before I really knew anything about depression or suicidal thoughts, other than the very mild tendencies I had in junior high, I had a conversation with one of my classmates. We weren’t very close, but happened to have lunch together with a mutual friend. We somehow got onto the topic of suicide, a topic I never dared to even think of discussing out loud. She seemed quite passionate about it, although she didn’t know anyone who had attempted, and was especially adamant that suicide is selfish. I absolutely did not agree, but wanted to hear her out a bit more. She went on to spew many myths people have about those who are suicidal – suicide is a cop out, it’s selfish, people who attempt suicide think of no one except themselves, and so on and so forth.
I didn’t argue the opposite side very well, and simply said that I didn’t agree, and that I thought suicide was far from selfish but was too timid to argue that idea well. It may be too little too late, but I’d like to clearly state that in my opinion, suicide is anything but selfish. I can completely understand why people, especially suicide survivors (people who have lost someone to suicide) think that suicide is incredibly selfish, and that those who choose that route are completely inconsiderate and self absorbed. (more…)
Last week I read an article discussing the differences between identifying as BEING mentally ill, as opposed to HAVING a mental illness. I don’t think I had ever really thought about how different the two terms are, but subconsciously I always did. When someone asked me what was wrong with me, more often than not I would say “I have major depressive disorder” or “I have depression” as opposed to “I am depressed”. There are of course times where I have said that I am depressed, but I always chose to say I have an illness. I’m not sure why, I suppose in my mind, it made it less my fault to say I have something, than to say I am something. I am not my mental illness. I am not depression. Depression is a huge part of my life, that has changed every single aspect of my life, especially the parts I never wanted it to touch, but it doesn’t make me my illness. I know that saying “I am depressed” doesn’t mean that I am my illness, or that it defines me completely, but it’s just easier to say that I have it. I feel like it disconnects me from my depression to say I simply have it, rather than I am depressed. The article went on to reiterate the sentiments I am currently expressing, about how people choose to identify as having a mental illness over saying “I am XYZ”. It got me thinking about how depression is the one that flip flops the most, in the sense that it’s quite common to hear “I am depressed” and “I have depression”. Funnily enough, depression is the weirdest one, because saying “I am depressed” or “I am SO depressed” holds LESS weight than “I have depression”. Why? People loosely use the term depression to just express sadness, such as “Ugh, I’m so depressed because Forever 21 didn’t have that jacket I’ve been wanting for forever in my size.” or even just saying “Ya, I’m just so depressed today”, when you really may not actually be depressed. Whereas saying “I have depression” actually means that you have the illness, and aren’t just saying you’re depressed. So then I started thinking about other mental illnesses that people have, and which one you hear people say more. (more…)