This Week In Mentalists – The Pimms O’clock Edition

Howdy folks!

It’s LittleFeet from Chaos and Control here. At this juncture I always feel I ought to have some kind of witty anecdote prepared… But I don’t. Instead, I shall move straight into TWIM. Apologies for any typso, speeling and grammer mistaykes ect. I have been enjoying the sun and drinking Pimms *hic*. I blame the sun!

Please be aware that this TWIM covers a multitude of triggers subjects: self harm, religion, dissociation, hospital, eating disorders, ECT, trauma, child abuse, so please (t)read carefully.

Zoe at Mental Political Parent has written an awesome (and tear jerking) post to the professionals who were supposed to be helping her.

Don’t make anyone else have to fight the way I had to fight to get the correct diagnosis, care and treatment- for that fight was very damaging. Don’t assume that you know more than your patients, for all your qualifications it is the person sitting opposite you who is the expert on their own mind. Listen, believe and accept, if you can’t or won’t, have the decency to find someone who can and will. I hope every one of you has learned something from me and I hope some of you will go on to learn more in order that you can do your job and do it well.

Outwardlyintrovert considers the identity and mental illness and asks some poignant questions.

Then you start wanting out. You don’t want to be the 18, 19, 20… heck, 40-year-old ”DSH in cubicle 3″. You know that you have a condition or illness or distress to come to terms with, but you don’t want that to define you. You want people to look at you and think of how funny you are, or how bad you are at maths, or that time you wore that shirt that really shouldn’t have suited you but it did. You don’t want people to look at you and remember you being dragged into the back of an ambulance in the middle of the night. You don’t want people to talk to you and remember the time you screamed the vile details of being abused at them while dissociated.

Where is the equilibrium? How much can I forget, forge a new identity and yet still wonder what other people will remember of me? Is there actually anybody in there, in me, apart from the madness? Who would I have been, had none of this ever happened to me?

Psychology Student #-55 gives us a whistle stop tour of attachment theory.

What is attachment theory? Generally when we speak of attachment theory these days we are referring not just to the work of one individual, but the culmination of work by a number of theorists and researchers, each building on the work of those who came before them. While Bowlby is credited as the father of Attachment Theory, really we must go a bit further back to understand where he came from and really understand the relevance of his theory.

Please note that this is a very short, very surface level overview of attachment theory. For a detailed and thorough overview of Bowlby and Ainsworth’s attachement theory I recommend Bretherton (1992).

The Masked AMHP discusses ECT and The Mental Health Act.

Having worked in a CMHT for a quarter of a century, I have been very closely involved with the full range of treatments for mental disorder. As a social worker, I lean heavily towards a non medical model of intervention: this involves the use of practical interventions to improve the lives of service users, such as assisting with housing or benefits problems; psychological therapies; counseling; or simply allowing someone the space to talk about what is bothering them – listening and understanding can in itself can be very therapeutic.

But while I am dubious about medicalising what might be unfortunate but normal life events, such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, or domestic violence, I am also aware that medication can be very helpful in a wide range serious mental illnesses, having seen for myself the beneficial effects of medication on people with severe depression, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.

But what about ECT?

Over the years I have seen many severely mentally ill people treated with ECT. I have seen it used when all other treatments have failed, and I have seen it used when the patient’s symptoms clinically lead to the view that ECT is most likely to be effective. I have seen it used with people with intractable depression, who have spent many months in hospital with no positive result from medication. I have seen it used with people with bipolar affective disorder trapped in the deepest of depressive troughs.

I have to say that I have seen almost invariably positive outcomes from its use. And far more quickly than with the use of medication.

Angela shares a gratitude.

I am grateful…
To be alive.
To feel free.
To enjoy food once again.
To no longer be afraid. Or anxious. Or worthless.
I am grateful that I no longer wish to die.
That I no longer pray for death.

Behind The Facade writes about the term ‘mental illness’.

But back to the article. Apparently the term ‘mental illness’ is okay though for people who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. As it states in the second paragraph, “The Australian College of Specialist Psychologists believes the term ”mental illness” can put people off seeking treatment and it should only be used for psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.” (The Age, 2012). And that’s what irritates me. So according to them it’s okay to attach stigma and labels to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, never mind they’re already the ones who cop the brunt of it when it comes to stupid misconceptions like ‘dangerous’ and ‘violent’.

Personally I don’t have that much of an issue with depression and anxiety being called mental illnesses. I prefer to use the term ‘mental health issue’ instead, but I don’t really see a problem with calling it a mental illness when that’s what it is- an illness to do with mental health, rather than physical health.

My Crazy Bipolar Life takes steps towards considering the future.

After the beach Mum and I went to the local college and had a chat with the assistant manager about my situation and how I really want to try and gain a qualification as my CPN really wants me to focus on recovery. So I told the college woman that I am not 100% better but I think that having some sort of routine would help push me in the right direction and having a course to go to would help me focus my thoughts and attention on it rather than the negatives in my life all the time. I told her I would one day like to be able to work with young people affected by mental health issues and she recommended a 15 week short course called Working in the Community where you all work as a group to plan an event in your local community – it could be a fundraising event or an event to get a group of people together who all share an interest, something like that. It’s only for 15 weeks so I’m not committing to anything that’s a year long and upon completion of it you can start the year long course in youth work. So I am going to check with my local benefits office that I can do a short course without it affecting the benefits I receive, from what I have read online it looks like it should be OK but I want to double check.

Narky writes about crying in church.

I don’t know why I worried about crying in front of the whole church. I did cry in front of the whole church and it was absolutely fine. I think they’ve been desensitised to it, after I cried in almost every service for months when I was depressed last year! They’re far more accepting and caring than I give them credit for.

Crying when certain words of songs touch me in church is actually good. God touches somewhere inside me and releases something. Sometimes it’s sadness, sometimes it’s hope. It could be anything. Today it was a very big, messy mix. But it’s nothing to worry about.

Emma talks us through some ideas of what not to say to a depressed person.

The one I want to mention in this post is the “Smile!” thing.

This one often comes, for me, in the form of a stranger feeling the need to comment on my appearance. (I get other comments too – usually about my weight). When I have been very badly depressed I may be walking along somewhere, shopping, drinking in a bar: displacement activities to try to ease the depression, even just a little. However, I am still depressed and I really don’t appreciate it when someone (usually a man) comes up and says “Smile!” or things like “it’s not that bad!”

First of all, what do they know about my situation? I have depression, smiling isn’t going to make that go away!

Second, what gives them the right to comment on my appearance at all? What has it got to do with them? I don’t point out their big nose, what makes them want to point out that I don’t have some ecstatic look on my face at all times?

Finally, Ana, contrasts life to the past and present.

I’m still struggling to lose any weight on Quetiapine. I’m really trying, this week I’ve done two Zumba classes and one Pilates but the weight isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s tempting to compare it to 2.5 years ago when I was considerably lighter and a fair bit fitter and wish I could go back there.

Lets look at this in a bit more detail though. Back then I was drinking abusively (although I’d never have admitted it) in an attempt to stop me damaging myself and to blot out the world. Despite that, I was self harming badly on an almost daily basis leading to infections and damage. I was barely eating because I couldn’t function sufficiently to do so. I was a paranoid wreck who spent too much time searching the house for the people I was convinced I could hear just outside my door. Other than that, I spent hours mindlessly refreshing Twitter and Facebook and listening to the same songs on repeat for hours because I was convinced they were really about me. I planned my death in elaborate detail and was just waiting for an opportunity to carry through with my plans.

When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound that great any more. I suppose if my options are skinny and very mental or fat and happy with a little mad thrown in, I know which one I’m going to choose.

The wildcard comes in the form of a knitted Chill Pill that was brought to my attention by @katerabbit and @ZHBully.

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6 Responses to “This Week In Mentalists – The Pimms O’clock Edition”

  1. Good round up, LittleFeet! (Especially since you mention me!) Lots of blogs to check out.
    I love the knitted pill…so cute. I may even have to learn knitting!

  2. Excellcent round-up and lots more great blogs to follow… thank you :)

  3. Thanks for the mention! I want some sun :( (Okay, I’ll admit it’s sunny outside currently but being Aussie I start complaining about how cold it is once it starts hitting about 12 degrees and below).

    The knitted chill pill is so cute!

  4. Thanks, LittleFeet. I love the chill pill too. I hope to learn to knit after I finish the MA (you can teach me ;-) ), I’ll save the pattern.

  5. Thanks for the round up and the mention LF, I am another lover of the chill pill it’s sooo cute! Now I need to go find someone who knows how to knit, I want one to sit on my coffee table in front of me all the time, reminding me to take a deep breath and chilllll! :)

  6. Thank you for the mention! Still surprised that anyone reads my ramblings :) hope you’re okay, Miss LittleFeet x


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