The mood disorders I have had since I was 14 definitely cause real, measurable physical effects. At least in me. But today, as I write this, I honestly feel like no one believes me or even gives a shit! So forgive me, I’m about to go Debbie Downer on you. But please read. Just give me 5 minutes.
It’s common knowledge that stress can give you a backache. Or a headache. My sweet mother, aged 83, has had cancer 3 times. She believes strongly that they were caused by stress, traumatic events and depression.
Yet when I experience exhaustion, sore muscles, fever, weakness, nausea, constipation…..and it hits me all at once, I can’t call in sick and say that it’s depression or anxiety. So I pretend to have a sinus infection!
Why don’t people believe me when I explain what happens to me? I’m pretty sure that the mind-body connection has been fully accepted as truth for 10 or 20 years by now. Oprah did a show on it!!!
I just get so frustrated, angry at people. Not only do they not understand, they don’t even attempt to. As soon as they hear “bipolar” every bit of my credibility goes out the window. Surely it’s all in her head! Hypochondriac!
I’m just so tired of hiding or minimizing my illness in order to be treated like anyone else. Putting on the fake smile, saying “oh I’m great and how are you?” When 5 minutes earlier I felt a strong urge to drink bleach.
Just imagine what the world would be like if the stigmas disappeared. If each patient had access to free quality health care and counseling. And I’m talking about people with addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, borderline, SAD, etc. All of us folks who hide in shame. Who simply can’t find decent help, even with medical insurance!
Mental illness patients have been ostracized, rejected from family and society, fired from jobs, mistreated in a way that is just deplorable. How could we treat one another this way? Whatever happened to grace and charity?
I have family and friends. I’m lucky. They know what I go through. But I know, I am absolutely positive, that they think I’m exaggerating my illness, being a hypochondriac, or I’m just a weak person. I no longer even bother to tell them if I’m experiencing a painful, difficult episode. That I can barely walk from one room to the next without sitting down to rest. That I haven’t showered, brushed my teeth or even changed my clothes in 3 days.
It kind of makes you lose all faith in humanity. What cultures cast out their sick instead of caring for them? Hell, I don’t even feel like the doctors and therapists I’ve seen over the years gave a rat’s ass. I have received some really really bad treatment. By MDs who went to Harvard! They chose their occupation. Why in God’s name become a psychiatrist if you have no compassion for the mentally ill?
Maybe it’s like the way so many fringe groups or minorities were discriminated against in the past. They had to unite, organize and rise up! They had to fight for it! Protesters have been arrested, injured and even killed. Do we mental patients have it in us to fight for respect? Honestly, I don’t even know if I would join a march or a rally. Because so much of the time I’m either stressed, hurt, sick, exhausted or depressed.