Last week I wrote about how SMD mad I was about being classified as something. Ticked off by someone else who would doom me to no WOman’s mental illness land and I would cry uncontrollably, deteriorate significantly, and require care in a padded room for eternity as is the life of I dunno, severely sick anything. And for a long time, I got cross about that. I got to cross that my future, my life, my children’s lives, were determined by less than a 15-minute consultation where someone says oh, I dunno, your brain is going to die soon. Because that’s how it feels. Either it’s going to die, or you are going to need a brain transplant (don’t know or think this is recommended). But as last week’s blog pointed out, after you’ve been ticked as loony, over the hill, whatever, well there aren’t really excellent places to go, other than the candy dispenser at the psych hospital or my personal favorite – the smoking balcony at 2 am in the morning – to keep the nurses on their toes.
So I’ve decided to do something different – and I hope that you will help me. I want to re-write the dictionary that makes us people with mental illness what we are. The list of symptoms and synonyms that are used to prescribe and prognosis – what is “wrong” with us. Heck, I am even prepared to write a more politically correct set of stereotypes, so at least we can be nicknamed more appropriately. Yes. It’s like my own mother says I have multiple personality disorder when I don’t. Gees. Don’t get the stigma confused! If you are going to insult me, please use the correctly developed, politically appropriate names people with mental illness allow.
No, I haven’t taken my meds for the longest time – but I want a different set of criteria, analysis and engagement to inform the meds I can and should take, different therapies that work, and the truth about the stuff that doesn’t work. About the pretty things and the ugly things that families that people with mental illness don’t know about and need to be prepared for. For example, I always tell my littlest daughter to have a bubble around her heart – and I say this because I’m known to be irritable and snap quickly, even when I really don’t mean to. Especially not with her. But it happens, and although I say sorry, perhaps by describing our dictionary more clearly, by preparing them and us, through the heart-est won experience, we and ours can be ready to face the world with the reality we seek to bring about. And while that littlest daughter and I love unicorns the most that is not the reality I’m talking about.
For example, I think my first listing would be Ashtma Inducing Anxiety. This is the kind where you feel your chest close, and you hyperventilate, and you feel like your stomach is a washing machine twisting your guts clothing inside out, and you may squidge out a nervous fart or two as you calm / a cough yourself down. Yes, similar indeed. I am serious, and I am dedicated to building a new future for people with mental illness. I am not a disorder, I am not a description, I am not the only diagnosis and getting it wrong could result really, in another kind of dead, neither you or I want to see. Help me. Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t. I am 4M’s Bipolar Mom.
Photo Credit: Romain Vignes