Survivors guilt

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I don't talk about my mental health challenges very much...but it's not just my story! I write to share mine. What are some of yours?

To qualify for Disability (SSDI) every few years it's actually my psychiatrist who signs me off. My being Bipolar is what continues to make me eligible. Living as someone who is Bipolar has affected my regular day to day, and week to week functioning and sometimes in the past it has made it very hard to keep a full time job. When I worked with seniors a few years ago I found things had shifted and my stress and anxiety levels were almost unbearable. Trying to lead the events felt like torture many of the times as I prepared to lead the group. This happened more and more often as I've gotten older. I have lost jobs and closed business ventures over the years due to physical or mental health challenges...BUT … my rising up to stay alive by getting (relatively) balanced mentally/emotionally, dealing w/ being HIV+ (37 years) and staying sober (10.5 years) has taken decades of dealing w/ many difficulties, much worry and fear, lack of confidence, very low lows and very high highs and sometimes deep pain & suffering.

I don’t talk, or even write, about my mental health challenges very much. I often judge myself very harshly and beat myself up over things I cannot control. I was born with a chemical imbalance and have struggled with being Bipolar since High School; I don’t talk about being hospitalized during manic episodes or being suicidally depressed; I don’t talk about my successful battles to overcome these past struggles, and working my whole life to get my meds balanced; I don’t talk about my successes because of doing this...not having had a episode and not having been really deeply depressed for decades; I don’t talk about how challenging it was to tweak and adjust my Bipolar medicine cocktail; and I don't talk about living through this and how treating one side can make the other much more pronounced and can make it hard to function.

They are just things I’ve not felt comfortable sharing in the past. I’ve feared judgement and dismissal… but the person who has been judging me the most is ME. Sometimes it’s very hard to be proud and confident. These days sometimes I still struggle with some depressive cycling that can make life difficult and can seem overwhelming. But I’m here today living a full, productive, enjoyable life because of my successes along this path and these days I’m making a choice to be more transparent…to tell my story…partially because it’s NOT JUST MY STORY!

An estimated 1 in 4 adults in America ages 18+ suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder…But it’s when we rise up and conquer them that we can benefit from the growth that has happened along the way. I write to support and help others who are struggling and I hope by sharing about my experiences people with similar paths will feel less alone.

Living with a disability is only part of my story. I also succeed in spite of these challenges. I am just one of millions of success stories of those of us who found a way to survive, to fight, to brave dealing with our challenges and to accomplish more than we first thought was possible. I have a disability but it doesn’t define who I am.

#MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #ADHD #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #Schizophrenia #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Disability #PTSD #BackPain #PeripheralNeuropathy #COVID19 #Migraine #BreastCancer #Cancer #Autism #ChronicFatigue #Fibromyalgia #HIVAIDS #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SurvivorsGuilt #CheckInWithMe #RareDisease #TheMighty #MightyMinute #MightyTogether #Bipolar2Disorder #Bipolar1Disorder #MentalHealthHero

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Survival is a challenge, a journey, a mountain, a summit, a success, then I'm thankful, then a smile and then...simple flight!

Sometimes just surviving, in and of itself is a massive victory. Sometimes it’s the best you can do...sometimes it's the only thing you can do...sometimes it's the hardest thing you can do....but it is always the most important thing you can do. It's not always easy, often a battle with ourselves, often a fight against the odds, and sometimes giving up would be the easiest thing to do. But I won't stop fighting. I am a survivor. I will never give up, I will push through, I will do whatever it takes, I will succeed when failure seems like the only option...

#ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #HIVAIDS #PTSD #PeripheralNeuropathy #Shingles #Pneumonia #Bronchitis #cdeficile #SurvivorsGuilt #AddictionRecovery #Addiction #SOBER #COVID19 #Migraine #ChronicHeadaches #Depression #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #MentalHealth #MentalHealthHero #Survivor #Faith #happy

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What is one self care thing you have done for yourself this week?What did you do?Have you stopped amidst your chaos to be gentle w/ yourself& breathe?

We all struggle with pain, depression, anxiety, worry etc.. Within the times you were hurting, what step dids you take to take care of yourself? How did you practice self care? Did you just stop, breathe and rest for an hour...or even ten minutes? Did you sit with a cup of tea and journal out your thoughts? Did you eat a favorite meal? Watch a funny movie? Listen to calming music? Did you sit and color, paint or draw? Did you dance by yourself when no one was watching? Did you push yourself a little and go out for a walk? Did you go for a hike in nature...or even just sit with your back up to a tree? Did you ride a bike, swim, go rock climbing or go to the gym? Did you take a bubble bath with soft music and candles? Did you take a hot shower? Did you hug someone...for no reason? Did you go to therapy or a support group? Did you get out of bed!?! Did you drink water throughout the day? Did you do anything that made you feel better about yourself... even just for moments?

These are ways I've taken care of myself or things that I’ve heard helped other people. Many are very short and simple, many help you stop for an hour or two and UNPLUG or put away your work or homework. Most are free, easy, and accessible, many require little thought or planning, many just require you to STOP and recalculate your direction...but any of these can help!

Which ones have you done this week or anytime you were hurting in the past??? Which ones will you try soon or keep in your mind to use during a tough time??? When I do some of these things I usually end up feeling better about myself, sometimes I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders, sometimes I just end up thinking that I care about myself! Please do anything that makes you feel better even if it takes every bit of your physical (and emotional) energy! YOU ARE WORTH IT! Sending blessings for peace, serenity, calm and balance during these difficult times...and here’s sending a big virtual hug to all of you!

#MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #worry #Pain #BackPain #PeripheralNeuropathy #Migraine #COVID19 #PTSD #BipolarDisorder #Bipolar1Disorder #BipolarDepression #ADHD #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #Fibromyalgia #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #HIVAIDS #SurvivorsGuilt #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SOBER #ChildLoss #LosingAParent #Cancer #Grief #Acceptance #ifyoufeelhopless #Hope #Belief #Happiness #OPTIMIST #MentalHealthHero #MightyTogether

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Changing perspective can be as simple as feeling gratitude instead of getting stuck in a negative mind cycle

“....its not what the world takes away from you that counts, it's what you do with what you have left!” Every day we wake up and have a (even in the times of most adversity) or let things bring you down until all you can do is frown. Feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere, making the most of what you have builds character, confidence and gives us a chance for a reason to smile. Every day I have to make this choice, I pride myself in having a positive attitude and when I find myself focusing on all the things that have brought me down, instead being thankful that I survived it all...but there are some days when I fail...its a lifelong journey and every day that starts with a smile is a success. Some days it takes part of the day of allowing myself to suffer that I then can hopefully shift to remembering that I am thankful for all the blessings I have in my life to be grateful for! I choose to smile today!

#Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #Bipolar1Disorder #PTSD #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SOBER #HIVAIDS #SurvivorsGuilt #PeripheralNeuropathy #COVID19 #ChronicMigraineSyndrome #ChronicMigraines #Headache #Disability #Happiness #positiveattitude #smile #overcome #Survivor #resilience #ItGetsBetter #Confidence #MightyTogether #MightyMinute #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Chronicpainwarrior #thankful #grateful

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We are mental health warriors and survivors - fighting a daily war to stay positive can be so exhausting…but rewarding when we succeed

Some days are worse than others, but many can seem overwhelming. During these times I have been blessed to have family and friends remind me of all the things I struggle with, and how sometimes just getting through a day is an accomplishment! It can be so exhausting along the way but I know from past experiences that I can dig deep inside and summon my strength to keep fighting! #Depression #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #Bipolar1Disorder #MentalHealth #MentalHealthHero #Survivor #warrior #PTSD #ChronicDailyHeadache #Migraine #COVID19 #HIVAIDS #SurvivorsGuilt #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SOBER #Happiness #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Disability

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Our group has hit a big milestone...over 100 members!

In just over a month this group has grown bigger than I even thought was possible so quickly! WELCOME new members. I'm so glad you found us, and to all of you I extend an invitation for you to check in, share your stories, your struggles, your worries, fears and times of things you’ve overcome, successes you've had along the way, and what you’ve learned from your experiences. Please ask for support, respond and support others by sharing how you can relate, ask questions, and reach out if you are in a situation where you don't know what to do. This is a place to share why your stories are similar and empathize with one another!

Are you struggling with a doctor who doesn't understand you, have you recently been surprised with a new diagnosis, are you afraid about a change in medications, are you struggling with a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or family member who doesn't understand what you are going through or is treating you poorly, have you just come out of the hospital and are trying to find your way again. Please share here because there are very likely others who can relate and maybe tell you what has helped them in similar situations.

I know that I myself have struggled in so many ways with physical health and life threatening scenarios, mental health challenges, and I am a recovering addict. I have learned along the way what has helped or hurt me and how different decisions have worked or not worked. I have learned how to be a proactive patient and worked WITH my doctors to make big decisions about my health...but I'm still here and I personally will try to help you in any way I can.

Let's be there for one another, let's learn from each other and make our health challenges a little less scary or overwhelming. Please join me on this path! I'd love to hear from you...Moshe

#Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #Disability #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #HIVAIDS #longtermsurvivor #SurvivorsGuilt #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #Bipolar1Disorder #PeripheralNeuropathy #PTSD #lonely #COVID19 #Migraine #ChronicMigraines #Acceptance #survival #PositiveVibes #Grief #LossOfAParent #FamilyAndFriends #multipleillness #Happiness #Healing #MentalHealthStigma #MentalHealthHero #thankful #grateful

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Transformation requires deep, intentional, sometimes ugly times of taking action but the results are worth it!

This was hard to read the first time...hard to digest...hard to own...but dead on accurate! Untruths you've carried in your body...had to think about that. Own created demons...that rang true right away! I like the basic blurred font, it tells the story itself in a way #Depression #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #Bipolar1Disorder #Disability #MentalHealth #PTSD #HIVAIDS #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SOBERLIFE #SurvivorsGuilt #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #PeripheralNeuropathy #hivlongtermsurvivors #Migraine #Grief #Selflove

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Never too old to start anew, shift your attitude, and believe in yourself

I find that learning from my experiences and changing the way I process, respond and act in challenging times can empower me with hope and belief that I can live and grow and become a better choice at a time! In my men’s group we talk about becoming a man of integrity and being authentic. Living like this requires focus, determination, commitment and fighting to get better! The changing of my attitude and actions can greatly affect my day to day mental health and empowers me to rise above depression, anxiety, fear and worry by being integrated in my own growth and development! This is an ongoing day at a time, even one moment at a time...and when I fail (which I often do) the key is to not beat myself up or get too down, but just pick myself up and start again anew! This is easier said than done but actually seeing the positive results in my life and my evolution can be enough to always continue to move forward. My mantra is just “Do the next right thing”! #Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #BipolarDepression #BipolarDisorder #PTSD #positivemindset #HIVAIDS #SurvivorsGuilt #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #Sobriety #Selflove #

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I’m profoundly proud of my wounds, because they stand for everything I’ve been through and survived! I’m always trying to not allow past pain and suffering dictate current well being. I choose to honor myself for the fact that I’ve been through so much and I’m still alive and kicking!!! I have survived a life being Bipolar...with manic episodes and suicidal thoughts.Thankfully those are behind me becausemy meds have been relatively balanced for over a decade; I have survived being HIV+ and Living w/AIDS for 35 years...and all of the Emotional challenges it presented : Fear, Worry, Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Survivor’s Guilt and PTSD; I have survived the Physical health challenges it’s brought into my life: cDefifile (8x) often a week in the hospital, Shingles (2x) once a month in the hospital, Bronchitis (12+x), Pneumonia (3x), Neuropathy that had me bedridden for 9 months and told I may never walk again and still plagues me today; and I have survived the struggle with Addiction throughout my life (9.5 years sober); plus I’m a Covid survivor struggling with regular intense migraines currently. Having a positive outlook and keeping things in perspective offers me hope and encouragement to keep moving on, one day at a time...I still can struggle with depression, but in the big picture: I’m still here and a proud survivor and that is truly a blessing!

#BipolarDepression #BipolarDisorder #Bipolar1Disorder #Depression #Anxiety #Survivor #HIVAIDS #hivlongtermsurvivors #SurvivorsGuilt #Addiction #AddictionRecovery #SOBER #attitude #proud #MentalHealthHero #MentalHealth #Positivity #happy #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #MentalIllnessStigma

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The Guilt of Surviving

Not a single member of my immediate or extended family ever talked about my twin sister, you wouldn’t think she existed.

Until one day in grade 2, my favorite teacher gave us an assignment to draw our family tree, she made a small comment that we should ask our parents if we had any family members who died, and also add them to our tree.

I went home and drew the tree as best I could and just to make sure it was complete I asked my mother if there was a member of our family who died that I didn’t know about. What I meant to say but I was too lazy was “you know like great aunts & uncles”, but she mistook me and that day for the first time I heard the name and story of my deceased twin sister. I found out that she died mysteriously after we both came down with fevers, we were seperated and taken outside, and was never seen again. I was told her death was a misunderstanding and there was no grave to see, there wasn’t even a death certificate.

I was told to never talk about it, throughout my life once in awhile I’d look over at my uncle, or aunt or mom and think “you knew this secret this whole time, you kept her from me.”

Some thirty years later I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, I don’t recall how we got on the topic but it ended when she nonchalantly said that if she was ever diagnosed with a terminal illness, she would poison my older sister and take her with her, and save her from living alone in this cruel world. It is a surreal thing to hear these words come off the lips of your mother, to speak casually about murdering your sister, then ask if your hungry.

That was 5 years ago, and sometimes I stop and think about these two pieces of information I know, these two secrets that haunt me, they scare me and worst of all the knowledge that I got away and they didn’t makes it very hard to be happy. I don’t think I can ever be truly carefree & happy, I will always carry this sadness. I feel remorse when I think about all I did for myself to get out, get help and get better, but no matter how hard I try I can’t do this for my siblings. I know she is still in that pain, there where I used to be.

My therapist says survivors guilt is part of my PTSD, I never thought words spoken between afternoon tea & cookies could have this affect on me #PTSD #SurvivorsGuilt #Depression