BrokenOne

@brokenone
If you have suffered from any of the following this may be a Trigger. #SexualAbuse, #SexualAssault, #ChildhoodNeglect #DomesticAbuse, Stop now. We are struggling with some pretty significant mental health as well as physical health issues. The list seems to be ever growing on both sides. Our earliest memories are from 3 on a hot summer day when we were left outside in the dog kennel. Our dog shared his water with us. We know what it is like to beat by just about every kind of household object from extension cords to wire coat hangers. I was almost nightly sexually assaulted from the age of 5 to just before 14, when we were finally heard and believed by a social worker and removed. In those years at "home"we were repeatedly and brutally sexually violated by my abusers friends, and our "mother's"many boyfriends. We married at 16 to a man 11 years older who turned out to be just like our original violator in every single way. Thought this man we married liked to use his fists, boots and lack of air as punishment where the others favoured household objects, locking us in an old WWII footlocker complete with original blood stains, throwing us off garage roofs, leaving us out in the snow, removing food, or verbally demeaning us to name a few of my most unliked punishments. We have been sexually assaulted and violated by 2 landlords. We have suffered through 1 stranger abduction (that we can remember so far) and brutal sexual assault where we were sexually violated in ways we didn't think were possible. We thought we were held overnight but the Hospital Sexual Assault Response Team said it was closer to 24 to 36 hours based on the wounds, bruising on our neck, wrists, ankles and other injuries left on our body. This monster threatened us with a repeat performance if we told the police as he withheld air. We saw him driving by our house until we moved to the other side of the city. We no longer go outside more than 7 to 8 feet from the front door. We have motion sensor lights inside and mirrors positioned to show all locations from any location. We have every door or window wired with boobey traps, and a different tone wind chime. We sleep when we do sleep with a razor sharp hunting knife and a studded baseball bat beside us. We go everywhere with our Pit Bull /Lab mix rescued therapy -guard - companion - helper dog. The little one has woken me up during the night when trouble comes crawling for us. So far we are 3, the Little one she is 3 and sits all alone in the corner of cold room all balled up into herself, Her protector I can hear soothing her when she cries. Only he knows the details of our redacted life but will not share them because he is angry with me and thinks that my therapy is upsetting the little one. Then there is the the chorus. The ones we do not talk about. So I have no self I am just one part a story. I list of what I suffer from is growing, lots gets lost in another's memory but some of it is the following #Raynaud's #DegenerativeDiscDisease #MyalgicEncephalomyelitis #Fibromalgia #Rheumatoidarthritis #Hypertension #Trichiasis #IrritableBowelDisease #AnxietyDisorders, #PanicAttacks #Agoraphobia #Insomnia #Rosacea #ComplexPostraumaticStressDisorder #Allergies #Dyslexia #ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder #Trichotillomania #GenerlizedAnxietyDisorder, #Dermatillomania #Asthma #Claustrophobia #HeartMurmur #Cleithrophobia #InsrusiveThoughts # #SuicidalIdeation #Haphephobia #EatingDisorder #MajorDepressiveDisorder #Socialphobia #Acrophobia I recently found out that I suffer from #Psychosis , #DissociativeIdentityDisorder and all these years I just thought I was having lively conversations with myself when in fact I was having lively conversations with my selves. I have a constant stream of melodies on a loop playing in my head. Most of these #MentalHealth issues I have suffered from for years but am just now becoming aware that it is an illness. I am trying to do things that do not come naturally to me which is connect. I am still discovering what is wrong with my/ our fractured mind with the help of 2 therapist, a Psychiatrist, a Psychiatric Nurse. So I/ we, not sure which, needs a safe place to voice my concerns about health without judgement, assumptions, and doubts. Where my voices are valued along with my opinions. I know longer know what Pronouns to use nor if I can trust our own thoughts. I don't understand the principles behind "sharing" so I do it with great pains to be correct and never know if it is too much. Perhaps I don't belong on The Mighty. I have never belonged anywhere. I never fit. I am an oddly shaped round peg in a world of square pegs. Not ever round enough to be round and never square enough to fit the squares. I don't understand the common nuances of social interactions or every day life, I am non emotional so prefer logic and facts but I always try to view things from others' perspective. That seems odd coming from us who see what no one else does. I make many mistakes but my intentions are always good. This may seem like a lot but it is just the tip. I am an extreme introvert and like the iceberg my secrets and true depth lay hidden very deep beneath the surface. In our world secrets were things worthy of extreme punishments for telling.
Community Voices

I’m tired to live

I’m getting anger, even with quetiapine. No one cares for me and of me.
Today is bad day in mighty, or just you hate me #Deoression #MECFS #SuicidalThoughts

3 people are talking about this

How DARVO Can Help You Recognize Emotional Abuse

The acronym “DARVO” has been floating around the internet recently, and it’s sparking important conversations about recognizing emotional abuse. DARVO is a tactic many emotional abusers use to project their behavior onto their victims and gaslight emotional abuse survivors into believing they’re the ones who need to change their behavior — not their abusers. DARVO stands for “ Deny , Attack , and Reverse Victim and Offender .” Let’s break this down further: Deny: When an abuser is confronted about their behavior toward an abuse survivor, they may deny that they ever said or did what the survivor claims they did. This first portion of DARVO is a form of gaslighting — or making a person doubt the reality of their experiences. Attack: After denying that they ever participated in the offending action or actions, an emotional abuser may attack the victim of their abuse for mentioning that their actions were hurtful. They may try to put their victim down to dissuade them from attempting to discuss the abuse again or bring up unrelated incidents that paint the victim in a negative light. They may also say the abuse survivor is “too sensitive” or “can’t take a joke” to begin to make the survivor believe they alone are at fault. Reverse Victim and Offender: An emotional abuser may then try to make themselves out to be the victim of their own victim’s confrontation — no matter how calmly an emotional abuse survivor attempts to discuss the issue. The abuser may say that their victim is “hurting their feelings” or claim that the abuse survivor is “attacking” them for expressing how they feel about being attacked. The abuse survivor may then feel guilty for “hurting” their abuser and apologize for doing absolutely nothing wrong because they may genuinely believe that they are in the wrong for feeling hurt by something their abuser did or said. What DARVO looks like in conversation: Emotional abuse survivor: “I felt hurt when you told me that I’ll never be smart enough to have the career I want. It made me feel sad, hopeless, and unintelligent.” Emotional abuser: “I never said that. I said you have to work hard in school to succeed in any career. Don’t put words in my mouth!” (Deny) Emotional abuse survivor: “I remember you said that. It was after I finished studying on Monday. I told you how hard my classes are, and that’s how you responded.” Emotional abuser: “ I’m so tired of you always trying to accuse me of saying rude things about you! You never respect my opinions, and you always start drama with me. When will you stop being so sensitive?” (Attack) Emotional abuse survivor: “I’m sorry. I was just mad about the conversation we had about school. I hurt your feelings, and that was wrong of me.” Emotional abuser: “Well, I’m glad you at least see I’m hurt! You need to quit telling me I said things I never would have said. And you probably told all your friends what a horrible person I am too — even though you made this whole thing up! I’m so tired of you bullying me all the time!” (Reverse Victim and Offender) Emotional abuse survivor: “You’re not a horrible person, and you’re right — I should never have brought this up. Maybe I remembered it wrong. I’m so sorry for hurting you.” At first, the emotional abuse survivor in this conversation politely mentioned their experiences and how their abuser made them feel, but they ended up apologizing to their abuser because their abuser convinced them they are abusive instead. Emotional abusers will often deny that their actions were hurtful and deflect their victims away from the issue at hand. They’ll often use blaming and shaming tactics on their victims to make those who survive their abuse feel bad for them and may even try to garner apologies from their victims by portraying themselves as victims of their own victims’ actions. If you’re an emotional abuse survivor, you may legitimately feel like an abuser yourself after having so many conversations in which you’re made to feel like you’ve done something hurtful. Once you recognize others using DARVO on you, though, you may start to realize that you aren’t the problem. Abusers may use this strategy to twist conversations about their own hurtful actions in their favor because they don’t want to confront the reality that they did anything wrong or because they want survivors to remain afraid to speak up. If it doesn’t feel safe to speak any further with your emotional abuser about how their actions affected you, you don’t have to initiate those conversations. After these situations take place, try to remind yourself that you are a survivor of emotional abuse, your experiences are real and valid, and DARVO is meant to illegitimately convince you otherwise. If you need help remembering that you aren’t at fault, reach out to a safe, supportive person or call an emotional abuse support line if you can. The abuse you face is not your fault, you are entitled to feel hurt and upset about it, and you are never alone.

Acknowledging My Depression and the Importance of Others' Support

Because we are living in a climate of racial reconciliation, members of marginalized groups are teaching other people how to understand them. I constantly see people trying to meet halfway, to try to understand what it’s like to live in the other person’s skin. As a Black, queer, mentally ill person from the South I have been doing what I can to educate others on my own experiences. Arriving at the point of being able to teach someone what it’s like to be me has been a long, bumpy road. Now, at age 25, I am just beginning to learn how to do that. I have been struggling with depression since age 12. The seed was planted when I first experienced bullying in school. My self-worth quickly deteriorated. I became very secretive and reserved. My academic performance suffered, which created tension between some of the teachers and myself. My relationship with my parents also suffered. Back then I didn’t know how to adequately describe what I was going through. As an adult, I underwent several life changes that took a toll on my mental health. When I graduated college, the job offers didn’t come flooding in as I’d hoped they would. I ended up working a few thankless jobs. My well-being wasn’t prioritized by the people in my work environment. I would come to learn that post-grad depression is very real. I experienced the haunting effects of it. At age 24 I was diagnosed as a major depressive. This diagnosis came after 10 years in and out of therapy, and a stint on antidepressants. I would soon resume medication and attend therapy much more often. Telling someone that I had been diagnosed with a mental illness didn’t come across as I had hoped it would; not as it does when I have a physical health problem. I speak only from my own experience when I say this. The year before, I had undergone an exhausting series of medical tests and doctor visits. I even wore an ambulatory EEG for the first few days of 2019. I had been having what appeared to be neurological issues, which have since been dealt with. It seemed everyone who knew of the situation was making a fuss over me. As soon as I said I needed support for my mental health, the tone changed. Later on, people would tell me that I had their support, but they decided not to ask specifically what I needed of them. They asked if that came question came too late. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Between then and now I made my first suicide attempt. This was followed by a six day stay in a behavioral health facility. In a way, it felt as if I had had a surgery for my soul. A friend recently told me, “Please forgive me if I overlook something you’re trying to tell me, but also, please let me know.” This friend would also say “I always care, even if I don’t know what to do or say.” These words carried a lot of weight. For months, I had been walking on egg shells, leaving warning signs here and there, and waiting for someone to see these signs. I bore emotional scars that not many seemed to notice. If someone asked how I was, I would say “I’m hanging in there.” What I meant to say was “I’m hanging by a thread.” When I spoke, I wondered who was listening. I began to withdraw from activities and commitments expecting someone to ask why, but no one did. In life there are often times when we don’t always know what to do or say. I am not exempt from that. I have found that writing is truly the only way for me to say what I need to without interruption. Slowly, but gradually, I am learning to teach people how to understand me, and how my brain works. I challenge moments when a call for help is met with silence. I want people to think about how they make me feel, as well as others they encounter after me. Most importantly, I have finally learned how to explain what’s wrong; something I could not do as a child. It took me a long time to realize that we all carry something with us. The difference is how we choose to carry. Whether we carry it alone, or with support from other people, we all have something. I’ve learned there is no shame in getting help. Going to therapy is just as important as seeing a medical doctor. I once saw a quote that went something like this: “Give your body what it needs, not what it wants.” I urge anyone reading this not to carry their troubles alone.

We Need to Stop Believing Mental Health Hospitalization Is a Luxury

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. After a high profile person like Chester Bennington dies by suicide, the conversation on mental health takes a national (sometimes worldwide) stage for a week or so. Then, as the waves of grief, support, and Tweets featuring the National Suicide Prevention Line lessen, the tide recedes and the topic of suicide is carried away with it until the next famous person is lost. It’s a cycle we in the mental health community have seen time and again. The RIP hashtags, the sharing of articles on the person lost and the insistence there is always help is inevitably followed by a stagnant silence and the return of suffocating stigma. In my experience, stigma and misunderstanding are at an all-time high when one is in full mental health crisis and a hospital stay is necessary for safety. I’ve been hospitalized for mental health struggles, and the responses I experienced were a vivid reminder of how far we have to go in the fight against shame and minimization in our society. There is such stigma around mental health diagnoses in general that I’m not sure many of us have even been able to touch on the misconceptions around a hospital stay. Mental health survivors and advocates are still fielding comments such as, “Oh, you take medication for your depression? Have you tried eating better?” and, “You go to therapy? Have you tried just… being happy and changing your mindset?” I read an article the other day that suggested antidepressants are not necessary and depression is actually caused by inflammation, specifically inflammation from consumption of gluten. I’m not joking. These are the thoughts floating around out there in the sea of stigma and complete ignorance to what it’s like to actually live your day-to-day life with a mental health diagnosis. Take that misunderstanding and minimization and crank it right up to 11 to begin to imagine the reactions to mental health hospitalization. When you’re hospitalized for mental health, things get surreal very quickly. At first, it’s all hands on deck and loved ones assuming you are suddenly a completely different person. People call you to check in on you in the first few days at the hospital and you hear a tone in their voice that is completely alien. Their words are higher pitched and come in softer tones, like balloons taped in bubble wrap — like one misspoken word could hit with a force capable of shattering you. Like you suddenly are incapable of processing human interaction on any deep level, even though you are likely in the midst of examining the deepest, darkest parts of yourself. Like you are a fragile, antique mirror that’s already a little cracked, and they are handling you as gently as humanly possible to preserve what’s left of your original beauty, even though you are made of hardwood and have survived hundreds of scuffs, drops, and even back-of-the-hammer type blows over the course of your existence. Then, you get out of the hospital. And that’s when the really awkward comments and interactions begin. When I got home and my friends and family settled back into the knowledge I was still “me” — when it became obvious I was not fractured beyond repair and that recovery was not only possible, but had already started — some people in my life had what I can only describe as cognitive dissonance based on preconceived notions of what constitutes a mental health crisis. And that’s not their fault; that’s stigma. The notion that having a mental health crisis necessitates that you are no longer “you” — that you cannot possibly be the same person anymore, because the person you “were” never would have needed a hospital stay in the first place — seems to be the baseline assumption with which everyone is working. When it becomes obvious that those notions are incorrect, rather than changing those preconceived notions, the only way to approach the situation becomes the assumption that the situation was not actually as serious as initially thought. It’s simple misunderstanding of the complexities of mental health symptoms. But, especially in regard to a lifesaving hospital stay, this misinformation can be dangerous. The idea you have to be completely detached from everything people consider “you” to warrant a hospitalization is disastrous. The idea that psychiatric wards are there for anyone who wants to go can be deadly. It may surprise you, but the number one comment I received upon being discharged and settling back into my regularly scheduled life was, “I wish I had the luxury of a hospital stay.” This comment came in many forms. “Sometimes, you just need to take a break, I guess.” “I probably could have used the hospital a few times in my life, but I had other obligations.” “I’m glad you were at a point in your life where you were able to take a timeout to work on you.” “I’d go to the hospital if I didn’t have work/school/kids/[insert responsibility here].” And maybe you’re reading this and you think the same. I know I used to. There have been times in my life where a hospital stay would have been justified, but I didn’t go to the Emergency Room because I was ashamed to do so. I believed admitting myself to the hospital was choosing to drop my responsibilities in life, and would be selfish and childish, weak and overdramatic. So, despite having suicidal thoughts (and at some points, a cohesive plan), I just decided to white-knuckle it until the depression and suicidal thoughts broke. And thankfully, I made it through those times. But it easily could have gone the other way, and I would not be around to write this article right now. Here’s the thing about mental health hospitalization, though. It’s just like any other hospitalization. You will not be admitted unless the professionals deem it necessary. You can’t walk into an ER and say, “I have a stomach bug and I really need a break from my life so I can heal, so I’d like you to admit me.” Hospital beds are a finite resource reserved for those who really need them to get better. If you are in dire need of care, you will be admitted. Otherwise, you are sent home with aftercare and follow-up instructions. Whether physical or mental, a health crisis is a health crisis. I didn’t walk into the hospital and say, “I’m completely overwhelmed right now and I need a break from life, can I have a bed?” I walked in, with a friend who helped me speak to nurses when I couldn’t find the words, and explained I was having such a hard time that I was worried about my ability to function and stay safe. I spoke with nurses, a doctor and a psychiatrist. They did blood work and interviewed me. They consulted and deemed a bed was necessary. I was admitted to the hospital by medical professionals, not because I decided a break would be nice, but because it was needed for stabilization and safety. And that hospital stay was lifesaving. Much like an admittance for a serious physical condition would be lifesaving. So, if you are struggling and worried about your ability to maintain safety, please don’t think of the ER in terms of “optional.” Don’t think, “It would probably help, but I can’t justify taking time out of my life to deal with this.” If someone you love is struggling, please treat it as what it is — a health crisis. If a hospital stay is not actually necessary, don’t worry. They will tell you and discharge you with a safety plan and resources to help you stay ahead of it. If you do need to be admitted, you will be. Either way, you will be better off for having gone. Much like ignoring physical health conditions can be deadly, ignoring suicidal thoughts can be deadly. Going to the ER for a mental health crisis is not weakness. It’s not selfish. And, if you are worried you are at risk of hurting yourself, it’s not optional. Please don’t listen to the minimization, stigma and misinformation that tells you it is. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “HOME” to 741-741 . Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Image via contributor

Sarah Echo

10 Ways You Can Be Kinder to Yourself With Self-Care

I have never been good at practicing self-care. In fact, I often act in the opposite way – not addressing my chronic illnesses, hurting myself and putting others before me, etc. But a big part of me as a person is my empathy, generosity, and desire to help people. But I have learned that it’s impossible to care for others if you don’t care for yourself. Over time, I have developed my own way of practicing self-care. I first decided on two main principles: 1. Know yourself. Are you an introvert? An extrovert? Are you highly sensitive? Do you struggle with mental illness and have some specific needs? What activities do you enjoy? What sensations do you enjoy? What do you need from other people? Are those needs being met? 2. Forgive yourself. I tend to be very hard on myself. I bully myself when I make mistakes and tell myself that I’ve let everyone down. But everyone makes mistakes. There is no person on Earth who is perfect. We are all human and deserving of forgiveness. With these principles in mind, I started thinking about ways in which I could be kinder to myself and look after my own mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The ways in which I practice self-care are personal to me, and won’t necessarily apply to other people. Here are some ideas I’ve had: 1. Eliminate toxic people from your life. When you take a step back from a relationship and look at all the ways it negatively affects you, it’s easier to break away from it. 2. Carry a self-care kit. This could include small objects that bring you joy or hold pleasant memories, essential oils that have calming scents (like lavender, rose, and peppermint), something soft to hold, messages of kindness to yourself that you’ve written down, anything that is grounding, calming, and pleasurable. My kit includes: a. Sticky note with positive messagesb. Lavender essential oilc. Some meaningful tarot cardsd. An index card with a message to remind myself to go outside and breathe fresh aire. Some rose salvef. A hematite healing braceletg. A plastic star that I’ve been carrying around forever 3. Take time to pamper yourself. I like to take special care of my hands and feet, especially since I’m diabetic. I use soaps and lotions that smell delicious, just to make myself feel good. I mean, why not? I love it when my feet smell like satsumas! 4. Learn to say “no.” I know that a lot of us tend to take on too much, wanting to please everyone and be that “go-to” person for others. I, for one, love to help people and want to be 100 percent reliable and say yes to every request. But think about that for a second. If you say yes to everything, how can you actually get all that done? It’s impossible. Worse, the quality of your efforts will decrease if you spread yourself that thin. Be honest with people. If you can do something for someone with quality and timeliness, and you have the mental and physical bandwidth for it, by all means, say “yes.” But if you honestly feel that you can’t do something that someone is asking of you, do both of you a favor and say no. 5. Practice good manners. This may seem odd as a practice of self-care, but I think it makes a difference toward one’s sense of well-being. If I know that I’ve treated everyone with whom I’ve interacted with kindness and respect, I feel much more at ease and relaxed. If I’m rude to someone, even just slightly, it bothers me to no end. 6. Perform random acts of kindness. This is a special project for me for 2018. I joined the Random Acts of Kindness website and Facebook group, I’ve signed up to volunteer for a local non-profit, and I’m finding myself glowing with inspiration with all of the amazing ideas for even small, seemingly insignificant ways to practice daily kindness. 7. Keep a gratitude journal. This could be a paper journal, a daily post on social media, a blog, or any other way you want to practice gratitude. It’s amazing how thinking about what you’re grateful for can alter your attitude and fill you up with a sense of warmth and well-being. 8. Practice meditation. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but for one reason or another, never set aside time for. All the research I’ve read has convinced me that meditation is not only essential for self-care, but for one’s overall mental and physical health. 9. Take care of your body. This is definitely not something I am good at. I have several chronic conditions (diabetes, major depression, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome), but I still have a poor diet, no exercise regime, and I hardly ever visit the doctor. I don’t even take all my medications as prescribed. But I know it’s never too late to take control of your health. We all have one life and one body – we need to make the most of them! 10. Seek professional help if you need it. Self-care doesn’t mean that you can handle all of life’s problems all on your own. If you need help, ask for it, there is absolutely no shame in it. I hope these ideas have inspired you to begin a practice of self-care. When we treat ourselves with kindness, our own sense of well-being and confidence grows. When that happens, we can only change the world for the better. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Getty image by m-imagephotography

Community Voices
Community Voices

Kintsugi

<p>Kintsugi</p>
14 people are talking about this
Mel Hebert

Bipolar Disorder: What It Was Like to Experience Psychosis

I have bipolar disorder, and what many people don’t know is that my diagnosis can include psychosis. Not everyone who has bipolar disorder experiences psychosis, but some do. And there’s not a lot of education about what it’s really like. So, here are two recent stories of when psychosis landed me in the hospital. Story #1: The “Good” Grandiose psychosis is generally connected to mania, and in my case it definitely was. I felt on top of the world, and while I knew I should’ve called my doctor, I didn’t. I decided not to call her because I liked the feeling of mania — at least, I liked it until I landed in the hospital. It started as the typical mania most people have heard of. I felt euphorically happy, on top of the world and absolutely nothing could bring me down. However, going untreated led to feeling a little too happy. In the end, I felt absolutely invincible. That’s where the psychosis came in. Suddenly, I felt like I could do anything — and I wanted to do those things. I felt like I could stand in front of a train and live. I wanted to jump off of a rooftop because I just knew I’d make it and be alive to tell the story. I had urges to take all my medications at once to prove that the gods were on my side and I was truly invincible. I should mention here, that in stable functioning, I’m an atheist and don’t believe in any god. But in those moments, I did. Not only did I believe, but I knew they’d protect me at all costs. In my mind, nothing I did would kill me — even if it was the most destructive thing you could think of. Which looking back is super scary, because I was ready to do really dangerous things that could’ve potentially ended my life. When I was hospitalized for this, I really thought I didn’t need it. People were against me. They were jealous of my invincibility. It took about two days of heavy-duty psych meds to realize how wrong I was. I needed the hospital, and I was so fortunate I kept myself safe. Story #2: The “Bad” Now, this type of psychosis is much less fun. In fact, it led to me being on the severe intensity unit of the psych hospital, which takes a lot, in case you were wondering. It was so bad I was back on the unit within 45 minutes. For reference, an intake appointment generally takes three to four hours at the hospital I go to. So why were these drastic actions taken? Because I was petrified of myself. This episode of psychosis is actually a lot harder for me to write about, because it was terrifying to experience. To sum it up, I was convinced demons were inside of me and I needed to hurt myself to get them out. I was writhing in my skin, clawing at my face as I bawled and tried to contain my fear. I took more anxiety medication than my typical dose, hoping it would help, but ultimately it did nothing. I was curled up in my partner’s lap for comfort, squirming and sobbing because, “I need them out of me! Kayce, I need them out of me. I need to hurt myself. I don’t know what to do — please, get them out of me!” This form of psychosis is always the scariest to go through. Especially when I don’t want to hurt myself, yet feel like that’s the only way to escape the demons. It was an excruciating battle in my head. After an hour and a half of this, realizing I wouldn’t calm down, my partner took me to the hospital. As soon as they asked me why I was there I started sobbing again. “There are demons in me and I need them out of me — I can’t take it. I need someone to sedate me or something. Please, get them out of me. You have to get them out of me!” Due to my frenzy, the admissions counselor only spoke to me for a few minutes before calling in my partner — most likely because I was incoherent. They sent me to the locked waiting room again where I once again began sobbing. When they finished their conversation, the counselor asked what was wrong, so again I told her through hysterical tears, “I need them out of me! I don’t know what to do anymore, I just need them out — I need them out!” As I said, this was one of the scariest psychotic episodes I’ve ever had. And while it seems so unrealistic now, at the time it felt so real. I truly believed demons were inside of me and thought I had to hurt myself to get them out. And I’m not sharing these stories to get pity — or worse, be called “crazy.” I’m sharing them because I want others who are experiencing psychosis to know they aren’t alone. So many mental health disorders can entail psychotic features, yet no one ever discusses it. Yes, I have bipolar disorder with psychotic features. Yes, I’ve experienced psychosis — both pleasant and unpleasant. And yes, I want more people to talk about their experiences too. Because psychosis isn’t as uncommon as you might think amongst the mental health community. It’s time more people realized that.

5 Ways to Fix the Mental Health System for People Who Are Suicidal

I have been to 14 funerals since turning 17 years old. Fourteen people who were friends, co-workers, crushes, debate partners, school mates and amazing members of the world’s community. Fourteen people whose families and friends I sat next to at funeral services who I heard whisper, “If I would have known,” “How could I miss the signs?” and the awful, “How could they do this to us?” Fourteen. As the first of my friends took their lives and I attended their funerals, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. I wondered what I was missing, what I wasn’t doing right. Was it because I didn’t answer that 4 a.m. Facebook message? Was it because I wasn’t open with them about my own struggle? Was it because I didn’t try hard enough somehow? Didn’t love enough? Wasn’t there enough? I beat myself up for a while. I blamed myself and tortured myself. I sought to better understand mental health, suicide and what resources existed to support people feeling suicidal. I made it my mission to take action, and I read, spoke, researched, met, supported and loved the best I could. I learned about hospitals, communities, education systems, treatments, interventions and technology. I found people with the word “doctor” in front of their name and talked their ears off for hours. I thought if I somehow understood the world that the professionals worked in, I could help my friends get treatment within it. I enrolled in and attended all the suicide prevention and mental health training I could find. I wanted to make sure if people talked to me about suicide, I would feel ready to help them. Fast-forward to today: I still find myself standing at the crossroads in people’s lives, as the more I’ve become involved in this mission, the more people I see at the crux of their struggle. I find myself encouraging them to seek help and try for a happier life. That is my goal, and what I truly wish for them to find. I do my best to help them find the resources to get there, or direct them to where they can find this information. But while I am directing people towards this goal, at the same time, I find myself scared of, concerned about and oftentimes angry about the system and the resources I am leading them towards. What am I scared of, concerned about, and oftentimes angry about? There are a few things. 1. The mental health system is basically inaccessible. Despite the fact that the people who were lost to suicide in my life knew about the services and that many of them even worked in the mental health system, accessing services when they (or anyone else) need them is nearly impossible. Appropriate services have wait lists, and emergency services are not trained to properly deal with suicidal people. I’ve heard of people who are suicidal being sent away from emergency departments due to lack of resources or beds. When they are admitted, oftentimes I hear from people their time in hospitals was more traumatic. I have not heard any word or progress on a solution to this. 2. The people who were supposed to help me still don’t think suicide is a real issue (e.g. hospitals and schools). “You are just seeking attention,” “You did this to yourself, why should I help you?” “I think suicide is such a selfish thing.” “You just need to pick yourself up and be happy.” “You know how much other students suffer? Get over yourself” These quotes (and many more) represent all the things doctors and nurses have said to me while I was suicidal. My friends and schoolmates used to make fun of the crisis lines and mental health talks we had at school. As someone who was suffering and asking for help, hearing these things just made me more suicidal, and it is still happening in our system despite more research and more education. People who hold these beliefs are still talking to our at-risk youth. 3. Young people around me keep dying, despite the progress that has been made. One of the scariest things about this journey is to learn we still have a long way to go to understanding and preventing suicide. Even with all the discussion of mental health and suicide over the last few years, the suicide rate has increased by 60 percent worldwide in the last 45 years. Rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries. While research is ongoing, there is clearly something we are missing, and it scares me this will continue until we figure out what that missing piece is and how we can help. And then I worry if our system is too broken to even adjust itself in a real way to new information that comes in. 4. We put all our eggs in one basket. Where resources do exist, I’ve noticed we tend to put the most resources behind one model or solution. The truth is that people who live with mental health issues are as diverse as the rest of the population. One answer does not work for everyone. We need to have multiple therapy types, models and solutions funded to better accommodate people’s needs. One solution will not fit all, and this tendency to try to find that “one solution” worries me. 5. We don’t have money to solve this problem. Worldwide, mental health only gets an average of 11 percent of the health care budget in Canada, and 6 percent in the United States. That’s not enough resources to go around to make an impact. When you look at all the above concerns, there doesn’t seem to be a viable solution in sight, and it keeps me up at night thinking about when the real support will come. Each of these concerns together makes me understand why so many young people are still dying, and it leaves me really mad. I know that people living with mental health issues often struggle so much before asking for help. T hey see asking for help as the end of a long battle, but in reality, it ends up being the start of a much bigger and sometimes even more painful struggle working through the system, trying to get support when mental health concerns don’t wait around for the system to meet an individual’s needs. Mental health and suicidal thoughts — the same as many physical illnesses — need immediate and appropriate care, and this kind of care is becoming harder and more complicated to access as the years go by. Here is the thing: Things will only get better if we talk about suicide, if we demand more innovation from our mental health experts and governments, if we properly and appropriately fund it and if we let people know we care about it. Innovation is stagnating and while the politics play out, people are still dying. I’ve been to 14 funerals. Don’t you think that’s enough? (Thanks to my awesome friend Cheryl for helping me create this piece after I had been hitting my head against it for weeks. Check her out here .) If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

5 Ways to Fix the Mental Health System for People Who Are Suicidal

I have been to 14 funerals since turning 17 years old. Fourteen people who were friends, co-workers, crushes, debate partners, school mates and amazing members of the world’s community. Fourteen people whose families and friends I sat next to at funeral services who I heard whisper, “If I would have known,” “How could I miss the signs?” and the awful, “How could they do this to us?” Fourteen. As the first of my friends took their lives and I attended their funerals, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. I wondered what I was missing, what I wasn’t doing right. Was it because I didn’t answer that 4 a.m. Facebook message? Was it because I wasn’t open with them about my own struggle? Was it because I didn’t try hard enough somehow? Didn’t love enough? Wasn’t there enough? I beat myself up for a while. I blamed myself and tortured myself. I sought to better understand mental health, suicide and what resources existed to support people feeling suicidal. I made it my mission to take action, and I read, spoke, researched, met, supported and loved the best I could. I learned about hospitals, communities, education systems, treatments, interventions and technology. I found people with the word “doctor” in front of their name and talked their ears off for hours. I thought if I somehow understood the world that the professionals worked in, I could help my friends get treatment within it. I enrolled in and attended all the suicide prevention and mental health training I could find. I wanted to make sure if people talked to me about suicide, I would feel ready to help them. Fast-forward to today: I still find myself standing at the crossroads in people’s lives, as the more I’ve become involved in this mission, the more people I see at the crux of their struggle. I find myself encouraging them to seek help and try for a happier life. That is my goal, and what I truly wish for them to find. I do my best to help them find the resources to get there, or direct them to where they can find this information. But while I am directing people towards this goal, at the same time, I find myself scared of, concerned about and oftentimes angry about the system and the resources I am leading them towards. What am I scared of, concerned about, and oftentimes angry about? There are a few things. 1. The mental health system is basically inaccessible. Despite the fact that the people who were lost to suicide in my life knew about the services and that many of them even worked in the mental health system, accessing services when they (or anyone else) need them is nearly impossible. Appropriate services have wait lists, and emergency services are not trained to properly deal with suicidal people. I’ve heard of people who are suicidal being sent away from emergency departments due to lack of resources or beds. When they are admitted, oftentimes I hear from people their time in hospitals was more traumatic. I have not heard any word or progress on a solution to this. 2. The people who were supposed to help me still don’t think suicide is a real issue (e.g. hospitals and schools). “You are just seeking attention,” “You did this to yourself, why should I help you?” “I think suicide is such a selfish thing.” “You just need to pick yourself up and be happy.” “You know how much other students suffer? Get over yourself” These quotes (and many more) represent all the things doctors and nurses have said to me while I was suicidal. My friends and schoolmates used to make fun of the crisis lines and mental health talks we had at school. As someone who was suffering and asking for help, hearing these things just made me more suicidal, and it is still happening in our system despite more research and more education. People who hold these beliefs are still talking to our at-risk youth. 3. Young people around me keep dying, despite the progress that has been made. One of the scariest things about this journey is to learn we still have a long way to go to understanding and preventing suicide. Even with all the discussion of mental health and suicide over the last few years, the suicide rate has increased by 60 percent worldwide in the last 45 years. Rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries. While research is ongoing, there is clearly something we are missing, and it scares me this will continue until we figure out what that missing piece is and how we can help. And then I worry if our system is too broken to even adjust itself in a real way to new information that comes in. 4. We put all our eggs in one basket. Where resources do exist, I’ve noticed we tend to put the most resources behind one model or solution. The truth is that people who live with mental health issues are as diverse as the rest of the population. One answer does not work for everyone. We need to have multiple therapy types, models and solutions funded to better accommodate people’s needs. One solution will not fit all, and this tendency to try to find that “one solution” worries me. 5. We don’t have money to solve this problem. Worldwide, mental health only gets an average of 11 percent of the health care budget in Canada, and 6 percent in the United States. That’s not enough resources to go around to make an impact. When you look at all the above concerns, there doesn’t seem to be a viable solution in sight, and it keeps me up at night thinking about when the real support will come. Each of these concerns together makes me understand why so many young people are still dying, and it leaves me really mad. I know that people living with mental health issues often struggle so much before asking for help. T hey see asking for help as the end of a long battle, but in reality, it ends up being the start of a much bigger and sometimes even more painful struggle working through the system, trying to get support when mental health concerns don’t wait around for the system to meet an individual’s needs. Mental health and suicidal thoughts — the same as many physical illnesses — need immediate and appropriate care, and this kind of care is becoming harder and more complicated to access as the years go by. Here is the thing: Things will only get better if we talk about suicide, if we demand more innovation from our mental health experts and governments, if we properly and appropriately fund it and if we let people know we care about it. Innovation is stagnating and while the politics play out, people are still dying. I’ve been to 14 funerals. Don’t you think that’s enough? (Thanks to my awesome friend Cheryl for helping me create this piece after I had been hitting my head against it for weeks. Check her out here .) If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.