Involuntarily Committed

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I’ve checked into psych wards voluntarily a number of times. In fact, the last time I was hospitalized it started out as a voluntary sign-in and shifted to involuntary because they wouldn’t let me leave; I was too much of a risk to myself to be left alone without care. I’m not entirely clear on the process involved. I do know that they were willing to take me to court when I asked to leave. Their solution was to send me to another, longer-term facility, a solution to which I was opposed. However, if they had taken me to court, I would have lost, and I would have lost my rights, what few I still had. Continue reading “Involuntarily Committed”

Questions, please

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In my small corner of the internet, I try to talk about the things that interest me and I think might interest others, but I haven’t covered very much ground. So, I was wondering if YOU had any questions, either about me, about mental illness, or life in general, that I could attempt to answer. Throw them down in the comments and we’ll see what happens.

Panic

Why do we panic? Our brain was designed to live in the wild, where dangers were omnipresent. Now we live in towns and cities where bear attacks are less likely to occur, but our brain doesn’t know that. So what happens is we react with the same rush of adrenaline and other chemicals like norepinephrine to non life threatening situations, like a missed deadline, an awkward social encounter, or a sudden noise. For people with panic and anxiety disorders, this is ramped up even more, sometimes, if you’re like me, to the point of panic attacks. There is a perceived threat and the body overreacts accordingly, which is both uncomfortable and unnecessary. Here’s a comic from the brilliant Kate McKissick.

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Yes, no, maybe, IDK

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I have been feeling very scattered the last few days, very turbulent. My psychiatrist (pdoc) and I decided that with my focus issues it would be wise to start me back on Adderall again, which I took for a long time in college and found very helpful. I don’t have ADD per se, but my MI (borderline, bipolar, anxiety) can have symptoms that mimic ADD, effectively supplying me with the same problem. I am all over the place. I’ve been able to do my homework and some studying with the help of the meds, but as soon as it wears off I’m back to my normal scattered self and I can’t figure out what to do with my hands, my body, my mind. I’ve been skipping around between math problems, reading psychiatric journals, listening to TED talks as much as I can, playing video games with friends, and coloring, though the last is really hard on my back so I don’t do it as much as I used to. Continue reading “Yes, no, maybe, IDK”

Restraints and Stigma

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I have been watching a lot of TED talks lately, inspired by a video my psych professor shared with us about mapping the brain. Late at night I’m often too tired to be productive but too awake to go to sleep, so watching talks is the perfect activity: I learn, I’m absorbing, but I have to expend very little energy. I’ve been focusing mainly on neuroscience and psychology talks, to bolster my understanding of the brain for class and life in general, since this is the field I would like to enter. I encountered one that I really identified with and I would urge you to watch it. Elyn Saks, a law, psychiatry and pscyhology professor, speaks about her own mental illness and the general stigma of having a MI in the world today.¬†Elyn has schizophrenia, one of the more debilitating MIs, but also treatable with proper care. Continue reading “Restraints and Stigma”

The Sky is Falling

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I’ve always been an anxious person. Even as a little kid I had severe separation anxiety and I think probably general anxiety (sometimes vomit-inducing). My parents once needed to go away for a wedding and I panicked so much about them leaving that I made myself ill and hysterical, such that they decided not to go. As I got older the anxiety manifested in many different ways. I was afraid of change. Anything new and different reduced me to tears and melodrama. I don’t know if it was always apparent to my family precisely how anxious I was, maybe it was, it’s hard to remember. Continue reading “The Sky is Falling”