Anyway… (Updated)

Let’s not be downhearted.  I am okay- well, no that’s a lie.  I’m going through seismic changes, I guess, painful ones.  As is my life right now.  I know I am not alone, but I feel very alone, just because there are so many banshees in my head, and I’m so scared of the future, I don’t know who to talk about it to or how to talk about it.  I feel guilt very acutely, and I am struggling with it because I have hurt people that I love. I did talk to my CPN who thinks my rationale is sound but my behaviour is possibly not, and that I am probably going through a hypo/manic episode, with a vicious edge of depression.

On my restricted blog (yes, I have one that only friends can read), Crikey, I was being funny.  I have a Livejournal. Brain_opera if you’re interested.  It’s for day to day crap and my friends in London to sort social stuff out. I made a list of things I need to do.  They include:

  • Start eating properly.  I tallied up my daily calorie count as an average, and for three weeks, I’ve been averaging out at about 600 a day, sometimes slightly more, sometimes slightly less, sometimes nothing at all.  I am going to force myself to eat at least three things a day, even if they’re tiny.  This isn’t deliberate; mixture of stress, grief, depression, mania and exhaustion.  I have been on the verge of collapse quite a few times and my manic energy means that I need to be eating more, not less.
  • Sleep.  Because I haven’t been.
  • Keep the place tidy. Whoops.
  • Try not to start caning the booze.  I’ve been drinking but not an awful lot and I have stopped drinking home alone.
  • Stop dodging my CPN appointments.
  • Properly discuss therapy which I think I desperately need.  Problem with it is that I need to be more stable in order to engage.
  • Stop skipping medication doses.  Yep.  I’ve been afraid of going to sleep (hate sleeping alone, hate waking up alone) so sometimes have been skipping doses.

Basically; start small by trying to take care of myself a bit more.

I’m not around tomorrow and my sister is coming on Wednesday so I shall be quiet.  My friend Nick told me I should make a list of why people care about me, and what’s good about me, and in it maybe I’ll find the reasons to carry on.  I shall, but for now, my lovely readers, I pass the tasks onto you.  Tell me five good things about you.  If you please, and if you like, and if you don’t want to, then it’s okay!   Even if you’re just proud of the way you do something, tell me.

I’ll tell you two things I am proud of (I can only think of two right now, alas): I am proud of the Radio 4 play, even though I got rabbit in the headlights about it and had to run away for a little while because, although I was proud of it, it’s quite strange for even more people to know me for being manic depressive.  I’m also proud of the fact that, for the most part, I give people good and sincere advice.  So there you go!

 

EDIT:  Excuse the shouty bold, rather irritated.   Thanks to you chaps for the comments.  I was talking about the kind of advice you give your mates day to day, like relationships, films, books, clothes, life woes, not advising people with mental illness which I steer clear of because I’m not recovered nor qualified.  I already say in my FAQ that if you have concerns you take them to your doctor.  I don’t give anyone advice when they email me.   I tell them the same thing: go to your doctor.  The only thing I’d ever give advice on is mental health services, like where to go etc because I know my way around it.  I try to be comforting when I can, but for the most part, I can’t give advice and it puts me in a bind.

I mean, it must be weird, me being mentally ill and all, to have friends and a life and stuff.  My window must be very small.  All our windows are, us mentally ill people!

Andrew, you SERIOUSLY underestimate my readers, as if they’re facile eejits who are easily led and who I am leading.   For a start, how dare you say they’re not of “sound mind and good judgement”?!!  You have a complete fundamental misunderstanding of what mental illness actually IS.  It is not insanity.  We are not infants. 

I’ve talked before about responsibility and blogging, but at the end of the day, this is a personal about mental illness.  I don’t think anyone would consider me their “best friend” if so, that isn’t my fault, no-one whatsoever has given me any indication that they do although I have made friends here.  I think you have this strange image of people with mental illness having such a tiny world.  I can’t control how anyone takes this, and if I tried to, it would lead to rampant self censorship which would render this blog useless to me and to anybody else who cares to read it.  I don’t know who reads apart from my regular readers, and how can I?  Should I have a, “Check in at the door” policy- have you got psychosis, are you manic, are you easily upset?   Show me your medical records, which clearly define who you are as a person!  

EVERYTHING is open to interpretation by EVERYBODY.  Not just these people who seem to see as mentally ill weaklings, and you do me a great disservice too by refering to me as such, thus being an “unreliable narrator” of sorts.  Yes, I’m mentally ill, but I have a lot of self awareness which is something this blog HELPS me to keep, which helps keep me healthier than I had been before I began to write it.  I started this blog soon after I was diagnosed, and I keep it to keep tabs on myself, to vent, to talk.   I also, as I have mentioned constantly, have an appallingly bad memory.  This is a record I need.  When I’m not feeling so well, I sometimes don’t read other blogs, and that’s something that you’ll find with a lot of people.  Or I don’t write.  

Do I worry?  Sometimes, yes I do, and there are some things I keep off here for that purpose.  But I am not a counsellor, doctor, nurse or anything like it.  I’m a blogger, and a person.

I also worry about being attacked myself.  It happens, I get nasty emails quite a lot.  I open up a lot here and sometimes to me that’s overwhelming and frightening and sometimes I run away from it.  I have that right.  I think people who have read this blog for a while probably have quite a decent measure of me as a person and get that.  I worry that I don’t always reply to stuff, that I’m crap at replying to comments properly and I worry that people are sad or offended or think I’m not listening when I am.

I have a mental illness that affects my MOOD.  I have another one that affects my self-perception.  But I am human!  We are human.  Hasn’t reading mental health blogs taught you that, that we’re, you know, ACTUAL PEOPLE and not, as you say the “mentally ill”?  Isn’t that half the battle in this world to show people that we’re just, y’know, people who happen to have a mental illness?  Funny, silly, sad, serious, comfortable, interested, alive, glorious, ordinary people?  Like everybody else?  

And if you’re so worried about the minds of my readers, as if they’re public property and not something intensely personal and unique, as if we’re all the same because we have mental illness, why not extend that courtesy to me, and not write something publicly that mentally ill old me could construe as designed to make me paranoid and upset?  Especially since in this reading this blog you know I’m going through a period of mental-unwellness right now and life stresses that are breaking me.

If people are counting on me, then what can I do?  I don’t think anybody is.  I think people come and read and understand when I’m not around, as I would them. Of course I take “time off”- this isn’t my job,  it’s my blog, it’s my life, I have a life I am trying to live and make sense of, and right now, it is very hard.  

And would it actually be healthy if I wrote constantly, constantly, constantly? Would it be healthy for anyone?  Sometimes *I* need to not write about it, to not think about it, analyse it.   This blog is important and helpful for me- when it isn’t helpful for me, I will stop writing it, because what would be the point to carry on when something becomes self destructive?  I DO need breaks sometimes, I do sometimes feel there is stuff I am not comfortable sharing, or that I can’t write about.  My illness also affects my energy levels- sometimes I do not have the energy or motivation to get up and get dressed, let alone write a blog.  I think most people who read this blog understand the nature of the beast  Not even who does read has a mental illness; lots of people are nurses, carers, friends, generally interested but the people who do may have the similar issues of motivation and exhaustion and depression that I get that means I need to take time away alone.  I don’t consider this to be some grand thing- it’s my diary, I think people get that, I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences and fears.    If I am a “spokesperson” as you say, it’s because this blog is widely read, but I have rarely promoted it.  I’m not *trying* to be a spokesperson, I’m just writing things that I go through.  If I am seen as a spokesperson, well then, I hope it’s as a good one.   But it is my life.  I do have to take care of myself and sometimes I need time out.

I get a lot of emails and comments and I’m not organised so I read them then sometimes can’t find them again, and I hope by now that people understand I read everything and I tend to carry on topics of discussions in other posts, and I reply to as many emails as I can when I can.

As for my tone, that’s just the way I write.  It’s also the way I speak.   People who’ve met me in person will tell you that.

At the end of the day, the responsibilities I feel I have here are to be honest as I can about even, YES! even the shitty side/silly side/annoyingly dull day to day, medicated/therapied/bored side of mental illness, to maybe sometimes make people laugh and to, in some way, help ease the horrifying loneliness that can come with living with a mental illness, that I experience too, and that means this blog is as much me reaching out to other people as them to me, to just say, “Bloody hell, you know, it can be crap, it can be glorious, it can be dull, but it’s nice to feel able to just talk about it like it’s an ordinary thing that it is, that it becomes in your day to day life”.  I don’t generally go around my real life sitting people down and talking to them at length about this stuff.  This is a safe space for me in which I can rant, vent, emphasise, joke, be sarcastic, be pissed off, share and be shared with.   Sometimes I need help, or comfort or perspective and I ask for it.  See, I trust these mentally ill infants because they have been there and are best “qualified” to give me their opinion!  And I’d be VERY surprised if anyone dropped out of their treatment or didn’t participate after reading this blog.  You’d probably want to look at the anti-psychiatry blogs for that one.  If it is harmful in anyway to anyone, I would assume, or hope, they’d stop reading it.  

And it is a forum in a sense because people comment, discuss, talk to each other.  Many of my readers are bloggers too, I read their stuff, I read the emails I receive, and I hope, and think, a lot of people find comfort in each other, and I do, too.    And too, it’s interesting!  I find it fascinating.  Of course it’s fascinating, it’s the mind, and I want to figure how mine works, so I write about it.   When I AM graphic, such as with “triggering” photos or graphic descriptions, I tend to use a “Read More” to give people warning and a choice in reading them.

Don’t patronisingly lump everyone together as if we’re all incapable little children.  And don’t forget, even if this blog is popular, it’s mine, about my experiences, I write hoping it’s helpful but it’s for me (and my family, who read it and find it much easier to help me/understand me by doing so) more than anyone else.   If I was paralysed by panic of offending anyone and so on, I’d never write in it.  Either would any other blogger on any other blog, either would anybody with any other form of communication.  But of course we’re all mentalist dimwits so what the hell do we know about ourselves that you can’t assume, eh?

That’s all I’m saying.  Thanks for your thoughts and all.

Edit again:  I’m keeping this up for anyone who may have those opinions.

51 Responses

  1. 1) I can rap in a slightly interesting way.

    2) I am more or less fully prepared to follow an idea or principle to its often-unpleasant conclusion.

    3) I can spin a cushion on my finger for an indefinite amount of time.

    4) I’m humble, to the point of being quite arrogant about it.

    5) I have two excellent shoulders to cry on.

  2. I can’t do good things about me right now, maybe I’ll come back and try later. 1) I persevere with indecision. That was inspired by Nik’s number 4) which made me half-smile (not doing full smiles at the moment). I like that set of five.

    Sorry you feel shite Seaneen. I hope you can get the intrusive thoughts under control,

    Louise xx

  3. 1 I’m good at singing, it makes me happy and my music teacher wants me to sit some sort of london associate music colleges diploma

    2. I’m proud of awareness raising I’ve done surrounding mental health and self harm on TV, Radio and the press And the work I’ve done with voluntary orgs

    3. I’m good at caring for people, (not always a good thing) But I’m proud that I have a caring nature

    4. I’m pleased with myself for making an effort to get better, for going to TC everyweek and committing myself to three full days a week in august for the next 18 months of my life

    5. Lastly, I’ve very pleased that I’m still alive (today anyway) lol

  4. “I’m also proud of the fact that, for the most part, I give people good and sincere advice.”

    I agree with that 100%. You are an extremely honest person, which is something to be very proud of indeed.

    Your list of things to do sounds very sensible and constructive. And remember, if you mess any of it up, you can always go to bed and try again tomorrow.

    Anyway – five things I like about myself…

    1) I’m quite intelligent.

    2) I like my tattoos.

    3) I’m not really a very bad person.

    4) I’m honest.

    5) I like helping people.

  5. I think this blog is at best misguided and at worst dangerous to be honest. If you think I’m wrong and you’re currently outraged consider for a moment that that might be because you’re ill. I’m not knocking you for that, just stating that you might be mistaken in thinking this place does anyone any good. Don’t dismiss what I’m saying purely because it goes against the grain of the site. Think about it. Think about all the reasons why you come here, then think about all the times your illness has caused you to do something that’s bad for you and see if there are any parallels. I think/hope the author’s heart is in the right place and perhaps people feel less alone when they come here. But it’s the wrong environment in my opinion. As I said it feels dangerous to me. Do people drop out of the community often? I’m really not joking. Just because someone’s ill doesn’t mean that they should start broadcasting things that could be taken the wrong way by people. Just because you’re afflicted with something doesn’t mean you can suddenly start giving people advice. I mean, I’m shocked by that bit at the end of the post about giving advice. It’s so, so fucking risky. Really. Does the author know what they’re doing? Are they trained in any way? This site goes out to people who need real help. Real help. Do you follow author? Are you giving them real help? Are you aware of the responsibilty you have? You can’t fucking say ‘well I’m just writing about my experiences and not really thinking about how it’s taken’ like you’re writing a blog about trying to make it in the fucking music business or something. This is going out to people who need proper help by trained professionals. I don’t want to knock you but I don’t think you’ve got the intellect or the training to pull this off in a safe way. I’m being deadly serious when I ask if people who leave replies here all of a sudden stop leaving replies here. Are you even thinking about that sort of thing? Your posts just seem sort of half-arsed and throw away. You take time off when people are counting on you. They are fucking counting on you. In every conceivable way you are the wrong person to be doing this. There’s a casualness on display here that is unbelievable to me considering the potential consequences/dangers. If I had no training I would never even consider for a moment giving advice to a mentally-ill person. Giving advice to a sane person is risky enough. None of this feels right to me. I cannot stress how risky this game you’re playing is. As this reply proves I’m no good with words, but dangerous, irresponsible, and misguided keep running through my head. I do not think this is right. I’m flabbergasted by it to be honest.
    Now of course everyone can go through this and say ‘well that bit shows that this guy has no idea what mental illness is’ and point out the bad grammer and how I went from talking about one thing and ended up talking about another thing and dismiss everything I say. But I would implore you to calm down and just think about it. Just please think about what I’m saying. Forget the language and just think about the points I’m making. And again, because I can’t stress it enough, do people disappear? You could say ‘yeah, but who’s to say that’s anything to do with this blog?’ but how do you know it isn’t? The more I think about it the more dangerous this place feels. Who knows who’s out there? Who knows how they’re taking what you’re saying? Who knows what you mean to them? Who knows how much they rely on you? If you’re not thinking about these things constantly, and I mean constantly, as in questioning every single fucking word, and you’re as untrained in giving mentally-ill people advice as you appear to be, then you should seriously consider putting a fucking stop to all of this. You cannot take this responsibility as lightly as you appear to be. What you’re doing is risky beyond belief.

    • To answer your question(s) about the ill here helping the ill here. It is nicely covered in The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. Pick up a copy or get one from a library. Group therapy, on-line or off, guided or unguided, helps. There are numerous studies to prove that. In other words, instead of coming here and trying to get us to listen to your uneducated words, perhaps that time would be better spent actually researching things.

      I’ll also go ahead and point out the tragic irony of you telling us not to hand out advise because it’s risky for the non-ill to give out advise to the non-ill never mind the ill advising the ill, when you, ill or not, are handing out advise to the ill.

      Also, and with this I might be overstepping my bounds, please take your opinions elsewhere. Your tone does not provoke discussion and is counter-productive.

    • Andrew, you don’t have a clue. Honestly, absolutely no clue. I feel personally offended on behalf of Seaneen, and my overly-passionate-bipolar-self is seething with anger at the outright ridiculousness of your comment above. I’m laughing at the same time as spilling over with anger and frustration. And I also feel very, very sorry for you.

      Yes you have the right to state your opinion Andrew, but I’ll guess that the vast majority of people reading this blog who are struggling with mood disorders come here for support and insight, not for advice as you seem to argue. I’d guess they leave the advice part to their close family members and friends who support them unconditionally when it comes to their mood disorder.

      You seem to put health professionals up on a pedestal, as if they’re demi-Gods, or even full-blown Gods. In my experience, the vast majority of health professionals don’t have a clue when it comes to mood disorders. It’s considered a minor miracle if one is actually able to help, having lived with bipolar for 20 years and been mis-diagnosed for 15 of those years by the exact same health professionals you refer to. If I had it in me I’d sue my past doctor for putting me on medication which triggered a suicide attempt only 3 years ago. Perhaps I could make a million and live happily ever after? Not likely. I now take everything my doctors and therapists say with a massive chunk of salt and proceed based on my own volition and what I learn from other bipolar sufferers.

      This blog motivates me to look at myself, my illness, the people who surround me, and if I glean a little bit of insight from Seaneen then I consider it a good day. But I am not going to Seaneen’s blog daily for advice. I leave that for close family members and friends who have an outside perspective yet know me intimately. Seaneen doesn’t know me intimately, well not at all actually, so why would I listen to her so-called “advice” any more than the advice my postal carrier might offer up? Sometimes I take my health professionals’ advice to heart, sometimes not. If I do, I treat it as an experiment and don’t put too much faith in it actually working out.

      You assume that visitors to this site are stupid and know not how to conduct themselves, sick or not. You assume that everyone with mental illness is so f*cked up that they can’t think for themselves and would be adversely affected by the topics covered in Seaneen”s blog. I would argue the opposite. Many of my bipolar friends, colleagues, whatever you want to call them, are some of the most intelligent, insightful people I know. They challenge me on a daily basis to review my biases, consider new information as it comes to light, and they support me the best they can, and I for them. But the fundamental difference is we all respect each other’s opinions and views, and no one is wrong. Everyone is right in their own feelings, perceptions, actions and reactions. Everyone has a right to state their experience. And that’s exactly what Seaneen is doing here for herself. Anyone who comes across Seaneen’s blog should consider themselves lucky. She has an amazing gift when it comes to putting into words the horrors of bipolar.

      Try going to a support group for people with mood disorders and perhaps you’ll get a better understanding of how people speaking of their own experiences (traumatic, horrible and otherwise absolutely devastating) can have a positive impact on others, not a negative one as you clearly assume.

      With regard to people disappearing…again, you clearly don’t know how mood disorders affect people. People disappear for days, weeks, months at a time only to re-surface when they need and want to. I have been the Disappearing Queen for years. I’ll have a few months when I’m extroverted and “out there”, only to crawl back into my bat cave when things take a turn downwards. Friends and family are used to this, and understand. Online friends also understand, mainly cause they go through the same more often than not. Find some empirical evidence to support your argument that people disappear from Seaneen’s blog on a regular basis because of the content she writes and I’ll review and revise my opinion as needed. Otherwise, piss off and climb back into the self-righteous, empirically unsupported hole you came from. You don’t know the damage your words can do.

      If I were to rank the so-called “advice” you refer to as Seaneen giving in this blog against the “advice” my trained mental health professionals provide me, I would most definitely put Seaneen ahead of the pros in terms of helpfulness. The pros don’t suffer from bipolar. Seaneen does. It’s like asking a doctor providing chemo to a cancer patient to explain their experience with chemo. They just can’t. It’s out of their area of expertise. Only a cancer patient, during or post-chemo, could ever offer any sort of input, expertise or advice. The doctor is simply providing a therapy, based on something he/she learned from a textbook. Advice, reflection, feedback, and input is much more accurate and helpful in my experience if it is provided by those who walk in the same shoes as the patient. I’m not discounting the role of health professionals, rather, I’m arguing that health professionals play a much different role than that of persons directly affected by a certain illness, physical or mental.

      Have you ever read a memoir Andrew? Any sort, it doesn’t matter. This is essentially what Seaneen is doing here in my opinion. If I check a book out of the library written by someone with bipoloar disorder who is not a health professional, and the author talks about suicide for example, is that author responsible if the person who read that book considers, attempts, or commits suicide? No. Not in our free speech endorsed, democratic society. If anything, that author can much more easily relate to persons with mood disorders and in a completely different way from a professional.

      I only hope Andrew that if you yourself suffer from some form of a mood disorder, that you listen not only to health professionals, but to your fellow sufferers who may have a different perspective on things than what a textbook can teach said professional. If you choose to only listen to professionals than I wish you all the best in your search for wellness. It may be a long time in coming.

      Kudos to you Seaneen for having the courage to share your feelings, thoughts and behaviours with all us mentally-stunted poor souls and rabid followers. Be proud and feel safe in the fact that a lot of people gain a great deal from your blog. If Andrew were to take the time to read all of the comments on your site from its inception, perhaps he’d revise his opinion and apologize to you. What a breakthrough that would be! I suppose we can only hope for such an outcome. In the meantime, bless your heart Seaneen for all that you offer. You truly are a diamond in the rough.

    • Seaneen doesn’t claim to be a counsellor or to be giving advice. You’ve completely misunderstood. This is a document about one girl’s life living with Bipolar Disorder.

  6. re the last message (above?) I dont think Seaneen was necessarily talking about her ability to offer advice on this blog????! but to people in her real life (please correct me if am wrong).
    From me: I think its a great blog, I dont come for advice, I come here for inspiration, perspective, new thoughts and to feel less alone, it works for me. Thanks Seaneen. Hope things improve for you very soon x

  7. Maybe I see it differently than others — i am open to that.

    But I don’t see someone doling out advice as much as I see someone telling her story – which happens to be something that others that come here can relate to.

    I took her comment at the end as meaning advice in general – not her advice on conquering her mental health issues or for how others should take her example.

    I’d say an overwhelming theme through all of this is how out of control she feels at times and how she doesn’t have the answers. — which many with mental illness can relate to. can make you feel not so alone to hear someone else voicing your feelings.

    How many people disappear when they feel alone and as if no one understands them ? It’s dangerous to have a mental illness, and far more dangerous to have it alone.

    she might not be qualified to give treatment, but she’s more than qualified to talk about how mental illness affects her life. Which I believe is what she is doing.

  8. -I’m a reasonably good writer.
    -I try to be honest with myself and others.
    -I’m interested in many, many things, and as a corollary of that, I am a good listener and pay attention to what people are saying.
    -I’m (generally) responsible…not naturally, but I’ve had people flake out on me enough to know how infuriating it is.
    -I try to reserve judgment of people and assume good faith until proven otherwise.

    i’m glad you’re plowing on, seaneen!

  9. Regardless of how much I disagree with Andrew about the effects this blog might have on people reading it, and I do disagree by the way – I’ve found reading Seaneen’s blog helpful precisely because it is imperfect and real and written by a good writer who is struggling with a mental illness that has some similarities to mine – I think Andrew’s point is wrong because it argues that something that might be risky to write about shouldn’t be written and published.

    Writing on the internet is available to everyone on the internet, whether they might be affected by it or not. And everyone on the internet knows this. So it IS down to the reader to decide what to read, to decide whether to keep reading, and to react in the way they react after reading what was written.

    As an analogy, I’m sure that legal porn websites have the risky potential to affect people in such a way that they would be more sexually violent; but not everyone decides to view them, and not everyone who views them decides to continue to view them, and not everyone who continues to view them then reacts by being more sexually violent. And even then, I wouldn’t want the internet to be censored.

  10. I’m also a little puzzled by the assumption that people are counting on Seaneen. I think to the contrary, they are supporting and encouraging her.

    When she said she was going to be gone for a few days, everyone seemed to begging her to focus on what’s most important – her life. Any hurry backs where about wishing her a speedy recovery from the current storm.

    I doubt that Seaneen would want such a responsibility given that she has enough problems trusting herself with her own welfare.

  11. I was really inspired by this post today. I don’t want to give a list, but I want to say that this blog is awesome and the writer is straight up and I feel what she says.
    But really, the author of the long rant in the comments about the “dangers” of this blog and giving advice has no idea what it means to build a support system. That person seems evil and incredibly pissed, so I wonder what room is left in his/her brain for capacity to love.
    Thanks for the blog, I’m a fan.

  12. I like this blog. I like being able to compare my own experiences of being mentally interesting and a ‘user’ of mental health ‘services’ to other peoples.

    There have been a couple of episodes when I have wondered if my frequenting of mental health blogs (and I refer to all those I have bookmarked and by just this one) keep me too focused on my illness — does reading other people discuss moods and meds make me over analyse my own? Would I be better just getting on with life, day by day? I think the blogs do help, even if only to make me feel less isolated. Sometimes I wonder, if I ‘fully recovered’ I wouldn’t have a valid reason to be on the sites. Would I miss them? Probably

    If I am very low I dont visit the site for a while, because in those circumstances they are a detrimental form distraction for me personally. But that is my business. I don’t expect anyone to be assuming the worst just beause I have refrained from adding my point of view on a blog where all my responses are anonymous.

    We are responsible for ourselves

  13. Considering you’re so worried about people giving advice, Andrew, you seem quite keen to give advice…

    OK, facile remarks aside, I do think you’ve picked up the wrong end of the stick. I don’t think we read Seaneen’s blog because we look to her for guidance. We’re all different, and we don’t all share the same mental health condition. But Seaneen’s experiences and thoughts are things we can relate to, and realise that we’re not alone.

  14. Quote:

    ‘On my restricted blog (yes, I have one that only friends can read), I made a list of things I need to do.’

    This is taken from the most recent post. At first glance it seems okay but if you think about it for a minute it is open to all sorts of interpretations and could provoke all manner of negative feelings. Such as:

    Sadness
    Someone who posts replies here could consider Seaneen a friend. After all, she does post in a very honest and open manner about her life and does this in a kind of matey way. In some cases Seaneen could be the best friend that someone has. Don’t forget that some people have a very small window to the world and this blog for many could be a very large part of that small window. Taking that into consideration is it not fair to say that someone could feel sadness at not having received an invitation to view this restricted blog?

    Paranoia
    It is arguable that some people suffering from mental illness could believe that this restricted blog is the place where everyone else goes to talk about them.

    Anger
    Either of the previous feelings, or a combination of the two could easily turn to anger. The tone of the statement itself is also questionable.

    Self-loathing
    Again this is an off-shoot of other feelings. The question someone could ask would be along the lines of ‘why am i not good enough to be considered a friend to Seaneen?’ It’s worth pointing out that this could be someone who has only posted a reply once. In fact it could be someone who just visits the site a lot and has never posted. That goes for all the points I’m making. Remember, we don’t know who’s reading this and how they interpret things.

    Intrusive thoughts/mind racing
    Not sure of the correct term for this as you can see but hopefully you know the sort of thing I mean. Someone could be asking themselves ‘What’s talked about in this restricted blog?’ over and over and over again, then coming up with all manner of possibilities.

    That’s one sentence from one post after about a minute’s thought. Do you see? The advice part of my previous post that everyone’s jumped on is just one aspect. Everything about this site is fraught with danger and I’m shocked that this isn’t brought up all the time to be honest.

    Martin made the point about how it is up to the individual as to what they read/view online. Fair enough if you’re dealing with people of sound mind and good judgement. But that’s not the case here is it? It’s knowingly not the case here. By your definition the snake oil peddlers are just fine because it’s up to the people they are targetting to figure out that it’s a load of shit. Do you get me? What kind of person goes looking into snake oil solutions? Are they in the best place mentally to make an informed decision? Basically you’re saying that it’s okay to be irresponsible because it’s the internet, which is all kinds of wrong. People are providing the content. People have a choice about what that content is. Someone is providing the main content for this site, and I’m not even close to being convinced that they have any idea what they’re doing. This isn’t something that’s intended for the masses and is misinterpreted by some lunatics, like Natural Born Killers or the white album. This is something for people with mental illness. It is aimed right at them. That being the case I have to question the author’s qualifications and motivations. I have to see evidence that they are being responsible. I don’t see that at all. There are no controls in place here on content, content that can be seen by anyone mark you, other than the author’s. The author is mentally ill. Can you see the problem? There are no records here. If a doctor fucks up they are accountable. If Seaneen fucks up, posts something that sends someone, from the target audience of the site remember, over the edge, would we even know about it? How do we know this hasn’t happened already? As worst-case-scenario as I’m being here, someone has to point these fucking things out.

    My point remains: People who are ill may come here and take everything the wrong way. They may come here instead of going somewhere where they could get proper help. They may come here, get comfortable, get into a routine, then lose it when the author takes time off. I get no sense that the author is taking her responsibility seriously. You absolutely cannot judge this situation by normal rules. People who outright dismiss what I’m saying here are demonstrating a complete and utter lack of empathy and imagination.

    Scott, if you are puzzled then my empathy and imagination statement is directed at you. How can you not see that people could be relying on Seaneen? Perhaps they’re the ones who don’t post the encouraging things. It’s not that big a leap to envision such a scenario is it? Forget about how you see the site and think about all the ways it could be seen by others. As for Seaneen not wanting the responsibility, if that is the case then it’s tough shit. This isn’t some anonymous forum where Seaneen is just one of the more prominent posters. She’s put herself front and centre, and that has consequences. Whatever her original intention she has made herself a spokesperson for mental illness. With that comes responsibility whether she likes it or not. She cannot shrug her shoulders and say ‘well that’s not what I was going for so it’s not my problem’. It’s far too late for that.

    Going back to the start of this reply, that was one sentence from one post and it could be taken all those ways and perhaps more besides. How many posts are here? How much consideration goes into their content? Does the author know what she is doing? Is she aware of the risks she is taking? It really, really doesn’t feel like it to me. The lack of responsibility and accountability on display here really, really doesn’t sit well with me. I genuinely can’t believe it. I know what I’m saying is probably not what a lot of you want to hear but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t say it. There is something very wrong with this picture.

    • What?! It’s my LIVEJOURNAL. Restricted blog was my way of being funny. I have a day to day friends only LIVEJOURNAL.

    • I find it shocking that you can’t even admit the possibility that you are wrong and have taken this blog for something that it isn’t. Seriously, check out the research about group therapy, etc and actually read the blog. Nothing here is as you think it is.

    • dude, you have a staggeringly low opinion of people with mental health issues.

      Why are you questioning the “qualifications” one would need to discuss their own life and experiences?

      Are you so assured of your own?

      You appear to be picking a fight, not just with the blog itself but with the other readers of the blog too.

      “I know what I’m saying is probably not what a lot of you want to hear but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t say it.”

      Cool. You’ve made your point now. Thanks. Other people’s opinions are always welcome, to be honest I had never considered this blog from your perspective, and I feel that disagreeing with you as strongely as I do helps me re-affirm and re-attach to all the reasons why I love this blog.
      You’ve absolved youself of all responsibity you may have felt by speaking your mind, and now you can bugger off with good conscience.

      Picking holes in a blanket is always easier than knitting the damn thing in the first place.

      “OK, facile remarks aside, I do think you’ve picked up the wrong end of the stick. I don’t think we read Seaneen’s blog because we look to her for guidance. We’re all different, and we don’t all share the same mental health condition. But Seaneen’s experiences and thoughts are things we can relate to, and realise that we’re not alone.”

      Five things I like about myself:

      1. I can draw. NOt as well as I’d like, but well enough to get on to the course that I wanted to so that I can learn to be better.

      2. I enjoy eating new foods.

      3. I have good, kind and forgiving friends.

      4.I have experienced a few rare moments that I know very few people in the world will have experienced and find enourmous amounts of joy in these memories.

      5. When asked to think of five things that I like about myself I didn’t emediately attack the person who set me the task.

      2.

    • My goodness, how silly. If any of these things that you say are the case, then it would be best to permanently segregate the mentally ill from the well, and particularly from doctors.

      Do get some perspective and a sense of proportion, please.

  15. sounds like you are the one with the small window😉

    Have you pondered what kind of response an “attack” like this might have on the mentally ill ?

    Obviously, that’s not the thing you are concerned about – right ?

    You seem to say the mentally ill are fragile and incompetent of understanding simple concepts — yet…. you seem to be just fine with flogging them out of compassion ?

    is that what it is we should be gathering from this ?

    How about shoot seaneen a kind personal email with your concerns– discuss it with her. If you think she’s not too mentally ill to understand that is. right ?

    you wouldn’t want her to misunderstand this tirade.. right ?

    • I endorse Scott’s comments.

      Andrew, you seem to be confusing the mentally ill with the mentally incapable, which makes you the one “demonstrating a complete and utter lack of empathy and imagination.”

    • Sorry everyone. I’ve calmed down now. I literally couldn’t think of anything for the five things list so I attacked the site. It was a stupid thing to do and I didn’t know what I was talking about. I’m not qualified in any way and was clutching at straws from the get go. I really like this site and I don’t know what came over me. I’m really so, so sorry. I’m embarrassed by what I wrote and ashamed by my behaviour. I’m not getting the help I need is what’s wrong but that’s not your problem. One piece of advice I feel I’m now qualified to give is that if someone else does something similar to what I’ve done go easy on them. They might not be all that well mentally. I’m really sorry everyone, especially Seaneen. If you can get rid of what I wrote I’d appreciate it. I’m so sorry. I won’t trouble you anymore. Take care everyone from andrew

      • No worries. Sorry if you felt attacked, I think people were being quite rational, but defensive, as you would be. Take care.

      • If you can’t think of anything positive about yourself, Andrew, I’ve got one for you. You have the maturity, self-awareness and decency to take criticism on the chin, reflect on it and apologise. Respect to you for that, and I’m sorry if my replies upset you.

        I think the lesson for both of us is to stop and reflect on what we’ve written before posting…

        I wish you success in getting the help you’re seeking. Perseverance is another virtue!

      • far be it for me to give advice when i’m really not qualified, but…

        if you’re worried about over-reacting and not being able to help it, google emotional dysregulation and see if any of that sounds familiar. my doctor gave me a leaflet the other day and it explains a lot of the episodes of unusual/embarassing behaviour. there’s a few self-help groups specifically for it as well if you think it might be a problem for you.

        take care.

      • You’re an idiot. Plain and simple.

      • Admittedly, I’m a very cynical person. But, even still, this doesn’t seem genuine to me; it’s just too convenient. I mean, to turn around after attacking some-one/people and say “I did it just because I’m mentally unwell” just doesn’t sit well with me. The timing, what was said, the flip-flop, something just isn’t right about it i.e. my BS detector is going into spasms of activity.

        Then again, we obviously don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. So, perhaps there is something to it. But, I’m still highly sceptical that what we’re seeing is how it is.

        • Mmm. Could it possibly be a response to Scott’s post? In other words, he’s decided he’s doing the poor mentally ill people more harm than good with his criticism, and now he’s trying to go back on it?

          I don’t know. Andrew, if it’s true what you said, then sorry, and don’t listen to a word of it. 🙂

          P.S: Actually, some of what you said was quite accurate, if not really for this site. Online communities can become a huge part of someone’s life, sometimes to the point of obsession or dependence, so if you’re publishing from a position of authority (i.e setting yourself up as an expert or a mentor) you do need to be very careful about what you say and how you manage your readership.

          But it’s always been clear that this blog is nothing like that – it’s just one person recording their experiences. There’s a huge difference between chatting with a group of peers and being spoken to by an authority figure, and I think it’s always been clear which one this is meant to be. I think your views are valid in a lot of places, but not here.

  16. Don’t know if I can make five, but here’s me giving it a go:

    – Highly intelligent/educated
    – Funny
    – Don’t beat around the bush

    Well, that’s three. Got a little bit of a brain fog going at the moment. Perhaps when it lifts I’ll be able to think of more.

    But, I got another one for you Seaneen. Your writing style that is a brilliant blend of humorous and serious. It has definitely helped me through this whole diagnosis process that I’ve been going through. Thank you.

  17. Probably not the best time to do this (or perhaps it is) as there is a very insistent voice telling me that I’m a total c*nt right now (though there are some depths that I wouldn’t sink to). Here goes;
    – I’m proud that I have a number of people who, for some unfathomable reason genuinely care about & continue to tolerate me. Especially my wife.
    – I’m a proud father
    – I’m proud of my art.
    – I believe that I’m no better or worse than anyone else.
    – I’m not dead yet.

    I think you should be genuinely proud of this blog, Seaneen. It is a big help to read about the experiences of someone who sees this illness from the inside out, who refuses to sugar coat it & is not pushing an easy 5 step plan to recovery.

    As someone who has gone through years of misdiagnosis & then a total lack of treatment, who is really at the beginning of trying to understand what’s going & is at the beginning of proper treatment, which is only partially helping at best. I find it reassuring to know that someone who has suffered so much is still able to cope (some of the time) & retain a wickedly funny, sense of humor. I think you should be immensely proud of that too.

    Anyway that’s all I’m going to say, as I do not wish to waste my time getting into a pissing war with anyone.

    Thanks

    • “pissing war” sums it up perfectly and I apologize for the part I played. I did not intend to make anyone feel unwelcome. I over-reacted too.

      • Didn’t mean to impugn anyone’s motives or arguments & I do think that anyone who posts an obviously contentious opinion should be prepared to be challenged. I just don’t have the time or the energy.

  18. Unless you signed something saying that you would not give advice, you are free to do so. Like anything else, this blog may help or harm people. You can not take on the weight of the world. There will always be trolls on the internet. If… and a big if here, they have valid points you should consider them, follow you r gut, and let it roll off your back.

    These types of people are always looking to suck energy out of others. Take care of yourself first. All the best.

  19. Seaneen, I hope you’re ok, or ok as you can be with everything that’s going on. I think therapy could be a really good idea, the guy I’m seeing at the moment is terrific. I’m also trying to stop drinking after realising what happens when I do.

    I also think you should be really proud of yourself for this blog, I find it really helpful to read about other people who have mental health problems, or even just to read about other people and how they get through things.

    Please take care of yourself. I know you have lots of people to talk to and I’m sure lots of people have said this (plus I would probably be useless to talk to) but if you ever need someone to listen, then I’m around xx

  20. Andrew, I’m sorry you’re not getting the help you need, I hope that changes soon.

    I guess I think that if someone is so mentally fragile and insecure that the idea that a blogger has another more restricted blog, or the absence of a blogger for a few days while they deal with things, could cause them severe distress and send them over the edge then there will be numerous more potent triggers in their immediate environment and experience that will do that first.

  21. Just erase the comments like that. I do. It’s YOUR site after all.

  22. In my experience the wounded make the best therapists. Real life experience gives you what a book can’t. Psychiatry is a pseudo science and only the middle classes benefited from its birth after the holocaust. I am responsible for my self and no other and I feel privileged to have the freedom of speech at my fingertips. I do not live in a facist society yet. Blogs are hard work, so keep it up and one day you’ll receive the effort you have put in. Well done.

  23. Seaneen,

    You have experienced so much loss recently that I would be surprised if you weren’t on the edge. Go easy on yourself. I think that it’s healthy to write about destructive urges. Like you said, the majority of your readers are going to understand where you are coming from. You have always been very responsible in warning readers when writing about sensitive topics such as cutting and suicide. I truly wish you the best and hope that life stops bitch slapping you down.

    Five good things about me:

    1. I had a dream last night. First time in six years, I shit you not. I was walking down a hallway filled with wooden carvings of people in various karma sutra positions. Weird.

    2. I have excellent Indian cooking skills.

    3. I have strength and determination.

    4. My recent photographs are rockin’!

    5. It’s looking like I’m going to make it. Sunbeams aren’t shooting out of my ass but for the first time in 16 years I am being positive on a semi-regular basis.

  24. 5 good things about me, or at least, 5 things I’m proud of, whether deserving or not:

    1. I see my therapist every week no matter how much I don’t want to, can’t get out of bed, or can’t sit still. Been doing so for 5 months now which is a record considering my previous track record was usually 2 visits followed by never showing up again. My therapist actually said I seemed to be in a “different space” and I asked why, and he said “because the last three sessions you’ve actually taken your jacket off.” Nice.

    2. Despite being “fired” by my couples therapist, I’m still trying to repair a highly damaged relationship which is on the brink of dissolving into nothingness. Being fired by a therapist is a rough road to walk down when you’re still holding out for making the relationship work and finding some middle ground.

    3. I play the ukulele.

    4. My three dogs still love me despite my out of control highs and crushing lows. That I can take care of another creature keeps me alive.

    5. I’m taking a mindfulness course and I’ve gone to 6 of the last 7 classes. This is a record for me! I’m actually following through on something related to getting better. A minor miracle! Yay!

    • i really like that you mentioned dogs cravinglife, there is something there that’s very real. Dogs are often the most unconditional lovers and rightly deserve the man’s best friend title.

      Even though they might not “truly” understand it all, they make a genuine enough attempt that you can’t overlook. I’m sure it’s not for everyone and some probably couldn’t care for them as needed given their current situation.

      But if that’s an option you aren’t opposed to and haven’t explored yet. Look into it.

  25. Seaneen, please ignore Andrew. We all understand that this is a blog about one person’s life and their unique perspective. the fact that you share you experiences helps me (and many, many other people) more than you might ever understand. You help me to understand that I am not alone. God bless you for that, and thank you. Please keep writing, as long as it does not jeopardize your health.

  26. Well. Do well.

  27. Keep it up. Ignore people who find you must be in charge of the world because you blog. They need help. Serious help. You blog on girlfriend.

  28. To the poster Andrew – Your missive on mental illness and blog causality for all kinds of unpredictable behavior is without merit, your understanding of the basic genre of “blog” needs to be revisited.
    This is a new genre of creative writing which in some cases does function as a support group network. Support groups are ot clinical treatment and have never claimed to be.
    Would you ban all books/articles/ written from the experiential viewpoint of a person living with a particular illness/condition, etc.
    Should we clear away the
    library shelves of the books like Patty Duke’s Her Brilliant Madness or William Styron’s Darkness Visible or a host of other books too numerous to itemize?
    There is nothing so different about what is being done here and what those books describe. Except this is in real time and not a published memoir – it is sort of like a hybrid between the memoir mixed with the very much accepted reality show format.crossed with the support group/networking practice.
    It’s a healthy journaling, a touching and vivid look into the thoughts and feelings of a person who happens to have a mental illness.
    Would you be chastising a cancer survivor for writing such a blog?
    Your criticism is a colander of misunderstandings and very limited perceptions.
    I’m tired and not expressing myself as well as I would like, but I wanted to offer my support here to a courageous young woman who has a marvelous talent for putting her self analysis into words. Her blog does not claim to be any kind of clinical self help text. Her creative writing captures a loyal contingent of readers who come here to find understanding and acceptance.
    This is perhaps one of the best blogs on living with bipolar illness I have ever read. She shows maturity beyond her years, possess a sharp wit and articulates an array of feelings and situations that many can relate too.

  29. I found your blog after hearing the play on the radio, I have since read the entire thing from the start (which makes me sound a bit like a stalker), hence the delay between finding it and reaching this post. I can’t comment in a knowledgeable way about your writing, but given that your blog kept me hooked for almost a month and made it incredibly difficult to focus on revising for my final exam, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that it is Rather Good. You’ve had me crying, both with laughter and sadness, I just hope that in the future some new miracle treatment will be found and you can live the life you want. Anyway, brown-nosing is done, my 5 things are…
    1. A mental health one to start! I made it through my three years of university despite the depression which nearly forced me out of it (and a fair bit of life) in my first year, added to this, I don’t self harm any more – yay!
    2. I’d like to hope I am a good friend, despite being a bit unsure of what to say at times I can at least listen.
    3. I can cook fairly well, especially with a recipe and am not afraid to tinker with things to make them “better”.
    4. I DO things, I don’t sit back and hope my life sorts itself out around me, I used to and it failed, so now I am active in changing stuff.
    5. I like to learn and I can absorb information on topics with ease, especially when they are psych related – handy when you do a psych degree!

    That was ridiculously difficult, but I figured that as you’ve provided my online time consumer for the last few weeks, it was only fair I fully complied.

  30. What a brave person you are, and articulate and inspiring. I don’t have any mental health issues and I just hit on this blog. All I can say , as a ‘sane’ person, is this….I am just as crazy as you, just as insecure and probably as worried. You know, we all belong in one world, and we share the joy and the pain. No one is exempt, but some deal with it better than others.I think the more tortured souls are the more creative, and you exemplify that. As a happy go lucky, fly by night person, I send my very best wishes. May you find some peace and know that some of us who do not have youe particular problem do feel your pain,and wish you better. Love fom Australia

  31. I’ll echo the post above mine. What a lovely brave strong person you are Seaneen. Very few people in the world can write the way you write. You truly have a gift for the written word. Bravo.

    Now, 5 things about me that are wonderful

    1) Tolerant – I am very tolerant of people in the sense that I’ll listen and not judge people. Don’t cross me, however.

    2) Friendly – I am seen as a friendly person

    3) Giving – I’ve been told there aren’t enough words in the English language to express how giving I can be

    4) Kind – I’m seen as a kind person (I’d guess not when I’m in a wild mania state swearing and saying bizarre things because I’m so very irritated).

    5) Loving – It’s obvious apparently that I love easily and carry on loving through thick and thin.

    My psychiatrist said to me: Deb, give yourself some love. You’re a lovely person and deserve some of that love reflected onto yourself. You’re not a bad person, and don’t think that🙂

  32. Way to go Seaneen
    With much respect to you my dear .
    Telling it like it is !
    Most people have no idea exactly what it is that enduring that stigmatic label of “Oh bipolar manic depressive ” As they take a step back as if we have the plague. It makes me want to bash in they’re pointy little pathetic head , but that would provide adequate reality that we are dangerous . So I bite my lip and move on .
    Delete them off my care scale and proceed with my daily life of Insanity and adventures .
    YEAH !
    Another drip bits the dust .
    Continuing on with my life without the burden of dealing with the patheticly disturbed unrealistic individual twit . Spit on the floor an sneer utterly useless pathetic moron .
    You are very much loved here Seaneen
    I applaud your attitude and grace .
    Cheers Dirtdog

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