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Why is MI so difficult for others to grasp


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I wanted to edit this post to say:

 

It hurts me when people that love me or spend a lot of time around me turn their backs on me when I try to explain to them what I am going through.

 

I do not expect them to ever understand. But because of their lack of effort at times, I feel alone and want someone to talk to that is close to me, besides a therapist.

 

 

We all have our struggles, and I will never understand what it is like to be you or anybody else. But I would do my best to be there for all.

 

<3 Much love

Edited by Butterflykisses
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You are 100% right about the way people understand mental illness. A lot of people that are not mentally ill also think people with mental illness are all dangerous or even making it up. They won't understand unless they go through it themselves. The media also doesn't understand. I am lucky that some people understand me, mainly my friends but only because I met them at a mental health center. They also have mental illness so they know its real and not attention seeking behavior. They know what its like to be psychotic or manic. I have a friend that has schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, the same exact diagnosis as I have. I also understand mental illness more than others because I suffer from it. 

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It is hard to understand when you haven't experienced it.  But, there is information out there.  There are books, even a bipolar for dummies.  NAMI has a program for family and friends called family-to-family that I've heard is good.

 

My father told me everyone feels like me, they just don't go running to a doctor.  So, I don't spend much time with him.  He doesn't seem interested in understanding

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People are scared. It's been portrayed so badly in the media, well, people are scared of it.

People with MI are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime than to commit one. Try telling that to people. Because its great press to throw MI into a violent crime. "Crazy", "insane" are thrown in with people that aren't.

The new thing is to say how "OCD" you are. That drives me up the wall. 

People don't know. They don't want to make the effort. They don't WANT to. It's frightening. Even some professionals.. Augh. It comes down to stigma. It has improved. 

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The root of the problem lies in that every human being's experience of life is limited to his or her own experiences, as informed by his or her own senses.  A person can be told how another person experiences the world, or can read about it, or can rationalize it, or can imagine it, but in the end (unless gifted with telepathy) cannot actually experience life as another.  Even if the person tries very hard to openly and objectively understand, that understanding has to pass through the filter of that person's personal experience - he or she has no other frame of reference.

 

Sometimes there is experience that is close enough to the other person's experience to make a connection, even a close connection, but there will always be differences in view.  Where there is no similar experience at all, the person must rely upon second- or third-hand sources of information to try to relate.  Or, there may be experience that on the surface appears similar, but in fact isn't - this is even worse than relying on hearsay, because the person then makes judgments about the other person with the full confidence of his or her own experience, even though it isn't applicable.  Life experiences like MI are nowhere near as common - fortunately - as banging one's thumb with a hammer, but the fact that fewer people experience them means that - unfortunately - the majority of people around us have no equivalent experience with which to relate, and must rely upon the hearsay of others, or their own misdirected attempt at understanding.

 

Frankly, humans also fear what they don't understand, and when we with MI sometimes behave in ways that the majority around us don't understand, they fear us.  And they dislike what they fear.  We're really a rather paranoid, horrid species, when you get right down to it.

 

I'm afraid the only solution for the problem is widespread education to increase awareness and abolish stigma.  It's too much to hope that the people around us will suddenly come to understand what happens in our minds every day - and we wouldn't really wish that experience on them anyway.  

Edited by Cerberus
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While I understand everyones anger and frustration, I think it's unfair to be so aggressive about 'the others' not understanding, and also, I think seeing it as a 'us and them' is very very counterproductive. As Cerberus wrote very nicely, not-mentally-ill people don't understand, because they can't, because they have not experienced depression, or mania, or psychosis. Yes, some people are assholes and will react badly and be mean. But many people simply have trouble relating and are just trying to help and often people want to understand. And it's not like there is a 'us and them', understanding and relating to other people goes beyond just sharing some common experiences. We are people, not a diagnosis, and getting pissed off at people because they don't immediately understand what they can't is just not fair.

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Any deviance from the "norm" makes some people uncomfortable. They want to explain it away or just ignore it altogether so their view of the world won't have to change or make accommodations. 

 

And, ugh, I hate that "everyone's a little bipolar!" shit so bad. Uhm, no, they're not. 

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Yeah. No way in hell is everyone a "little bipolar." It is a disease with a certain set of symptoms that need to be met in order to qualify for the diagnosis. Nobody can say they are "a little diabetic" or "a little anemic." In order to get daignosed diabetic or anemic you need to meet a certain set of symptoms and then a professional can diagnose you with the disease or illness and begin treatment.

It drives me batty and has been getting on my nerves lately too.

Manstream lines that normal people spout out : My OCD is acting up! (followed by laughter, like it is a fucking joke). God, I'm so bipolar today! (yeah, like it is a disease that lasts one day and you feel up and down due to life stressors only.)

People may have good intentions and are trying to be sympathetic or empathetic, when really they should just stop acting like they know what you are going through. They invalidate your experience with MI by making it sound like they at one point in their lives felt happy then sad, so they know what mania and depression feel like.

This is so horrible. But even professionals do this. I had a different case worker at one point tell me that he was hypomanic and now knew what it was like because he had been sleep deprived due to the birth of his son. Yeah...like feeling tired from little sleep because a crying baby keeps you up at night is the same thing as mania. I really had to bite my tongue so fucking hard. I wanted to scream! And this is someone who was getting his masters degree in counseling. Wtf?!

I'm finding it harder and harder for me to bite my tongue when someone says something insulting and stupid about MI's. I'm also an activist at heart and I try to educate people because I feel that is key to gaining knowledge.

The media has been most people's education about MI. And what do they report but dangerous and violent "crazy people."

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Oh man, don't even get me started on the whole "I'm so OCD, lol" phenomenon!

 

I have severe OCD that has stolen many years and opportunities out of my life, so pardon me Mr/s Non-Mentally-Ill-Person, if I don't appreciate your cute little joke.

 

Can we please add "everyone is/has a little OCD" to the list of things that are simply not true? Everyone has a little ritual in their life. Most people are a little perfectionistic about at least a few things. Ritual and perfectionism do not OCD make. I'd like to venture that the defining feature of OCD is not the rituals and perfectionism themselves, but the extreme feeling of discomfort that "nothing is ever right" which underlies the rituals...and I don't know many people who experience that. Oh, and when your little rituals take up hours of your time every day, and even more time in your thoughts...then we'll talk.

 

Sorry, this turned into a tangent/rant. I'm gonna post it anyway though, cuz I'm all worked up now. I'm really sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone...I hope this doesn't come off as rude. Please let me know if it does, and I will delete it.

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People talk as if they are doctors and own the truth. The other day friends were talking about someone with fibromalgya. They said, that this illness was in her head. People have no clue. They like to judge people. When I disclosed my illness at work, I lost my job and my boss said she couldnt have in her team someone who needed a psychiatrist. People like to judge, but one of these days I am going to judge them back. I see people who are healthy, who dont take enough advantage of their health. They dont have demanding jobs or dont use 100 percent of their capabilities. I give 200 percent of me everyday, i make a huge effort to wake up, get out of bed, socialize without feeling social phobia. So who makes moré effort?: people with MI. So, MI is not a sign of laziness or lack of will power. Sorry for the long post, i am just tired of people critizicing me

Edited by CookieN
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I get frustrated by this, too. I have had ppl refer to me as crazy when my moods shift and the shift becomes noticeable. I do my best to educate ppl that I think will actually listen. I have several good friends that aren't MI but have somewhat of an understanding of what it's like because of things that I have shared with them. I have had ppl be frightened when they find out that i am bipolar. Others have said that it makes sense. Others have wanted me to explain to them what it's like to be BP.

 

As for OCD, I get pissed off when ppl suggest that it must be beneficial b/c I can get a lot of stuff done and have a super clean house. Right, b/c not being able to stop is fun. Argh!

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As for OCD, I get pissed off when ppl suggest that it must be beneficial b/c I can get a lot of stuff done and have a super clean house. Right, b/c not being able to stop is fun. Argh!

 

Yeah...if I had a dollar for every time someone's said this to me. People have sort of a "positive" stereotype about OCD sometimes, I think. Which is harmful in its own way, because they don't realize that it is not beneficial and it completely f***s up our lives. I get accommodations at my school, and even my profs have said to me, "But doesn't OCD help you get you homework done?"

 

...ha, if only. sorry, apparently i'm super bitter today...

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Yeah, the OCD comments drive me batty. I'm not the one in my house that has OCD,  my husband is. But it's definitely not "Oh I'm so OCD haha", it's more like it takes him an hour and a half to get home from a 10 min. drive. That's really freakin' funny, people.

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