What is it Like to Be 'Mentally Ill? A Glimpse Inside the Mind of the Clinically Insane
I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just a Little Unwell
Am I Crazy or Is Everyone Else?
According to the DSM-I, the DSM-II, the DSM-III, the DSM-IV, now the DSM-V, as well as everyone who claims to know psychiatry, I am what you would call 'severely mentally ill'.
I have been diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), BPD (borderline personality disorder), BPD I and II (bipolar disorder 1 and bipolar disorder 2), GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), SAD (seasonal affect disorder), BDD (body dysmorphic disorder), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified.
The more DSMs (diagnostic statistical manual) they release, the more abbreviations I seem to gain. When I was 15 I had two, today I have over twenty. We are a nation that is chronically overdiagnosed when it comes to psychiatry.
Am I mentally ill? I have no doubt in the world. But through my journey of the mental health field, I have met many medicated individuals who would have been far better off if they never were given a drug in the first place.
Mental health is a touchy subject, and it is easily misunderstood. In my opinion, the smarter you are, the crazier you are, and I will be darned if I start apologizing for the fact that my brain just can't ever stop.
Inside the Head of a Person with an Eating Disorder
Do you think that mentally ill people are viewed differently than those with medical illnesses?
Stepping Out of the Shadow
When I was seventeen years old I suffered from severe ulcers. When they were really bad, people made sure I was comfortable - they took care of me and did what they could. I felt cared for, loved, and understood.
My whole life however, I have struggled with 'mental illness'. People didn't ask me what's wrong because they cared, they asked because they honestly wanted to know what was wrong with me (not in a good way).
What is the difference between an ulcer and an abnormality in my brain that causes behaviors that others view as odd? What is the difference between a brain condition like a concussion and a brain condition like ADHD? Why is one of these people viewed as a patient, while the other is viewed as a victim?
My name is Kathleen Odenthal Romano, and I have a mental illness (it doesn't have me). We have spent too long trying to fight the stigma of mental health - it is time we question why the stigma was ever there in the first place!
Step out of the shadows and stop hiding, mental illness isn't a choice, it's a gift people.
You are Only Given a Little Spark of Madness You Mustn't Lose It - Robin Williams
What is it Like to be Mentally Ill?
Many people wonder what it is like to be mentally ill, so I am going to attempt and answer this question, at least from my own perspective.
Personally, I find this question amusing. What is your life like? When stressful situations come up, do they just roll off your back, or do you panic?
Life isn't so different for us 'mentally ill'. Personally, I don't always know how to interact with people I don't know (and sometimes people I do know). Sometimes I just need to be myself, because even when I'm alone I can't escape my mind.
Emotions scare me, maybe more than other people scare me. I enjoy feeling in control, and things like emotions don't make me feel in control.
What does make me feel in control? Starving myself, controlling my food intake, exercising, cutting myself, performing certain behaviors over and over again, cleaning all the time, and medication.
I have an IQ of 158 and have been called a genius, yet I have also been called insane. To me, there is no difference. I am who I am and while I used to hide from it, today I choose to embrace it.
Voices in the Darkness - Eating Disorders and Social Media
Explaining My Feelings and My Behaviors
Since the day I entered therapy for my eating disorder, I was told that fat is not a feeling. Therapists, treatment canter teams and psychiatrists continued to drill into my head that fat is not a feeling, and that when I feel 'fat' all that I am saying is that I feel something other than fat.
Stop. Stop telling me how or what I can feel, because sometimes, I just feel fat. Maybe it means I feel out of control, maybe it means I feel angry, but to me, in that moment, all I feel is fat.
I don't try to tell people how they feel, or whether their feelings are right or wrong, so why do people think that they can tell me how or what I am supposed to be feel?
Another commonly misunderstood behavior that many people with mental illness engage in is self-harming behaviors such as cutting, burning or purging. Many people view those who self-harm as depressed, sad, and even pathetic (yes, I have heard it before).
Sometimes I am depressed, but that isn't why I cut myself, and it isn't why I purge. I cut myself because I have seen things that no one should see. I cut myself because as hard as I try sometimes those things cannot be unseen, and they cannot be forgotten.
Post traumatic stress disorder is like reliving the most painful moment of your lifetime and time again. Sometimes the pain I feel inside is so excrutiating that I cannot take it. By 'self-harming', I am able to alter the opiate receptors and the pain receptors in my brain.
Cutting my wrist is transferring the emotional pain that I cannot deal with, into physically pain which is easier to handle. You may not understand it, but if not, I consider you fortunate because you most likely have been able to avoid situations that led me to this place (a place I would wish on no one).
The Craziest People are the Ones Who Think They Aren't Crazy All
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal