i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
Darkness closing in... lights flash and colours swirl. Faces peer from the walls, mouths open and closing. I look away and they are gone. They whisper but I can barely hear the words. Taunting... teasing...

I see things; random things. A tree where there shouldn't be one. A spider, crawling over my skin. A shadow, a person standing in the corner of my room, hovering over me at night.

I look in the mirror and see a face that is not my own. My hands look odd, strange, as though they belong to someone else. Blood trickles down my arm - I can feel the warmth.

Time moves too fast; or stands still. Minutes feel like seconds, whole days disappear in a flash. Evenings drag on, eternal.

Being outside is hard. People are looking - are they whispering about me? Reading my thoughts? It feels as though everyone is out to get me, hurt me. I don't know who can be trusted, who might be lying.

What is truth? I have no idea what is real and what is in my head. I am trapped in a nightmarish reality - but is it a nightmare of my own creation?

Or just reality?


(Footnote: The prompt is very loose with this one, but this is my reality at the moment, the reality of the struggle with active psychosis with no professional support)
i_love_freddie: (End of world)
I did a 15 minute free-writing exercise, using the prompt Placebo. This was the result.


Every once in a while, I somehow manage to encounter someone who is against psychiatric medication – or sometimes even against any kind of medication. Got depression? Get some fresh air and do some exercise. Got anxiety? Just get out there and face your fears. At risk of a heart attack? Lose weight, eat well, do exercise. All right, fair point, but they will then go on to say stuff like 'you do realise that most doctors just give you placebos, right? They don't really do anything, you just believe that they help'.

I admit, belief can be a very powerful thing. I can certainly see why someone suffering from mild illness might feel better if he is being given something that he thinks might help. Certainly placebos have their use, especially in this society where we have the mindset that a pill can cure everything.

Of course, this doesn't apply to severe mental illness – which is why I'd like to slap those people round the head, or give them a taste of what my life is like without that medication that they believe does nothing. The overwhelming feeling of helplessness. The dark thoughts, the suicidal ideation. The voices that speak when you are all alone. The images that seem so real but don't really exist. The anxiety that is so crippling that the only answer is to hide away. The nightmares that stay fresh for hours. Those endless nights when sleep is impossible.

Bipolar disorder. Panic disorder. Generalised anxiety disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Agoraphobia. A lot of disorders there, and none of them are conditions that can just be 'thought away'. Medication makes these disorders easier to deal with, not just for those of us who live with them, but also for those around us.

Unfortunately there is no placebo in the world capable of fixing my brain; and sadly there are still people unable to comprehend that.
i_love_freddie: (Dark Side)
Don't you just hate it when people act like they know everything about a particular subject, when in reality they don't know anything?

In the last few years, I've run into several of them. The really scary part is, these people were supposed to be mental health professionals. Now call me fussy, but when I have someone treating me for various disorders – is it really too much to ask that those people know what they are dealing with?

How to be a helpful professional, and not an idiot:

- Four years ago, I had a female psychiatrist. That November, I went for a routine appointment and ended up admitting that I was suicidal and wanted to kill myself. Her reaction? “Oh it's just grief. Here, have a prescription for your medication and I'll see you again in six weeks.” It's definitely not a good idea to say that to a client who already has three failed overdose attempts on their records!

- My brother had a psychologist who – when her textbook methods failed to produce any results – accused him of lying about trying them. Because apparently the solutions they give in psychology always work for everyone, every single time. If you do them and you're still not better... well, obviously you are just a big fat liar.

- This one has become a family joke. I went in to see a different psychiatrist, this was a couple of years ago. So I'm sitting there, and he asks how I'm doing. I say that things aren't good; at that time there was a lot of work being done on the outside of the building where I live, so there were men going back and forth constantly. I was so freaked out that I was spending a lot of time shut in the house with the curtains closed. He listened to that, nodded and then asked me: “Can anyone else see these workmen?” I do not suffer from hallucinations, so I still have no idea why he asked me that.

- Then there was the child psychologist I saw at 16 who was convinced that my self injury was caused by violent video games and horror films. Never mind that I could give her at least five reasons why I did it and none of them had anything to do with 'pretend' violence – nope, that was her theory and she stuck to it.

- There was also my last therapist, who told me that my boyfriend was abusive, and decided that she was qualified to tell me that I didn't have Asperger's Syndrome (Tests later showed differently).

- And the psychiatrists I've had this year have been pretty poor too. One decided that having two fairly good weeks meant that my depression was cured – I've sure all other sufferers of chronic depression will be so relieved to hear that. The one I have now thinks that you can just forget that you're having a panic attack, if you try hard enough. Hey, that fear in your head? Just think about something else, and it's all gone. Easy as that!

The problem is that all it takes to become a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist or a mental health counsellor is the training. Read a few books, get a degree, a bit of field work, and there you go. It seems to me that most of them have no experience in what it is like to be on the other side.

Despite their training and their education, they know nothing at all about what we go through. And it makes me angry... although admittedly some of the worst stories can be fairly amusing afterwards.

(Side note: I know not all of them are like this. I've seen a lot of people in my lifetime, and many of them have been great. But even one idiot in this profession is too many.)

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