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E - Everyone

dealing with mental illness

by queenofscience

This is an essesy for my English class for college. Enjoy!

For most people, an incident or an event that would impact their life would be a car accident, moving to a new city, a death of a beloved family member, or losing a friend. For me it was none of those things. Mine happened to be an illness. Now, this was not your typical broken bone, or viral sickness. For me it was invisible since my three years in public high school and showing up full force last year. My problem was psychological, a mental illness. A mental illness that no one understood, not even my friends and family.

Everything was normal up until high school. In high school, sometimes I would see animals. Now, when I say 'seeing things' I don't mean your typical hallucinations that happen outside of your body, which you may interact with. This all happened within my mind. The images were uncontrollable, vivid, as well as colorful. I never thought anything of it. If anything, I enjoyed seeing animals. Before my senior year I came to The Texas School for the Blind and Visually impaired. At The school for the blind I lived in a dorm and had a same gender roommate, who was around my age. At first, she and I were polar opposite, like fruit and vegetable. She and I didn't really got along with each other, we had little in common. Soon, she and I began to connect and become friends. We became very close.

Halfway through the year, I began to feel sad for no reason and very quickly it got worse. Quickly I became an emotionless passive zombie. I did not want to be with people. I did not care about a single thing. Sometimes I wanted to sleep excessively, sometimes my body ached. I cried often, and for no reason. As a result, I was rude to people. Soon I lost friends as I endured the stigma of mental illness. One of my friends even said," I don't want to be friends with a depressed maniac." I was crushed after that comment, I cried silently. On top of that, my roommate wanted nothing to do with me. At first I was mildly upset, after that I did not care.

My illness got worse. I would have racing, jumbled up random thoughts that made no sense. I do not really remember when I begun to hear voices in my head. Some of my voices would sound male, some female. They laughed, cussed, and said hostile things to me. The voices said that I was a horrible person, however, I heard a good voice. I enjoyed hearing it. I would verbally fight with my evil voices, in vain, as they would not go away. I felt scared. I would have visual hallucinations, not of animals, but of weird scary things. I would see strange monster-like creatures, like something out of a science fiction or horror movie.

Sometimes my mind would be so swamped with hallucinations and voices that I was unable to do anything. I would hide somewhere. I would cry due to my voices and hallucinations. I also would, on occasion, say what my voices told me out loud. I had no idea what was going on with me, no clue what I was doing.

All of this may seem like I have "an overactive imagination" but this is not me imagining anything. This is not me acting out. This is real. All aspects of my illness are very real, and very terrifying, even the voices. This may not be real to anyone else. It is very real to me.

I have been symptom free for months after taking some medicine. Currently, I am still coping with my illness as I have been paranoid, anxious and suffering from delusions lately. I have begun hallucinating agin, this time about Dog 42 and cat 1 million and more. I am still learning to deal with my illness, as these new symptoms have arrived.

The difficult thing about dealing with a mental illness is that it is often invisible. It is not something that you can clearly see and think, "That person is ill and they need help." I suffered in silence for a few months. My illness really affected my family, and still continues to affect them. They seem to think that I want attention, that I want to be sick, that I 'enjoy' taking medicine. I do not want to take medicine anyways due to my good voice. My family thinks that I hear voices and hallucinate because I want to. They also believe that I hear and see things because I am lonely.' My family worries about my future due to my illness. I don't want attention, I just want people to understand and help. I want to be seen as a normal person who will be successful in life.

Going through this challenge has made me more aware of mental health and how important it is. I now want to help people with different disorders and spread awareness of mental health problems. My experience has changed me in a number of ways--I do not take my happiness for granted, and I also want to help other people who have depression and other psychological disorders as well. I have joined an online forum for teenagers and young adults called Teen Moods. I highly recommend it for young people who have depression and other disorders. The community is very friendly and supportive. People on there welcome us with open arms and hearts and everyone is accepting of everyone. I have shared my experience, I have shared my concerns in relation to my mental illness. I have already have made a friend.

Currently, a bit of medication, the support of friends online and talk therapy has helped me, as well as doing activities that I love. Also, I bring a stuffed animal rat with me so that I can pet or hold onto him if I get anxious or paranoid. To me, animals are wonderful therapy. Despite this illness and my visual impairment I am functional in daily life. I go to school, attend college, have gotten a job in a semester, have written a book. I continue to succeed and move forward in life and my education. Nothing is going to stop me from reaching my goals in life.

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17 Reviews

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Reviews: 17

Mon May 18, 2020 3:05 pm
madisonperkins59 wrote a review...

I really enjoyed reading this. Overall, you did amazing getting your point across. I can connect with most of this. I have a mental illness and before I got helped I was dealing with it for years on my own. I tried to get my family to help but they said and still say I was looking for attention.

However, while reading this I did see a couple of grammatical errors and spelling errors. In the first paragraph when you said "She and I" that should be changed to We. Also, a couple of Introductory Words that need commas after them. Make sure to go back and check your spelling to I did see a few mistakes.

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Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:06 am
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aulyasela3597 wrote a review...

Because having mental health issues generally has more of a net negative effect than positive. It’s the same reason that stigma exists around obese people, and ugly people.

People are afraid of associating themselves, even by merely bringing up a general topic in conversation, with such qualities, so it’s much easier to lampoon those with the issue(s), than consider the frightening possibility that one is succumbing to the same problem themselves, however quietly at first.

The warped media representations obviously don’t help either. The few times we see characters in shows or films that are obviously mentally unwell, they’re usually hyperbolized, or written to behave for shock value, rather than as someone in real life, with the issue they claim to be representing, actually would.

It’s much easier to try to “ignore” or brush away people who seem to have more overtly negative qualities than oneself. Workplace bosses may be too busy to be able to deal with the demands they assume they’d need to take on, should they hire someone who has bipolar disorder, for instance, or is a pedophile.

Pedophilia, though much more disturbing than probably the majority of known mental illnesses, is a good example: many people within society seem to realize that it’s not a problem that’s going to go away simply by castigating them, but by dealing with it directly (ex. though group therapy, treatments oriented towards helping pedophiles control their urges and lead as normal and healthy lives as possible, without harming anyone else).

But because pedophilia, and other especially troubling issues (ex. sociopathy) tend to bring about knee-jerk reactions from the more emotionally-charged, people are afraid to even broach the subject. So nothing gets done, and the problem rears its ugly head yet again.

To add to modern misconceptions regarding mental illness, I believe we owe some credit to the many tumblr accounts romanticizing cutting, depression, anorexia, etc. for, what appears to be, a desire for attention. That’s not to say that the individuals doing this don’t need help, but that it gives a very narrow and slanted view of people with mental disorders to those who haven’t been diagnosed before.

People get frustrated with the half-baked attempts of some people who act as though they’re going to commit suicide, but do it in such a way so that there’s time for them to be caught and saved, because they DO actually want to be saved. They get irritated towards these calls for help so much that they turn a blind eye to the silent-sufferers, who feel like so much of a burden on others that they choose to off themselves quickly and privately, before anyone has a chance to intervene and make them feel attention-seeking.

Finally, people foster a stigma around mental illness because merely allowing the thought that they’re possible victims themselves carries with it a sense of lost control, of never being able to be the perfect person one wanted to be, of always being less than, or “messed up” at the core, and therefore less awesome than “normal” people.

People interact, and when they do they influence each other and affect each other in both good and bad and neutral ways. Now imagine what effect a person with narcissistic personality disorder has on those around them, or a sociopath, or a person with bipolar disorder. Not good. No it doesn’t define everything but other humans don’t like negative effects. These effects reinforce stereotypes and lead to prejudice that already exist.

For many people, seeing is believing. When someone tells you that they have a broken leg, you know that they’re telling the truth because you can see that their leg is broken. When someone tells you that they’re depressed, or anxious, or suicidal, some people just have a hard time believing that because they can’t see it.

I used to be one of those people. My sister was diagnosed with narcolepsy a few years ago, and I did my best to be understanding, but there were plenty of times when I couldn’t get why she wouldn’t just get the hell out of bed. Then my depression hit me like a bus, and suddenly I could see where she was coming from. I couldn’t see what was wrong with me; there were no cuts, broken bones, or bruises, but I knew that there was something. I could feel it weighing me down.

A lot of the problem stems from people trying to explain mental illness with logic. When they can’t they assume it must be fake. Many times I asked myself, what did I even have to be sad about? It was a short list, and nothing on it was worth killing myself over, but at the time I still wanted death. It didn’t make sense, but it was still real. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t experienced that to picture it; it defies all logic.

Luckily with advances in science people really are starting to see how mental illness changes the brain, and that gives them the “logical answer” that they were looking for. Still, it’s sad that it’s taken scientific proof to convince people to finally be compassionate.

The stigma exists because mental illness is still something that is so easily misunderstood. It is such a broad label, covering everyone from the real life people who deal with depression while still functioning normally every single day, to the made-up characters on serial killer dramas who are described with the same label, and everyone else in between.

Another reason is because issues with the brain are usually trickier to diagnose and treat than problems with other organs such as the heart, lungs, etc. Because of this people are fond of accusing those who suffer with such problems of faking it. Or, for the more extreme, there are those who assume that anyone with a mental illness must be completely unstable and ready to go off at any moment for any reason.

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Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:13 pm
Holysocks says...

Hey Queeny, sorry it took me so long.

I find it really sad that, in some situations people have to deal with unsupportive peers. Sometime I wonder what they'd say, if all of a sudden they had a mental illness. Of course, I'd never wish it upon them, not anyone.

School is particularly bad for 'unsupportive people' so I hear. A friend of mine has to deal with teenage girls which are surprisingly more trouble than they're worth. It saddens me that they can't see beyond the illness, to the person. Most of the people I know with mental illness, are the nicest souls on the planet. I know not all of them are, but why can't people get past it already?!

Anyway, I'm glad you're getting help, making friends, and most of all, the ending was perfect. I'm not saying just for the essay, but for you! Let's have a recap on that:

I continue to succeed and move forward in life and my education. Nothing is going to stop me from reaching my goals in life.

Well said. And let me remind you, that there are lots of wonderful people out there who will stand by your side, you just have to find them. :-D


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Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:10 am
EdenColin1 wrote a review...

Honestly I really don't know a lot about mental illness and soon that won't be true, but as i read your essay I can only imagine what you have suffer or suffering and have yet to endure

"I go to school, attend college, have gotten a job in a semester, have written a book. I continue to succeed and move forward in life and my education. Nothing is going to stop me from reaching my goals in life" :)

God support you under your heavily affliction

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Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:16 am
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niteowl wrote a review...

Hello there queenofscience! Niteowl here to review this piece.

So like the previous reviewer, I also have bipolar disorder. It's under control right now, but I have had severe manic/psychotic episodes, so I know how bad it can get. I applaud your courage in writing this and turning it in for a class.

First question: What is the topic of this essay? This sounds more personal than anything I ever wrote in college. If it's something like "Describe a personal crisis and overcoming it", then this is great. If it's supposed to be more academic/impersonal, then you'll probably have to refocus it.

Second question: Do you have a specific diagnosis? If so, it might be helpful to mention that, as well as some outside source information about the symptoms, treatment, etc. It would make the piece feel more academic.

Okay, now some small nitpicks.

Now, this was not your typical broken bone, or viral sickness. For me it was invisible since my three years in public high school and showing up full force last year.

The second sentence is a little confusing as written. I suggest "For me, it was invisible for three years in public high school, but it showed up in full force last year".

Before my senior year, I came to The Texas School for the Blind and Visually impaired.

I think "moved" is a better word choice than "came".

Sometimes I wanted to sleep excessively, sometimes my body ached.

This is a comma splice. You could either make this two sentences or put an "and" after the comma.

I was crushed after that comment, I cried silently.

Another one, but I think this would sound better as "After that comment, I cried silently."

The voices said that I was a horrible person, however, I heard a good voice.

This is a little confusing. I want to say it sounds like "...horrible person, but sometimes I would hear a good voice." If that's not what you meant though, feel free to ignore.

I have begun hallucinating again, this time about Dog 42 and cat 1 million and more.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Do you mean you're seeing 42 dogs and a million cats? It might be best to simplify this part. "I have been hallucinating again, but I am learning to deal with them better."

I do not want to take medicine anyways due to my good voice.

So the medicine affects your voice? That's interesting. It might be worth discussing the side effects of the medicine in more detail.

I don't want attention, I just want people to understand and help.

Another comma splice. I think it should be two sentences.

Overall, this is really great. I think it's well-organized and flowed well. The above comments are on really small stuff. I hope you get a good grade and continue being successful! And of course, Keep Writing! :)

Hey nightowl, thanks.

by the way, I DO NOT see a millon cats and 42 dogs. They are called cat 1 millon and dog 42

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Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:21 am
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Spotswood wrote a review...

I really liked this essay. I am able to empathize with you COMPLETELY. Just three months ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, having experienced fluctuating moods of both mania and depression. I have experienced some very rare hallucinations, but I am not psychotic, as you implicate yourself to be.

Mental illness is incredibly stigmatized, and it bothers me. People think people with Bipolar are crazy and are not safe. That is why I have only told my very close friends only. It bothers me to read stories that bash mental illness. They don't know anything. People are ignorant. They do not have to experience the hell that we go through from time to time.

The topic of eugenics bothers me. In ethics class, we discussed the moral dillema relating to such, but many people said it is a good idea. I was the only person who didn't, and people were very surprised. I am proud of my being Bipolar. It is what makes me a true writer. Hemingway had it. Fitzgerald had it. Salinger had it! I have it! When I said that I didn't believe in it and that mental illness can be "fun" (implying manic episodes), one of my friends said "Come on, Jacob. You should put yourself in the shoes of someone who has, say, Bipolar. They're lives are living hell." I just wanted to scream out then and there "I am f*cking bipolar!" but I didn't. It just goes to show how little people understand. This was a very sensitive topic for me at the time. It was only a week after I was diagnosed. How appropriate!

Labels are a lie. I am not bipolar; I HAVE bipolar. I am not mentally ill. I HAVE a genetic vulnerability. But I am one thing...I am mad.

I embrace my madness. My madness makes me who I am! It is so great to see someone who is just the same, seemingly. This was a great essay!



People don't understand..

btw, i'm either schophrinc and or schizoaffictve.

And and people have bad ideas about schizophrincs. Fill free to PM if you want to chate about whatever.

Tell me more about you ethnics class,,please.

And I want to be a writer for a living, I want to write sci fic.

And on top of this I am visualy impaired...but nothing is going to stop me.

The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.
— Stanislaw Jerszy Lec