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Whether you ascribe to spoon theory, visualize it as a battery draining, or some other metaphor, energy can be low or nonexistent when you have mental health struggles. For me, I generally have less energy to begin with, and, often, day-to-day activities—even simple interactions or tasks—can steal all my spoons or drain that battery to red. When my depression and anxiety are running rampant, it can feel like everything goes into the negative.
My name is Mel Bender. I’m thrilled to be joining HealthyPlace as an author for the Relationships and Mental Illness blog. I’m a freelance writer, blogger, and artist living in Toronto, Canada.
Over the past several months, I've been writing about ways to boost self-esteem at a comfortable pace. I find that working at your own speed and setting achievable goals will help set anyone up for self-esteem success. Today, I'd like to talk about something different I tried recently. I want to talk about how challenging myself affected my self-esteem.
Recently a friend ruined my mental health. Well, a friend combined with preexisting bipolar disorder, ruined my mental health. I don't believe in blaming people for mental health problems, per se; but, sometimes people do things that are so damaging, a change in mental health really is pretty much their fault. So, what do you do when a friend ruins your mental health?
This might seem like a bold, hyperbolic claim, but it just so happens to be true: I have no regrets about my eating disorder. Of course, there are some behaviors I am not proud of, relationships I have worked fiercely to restore, and memories I still flinch at. But in terms of actual regret, I simply think it's a wasted emotion. While I have absolutely no desire to relive those 15 years of battling anorexia, this formative chapter in my life transformed me into who I am right now—a person for whom I feel genuine love and respect. So if you'll indulge me for a few minutes, I will unpack why I have no regrets about my eating disorder.
On July 16th, 2022, the new three-digit Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotline went into full effect. The transition from a 10-digit number to the more convenient and memorable 988 is a positive step toward adequate and widely-accessible mental health resources for all. Moreover, the hotline is no longer solely for suicidal individuals but open to anyone facing a mental health crisis. The overall messaging behind this change is perhaps the most impactful. We hear you; we see you; we'll show you not only through our words but through our actions.
Many individuals, including myself, can take notice of subtleties later when they are no longer the object of verbal abuse. It shocks me as I look back and replay many of these instances in my head. There were several reasons why, however, I never recognized it as abusive, which led me to remain in the same situation for years.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is the first major mood disorder I suffered from as a kid. However, I did develop early symptoms of bipolar disorder as a teen as well, and that later led to schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a very extreme form of what is commonly known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Untreated, I don’t have minor bouts of irritability or sadness during my period--I have full-on depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts. The way I treat my PMDD is with birth control pills.
We all experience cycles or patterns of behavior that we want to change. Those of us who have experienced binge eating disorder (BED), or eating disorders in general, know the pain and frustration that is felt when you are trapped in a cycle of disordered, destructive eating. It is especially frustrating when you try to recover and leave behind your old cycles and patterns and you realize you're still stuck in a binge eating cycle.
I didn't get a say in my birth. My mother and father took the executive decision to procreate without my input, and I landed on the scene in the April of 1985 before I could register any objections. Upon my arrival, the doctors deduced a few things: I was a boy. I was healthy. And, given the amount of wailing and thrashing, I appeared mildly inconvenienced by this whole birth scenario. For nearly 32 years after that, the doctors didn't miss much--except to diagnose me with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Pascale B
I was ghosted by me neighbor who has bipolar disorder it hurt a lot

She was a user and entitled anytime she needed something she would ask for my help I would oblige, then one day when I couldn’t take her call she got mad and decided to “ghost” me even though I tried calling her back to see if everything was ok. Sorry I can’t be at her every beck and call waiting on her needs hand and foot I was in class when she called twice in a row. When she would get what she wanted she would toss me to the side I forgave her many times and told myself it’s ok, well it’s NOT ok not acceptable. When I texted her the next day to ask her if everything was ok since I missed her call she said “she’s busy” excuse me she’s a stay at home mom I work all week and have an entire home to manage as well as personal appointments to keep every day after work… who called who to bother them? She called me it wasn’t the other way around so when you say your “busy” don’t blow up my phone the day before because I am 10 times more busy than you are juggling my career, house work and personal responsibilities while you are a stay at home mom who looks at her window and spies on our neighbors all day long. Anyway now she does not speak to me she ignores me and if she sees me she pretends as if I am dead and put a sticker on her car that says “not today satan” lady are you talking to me? She has issues she’s a user throws people to the side when she gets what she needs out of them and if you can’t take her call one time she will discard you as if you never existed in her phone book or life. She will go to hell for her ghosting and say hi to satan every day in her afterlife for the hurt she has caused becuse I was nothing but nice and helpful to her and all I got in return was a slap to the face, very hurtful and rude. I never ever once asked her to help me I am very self sufficient she always needed my help and now I am ghosted. That’s why I decided to no longer help people who are users.
Paula
I'm 68 and picked bug bites into scabs and then picked the scabs repeatedly as a child. My parents constantly yelled at me for picking and my father warned me he'd bring me to "The Scratching Lady" if I didn't stop. The SL and her son lived in a home where everything was blood-soaked due to their constant picking. I was probably around 5 years old and had many allergies . One day, the family was in the car and I picked a scab. My sister ratted on me and the next thing I know, my Dad is pulling into the driveway of the SL and pulling a hysterical me out of the backseat. After what seemed like an eternity, he relented. I really don't remember the rest. The scratching behavior ended well over 50 years ago but has recently started back up in the last year or so. Go figure.
Jaedra
I really appreciate this article. I struggle with extreme guilt, not only over my anxiety and how it affects others, but also over having the anxiety in the first place.

I have a hard time keeping friendships, but even things like doctor-patient relationships are challenging for me. For example, I’m plagued with thoughts about: do I come across as critical of them when I ask too many questions or seek reassurance because I am anxious (or when I ask the same question more than once because I’m still anxious), do I sound dismissive or unappreciative, am I irritating when I call because of a concern that turns out to be nothing?

And then I get into loop of swearing I won’t call ever again, I won’t say if I’m afraid something is wrong because I know it’s probably just anxiety, and I’ll get it right at my next appointment. I’ll only be positive, and I won’t ask too many questions and I’ll do it right this time.

And then, I ask stupid questions and fear that I come across as unappreciative and have screwed it all up. And then I have guilt over being such a terrible person to deal with, and also that I am anxious and it’s annoying (and I imagine easily misinterpreted as me being nit-picky and neurotic, both of which are true I guess).

Sometimes the guilt and shame feel like the world is ending, and I wish I could just be normal, be OK, and get it right.
Carole Stedronsky
"Trying to understand" is a very good place to be with DID. One helpful way of thinking about your friend's DID is that the person or human being he is is all of his parts together (like a family, team, or village). Different people with DID have different sorts of internal systems. But whichever self-part is upfront, talking, is part of the whole person. Each self-part has a role, and all the parts are of equal importance. Often, switches happen subtly and might not be apparent. If you are a friend to this person, you are a friend to all-the-parts-of-him. So for sure, talk to different parts. Also, an important part of the DID healing journey is increasing communication and cooperation between parts.
Lynn Bubbz
I've recently been diagnosed with Stills Disease and because this disease is rare the symptoms are indifferent. I have days where I'm aching and feel so awful. Those are the days I need my husband's love but I never get it. Instead I get yelled at or feel like I'm unworthy to be shown love to especially when I'm ill. He makes me feel so unwanted. I cry alone in the shower I even hide my sadness.