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In 1999, when I was in fifth grade, a police officer came to our school dressed in a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) t-shirt. He was carrying a gun and wearing a stern face. Without any words, he communicated that using drugs led to extreme consequences. His lecture taught us that drug addicts deserve to be locked up. But criminalizing addiction turned out to be more hurtful than helpful.
Since I have arthritis in my knees and schizoaffective disorder, the migraines I suffer are a substantial extra load. And now I know what it’s like to have my physical illnesses treated more seriously than my mental illness. This is the story of a time when I stood up for my mental health, and my mental illness was treated seriously.
Navigating verbal abuse is never ideal. This toxic behavior can alter how a person sees and trusts others and interacts in relationships. The amount of exposure to verbal abuse can drastically change a person's view or attitude toward themselves and others. This situation is one I'm familiar with since I can see now that verbal abuse has changed me.
I've learned that it's difficult to fight self-doubt when you are often anxious. Unfortunately, naturally, anxiety and self-doubt go hand in hand. Because of this, my anxiety can affect my decision-making. In other words, when trying to make a choice, I often doubt myself and my ability to make a good decision.
When I spent three months in residential treatment back in 2010, the clinicians would frequently encourage the other patients and me to communicate and honor our needs. This practice was meant to teach us how to separate our own inner voices from the control and influence of an eating disorder. As well-intentioned as these clinicians were, however, I remember asking myself: "How can I learn to express my needs if I'm not sure what they are?"
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was to stop trusting my emotions, which means, don't trust my gut. I had gone to see an acupuncturist with a strained back and an abundance of curiosity. He palpated my ovaries, eyelids, and the like for a half minute before diagnosing my issue as one of emotional over-indulgence. He stuck a couple of dozen needles in me, left me alone for 20 minutes, and returned with his treatment plan. "You shouldn't trust your gut so much," he suggested and sent me on my way.
One of the hardest things about any mental health condition is that they are unpredictable. The same thing is true at my job. Some days are very difficult because of the anxiety and depression I feel at work. However, several activities make it easier to get through my shifts. Here are six strategies that help me overcome anxiety and depression during my job.
As soon as puberty kicks in, many of us lose self-esteem. Many physical, emotional, and psychological changes begin to take shape during this time, leaving us confused and extremely sensitive. As our bodies change, so does our self-esteem, leaving us vulnerable. Even fully understanding that this is a perfectly normal part of life that everyone goes through didn’t make it any easier for me. Puberty was a time in my life I think back to and wonder whether anyone handles it any better than I did.
I talk about eating disorder recovery all the time. You might call them healing conversations. I unpack the layers and nuances of it with my therapist. I excitedly share these revelations with my partner once the session is over. I journal about what I'm learning in the process. Then I pass on those lessons to the younger women I mentor, who deal with similar experiences of their own.
Every hello ends in a goodbye, but every ending is also the beginning of something new. This will be my last post for "Speaking Out About Self-Injury." What will life be like after writing for this blog?

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Comments

Elizabeth Caudy
Hi Marsha-- Thank you for your comment. I'm glad this article and the other comments have helped you understand your brother. Best, Elizabeth
anon
hi S! im 20 years old, my dad passed when i was younger so i grew up with just my mom and my brother (who i had to parent) and you are the same age as him which is why i felt inclined to reply. i have been struggling with self harm and other issues since as long as i can remember. i think that unfortunately you, much like me, have some sort of addiction gene that kind of makes this whole thing more intense. truthfully i can only say that this is a very difficult thing to go through and that you are not alone. corny but true! i personally find it easier to interact with people online through like discord servers and such because well its good to have people to talk to! i also think that journaling and writing out how u feel (even if it doesnt make much sense) can also help and if youre worried about someone finding it and using it as blackmail its also (in my opinion) nice to watch the paper burn after writing everything out (SAFELY BURN IT) i dont know who you are but nobody deserves to suffer in silence and i really hope and wish that one day you will feel relief and be clean of any sort of self harming. i send love to you angel !
-n
Janet Cato
I thankful to have found this site as I too have been described as an enabler to my unstable adult child /ren and also tried tough love. It is my eldest son concerning me he still lives with me and I don't mind that but he cannot seem to deal with failure of any kind in life or any normal problem without becoming mental or lately threatening suicide. He is 31 and I find it ridiculous. I tell him if when raising him and his 2 brothers I did the same none of us would be here and how does expect to survive as I know he enjoys life otherwise. Yet he claims he can't do anything. He is handsome and smart and I see no reason for him not t po be successful he just has no self esteem. I just don't understand.
Marsha
This post has encouraged me so much. I am in Australia. I typed in ‘Why don't people with schizophrenia like you to clean their home’ to see if I could get some understanding on where my brother is at. There are so many questions I have. I’ve come from interstate to walk through and support my brother through a difficult season. I know he wants me here to help support him but he doesn’t want me to stay at his home so I try to find friends here that I can stay with. (This is another thing I don’t fully understand)
I had noticed that his home doesn’t look like he’s cleaned for a long time but I think he also gets anxious if I try to clean so I’m trying to understand more as he sometimes finds it hard to communicate what’s happening in his mind.
I try to encourage him to think of one or two things he’s grateful for each day - sometimes it’s the same things. and I too share a couple of things I’m grateful for.
Reading everyone’s thoughts here helps me one step further in understanding as I support him in his journey step by step.
I wish I could get him to come interstate to be with myself or other family members where there would be a lot more support but he really wants to stay in this town.
Thank you Elizabeth for posting and everyone else for your comments.
shay
i really want to die im going to be completely honest, first off ive had tics for 5 years now, and recently i keep getting reported to the police. they came to my house today and i tried to keep myself up while talking to them and i dont worry about situations like this but this one did mess with me, my best friend reported me to my principal, i got reported to the police twice, and i got a warning but next time its a full arrest, no one even listened to me, i told the principal about some people that were racist to me and they didnt do anything but over the most littlest issue ever they got the police on me but not the guy that was making fun of my tics, my religion and shaming me for it. but from two words i said they did so much. i dont think my principal knows about my mental state. soemtimes im gonna shout words and most of the time slurs or the work kill yourself. it may seem funny how im writing about this right now but its the fact i get mad at everyone and shout and hit people, i cant really control what i do and i have no hope for my life at all right now. im afraid that i cant get prescribed medication for tics and i dont want to because it includes weight gain. yes i want rid of my tics but i dont wanna look worse than i am right now. i genuinely cant take this anymore and its too much for me but at the same time i dont want to die. i dont want to feel pain but i dont know how to overdose. i thought i could trust my friend but i cant. in 2019 i wanted to commit suicide but i just couldnt. i did self harm but i was too scared to do more. but if i realise were living on a floating rock and were probably just creatures, then what is the point of living. i dont think anyone would miss me especially not my friends because i can imagine them literally shedding a tear then just going on about with their life, i really cant get over my uncle and my grandmas death, they were my most favourite relatives but theyre dead now and i cant do anything about it. i just dont want to leave anyone behind. i had plans for when i was older to get probably one of my most favourite cars but i had a feeling that day i could never see because who knows, i could literally be dead and probably my online friends would think i quit or im just offline. i dont honestly think anyone would care about my death because im going to be honest, i dont think anyone wants to listen to me just chat on about my health. Ive been getting progressively worse and worse over the years. I feel that people nowadays are just full of themselves.