Love is Letting Go..

First let me disclaim that I do not intend to “hide behind” my illness/symptoms or give myself excuses for my flaws. But I guess I can also give myself the kindness that no human on earth is perfect. And one of my most GLARING flaws is with the social realm.

I fear groups and gatherings… I think a lot of people who have been “diagnosed” can probably relate… At first Chinese New Year and Christmas were Really challenging. I can’t remember the number of years I didn’t go for those gatherings. But then, totally unexpectedly, my extended family has become more accepting. Perhaps they too experience similar, predisposed – biological and nurtured – challenges.

I am SO grateful the first thing they ask is no longer “When is your turn, AH? ” or “WAH you put on/ lost so much weight!” Losing weight can become horribly scary when you are a yo-yo and have gone up and down >15 kg, 4 times in 30 years.

I guess when your locus of control (your self-esteem and need for validation) is based on the outside —-> and you are a Self-Obsessed Control freak (Yes, Hi.)… You are in for what is Essentially Social Suicide.

If self-control is not exercised, and pride is not addressed–  One either hides from the world.. Drowning in despair/delusion, or lives in a Constant flux between intense fear and a feeling of an intense injustice.

I am now, Grateful for my mom’s family. I realized we were not so different. And they are nice, without treating me as “different”. My intense fear of going to grandma’s house has eased gradually. Many of them individually also have been and are a source of strength, and support over the years. Though I resented some of it, very wrongly at first.

But since it is Mother’s day, I want to focus on my Mom today. So here’s it is:

From the middle of last year to the start of this year, I really resented my mother. Although acting out of love and anxiety for me, I felt my freedom, autonomy and dignity were taken away.

Let me give you an example. She comes into my room at will, while the door is closed and I am dressing up. I am in the midst of it and she says: “This bra is too tight! Your breasts are spilling out! Wear the black one, LAH…” ok.. sorry TMI BUTrrrreally ARGJHGHGHLKJSDFHsdahf ;kjsdhlkaw]!@#$%#  I am 30 and she wants to help me choose my underwear. Srsly???..zzzZZZZZZZZZzzzz

Also, although I have already messaged her that I am coming back after dinner. She starts messaging me at 4 to ask again if I am having dinner, then starts to call me from 8:30pm to ask what time I am coming home. Stella said it rightly, “I hear the irritation in your voice. Remember…”

But my mom. Mom, has been through it. Mom, was the one who came to the hospital every single day during the two weeks I was first hospitalized at the Institute of Mental Health for psychosis symptoms. Mom lost so much weight. She took the bus every day, the one and a half hour journey. I was in a daze those days. But I could remember her neck growing bonier and bonier. Her face looking more and more tired.

Am I so blind that I did not realize that she is the strongest person in this family? Mom knows! She knew it all. She was the one who has been feeding on depression, bipolar, gratitude, optimism, she got did the DBT workbook with be when I was thought to be BPD. Then she went through WRAP with Caregivers Alliance, and made me go for it now.

The most bittersweet memory I have, truly, is a muted one. It was the only depression that I count as a True, Noonday Demon. Not leaving the home, every morning she brought me food and read me the Armour of God.

Surely, I cannot still blame her for loving my brother more when we were children? She had said: “You had your father, I thought it was alright.”

Perhaps, going through the wilderness – this 15 years of wandering… Has helped to make Mother’s Day Happen.

The Stairway to Recovery & Peer Support Boundaries

Here’s some more ideas on the Topic of Recovery for those struggling with Mental Health issues…

First, the Barriers to Recovery:barriers recoveryFactors are both from individual’s attitudes and behaviour (e.g. taking ownership of and Responsibility for Recovery) – and also due to many factors in the environment. These include and are not limited to: stigma, lack of information and access to services and also failure on the part of social services and medical professionals to understand or give the appropriate help to the individual.

The Stairway to Recovery:

stairway to recovery

This stairway is based on the Personal model of recovery (There are two models of Recovery – the Medical and Personal/individual). The Outcomes for the Medical model are reduced symptoms and hospitalisation as well as reduced medication. Whereas Individual Recovery Outcomes are more holistic, driven by an individual’s hope for challenging the’ assumed chronicity of illness’. To move beyond mere maintenance or “coping”, as the Medical model outcomes seem to entail, but to Empower the individual to ‘reclaim meaning and purpose in life’ (Deegan), by “contributing [and finding satisfaction] even with limitations caused by the illness.”

One has recovered when one “grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.”

Stepping up to provide Peer Support is important because of the ability of Peers to relate on a deeper level with other peers, which sometimes, other people may find difficult. It also empowers the Peer who is providing support, by allowing them to contribute and find satisfaction.

But Advocacy and Peer support can both be double edged swords. If one takes up external responsibility that is rightfully another person’s, in Peer support; or one goes public with one’s condition… Burn out, stress and pressure are inevitable.

Anxiety and fear of failure,  are to be avoided when one is out in the public view – especially in a day and age where intrusion and scrutity, even from an anonomous eye is the norm. (How does one claim to be an advocate if one is severely symptomatic, or worse still, if one falls to relapse?)

In terms of Peer support, One danger of being a source of support, is what Pat Deegan described as the “frenzied saviour response/role”. This can be a role which a caregiver/family member/friend takes up.

The Frenzied saviour response “when the person is faced with another person lost in anguish and apathy.

The more listless and apathetic the person gets, the more frenetically active we become. The more they withdraw, the more we intrude. The more will-less they become, the more willful we become. The more they give up, the harder we try. The more despairing they become, the more we indulge in shallow optimism.

The more treatment plans they abort, the more plans we make for them. Needless to say we soon find ourselves burnt out and exhausted.”

Setting boundaries and being a stickler for guidelines in Peer Support must not be taken lightly:wp-1455479006454.jpg

I hope I haven’t been to repetitive, I just wanted to emphasize some more points about recovery. Good night, and Good morning. Peace out.

(Haha! I was just gonna sign off with: “Self care”… Then JBieber started singing: “you should go and love yourself…”, through to me, on my headphones… O.o hehe :D)

Here’s an awesome cover of Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself: