Don’t take the easy surrender when you face “symptoms” or triggers, especially after they or “Illness” has been identified in you.
“You are not your Illness”
Knowing what your “diagnosis” is, is useful in understanding the traits in your character and mood patterns that result in difficulties. However, being diagnosed should not aid you in giving you an easier time than “normal” folks.
Many advocates thus tell you: “you are not your illness”.
Actually, it is pressing to know that:
The “illness is ALL YOU” (even though you are NOT your illness).
What I mean is that you, are a unique Human being. You are a person, a person with a personality. These characteristics, including your traits and moderation of mood, when permutated with certain circumstances, reflect traits of what doctors, psychologists and researchers have identified and studied to enshrine as “Mental Illness”. This has occurred over the history of the development of modern medical and behavioural science.
But a diagnosis is useless – and in fact, can be very harmful as it connotes an identifier or label. Diagnosis feeds disorder and dysfunction by exacerbating the initial difficulty that an individual experiences into disempowerment in the traditional medical setting and within the current medical model. The individual perceives him or herself as having a disease or even as being disabled. I am not “normal”. This cycle is enforced when he or she is not treated “normal” if this information is disclosed to others.
What then can someone do if they are identified as mentally ill?
I would want to know what the traits of my diagnosis and symptoms are supposed to be, to see if they are consistent with the patterns in my behaviour that play out from my personality repertoire in certain circumstances. I need to own the characteristic traits that are correlated to my challenges. Not accepting the identifier of illness, but being aware of the things and areas that set me off allows me to start to make active change. This empowers me to own who I am. I am self-aware. I am proactive.
Beyond that, I also want to be a contributing participant of the bigger community around me. So often, psychology, especially the therapy approaches used, bring us inward. We reflect on our lives, our past relationships, early development. (What went wrong?) It is not wrong to be kind to, respect and explore oneself – However, outside of ourselves is a community and a world of both opportunity and yet a world that is for the most part perishing, (if you hadn’t noticed). People who are diagnosed with mental illness often are shelled up within their peer groups. The fear of stigma or feelings of inadequacy cause us to shy away from society. However, this avoidance only breeds ignorance and misunderstanding.
I am not asking anyone to heal the world. However, to break the suffocating stigma around mental illness, more people have to step out into the small domains around them, and work towards becoming who they want to be. But first, one must recognise that what has been happening is in part, a part of us that is under our control. Only then can we build on our strengths and create a life with vision and purpose.
Let’s leave this wretched self-imposed cage behind, shall we?
When should one stop following “trying to keep up with the times”?? Some people manage to avoid it altogether. But for most of us, at least for my generation, it began in adolescence. Following boy bands, posters of the Backstreet Boys, Westlife CDs, listening to the Spice Girls on the radio.
Now “it” seems to begin earlier, with the encouragement of parents and the bombardment of merchandising opportunities through the mass media. Evidenced by the term “Tweens” and Katie Holme’s daughter Suri Cruise walking around in heels as a toddler, it’s not surprising that the designer clothing for children are the norm.
When I was a kid, I wore 3 for $10 Mickey Mouse knock off T-shirts from the Pasar Malam (Night Bazaar).
But that’s another rant for another day…
As I reach 30 at the end of the year, I think to myself, should I really like Tove Lo’s music? Or be taking the effort to go through the billboard top 100 to find songs I actually like? I don’t know why it’s an urge I feel. I want to be one of the Young Folks. Maybe there’s some baggage involved here?
Perhaps all of us who partake in following Pop Culture have some inherent reason why. More so those who are a tad bit older.
Let me give you an example. I recently met up with an acquaintance who is married with two teenage girls. As you can roughly guess, she‘s crossed the half century mark. I’m not being ageist, I don’t think she is “Old” by any standard. She’s feisty, full of life and gorgeous. And got good physique too. But even 50 year old hotties shouldn’t wear “panty shorts”. [OMG! I have to post about “panty shorts” one day..talk about pet peeve!
Let this picture say my thousand words:
Ok, so her version was more like a SUPER short, cheerleading skirt with a spaghetti strap tank top? Am I a prude? O.o
But Really! There has to be an age when a woman stops trying so hard to get sexual attention? I mean, young girls-not just that they-have-it, so-flaunt-it –> I feel maybe they don’t know (?) how much guys (and girls) are checking out and oogling at your bared body parts. It took me a while to realise how indecent it was to wear low cut tops. I have one or two pieces I still do wear sometimes, cos I don’t want to throw away my old clothes, and the overall cut is flattering. But then when I wear those tops I feel awful, so very self-conscious.
If you like panty shorts, and you’re 15, fine, ok. (But I’m still trying very hard not to judge your taste in clothing..) But if you’re older, why does it still matter to you to try to be a beautiful flower? I dunno why I always thought women’s external beauty is like that of a flower’s life. It’s scientific purpose is to reproduce, it is beautiful as it is budding and blooms, but it dies ever so quickly, and after that its beauty cannot be recovered. Am I being discriminatory? Sometimes less is more, literally. But personally, most times I think more tasteful is “more”. Being confident enough to show off your body may actually mean you are more insecure inside. Why else would you be craving all that external validation?
But then on the other hand, interest in pop culture is a bit different. I think it is a matter of intention. Music, popular or not is art after all. If your intention is to keep up with the times, I’m not saying you (or I [am]) are wrong…But, Perhaps there is something deeper in enjoying music for the artistic, the meaning/significance it brings and how it speaks into your life.
It is not so much a self-esteem requirement, but to meet a more spiritual need.
Finally, I just want to say that I think that Pop music can also be meaningful. This is despite being produced by an unknown professional songwriter, sung by a singer who can’t sing, and who is auto-tuned, and who relies on his or her performance gimmicks and scandals in the tabloids for fame.
Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder?
We may never know the songwriter, overshadowed by the fame of the talent-less pop singer, but if the beauty of their music is spread across hearts and inspires as result: -This is why I don’t think indie music is superior to pop.
I am, a LITTLE embarrassed that I like a song or two by Justin Bieber, and that I love Miley Cyrus’ beautiful alto voice, but maybe it’s alright. hehe *blush*AND, I had to write a whole blogpost to feel better about it too! *sheepish look* Really! A shame, but Miley is very talented:
I recently made a friend, also a peer, who told me that at the height of her illness, she used to sneak out of the house in the ungodly hours of the morning and she would always somehow gravitate to a heartland that reminded her of her growing up years. She would reminiscence of her childhood friend whom she used to play with in that neighbourhood, which she was so attached to that it literally drew her back, “awake-walking” – when she should have been sleeping.
Tonight or this morning, I have taken a trip to little India to seek out a cheap mobile phone. Why? The urge and impulse and the persistent restlessness in my soul was just so? I don’t know??! Wha was it thinking taking a cab with all my liquid cash at 3am to Mustafa Centre?
Well, there is a back story.. my iPhone 6, which my brother bought for me when I recontracted and which I dutifully paid for when I had enough cash, disappeared one morning… also after I had been having insomnia. It had clearly been next to my pillow. And the whole household was frantically mobilized in a top to bottom search. Strangely enough, my father didnt seem too concerned, but told me to get a new SIM card quickly.
It was only when this disappearing incident was repeated on another object in the house, announced by my father.. and then a replacement made by him.. and then when my mother could not use the replacement.. the object mysteriously was found by, again my father.. who said, “lucky I found it! The bangla must have climbed in the gate and took it when the door was unlocked!”..(sorry long sentence) THAT IT DAWNED on us, what had happened to my phone.
But as a person who suffers from paranoia, I couldnt complain… e.g. a schizophrenic telling his shrink that people are talking about him.. WHEN they REALLY are. Just that, in my case.. I am not the only psycho in the house. My brother tried to ask him about it but he was extremely defensive and almost bombed.. well.
Now I am using a 3G phone yes that was ok three years ago..but it constantly hangs wheb I open large apps or have more than 3 apps open. And it has been getting progressively worse. I had been happy at first.. downgrading. I was impressed by three year old samsung’s frontline basic smartphone. I even managed to upgrade to jellybean from pathetic gingerbread. Wow cmon have a break have a kit kat! (Sorry I blame lack of sleep).
But it isnt the phone but that apps now are built for faster, heavier duty phones. Minimum for a mainstream app is 10MB. Without a huge micro SD u are dying on your first day of downloading “basic” and “necessary” apps.
I guess I should go and live in the kampung. And go off the internet altogether and see how I do without these luxuries… but seriously I dunno why I get so carried away and am unable to stop concentrating once I am tring to get any type of technology working that isnt. for example back when miss noob was trying to jail break her brand new first gen ipod touch. A sleepness night there.
I think it could be the complusiveness in my personality. This need to achieve the goal I set out to do. Added to the mood of impulse and a restless high. DANGER! !! CRAZYYY SLEEPLESS ZOMBIE OUT ON THE LOOSE!!
OK I think I have ranted enough and I am also safely at my destination:
No, I am just a visitor today.
Thank God for preserving me.