Mental Health Elitist

Sometimes I fear that I’m a mental health elitist.  I fully comprehend that this is a bitchy kind of person to be, so I’m working on it.  I wonder if any of y’all struggle with this, though?  Can I get a “me too”?

I noticed my elitism when my future sister-in-law posted something to facebook about high-functioning anxiety.  It was a video about how hard it is to live with this condition and how we should all feel bad for her because she has it.  The video said things such as, “high functioning anxiety means worrying about if people like you or not” and “it’s staying busy and struggling with perfectionism.”  To me this simply sounds like being a human.

What really got me is when the video said, “it’s silent panic attacks while you’re calm and smiling.”

Ummmm….  I’m no psychiatrist, so I am in no position to say that’s not legit.  HOWEVER – I am finding it very difficult to dig up sympathy for this girl for her silent panic attacks.  She says we should all feel bad for her for having this terrible disorder, but I wan’t to say, “Hi, yeah.  It’s me, Hazel, over here posting jokes and cat videos.  Sorry to interrupt your pity party, but I was wondering: have you ever had a panic attack where you asked someone to call 911 because you thought you were dying right that second?  Have you ever hyperventilated until you puked?  If you’ve ever experienced the sheer terror that comes with a true panic attack, then I’m sorry – you were not CALM AND SMILING.”

But that’s me being elitist, because maybe there are silent panic attacks.  If there are, I’m sure they suck.  I simply have a hard time feeling bad for her because, straight up?  I feel like I’m a lot worse off than her when it comes to mental health, and I’m annoyed with people when they want sympathy from me about it.  It’s like someone with strep throat going up to someone with throat cancer and being all, “Yeah, these throat problems…they really suck, amirite?”  Yes, they do…but you’re annoying and please go away.

I have friends with mental illnesses who can’t keep jobs…who can’t get out of bed in the morning…who have been hospitalized multiple times…who take on every day as a challenge to keep living.  I have so much respect for them and for the mountains they climb every single day, and I hate to see it cheapened by people who post to social media about needing sympathy for things that seem so-not-an-issue compared to what these people face.

I really have to get better about this.  Any sort of mental problems are awful, and I should feel compassion on anyone struggling.  I know this.  We’re all on the same team here, we’re just varying degrees of invested.  It’s like sports fans – some bought tickets off Criagslist the night before the game, and some have season passes, painted their faces, and decorated their houses in the team colors.  Despite how deep into fandom we are, we’re all on the same team. RAH RAH! WE HATE MENTAL ILLNESS! RAH! *cheerleader cartwheel*

Mental illness, no matter the severity, always sucks.  There are people who have it better than me, and there are people who have it worse. It’s not my job to decide if they deserve my sympathy or not.  Sometimes it’s tough to feel bad for someone when I would trade brain function with them in a second, but I need to do it anyway.  If they need help and compassion, it is not my job to hand out judgement.

Anyone else ever struggled with this?

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45 thoughts on “Mental Health Elitist

  1. Yes, yes, and yes. I’m totally with you. Although sometimes I feel like I’m on the flip side, especially since I’ve managed to shove bipolar in the timeout corner and somehow got it to stay there.

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    • True! I see that side too. When someone is less functional than me, I almost feel guilty about having the same diagnosis. Like, “I technically also have that, but I’m sorry because I know you’re going through something worse…”

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  2. :;raises hand::
    I guess that makes me a mentally ill elitist also because I will freely admit that I am so fucked up that I am far more sane than I have any right to be. However, videos like the one you described would make me want to throat punch the person who posted it and claimed to be mentally ill because they sometimes felt shitty.

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  3. I love how your mind world. I get sick of all the bs out there on mental health as well. This I stay away from places like Facebook. And, if I start reading something like you describe on WordPress I pass. It seems to be tres chic to parade mental illness these days, just look at instagram, it’s obscene almost. We’re all just squirrels trying to get a nut, we don’t always have to put out due in everyone’s faces. Thank you for this, you’ve given me an idea for my 24th feature for my blog, something NOT having to do with sobriety and recovery!

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    • YES I must be a mental health elitist too!! Of course I feel like a terrible person (and I know that some people looking at me might feel exactly like I feel looking at those dumb videos and the people who post them – like they have it worse off than me). Mainly I feel terrible because I know I should be compassionate to everyone’s struggles.
      But it’s like when my roommate complains “I have a cold and I was tired all day, it was the WORST” and I’m sitting there like “you’re talking to someone with fibromyalgia, shut the fuck up.” Not my nicest side, for sure.
      I need to improve…

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    • You’re so right. As you said, “it seems tres chic to parade mental illness these days.” Like, WHY?! Why is that cool? I feel like the people who treat mental illness as a badge of honor do not really get it. There is nothing cool about it. Arrrrgh. *puts head against a wall*

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      • No, nothing at all. Given the choice I wonder what they would choose? I mean we are who we are because of what we’ve gone through, but leave the marching band at home lol

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  4. I think part of it though, is that for those of us with severe mental illness, videos like that minimize (and nearly invalidate) our struggle. And of course we don’t want people to think that’s all there is to mental illness – of course we want our own struggles validates. So that’s natural. And I guess I need to keep cultivating compassion for myself, too.
    Xoxo

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  5. I remember I said something to a friend and then I immediately wrote off what I said as “first world problems”. She told me that saying that is stupid because my problems are valid since living in the first world is all I’ve ever known. My point is, sure there are people who “have it worse” than others, but it doesn’t mean that people’s problems should be lessened just because there’s someone else who has a more severe case of something.

    As for the silent panic attacks, they are totally a thing. Not all panic attacks present themselves as hyperventilation, mine don’t. I’ve learnt to conceal my meltdowns and panic attacks in public the best that I can in public so that I don’t completely lose control and make it worse. It’s a coping strategy to not put even more attention on myself and also because I’ve never had any help for them so I’ve just had to push it down. At most, I will shake and not be able to communicate as well as I could do. But I also overheat, get crippling anxiety that makes me not be able to breath properly (but I don’t show this), I feel dizzy – these are some things that people don’t see. But because I’m trying to fight it and not lose control, I try my hardest to just carry on as usual and talk to people and try to make eye contact. People can probably see that I’m a little anxious but don’t realise I’m literally having a panic attack. And as soon as I can get out of that situation, I will get home as fast as I possibly can and sit under my covers for as long as it takes for me to recover.

    I’ve questioned so many times about what constitutes as a panic attack because I don’t outwardly appear as if I’m having one. I’m still not entirely sure sometimes, but the anxiety overload is there. Maybe that’s what your sister-in-law feels too, and sharing that video was like her cry for help. Sometimes people need sympathy and to know that they’re not alone as a reassurance. So yeah, someone might have throat cancer like in your analogy, and obviously that is awful for them, but it doesn’t mean someone else’s strep throat is bad for them too. We all have our own different struggles. Sorry for the long winded answer too!

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  6. Yes- of course. Not just in this situation either. I had terrible pregnancies. Like weird never before seen illnesses and conditions that doctors flocked to study. Life or death- blood transfusions. Surgeries. Anti seizure medications. That sort of stuff. So- when my former sister in law was saying how hard it was to have gestational diabetes and then said ” now I know how you feel.” I wanted to throttle her. However-

    I try to think of it like this. Thank God she doesn’t really know how I felt. And but for the Grace of God I didn’t know how it felt to be the mother that lost her baby. There will always be someone not quite as sick or suffering as you are, but the suffering isn’t any less real to that person. Just as there will always be someone worse off than you but your suffering isn’t lessened because the other person’s is greater.

    Take it out of a mental health perspective. Who suffers more? The mother with the premature and disabled child or the mother with the child that was premature and died? There is no measure. I do know,however, that seeing those mothers that lost their babies got me over my pity party pretty quickly.

    God gives you what you can handle and you, apparently can handle what you described. You are functional and bright, self aware and articulate. You are not homeless or jobless or non functional. I think what you have an objection to is the self pity. The looking for sympathy when so many other people just live. The searching for ANYTHING to get a head pat and a thousand comments that say ” hugs!” And ” if you need anything I’m here for you!” ( gag) and not so much the actual illness – real or imagined- that is the tool used to get that sympathy. That sort of thing makes me want to throttle people and put them out of their misery as well.

    Go easy on yourself. I tell my kids that everyone makes the immediate judgments of people based on our upbringing and our own experience. My husband who was front and center for 9/11 will likely always be intially wary of dark skinned men in any sort of middle Eastern attire. The difference between him and say – someone I would consider racist is that he is aware that it is only his initial survivalist reaction and he can put it aside and then decide if he likes the person based on his personality- not his manner of dress or complextion. It’s the same for you in this instance. You are aware of your aggravation and aware that you may not be ENTIRELY fair in your evaluation of the situation. That is what makes you NOT an elitist, but human and compassionate and self aware. It is likely this same self awareness that has kept you witty, articulate and – well- alive despite being bi polar.

    Also – another example – I have a daughter that has CP and was recently diagnosed as schizophrenic. However, I have all the sympathy and empathy for a friend of mine who- at 42 and with a 13 year old son- was unexpectedly pregnant and has an infant. Of course, she is thankful and in love with her daughter but it’s a struggle. She will often say how silly she feels talking about her challenges with being a new mother ( there’s so much more to the situation besides) and struggling with everything she struggles with when I have 5 children and especially my disabled daughter. There’s not a single reason for her to feel her struggles are any less valid than mine. I suppose that when one begins to think of oneself as really lucky one starts to be less annoyed with other people’s other annoying grasping for sympathy and reassurance and begins to feel that clearly, clearly there is SOMETHING in that person that is struggling and needling this validation and sympathy. Even if that something isn’t what the person in question thinks it is. I hope I made sense and didn’t sound preachy as that wasn’t my intent at all. I am writing with fat thumbs on my phone with my son talking to me about getting another dog which is NOT going to happen. Oye!
    You are not an elitist. Noting the thoughts and feelings and acting to correct them is what prevents you from being one. I still need to email you about unrelated topics and I have a sort of funny story on this subject as well.

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    • Thank you for this comment, I almost went to leave a comment of someone’s blog who thought only people with a ‘severe mental illness’ can be ‘real’ mental health advocates… I will chill myself down and just let her post be… then I’ll continue being me and doing what I think is ‘mental health advocacy’ for myself and the world.

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      • Maybe you should leave the comment. In don’t think a person has to mentally I’ll AT all to advocate for mental illness. Oh Good God, imagine if that were the case. Nothing would get done! We would have all these ADHS peeps making a mess and being disorganized and these creative manic people doing the same while the depressed would still be in bed crying and the people with anxiety would be under the tables in the fetal position. The PTSD people would be ducking and covering every time a balloon popped and the schizophrenics would be placing and muttering. Of course the people with multiple personalities may be able to do the work of say, 6 people, so they could pick up the slack. Sorry- little gallows humor.

        I can tell you that my psychiatrist doesn’t have any sort of mental illness and he is a HUGE advocate and my savour. I ( knock on wood) have never had cancer but I still participate in all the fund raising and awareness. I am gonna say that the people advocating for suicide awareness have never committed suicide. Cause that would turn into a whole other issue If that were the case and would become a reality show. Seriously, I think the best advocates are the loved ones of those that do or have suffered. They are able to see both sides or the coin. The suffering and also the pain of feeling helpless to help the person afflicted. That is what drives them to advocate.

        Post away! As long as you are kind, it can’t hurt to give someone something to think about, right?

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      • Thanks so much for this. I am a mental health consumer too. Have come a long way, just don’t want to pity party you know because am doing so much better. Yet my only brother lived with epilepsy and bipolar disorder for 18 years. I think I will leave a comment then. The post was up like 10 days ago but I didn’t know how or what to write which wouldn’t come across ‘rude’ or etc. But because I feel the way I do about mental illness and mental health advocacy, I really wanted to comment. Thank you very much

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      • Just to feedback that I did leave a comment and she replied that she was glad I did. She also commended me for the work I do. We are blogger friends literally and she wrote the foreword to one of my memoirs… Hence I wanted to not offend her in anyway with my comment. Thank you once more for your clarification and encouragement.

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      • So glad you made the comment! I totally agree with shannanbrennanetc’s comment – you do NOT have to have a mental illness at all to be an advocate, and certainly anyone with any type of illness should be an advocate. I’m glad you stood up for that – way to go.

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    • Marie, I think any comment made when you are kind, considerate and thoughtful will be well received. Someone can have a terrible message with a great deliver ( Hitler for example) and the people will take it and run with it. A great message delivered terribly (some in laws I can think of. They say what they say because they love us, but the way they say it is so offensive it ends up being hurtful) can be damaging.

      You were fortunate that you had a great message and a kind thoughtful delivery of it. And I am certain that it gave her a new awareness.

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    • What a great comment – thanks for taking the time to write that (and I totally look forward to your e-mail!). Sorry you had all of those pregnancy issues, but you’re right: it could always be worse. I think you make a good point when you say that we need to view ourselves as lucky, and that will help us have more compassion. I also think you made a good point when you said what I’m most annoyed with is self-pity, not necessarily the “lesser” mental illness. I don’t like people using their illness as a vehicle to attract attention; it’s actually a really serious thing. Way to make me think – thanks!

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  7. I’m not so sure I’m an “elitist” – I might describe myself as quietly judgemental though. There are a LOT of people around looking for attention, and a number of them have become experts at the “poor me” drama. As soon as I see people talking about their alphabet kids, I kind of switch off. Those of us dealing with real problems (either our own, or our children) tend not to share it all over the internet, specifically because it *will* draw attention, and that’s the last thing we want.

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    • So true. It seems like people who enjoy the “drama” of a mental illness are not the ones who are truly suffering. They’re, like, oddly relishing it. I get confused. And mad. But maybe that makes me judgy. Eh, whatever. I think you have a good point here.

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      • The people that enjoy the drama of it all are typically the ones that scare the rest of the world away.
        It is also its own brand/ diagnosis. Histrionic disorder maybe its called? I can’t remember, but I read psychiatry text books for fun. Like for real. the DSM 5 is my go to bed time read. Which may also be a disorder…

        There are actually a lot of really fantastic books out there written by psychiatrists and psychologists about their experiences as care givers of mentally ill and/ or of dealing with mental illness themselves. It gives a whole new perspective. They are also a little less dry than text books.

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  8. I try really hard not to be… but I am. I do however try to be careful because we all only know what we know. I don’t know anybody else’s struggles.

    I have had friends minimize their own pain around me and that hurts too. It’s like, yes, I’m struggling, but if failing that test is the worst thing that happened to you – it’s going to feel like the worst thing. And I still want to hear about it.

    I also end up minimizing myself I think, and I think that’s the dangerous flip side of being an elitist. I used to think my traumas and memories didn’t matter or weren’t “bad enough”… and that can be a dangerous path to walk down.

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    • That’s true…if it’s the worst thing that’s happened to them, it’s going to feel like the end of the world even if it might be a trifling matter to another person. I would hope people could have compassion on me, so I need to extend it to other people too. The viewpoint you gave is a good way to help me do that. Thanks.

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      • You’re welcome. It’s something I realized in college when my friends were censoring their pain from me – if they’ve never experienced ‘worse’, this feels awful for them.

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  9. My first response as I read this is, “it’s not a competition,” – I’ve been addressing my depression, anxiety and ADHD since 1990. I live in so much denial about it, half the time, or I live with such shame around my mental health challenges, I rarely share it with anyone. I take 4 medications and there are times I think “what the hell” – I have a great job, a masters degree and I believe I’m functioning all things considered, but I am working so hard combating my shitty committee with its constant ramblings in my mind, I am very grateful when people open up about their issues. I don’t feel so all alone. There is still such a stigma regarding mental illness, I’m not so sure I’d post it in Facebook. I have a lot of boundaries in my life. I have zero coworkers as friends in my FB account because sometimes I reveal little things. Those of us that suffer, I need you and your honesty – it helps me get by.

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    • I love blog people for that. They tend to be pretty honest, and we can all say what we want here. You’re right; it’s not a competition – we’re all on the same team. I hate the stigma around mental illness, but I don’t know how to battle it properly. Urg.

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  10. ” Any sort of mental problems are awful, and I should feel compassion on anyone struggling. I know this. We’re all on the same team here, we’re just varying degrees of invested. It’s like sports fans – some bought tickets off Criagslist the night before the game, and some have season passes, painted their faces, and decorated their houses in the team colors. Despite how deep into fandom we are, we’re all on the same team” . This is why I don’t think you are a real elitist if you get my point

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  11. And another thing..

    Haha. Actually two other things..
    The first is this. I was training for a marathon ( now if THAT doesn’t qualify as mental illness I don’t know what does!) And I had managed to do something to one of my feet, maybe it was tendonitis. All I know is that it was uncomfortable. I was doing a training run and wanted to run 14 mules that day and my foot went from uncomfortable to agonizingly painful. I was three miles from home and I was in agony walking let alone running. I thought about crawling the rest of the way honestly. So I was thinking to myself – a girl gets real religious when she is regularly torturing herself – “Christ was crucified. He had NAILS IN HIS FEET. Suck it up. This pain is NOTHING compared to His.”. Guess what? My foot still hurt every damn bit as much. Knowing that in then grand scheme of things that my pain was NOTHING compared to Christ and so many other people’s for that matter didn’t do a thing to help me get myself home. Comparing is only useful when you are mature and non self involved enough to compare yourself with those that are worse off than you are and be able to know that although your pain is real you aren’t the only one suffering. I suspect that you and everyone that has commented already do this. Perspective. Maybe that is what I am trying to say. It gives you perspective.

    Also – this next thought is only marginally relates – I feel sort of honored and lucky to have the issues that I have. I am in excellent company. I am not going all PollyAnna on you here ,I swear. But when you think about it, the people that have been the most remarkable and who have made the biggest contributions to the world – especially in the world of art – have been mentally ill
    Look at Robin Williams. No one can say Salvidore Dahli was mentally well. If we all were the main stream normal we would all see the world in exactly the same manner and how freaking boring would that be? In other words, the cool kids are bipolar. Its not so much an illness in my view but an overwhelming genius that may need to me managed so the person doesn’t self destruct. Now, THAT sort of thought process may be elitist now that I write it.

    I agree with the person that commented that those of us that really truly struggle rarely talk about it or display it. I think that is sort of a symptom of mental disorders. We isolate. (Thank you for giving me a place to be honest about it. ). We deal with our demons and dark moods alone but we take our successes or hilarious failures and great stories and give them to the world. The pain is ours. We keep that part. The beauty we share. It probably isn’t the healthiest way to be, but there it is. The people that post things like ” I trust no one, no one is loyal” or ” I may smile but am suffering inside ” truly have issues. I suspect those issues are a low self esteem and they are attention seeking.

    It’s similar to the people that post manifestos on Facebook and them ask people not to comment or give advice. There is one woman I know that posts these long stream of consciousness posts and/ or open letters to say – her ex husband – about really personal stuff on Facebook and then very curtly finishes the posts with a statement about how she will delete any comments and won’t respond to any messages sent to her about the post. This makes me wonder if she has never heard of a journal. Notebook. Paper. Personal. Secret. I know damn well she is just waiting for a message or a comment. I also know she gets them.

    I have wandered so far off the point that I think I am in Georgia. I apologize.

    Let me finish with – Hazel, you are brilliant. You chose to be survivor and not a victim. You have created a space here for other survivors to be unashamed and have opened up conversations and given us food for thought here. Thank you.

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    • “the cool kids are bipolar.”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAH! That was awesome. I laughed out loud. You’re right, though. I guess we’re in good company. I should try to focus on that instead of the challenges.

      And your last paragraph…well I almost teared up at that one. Thanks so much for your kind words. I really, really do try to be a survivor and not a victim. Some days are better than others, but I do try. I’m glad I’ve been able to help anyone else, even if just in a tiny way. 🙂

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      • It’s TRUE! Of course, it is also difficult sometimes to feel ‘lucky’ when you are curled up in your closet trying not to hyperventilate or in your bathroom looking at the scissors thinking about where you could cut yourself that would be least likely to be noticed. Survival is an every day sort of thing. Take your meds. Wonder if they are still working as well as they did, or if you are just plain sad. Or what is going on with you and did you remember to make your appointment…So feeling lucky and blessed is more of a “in the grand scheme of life.” sort of thing. Again, it’s all perspective. I look at the things I can do and the things I make that no one else makes or has thought of making and I think to myself, I will take the bad in return for the good. If we were all even tempered, even keeled, no depression no horrible tendencies then we wouldn’t have the amazing abilities we have in exchange. I feel like it balances.

        Thomas Edison was deaf and he felt incredibly lucky to be deaf because he (like myself) would work on things at all hours of the day and night. Whenever the mood struck him or he was inspired or had an idea. So he never slept on any sort of regular or normal schedule. He slept whenever he got tired. Sometimes that was in the middle of the day and sometimes that also was in the middle of parties or entertaining. Didn’t bother him. He just laid down and went to sleep and since he was deaf the noise around him didn’t keep him up or distract him when he was working for that matter. Who would have ever thought of being deaf as a blessing? I would have always thought of it as a challenge that needed to be adapted to.

        My daughter with CP doesn’t feel things on her skin in the same way you or I would. There are some instances where she is hyper sensitive or tactile defensive. Those are few and far between. Generally she doesn’t feel negative sensations as we do. So if she cuts her toes she has no idea. Or if her clothes are on backward (which they generally are.) Or if her shoes are on the wrong feet. (you would think the laws of probability would dictate that she would get her shoes on correctly at least half the time right? wrong. 100% of the time – wrong feet) she isn’t bothered. I don’t always notice right away and one day we were at church and I noticed while walking behind her that her pants were on wrong. Our nun was walking beside me and commented and I explained that that sort of thing didn’t bother Gabs, she didn’t have the same sensory input as the rest of us and I always thought of it as a challenge we had to make adaptations for. Like marking her shoes so that there were dots on the inside of each shoe that had to touch when she put them on. Sister Kathleen said “oh what a blessing! Not to be bothered by all the little things that bug the rest of us, like itchy tags and things.” leave it to a nun to come up with that. I had never thought of it like that. I always thought of her not feeling things that are bad or wrong as a problem. It depends on how you look at it. Society generally sees it as an issue. In some instances it is, like when she comes in and her feet are bleeding and she doesn’t realize it it’s an issue. But again, in the grand scheme of life, how great not to care what you look like and not to feel if things are on your body right or not. Just to be able to toss on whatever you can find and walk out the door and not care or be bothered.

        The greater the blessing I suppose the greater the price we pay for that blessing.
        all the cool kids ARE bipolar and I take it as a huge compliment when people tell me I’m nuts. I bet they wish they were too.

        Side note on being nuts. I was at the psychiatrist one day – and generally speaking I’m fine. I just go in every couple months for scripts. Like a car that runs well but needs an oil change. So my doctor will chat when he is writing. He is this short little Indian man and he is adorable and i love him. He says one day “Your birthday is coming up, what do you want to do?” I said, “oh, I would LOVE to go up in an hot air balloon!” He looks me straight in the face and says “Are you CRAZY?” and there was a beat where we were both silent and looking at each other and then burst out laughing. I said “isn’t that why I’m HERE?” Then he went into his whole thing about risk taking behaviour etc and should he be concerned? I have always loved heights. I have wanted to take a balloon ride my whole life, so no. This is my baseline crazy not new and alarming crazy.

        And you do help. A lot. This is a good place to be. Where all we nutters can gather but not make a huge mess.

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  12. I have had silent panic attacks (definitely a super horrible thing–people didn’t notice–although I didn’t smile. I probably just looked vaguely constipated). I have had total-freakout-run-away panic attacks. I have had hyperventilating panic attacks. I have had I’m-going-to-die panic attacks.

    I struggled when I was younger, but perhaps these days I count as high functioning. Not quite sure what the cut off is. I’m still awful in crowds though–even supermarket-density crowds. I have ok days with it, but all too often I simply can’t. But, other than that, it seems like a lot of my anxiety these days revolves around the high functioning kinds of things. And … it’s kind of good? I mean, it sucks. It would be great not to have it at all. But comparatively, it’s so good. It hits me, and then once it’s gone, I just feel this relief that that was all it was. And I feel a bit bad for thinking that because it’s the whole struggle for some people.

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    • Wait, you get panic attacks in supermarkets?? I GET PANIC ATTACKS IN SUPERMARKETS! Seriously. Grocery shopping is my least favorite thing! My therapist was all, “Ummm…grocery shopping? You’re afraid of grocery shopping? I’ve never heard of that.” So then I basically felt like a freak. Have you found any ways to get better at that? What is it about grocery stores? I can’t put my finger on it, but it totally freaks. me. out.

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      • Wow that’s a super unprofessional response from your therapist. I never thought it was weird, although I suppose I don’t know anyone else who is quite like me in supermarkets. I’m generally bad at crowds, but there’s something about supermarkets that is just the worst. I think it’s the way people move around? And how you’re kind of in everyone’s way all the time? I’m really not sure.

        Because I have a chronic illness, I don’t do a lot of the household grocery shopping. (which kind of a blessing and a curse because I don’t get much opportunity to practice and diminish the anxiety). When I do it I try to avoid peak shopping hours. I try to just take my time, not put too much pressure on myself, not rush myself. If I start getting anxious, I let myself move away from that aisle, stand somewhere quiet, and circle back later. It helps to be with someone I trust (i.e., trust to talk to about my anxiety), and if I get really bad they can take over the decision making and the checkout bit. Sometimes I’ll cry in the car afterward. And some supermarkets are easier than others for me (no idea why) so I prefer to go to them.

        I am a bit better than I have been in the past (there was about six months where I was guaranteed panic attack every time. Also at sushi bars. No idea why sushi bars. Anxiety is weird). Sometimes now I don’t even get nervous, let alone freaked out, so maybe that stuff helps.

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      • At last I also know why I couldn’t do groceries with my boyfriend in Belgium like ‘normal people’. He tried to help but he also couldn’t get it and 8 out of 10 times we went there was sure to be a melt down, a grudge bearing and some ‘ackward behaviour’ before, during and after the grocerie shopping. Maybe because I am from Cameroon in Africa where you go to your slow market and bargain and buy what you want or need and go home… I had never felt the pressure of a grocery shop. We do have some here but mainly for the expats and better offs and well the pressure ain’t the same especially at the tellers. Poeple don’t have carts overloaded and are rushing like crazy in every direction. And there is no pressure to check out in 5 minutes or be damned. To this extent, I am glad I am back to my country and our local market (you will call that farmers market). Knowing is a vital step in doing. Now I know what was happening, I will surely be able to do better if ever I find myself going grocery shopping out there again. And when I visited the US… I didn’t go no grocery shopping voluntarily. The only time I went into one of those your malls was to accompany family shop for clothes and etc and I just walked at my pace behind them letting them do their stuffs and deal with check out etc. Thank you all

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  13. I think what you’re describing isn’t elitism, but human. It’s in human nature to constantly compare our situations to others’. Judgments follow. Yeah, judgments are something that we can work on, for sure, but it doesn’t make you, me, or anyone else a bad person. Also, I think what really matters is how we react to these judgmental thoughts. I have horrible thoughts all the time; if I said all of them I would probably be labeled a major bitch. But I don’t. I think that restraint is important.

    As a side note (or after note…?) I also get frustrated when people say, “I know how you feel…” and such, especially when they have income, a job, etc. and I have none of those things because I can’t really function right now.

    You’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I agree that it’s not necessarily the comparison that’s the bad part, but the judgement that follows it. That’s what I’m trying to shake off I guess. Oh, and I also hate the “me too’s.” That’s when I get all elitist, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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