Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting Help & Spilling Beans

With mental illness I find I am frustrated by celebrities owning up to their experiences I don't see a lot of pushing for universal access to help. Even having a great job doesn't mean the help you need will be readily available WHEN you need it. So what do you do to bridge the gap? How do you work on the problems that are going on in your life if the "experts" are just not available? If you need help, ASK!  
Or as I was so very fortunate - if help finds its way to you TAKE IT. 
Worst case scenario they can't help and you move on. But it's something. And when you're dealing with your personal well being and health sometimes anything is better than nothing.

Through twitter I found a life coach who is willing to do some e-counselling, for free. We may skype down the road but for now this is my initial email asking her for help:

We had been chatting on twitter briefly and you offered to help bridge the gap while I wait to be able to afford more specific therapies to my illnesses. I'll try to breifly review my position and maybe you can tell me how you think you can help.

I come from an abusive upbringing.I did very well in school always holding down extracurriculars and/or job and keeping good grades. I would go through bouts of depression and social recluse but home was bad enough at times I chose the lesser of two evils and would foster unhealthy social relationships.My father was emotionally non existent. I used drugs an alcohol semi frequently. Promiscuousness, risk taking behavior ensued. 
I went on to university where the major depressive episodes started to kick in. The verbal abuse from my mother was mounting through phone calls and emails. I started to abuse drugs more heavily. I see my first counselor in regards to a personal matter between a friend and I. It doesn't help. I quit school after my second year unable to manage the financial pressure and depression.
A couple of years go by with mediocre jobs and varying episodes of major depression and wild social life/ drugs abuse. I quit drugs in 2004/2005. I also lost my friends either through not having the stability to be a good friend over time or having to cut ties to be able to quit drugs. I have been lonely ever since and social anxiety has been overwhelming ever since. I shifted my addiction to spending. I start running unmanageable debts. 
I am still dating the same man I was with during my withdraw socially and quitting drugs. He is very supportive but unable to help. We have been on and off. I still smoke marijuana occasionally and I drink occasionally. 
I have held increasingly better (but still in my opinion, terrible) jobs ever since I left school with no level of engagement or fulfillment. I declared bankruptcy in 2009. I have no savings. I work for a bank as a mortgages and car loan customer service representative. I hate my job and position in society. It leads to much self loathing. I need my job for the benefits to cover my medical needs (prescriptions etc). I feel trapped. I am overweight and physically inactive. My diet is far from perfect but not bad. I'm mostly vegetarian with a few meat cheats now and again. Cheese kills me. As I begin to exercise panic overwhelms me. I am sure this is a knee jerk reaction to increased heart rate. I used to be very healthy and active. I'm not sure when the change happened. 
So as of recently I have been diagnosed by my doctor as social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and my EAP counselling says I have PTSD and recommends specialized treatment for as such. He is a psychologist from another country without his certification for canada but counsel's as "employee assistance council-ling". I don't care how many labels people throw at me, I just want the pain and confusion to go away. 

Currently what bothers me is a lack of focus, inability to stay in the moment. I get confused easily and have no drive or motivation to complete any task set in front of me (this email took all afternoon with several breaks and other activities thrown in). I have always been a strong performer but my statistics at work, productivity, "sales", everything is dropping below par when I was once a distinguished employee. I have been off work for a little over a month and am due back on May 2nd. I do not feel ready to go in and try to do my best. I cannot talk to my boss about it. She's... emotionally retarded. Love her to death but she doesn't get that emotional needs can be just as sever as physical. I tried once. She lectured me for a while  about how time off is for sickness and blah blah blah. 

Also, I crave a social network. Close friends. I know I don't like myself enough for that as I always find fault or reason not to become close to people. 

So I'm not sure- can you help with any of this?

Thanks for the offer non the less :)


  1. Your description of yourself is exactly how I would have described myself almost two years ago. Even your diagnoses are almost exactly the same as mine. So is your lack of motivation and your inability to focus. If your lack of friends and your desire for close friendships is something I can totally relate to.

    I am impressed with how you are seeking out help. I was not able to do that. If it had not been formally suicide attempt, I am not sure if I ever would have gotten help.

    I am looking forward to getting to know you better.

  2. Oh Melissa, you're so sweet AND my first commenter. (so thats exciting!) I look forward to getting to know you better as well.
    Thank you for your kindness and for sharing your experience. I am sure to blog on this more later but thoughts of suicide and self harm are no stranger to me. I am happy to hear despite your attempt , help was a result.

  3. That was really well written, I loved reading it and can relate to so much, expecially the bit about friends. I have lots of acquaintances, lots of people I meet for lunch or a drink, but no-one who is close

  4. I sympathise with people who are not getting the help they need. It is true that sometimes people refuse to accept they need help, but it is also utterly ridiculous if and when you need it and you cannot get it. I have known people who have mental illnesses in both these situations.

    I hope more counsellors and coaches open up to this situation. It is true that I may not be able to help you - however we can but try ! Sometimes people just do not gel.

    Have a good day.