Please, don’t comment about my skin..

t3sirvhThis is a picture of me. By looking at me, people would assume that there is nothing wrong with me, that my skin is perfectly flawless. If only people actually knew the truth of what I actual deal with. I wish that I could be the type of person to admit that, beyond the makeup that I wear are the endless amount of scars from the picking that I have done to myself over the past years. Perhaps I should explain myself a bit.

I have Dermatillomania, otherwise known as obsessive skin picking.

It was something that I learned was not enjoyable at all, especially with the standards of beauty of today society. Today, we are all supposed to have beautiful skin and hair and when you have dermatillomania, it doesn’t happen, especially when you cannot help but to pick at the scarbs as well as acne that is on my face. No, according to the beauty industry, we are all supposed to have these beautiful faces with no imperfections at all. Imagine how I feel when I hear that is the standard of beauty. It is something that I cannot say that I am proud of. I am not proud of my picking but again, I cannot control it. Not at all. Half of the time, I really do not even know that I am even picking my face.

This became a problem around my High School time, when stress was high and I needed a way in order to calm myself down. The way to do it was to pick at my face. It was an unhealthy way but for some reason, my mind thought about doing it and half the time, I absentmindedly did it. Throughout my time of skin picking, my peers would make fun of me, muttering comments about what I was doing and teasing me about it but I really couldn’t stop. I could not find a way to stop. It was not something that I could do. My mind just did not have any control in stopping. It made it rather difficult for me, making me question everything that I was doing. Not only was I teased for picking my face and causing more open wounds on my face, but I also was teased for my appearance as well. Life was the same after school, but this time, I had total strangers come up to me and comment about ways to clear up my acne. It was embarrassing, considering that they didn’t know what I was dealing with at the time. Even today, people seem to comment about my skin picking, especially whenever they seeing me picking at my skin. They seem not to understand Dermatillomania and what it really means. Well let me explain.

To put it nicely, it is hell. Half of the time, I don’t even know that I am picking at my fact because I am absentmindedly doing it. It is something that I cannot control, something that I really wish that I could control for it would easily prevent the stares and the comments from the other people who seem to enjoy making towards me. Not only has this cost me my face by causing countless of scars but it caused a lot of interior scars as well, making it difficult for me to actually deal with certain things. I used to be so carefree but now, I am cautious with my appearance, hating to get my picture taken without any ounce of makeup on my face. I need makeup on my face. My self esteem has also lowered because of it, making it difficult to actually accept compliments from people whenever they are given to me. Everything is just so much harder now thanks to the fact that this I deal with all thanks to my skin picking.

If you know anyone who suffers from Dermatillomania, please be kind to them. They deal with enough suffering deep inside from the comments of others around them. Try to be supportive and help them out, that way, they have someone to talk to whenever they need someone. You never know who a person might need when they least expect it.

Physical vs Mental Illness

mentalhealth2

Above is a comic strip of what would happen if we treated physical illness the same way we treat mental illnesses. As we all know, or as most of us know, both mental and physical illness can be serious and yet, physical illnesses are often treated as more important than mental. Both are serious, both needed to be treated and yet one isn’t taken seriously. But why?

It is believed that mental illnesses are not taken seriously because of the fact that they are invisible illnesses and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Because of this, it makes it harder for a person to believe whether or not a person is ill or not. With a mental illness, it is not “all inside of their head”. A person is not faking their illness in order to gain some sort of attention from someone around them. No, they actually do have the illness, whether it be bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc. they have  something going on with their brains. It is these problems which are common misunderstood and make for an interesting topic. Now when a person is mentally ill and ends up in a hospital, you don’t see flowers and balloons sent in their directions, with well wishes and hopes of feeling better. No, the family tends to hide it from the rest of the world, not wanting them to know that this person, this one person in this household is flawed within their brain. It is a said truth that happens in many households and has been happening for many years. Years before, the mentally ill were locked up, hidden away from the rest of the world. They were classified as an embarrassment to the family. Perhaps, we still see it as that embarrassment factor.

Now lets compare that to when you break your arm and you get on a cast. When that happens, everyone rushes over just to sign it, making sure that they got their autograph on your cast. Sometimes, people send you flowers but there is empathy shown within your direction, people show that they care for you. It is something that most people do whenever someone breaks an arm. Same goes for the fact when a person is deathly ill, people show that same sort of compassion towards them, knowing that it is something that most people  deal with in their lifetime. It is something that everyone shows. Yet people who have mental illness never receive this sort of love, they are commonly ignores and pushed aside.

But what if we stopped to think about how we treated the mentally ill and started to become a bit more accepting towards the illness in general. What if we decided to allow our hearts to open up towards them and listen to everything that we could offer towards them. Maybe a good place to start is to offer a listening ear and not pass any judgement on them, knowing that they deal with enough judgement as is. Also, send them some kind words when needed for you never know when those dark thoughts might be creeping up within their minds and trying to control. Be a friend to them and chances are, you would have a good friend for life.

Just remember, your brain needs just as much care as the rest of your body does, if not more.

The Anti-Social Disorder

Anti-social. It is something that I hear way too often from people who I am around. Often times, when I am around people, I am told to interact more with people, to get to know people who I don’t really know. If only they knew how difficult it could be for me, especially with the fact that I already have Bipolar. So what am I getting at here. Does Bipolar have a connection bring anti-social? I believe so.

I was never like this when I was a child though. I was completely the opposite. A social butterfly, I was more than willing to talk to anyone who I could possibly see. Even throughout High School and College, I had no problem talking to people. It was a gift that I had, being a charismatic person with the ability to talk to anyone. That changed when I got into my first salon however. I was beaten to death by the words of the other stylist, hurting my self esteem, which in turn ruined me. It brought up my anxiety and allowed my bipolar to rear its ugly head and prove that it was something to be feared. I pulled back away from people, including those who I considered my friends and family. I didn’t know who I really could trust anymore. There wasn’t anyone. No one I knew really understood me, I felt, no one knew what I was going through. It became a challenge for me to actually fit in with those around me, to trust anyone who I actually became close with before. Who could I actually trust with my illness? After finding being diagnosed, I didn’t know who to turn to.

When I began to tell those about my illness, I began loosing friends, those who didn’t understand the illness and did not want anything to deal with it. It scared me, considering that I was afraid what I would have left. I pulled back even further from people, to the point of where I am now, i really don’t know how to socialize with people anymore. I have forgotten how to socialize. For me, it doesn’t come naturally and it is troubling when people talk to me. I find it quite difficult at times to start conversations, always finding a way to end them quickly or to pull them away from a subject that is non confrontational. Even the simplest task of asking someone how their day is happens to be of some trouble for me. I lose myself within my words. scrambling within the jumbling mess that rests within my head. It is all too much for me to deal with at times. I cannot get my words straightened out. How I wish I can. Then comes the fact that I want to shy away from other people, that I literally want to pull myself away and hide myself in the corner. Being around a group of louder people exhausts me and while I can be loud at times, I need my space and my peace. I like my time to myself without others bothering me or getting in my way. Is that really too much to ask? I certain do not hope so.

But yet, even my emotions seem to provide me with some problems. I am not one who commonly shows my emotions out loud, as my boyfriend likes to put it and therefore, it makes it rather hard to tell what I am exactly feeling deep inside. I was never one to really share my emotions, I never thought that would be an issue but it has seemed to have gotten worse with age. Now, I hide them well, portraying the famed “bitch face” rather well. Not only that but there are plenty of times in which that I should have cried at a funeral and I never have. Why? I really do not know. Perhaps it was because in my mind, I felt that it wasn’t right for me to cry. There was something inside of me that told me that I needed to be brave and not cry like everyone else. It is something that always seems to be playing in my mind. Put on the brave face and don’t let anyone see your weakness. It is what always plays in my head, especially with my illnesses that I must deal with. I must not allow others to see them as weaknesses. It is not something that I can let them witness, especially with all of the stigma that surrounds them.

Yet, I am not apparently the only one who feels anti-social with Bipolar disorder. It is apparent that other people who have Bipolar disorder also seem to suffer from this as well. While looking on one of the support groups, I saw many topics talking about members being anti-social and concerns about it, especially with how anti-social they were. It seems that this is something that people with bipolar seem to have a common trait with? Perhaps that is due to the fact that we all have this fear that, deep down inside, someone might be out there, judging us for our illness. There is someone out there who is judging us, who doesn’t understand our illness nor doesn’t want to try to understand it. The majority of us have already witnessed what it was like to be judged by another, to deal with the stigma from the people around us about this disorder that we are born with and yet, we still hold up that caution that is around us. Even with our family and friends, there is still that caution that they are going to judge us, no matter what they think about our illness. Perhaps it is unfair of us to think of such things but maybe we do have a right mind. Maybe most of the people with the disorder are like me. Perhaps most of them sit and stare at people, watching them intently and questioning whether or not they should interfere and talk to them or not. Question whether of not they should get to know more about they personality, to get to know the traits that sets them apart compared to others. After all, they say that people with bipolar tend to be more sensitive than others.

Perhaps, people with Bipolar just need to be understood.

Medicine and the Stigma Around It

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First of all, I thought a little humor to my blog post would work well for this post. At least at the moment before I actually get a little bit serious. The reason why I am posting this is because I always seem to get a comment about medicine and how I act. Yes, people seem to enjoy making comments about stuff like that. Something along the lines of: “You should really increase your medicine, you are not acting normal..”. Really? Because I am actually showing my personality, does not mean that I need my medicine upped. So guess what folks, I decided to write something about medicine some stigma around it.  That is right, I plan on getting down to the nitty gritty of medicine and letting you all know the truth about medicine.

So here is my list about the common stigmas that people have about medicine. Please note, this is not everything, for there is so much out there, it would be hard to post everything into one post.

  1. Your medicine isn’t working. You should really be upping your dose? Really? This is a comment that I often hear, especially when my actual personality is beginning to shine through. People seem to be unable to understand that your personality should be allowed to shine through with the medicine that you are on and you should not be a zombie. I have seen so many people who are zombie like in appearance all because of the medicine they are on, it is frightening. I personally don’t want to be like them at all.
  2. Did you take your medicine at all today? This ties in with the first one.  There are days in which the medicine will not work at all. Sorry guys but some days, it just won’t. Some days, the illness is a lot stronger than the medicine itself can handle, making it a lot harder in order to control. It is during these days that you must understand to be patient with us. We did not chose to be like this and we are trying the best that we can in order to control what we are feeling today. We really are.
  3. Perhaps you should go natural. It is much safer. Unfortunately, anything natural is not proven to help any symptoms that I am feeling with my illness. There is also a greater chance of it worsening as well.
  4. Exercise will help those problems disappear. Exercise will only help mild symptoms but when your symptoms are severe, chances are it will not help at all. Yet, it can help with the happiness but the effect is only limited to short term. Certain illnesses need more than just exercise – such as therapy and medicine – in order to keep their minds clear. Some people actually suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain which is severe enough where medicine is the only way to fix it.
  5. You know what that medicine can do to you right. Listen, I know what my medicine can do to me, which is why my doctor talks to me about it with me before he puts me on it. There is always a great disappointment in me when I listen to all the side effects that come from each of the pills that I take on a daily basis. However, I will admit that with the side effects that I deal with, each pill gives me strength to continue forwards and deal with my day as thought nothing was wrong with me. These medicines help me to live a normal life, something which I am rather grateful for to say the least. I could tell you that I could be one of those who hates my medicine but in truth, my medicine has provided me with so much freedom in my life that most would not expect at all.
  6. You take too many pills. Maybe you should decrease them? Are you a doctor now? Seriously, those type of people drive me nuts. Perhaps if you knew what I had to deal with on a daily basis, maybe you would understand why I took so many pills in the first place. There is a reason why. There is always a reason why I am taking that medicine and the reason why I need it. Perhaps it is best for you to just not ask about it.

So that is my list that I have come with and I know that there is plenty more out there. If you would like to share with me of some of the things that you have heard, please feel free to comment below! Also, let us try to prevent the stigma of mental illness and medicines. It is crazy how many times I hear these comments coming from others.

And as always, stay beautiful and happy, my friends!

Just smile more..

sadvshappy

According to most, we all have a choice, we have a choice to be happy. If we choose to be happy, then we will be happy and if we do not, then chances are, we will be depressed. At least, that is what I hear every day from the people around me. Happiness is a choice and we all can make that choice.

Hold on a second. If happiness is a choice, then why am I not happy?

I will say that I lived a somewhat normal life. Although I was teased by some of the kids in school, I had a good amount of friends throughout the years. My parents loved me and I had a sister who would do anything for me. I was a happy and very healthy child who rarely had any problems with stress at all – at least from my knowledge. All that changed in Middle School, when my moods seemed to appear out of nowhere and the depression had kicked in. Of course, I rarely talked about it and faked my happiness throughout the years. Was it healthy, no but it got me through life. After all, it was the survival of the fittest. The weak would be picked on by the strong and that was something that I could not afford at all. It was also during this time that my excessive skin picking occurred, something that still continues to this day. As to the cause of my problems, one could easily blame one boy – oh I remember his name so well – who I had a crush on. Unfortunately, he did not feel the same for me. I was too plain for him, not pretty enough compared to most of the girls in Middle School. It was the first time in my life that I was told that I needed to wear more makeup because I was not “pretty enough”. Just imagine the emotional toll it took on me, the confidence it destroyed. I will admit, to this day I still do not see myself as pretty all because of the events in Middle School. I find it hard to.

In High School, I have very few friends and in college, I had harder any at all. I limited myself, preferring to stick to myself than to have myself be hurt by anyone else. Yet throughout my time with the people I have hung out with, I have expressed that I was not feeling the greatest due to my depression (which I would later find out would be part of bipolar). I would always get the same response that I would always get. I was too pretty to worry about such a thing and I needed to smile more.  To smile more. Yes, I needed to smile more. Why was everyone so obsessed with smiling more? What was up with people wanting me to be happy, thinking it would actually cause me to be happy in return? Did they not understand how things worked?

For those who never had a mental illness, let me explain something clearly to you, something that I hope that you will understand quite clearly. Mental illnesses are real illnesses and not figments of our imagination. We are not imagining them so please, believe us when we say we are suffering. Also, we simply cannot just become happy at a flip of a switch. That is not the way that our brain work. A lot of the illnesses have to deal with a chemical imbalance within our brain, making it nearly impossibly for us to just be happy in an instance. Sometimes, it take therapy and medicine in order to help us balance ourselves out. Oh and about the medicine, we are not weak for taking medicine so please, do not judge us for it. We are strong for admitting that we need some help, strong for admitting that yes, there is something that is wrong with us. There is nothing wrong with that. The last thing I wish for you to do is please, be supportive of us. Although we consider ourselves as a strong bunch of people, we still need support from others. After all, we are still only human, just like the rest of you.