A Look Into How Being Mentally Ill Effects My Body Image:Including Reflection.

“I decided i wanted to write a post about beauty and mental illness. This is something that has been bothering me for some time. I think to my self if im sane enough to realize this and think about it, why am i not sane enough to do anything about it. I make up excuses for everything, i dont have enough energy is the biggest one, or it wont be perfect, and it has to be perfect or it will have been wasted energy for nothing. Stress is causing me a lot of physical problems like grey hair, etc… Which just adds to the problems. When I was a teenager i payed more attention to beauty then i do now, but i never was as into it as most girls. I blame most of this on money, people pay other people to make them look good, and also they can buy clothes, shoes, jewelry. I cant work and we have no money. My clothes come from used stores, walmart, gifts, borrow my husbands clothes (pjs), freecycle, etc… I bought two new outfits a year ago cost me $200 for on sale price items. From those clothes all i have left is worn stuff that is barely usable and i had to throw out some because it was so full of holes and faded, it looked like i was homeless. Shoes I have a few pairs that are years old and very worn, and i got two pairs of sandles from freecycle. Jewelry, I dont have any plain and simple, i have my ears pierced but nothing to put in them. The only ring i had, i had to sell to get money for food. and that only got me $20 (worth $200). I get to dye my hair once in awhile, but that takes a lot of energy so i barely do that, I cut my own hair once in awhile, but im not very good at that. I often wonder if i could get some kind of beauty budget, would i feel better about myself, would i want to take care of my weight? Thats a whole other issue. I feel that sometimes i dont want to be pretty/skinny because i cant handle the attention i get from guys, i just want to be invisable and being overweight lets me do that. I also feel like dying most of the time, like life is too much for me to handle. So if i stop taking care of myself and im not pretty its like im not real, like no one can see me. I know all this is horrible and i have to worst self esteem, but i know a part of me likes this new way of hiding, but i think i real me is still trying to get a handle on life and is screaming under all this fat and abuse “let me out, your a worthy person and you will show everyone just how amazing you are”. But theres also a part of me, driven on depression and a product of abuse saying, “NO, eat more, hid yourself, its not safe out there you cant go back out there,” I think this also explains a bit of my social anxiety. Thats another reason why even if i had the money i wouldnt want to get the new clothes, get my hair and nails done. Sometimes i think that because im mentally ill maybe i have some free pass or something to hid behind my poorly taken care of body. Like im sick and tired i cant do better then this i dont want to.”

Reflection: I wrote this one night when I was feeling really down about myself and my life in general. I don’t always feel this way, its mainly the depression talking. But it is all the truth. I am normally a very positive person, but a part of me always feels saddened by what this illness does to me. When im well enough I try, I try really hard to pick up the pieces of my life. Like for example, today I painted my nails a lovely light purple. Just in time for spring I thought. It may not seem like much to most people and it may not even look that nice, but it put a smile on my face. I felt like I accomplished something towards a bigger goal. Things have been kinda tough lately so I will take any ray of hope I can get! I choose to post this as raw as it is because It really does show how depression can cripple you. How it can lay all the negatives out on the table for you. How it can twist your way of thinking there is no purple nail polish side to life. Depression only wants you to see one side, the negative side. Fortunately I still have good days, days where the depression cant touch me and everything feels special. Those days are why I fight the on going struggle of depression. 

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My Experience With Telling My Family I Had An Illness.

“I suffer from a life long illness called Bipolar that effects my moods among other things. 
Bipolar Disorder makes me have extreme mood swings, from mania to depression, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with what’s going on in my life. A depressive episode for me looks like persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, or hopelessness; disturbances in sleep, fatigue and loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities; problems concentrating; loneliness, shyness or social anxiety; irritability, chronic pain (without a known cause); lack of motivation. In severe cases of depression, I may become psychotic which means I hear voices and see things, I also can become very paranoid. 
When i’m manic i’m irritable. I commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep (I can stay up for days at a time with no need for sleep). I talk fast and my thoughts are racing. My attention span is very low, and i’m easily distracted. My judgment may become impaired, and I may go on spending sprees or engage in behaviour that is quite abnormal (Like strange idea to do things, or start something I cant finish). I may feel out of control or unstoppable. In the past I have felt that I have been “chosen” or am “on a special mission” also, I have had other grandiose or delusional ideas. When I am in a manic state I experience severe anxiety and are very irritable. 
Hypomania is generally a mild to moderate level of mania, characterized by optimism, pressure of speech and activity, and decreased need for sleep. When i’m hypomaniac i’m more productive than usual. I can have increased creativity. I generally have increased energy and tend to become more active than usual. Hypomania usually feels good. 
Sometimes I have mixed Bipolar where symptoms of mania and depression occur simultaneously (for example, agitation, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, impulsiveness, insomnia, irritability, panic, paranoia, fast speech, racing thoughts and restlessness)
Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression, and is caused by electrochemical abnormalities in the brain, it is also genetic (my mother has major depressive disorder), Experiences in life can trigger the onset of Bipolar Disorder. 
I am a rapid cycler — that means I can be ultra-excited one day and deeply depressed the next, for no obvious reason. I get into what are called “mixed states” when I seem to have a lot of energy but at the same time am really down, angry or panicky. Inappropriate anger can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. I might say or have said hurtful things that I really don’t mean — I’m sorry.”

That is the message that I sent to a few family members. I guess I wasn’t too surprised by the reactions that I got from most people, but it still upset me greatly. Most people said nothing and haven’t talked to me since. That includes my parents, grandma, cousins. aunts,   friends, etc… My in-laws were the only ones who talked about it. My cousin said that her boyfriend also had it and it was hard to deal with sometimes, buts thats all she ever said. We dont talk much any more and we havent talked about Bipolar since I told her. I guess when you share this information with family you really do find out who is there for you. Unfortunately most of my family and friends left me. Thanks to facebook  I have had the opportunity to meet some great people who are going threw the same stuff as me. If you want to copy what I wrote and send it to your family members go ahead. I thought it explained it well and decided if I was going to tell them, I was going to tell it all. My father in-law said it was very helpful and he had no idea that there were so many symptoms caused by Bipolar Disorder. I find no matter how many times I tell them about whats going on they still dont understand or remember, especially if they dont see me everyday.  If anyone has any tips for educating your family about this disorder please share in the comments below.