Is Normality Real For People with a Mental Disorder?
Guest Post By: Nicole C.
So how the topic of this blog came about was partly due to one of my trigger words is “normal”. Another was from a conversation between Samantha and me on how we thought it would make a good blog topic so here I go attempting it.
One thing some of us with a Mental Disorder do on a daily bases, I know I did for a long time. It was hard trying to hold on to some feeling of normalcy. Often the feeling eluded me because of the way my brain reacts to run-of-the-mill of everyday life.
With me being on medication changed everything. How it affected me; I felt robbed of me. It affected every aspect of my life. I lost how to function completely. The outgoing, moody, impulsive, wild woman who worked multiple jobs at a time, traveled around the world alone and went to college was now a zombie! The medication made me more dependent on others, now my family friends and my significant other all changed how they treated me and some did not have my best interest at heart. Then I had one of the worst reactions to medication causing “stroke like symptoms”. Now I have more health issues and a fear of all prescription drugs. The worst was leaving me with dysphasia the choking when swallowing from time to time mostly with pills if they are too big.
Now I am without medication for my bipolar and added health issues. I am unable to do thing I use to do. I had to learn to relive a normal life on my own and not be so dependent on others as much as possible. How was I going to do that, by focusing on my basic needs to start?
My “normal” basic needs
- Am I being Bipolar or am I living with Bipolar? I had to get my moods under control this meant learning all I can about my Bipolar and other issues. I had to learn all I can about the medications, interactions between medications and what I was able to control without prescription medications. Then learn what I was able to stop taking and explore way to maintain life without those prescription medications through other means like talking with my therapist learning my triggers, learning coping skills, holistic treatments and meditation. All while under the supervision of my doctor that I trusted in order to do this safely. While making sure I keep appointments with my therapist.
- Am I taking care of myself health wise? Many of my health issues I have to keep taking prescription drugs. After the “stroke” my memory was affected and now I had the Dysphagia, the medical term for swallowing difficulties. So I had to take steps to remind me to take my medication, setting alarms for when to take them and setting up pills boxes for the week. I also have to watch the size of the pills I take. Making sure nothing is too big or checking with the doctor and pharmacist to see if something can be crushed mixed with yogurt or apple sauces. If not can it be broken in half, if all else fails a smaller pill and taken more of them to get dosage requirements.
Again while making sure I keep appointments with my doctors and going to
- Do I have a roof over my head is it a clean safe place? I had to get a safe place to live. This I needed help with so I had to look into getting a steady income and getting a home. Thanks to help from family I was able to do this. For each it is different so look at what options you have if you can no longer work. After I had my house and the roof over my head I now have to keep it up this meant keeping it clean and the yard up. So I made a weekly schedule for house work laundry yard work and I try to clean the kitchen after each meal.
- Are my bills paid? Now that my income was a lot less than what I was use to I had to learn how to budget and live with just the necessities. I had to leaner what I needed what I wanted. Then focus in on my needs and save up or go without some things I wanted. Hard thing to do when you love to spoil yourself! But I did it! No more shopping sprees and little the things I could not afford. No more traveling or going out to the expensive restaurant or tattoos. I had to focus on the main things 1st. then if I was able save up for the finer things in life that I wanted. I also have to keep my financial paperwork in order so I do not loses my income not always easy but I need to remind myself when I need help because it can be confusing or others cannot help and create obstacles for you so you just need to be diligent and present till you make your goals
- Do I have healthy food to eat and something to drink? making sure I had food is always a hard one being on limited money with no extra money coming in. sometimes I will go without unless I ask for help or seek out the place to help like food banks or the kindness of friends who will help by stocking me up once in a while.
- Did I tend to my personal care and care of my pets? Being mindful of if I eating regular meals taking care of my body my clothing sleeping enough and getting enough exercise. Then I also have to be mindful of my pets are they getting all they need too are they feed is the cat box clean. Taking them to the vet and taking care of their health needs.
- Am I being productive or ideal? being to ideal can affect how you feel sitting in front of the computer watching Netflix/movies/ TV or getting lost in the internet, playing a game or reading a book for hours on end although very entertain and easy to get lost in time with. After losing so many hours in it really I was not feeling productive in anyway. So I had to find ways to be productive. This meant finding things I can do, maybe something I could generate some kind of income from. So working from home babysitting was good for me. I also did the craft shows for a while with the jewelry I made. Once those things ended I got in to drawing and painting and found this was my passion. Main thing is find something to-do that creates something. Now I found I like writing and doing theses blogs.
- Am I being social or antisocial? This one is very hard for me. And I struggle with it a lot. Living alone and having very few local friends and family around me.
- I often have too much alone time. Another thing that hinders me is I am unable to drive so I am dependant of other means of getting around not always easy with a small support group and limited budget that really does not allow paying for rides. I do let people know if I am feeling like I am getting to lonely by saying o I need friends and family around me and hope they come hang out with me. I also like to go to Unitarian Universalist Church a bipolar support group and a grief support group when I can work out a safe ride there and back. Getting around is something I am always striving to improve.
- Am I being independent or letting others take control? I have to watch this closely because many like to try to come in my life and take over making me feel like because of my bipolar and health issues I am unable to do anything on my own. When I was on meds it was easier for others to take control of my money, my meds, my life. Off meds I have to do what I can and ask for help when need but also say look just do what I ask nothing more than show my appreciation when they help. this also mean I have to watch how others treat me not letting toxic people control my moods be it on line or off.
- Do I have something I believe in? Finding Faith and hope believing in the god and goddess mother earth is my belief. Some want to label this as I am Wiccan I am a spiritualist I am a natural witch whatever label you want to put on it I really do not care. It all boils down to this believe in a higher power. I believe that or great goddess mother earth gives us all we need to live. Whatever someone believes in trust in your faith let it offer you hope know it will help you. Believe that the higher power has given you life for a purpose. Once you fulfill that purpose you will move on naturally so DO NOT GIVE UP! No matter how dark it is look for that light and follow it!
Well I think that is a nice place to end this blog. That is how I feel I live a normal life. It might now be what most in society who has that 9-5 job or that husband/wife/ significant other or those kids. It might not be everyone picture of normal but it is my everyday life that I strive to hold on and improve on every day to and that is what counts.
Hope this helped you peace and love