What it's like to have mental disorders

strelnikova (@strelnikova) 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey, all. I surveyed a couple of people and I thought this insight could be interesting or enlightening to read. I asked them their experience or perceptions of their disorder and how they see the world. Under each category, a plus sign (+) is a different person’s experience of the same disorder.

Depersonalization/Derealization disorder: +Depersonalization is like feeling as though you are not real and are just like an etherial being walking through a concrete world. Derealisation is like feeling like you are walking through a dream, but you know you’re awake, but it feels like everyone and everything around you is not real.

Body Dysmorphia: +I feel like the connection between what my eyes are seeing and what my body actually is constantly changes and is usually lying to me. This is something I find comes and goes in my life, and in periods of high anxiety I experience it much stronger.

Anxiety/Panic Disorder: +Everything has to be proper. Every planning thing has to be thought out to a T or else all of the things that could happen go through your head at a million miles an hour. You’re worried about every little thing and you feel this knot in the pit of your stomach about an upcoming paper, for example, and you’re sure that you’ll fail it if it’s not perfect. And if you get a good grade, you look it over and see how stupid you were when you were writing it, and you’re sure the professor gave you an A for pity. If you get a B, you’re so annoyed that you weren’t good enough for an A. And when you think of the future, it freaks you out to no end because you’re afraid you’ll be a failure and your parent(s) will be so disappointed in you. You over think, over plan, and are just generally freaked out about everything.
+Anxiety is more like a constant clawing at your heart, and constant fear. I mostly fear highly irrational things, and often the things that other people are often afraid of I don’t have much trouble with (never felt scared doing exams in high school, for example). My anxiety comes and goes in big waves, so there are times where I have such high levels of anxiety I am unable to function, other times I don’t feel terribly bothered by it. There seems to be little that rationally dictates when I’ll be anxious or not, because doing the same activity multiple times can have varying levels of anxiety for no remarkable reason.
+-Constant thoughts racing through my mind. All the what ifs? run through my head, even if they are impossible and irrational thoughts. Persistent fear that everyone is judging me, watching me, thinking bad thoughts about me. Automatically assuming everyone hates me and wishes me harm. When I have a panic attack (which is almost daily, sometimes I have multiple attacks in one day) my heart races, my throat tightens, I feel pressure on my chest, and I shake really badly. I have “catastrophic thinking”, believing the worst possible outcome is going to happen. I often believe I’m going crazy, or that I’m going to scream or lash out and hit or punch somebody and just lose complete control of my actions and awareness
+If I need to be in a room with people I don’t know, my self-consciousness is at its peak. I will assume they are judging me on my worst qualities. No position is flattering, my clothes are all wrong, and I try not to say nothing for fear I’ll be discounted but I know that I’m prone to saying awkward/misunderstood things. The anxiety makes me very prone to blushing, so that only makes it worse—simply laughing can make me turn beet red. I almost got engaged to a guy in college but he wanted me to go to parties with him more and I just couldn’t do it. He needed me to be comfortable with his friends and he just had too many for me to get comfortable with, so we had to part ways. I generally just don’t have friends, only acquaintances. That’s fine for the most part because I’m very introverted and independent, but it gets lonely when I want to do something outside. Social anxiety makes it about impossible for me to feel comfortable doing fun things alone in public because other people will see me being alone.
+I can’t do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, without worrying about it to some degree first. If I go on the subway it’s “oh no what if my card doesn’t work what if I miss my stop what if I get robbed?” If I’m meeting a new person its “oh god don’t say anything weird make don’t laugh too loud are these clothes ok? oh god what if i forget their name” I can’t ask anyone for help in stores. I can’t get dressed without overanalyzing where I’m going and who I’m likely to run into and if it fits the weather and social situation. Screwing up is basically so goddamn terrifying for me that I shut down at even the threat of failure, and it prevents me from doing a lot of things.

Schizophrenia: +I feel as if my brain has betrayed me. I hear things, from the consistent low hum of jumbled voices saying negative things, ranging up to a distinct incredibly persuasive personality that says the most horrible and distressing things. When I am having a full blown episode I will hallucinate. I always thing people are talking about me and laughing and sometimes i have trouble distinguishing what is real and what is not real. To be honest, it’s quite difficult to explain in it’s entirety. All I can say is that I feel like my brain is my enemy and I can’t trust what I hear or see. It makes me incredibly shy and it makes it really hard to maintain relationships.

Depression: +It makes me feel really numb sometimes. I’m just wandering through my day like a zombie and all this motion and stuff is going on around me, but it’s like I’m in my own separate bubble, away from all the excitement. You can feel so sad for such a long time that when you do feel happy, it’s such a drastic change in emotion that it’s sort of unrecognizable and you just sorta go with it. You can feel drained by just walking to the bathroom and back to your room. You feel bored but you don’t want to do anything because everything is of no interest to you. You feel sorta listless; like you could just sit in bed all day and wallow in your listlessness/nothingness or not, it’s all whatever. You could die, but eh whatever. You don’t really care about anything. Looking outside, everything is sort of a drained color
+Life has never been worth it to me, and I think almost every day on how I wish I didn’t have to exist. I literally do not understand the position of wanting to exist, of being happy to have a life ahead of you. My philosophy is simply that time is going to pass at the same rate even if I’m having a sucky time, so my main goal is just to make it suck less. I don’t want to get out of bed most days, but I need to appear functional, so I do the bare minimum to look successful. I frequently fantasize about just hiding in a cave or some secluded area for days so that I can just ignore everything and be nothing. Then, sometimes life gives me a special treat and gives me a Major Depressive Episode (all that before was my chronic low-grade depression called dysthymia), which makes it much harder to appear functional for a period of a few weeks to a couple months. This is often when I have to start making excuses for me behavior because I cannot make myself get out of bed anymore. Sometimes I don’t even bother to explain myself because my energy is simply gone. It was a huge step to even get outside—not gonna ruin it by talking about it.
+Dysthymia-A lower level of depression that feels like it’s always there. It makes me feel distracted and spacey and like I’m looking at the world through a foggy window. Sometimes it makes me feel a little sad, but mostly just numb, like I can’t enjoy any of the good things around me, no matter how hard I try. Everything just seems pretty dull and pointless.
+Intense and crippling sadness, dread and self hatred. My major depressive episodes can last anywhere between a few hours to a few months. Devestatingly sharp and clear emotions that I can’t get rid of or distract myself from drain me to the point where I don’t have the energy to get up off the couch, even to go take a shower, brush my teeth, go to the kitchen to get a drink. When I’m in a dip, I feel successful just changing my clothes, or anything simple like that, but even those little movements wipe me out. When I’m like that I feel like the only thing I can do is veg out and wait for it to pass.
+I swing constantly from feeling like my problems are too big to share without scaring people off and thinking they’re too small to truly be concerned about. I go through periods of optimism and hope only to be a zombie for hours on end. I don’t care about temperature. I don’t care about eating. I don’t care about the people around me. Every relationship I have and every good feeling towards me, I doubt. The periods of self hatred are short, brutal, and crippling.
+Makes me feel either completely blank and empty (in a bad way) or completely overwhelmed so much that I feel like breaking down, sometimes it physically hurts and I get headaches because of it, it’s hard to talk to people about it and that adds a fear element to it because I’m scared to tell people close to me how I’m feeling.

Eating Disorder: +It feels like no matter how much weight I lose it’ll never be enough. I get in really bad moods if I eat too much, and I try to purge, but I’ve no gag reflex so I can’t. This only makes me feel more frustrated.
It’s a constant feel of having control, and when I have the control, I actually feel sort of happy, because I can’t control anything but this one thing. It’s a nice feeling temporarily. Seeing the weighing scales and seeing that I haven’t lost weight or put weight on really upsets me to an extreme, because then I feel like giving up trying, because I’ll always be fat.
+I need to control my life, I need to have some sort of power. I can’t control that which stresses me out to no end – so I can control my food. I can say yes or no. I can make myself small. I can escape from my depression by eating less; when I eat less, I feel worth more so I don’t really have suicidal thoughts. I feel less anxious when I am not eating as much. I can be perfect, and maybe that will get me the love I feel I need. It’ll fix my problems; soothe my insecurities.
+hating the mirror. Feeling like a blob of fat and cellulite. Hating food. Fearing food. Having my face in the toilet bowl for hours. Puking blood. Confused as to why people say I’m thin when I feel like a chunk of lard. Feeling hideous. Oddly wanting to be hideous. Comparing myself to others and feeling like a failure; a waste of time and space.
+No matter what I do, or what stage I am at in life, there’s always weight to lose. I try hard to ignore that, but I eventually lose the battle all the time. I hate that weight means so much to me. It causes a lot of stress because it’s not who I want to BE. In fact, it could ruin everything I’m trying to be. It still wins. I hate it with a fiery passion, but I can’t overcome it and be a healthy person. Lots of guilt there.
+I only feel good if I’m working toward losing weight, no matter what extreme measures I take toward getting there.
+I obsess over food. I think about it constantly and it’s like the thing I work my day around. I do and can eat, but I get so self-conscious and guilty about it that it turns into this huge stressful thing. I hate eating in public because I’m afraid of people judging me, and I’m always hyper aware of what others are eating so I never eat anything more than what they do. I’ll go into phases of counting calories and fasting to try and get over my guilt from eating, and I’ll usually break down and binge something awful not long after. Sometimes I have periods of time where I’m ok with food, but it always comes back to the fasting/binging cycle.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: +Everything has its proper place. If it’s not straight, if it’s a mess it gives you a lot of anxiety. If you don’t push the soap exactly 3 times, you won’t get your hands clean enough. You have to unlock and relock the door just to make sure it’s done. You need to push the sleep/wake button on your phone twice to make sure your phone is locked. You need to slide and put in your passcode and lock again to make sure that it’s locked or else you’ll accidentally call your work while you’re walking somewhere and it’ll get you fired. I have to pull at my eyelashes just to make sure an eyelash doesn’t fall into my eye. I have to pull at my hair to get any dead ends. I have to pull at my eyebrows to get any loose hairs so they don’t fall down to my eyes/cheeks.

Personality Disorder(s): +(Not Otherwise Specified)I feel like I am split into different people. I have an emotional personality, a logical personality, and this other personality that is very hard to explain- basically, that part of me lives in a fantasy world/ completely inside my hide (not in the physical world at all). So I am living with three parts of me, all with completely different takes on things. It makes it nearly impossible to identify how I feel specifically. Lots of times I feel like I can “touch” the metaphysical world and that I can see things other people can’t. Many times I feel very “out of body”. When I was little I used to think I had special powers.
+(Borderline)It’s as if I have two different brains: the logical part, and the emotional part. Hypersensitivity to rejection, extreme reactions or overreactions (anxiety, anger, depression), frequent suicidal thoughts/tendencies, fluctuating self-image (from “I’m beautiful!” to “I’m the most disgusting being on this planet”), extreme and unstable relationships (from “I love you more than air”, to “You’re a piece of shit”). It’s like having a switch on my brain. I can’t control when it gets flipped. It can happen at any moment. My episodes can last anywhere from hours to days, but typically anger only lasts hours while anxiety and depression last days. I often feel like everyone would be better off without me. There is a lot of push and pull, so it’s hard to keep people around. I fight myself on a near daily basis. I just got out of a severe anxiety episode that ended with me disappearing in the night and wandering aimlessly for seven and a half hours, contemplating jumping off of a bridge. Impulsive behavior, fluctuating plans. I can never keep set on one path.

February 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm
Anonymous (175) (@) 8 years, 7 months ago ago

I don’t really believe in the concept of mental illness, but then as long as somebody is balanced and reasonably optimistic, this is enough. Psychiatry to me though doesn’t seem very scientific, and based on spirituality, common belief and subjective/arbitrary labels. It’s funny that the average Joe seldom questions the validity of how the cardiac conditions are defined, but then questions psychiatric conditions as “the beliefs of scientists” or “inaccurate”.

This isn’t to belittle you or your conditions, but then I guess it’s just a personal belief of mine. It seems the psychiatric definition of a “normal” person is to be pious, traditional, closed-minded and simple which is something most in modern society are not.

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K_Rey (2) (@kailin) 8 years, 7 months ago ago

I agree. I think peoples’ minds work in more ways than we can imagine, and much of psychiatry is based on an idea that our minds all run on the same OS. It’s tough to classify anything as ‘mental illness’ because they could just be more sensitive to certain things or work on a different plane. Even the descriptions and names we use for these disorders are pretty general since they use words are pretty subjective.

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krkrich (148) (@krkrich) 8 years, 7 months ago ago

I have always wanted to be able to temporarily experience mental disorders to know what they are really like. Like maybe for an hour & then go back to normal. Lol reading detailed descriptions helps but I feel like they don’t give the actual experience any justice. Like I would love to temporarily experience schizophrenia looking thru my own eyes to see what the world is like. Thanks you for sharing.

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Ray Butler (1,423)M (@trek79) 8 years, 7 months ago ago

Mental disorders are words given to the conditions people are in, but what they ultimately do is undermine an afflicted persons ability to trust themselves and their own heart. I suggest that the afflicted do not accept such a negative connotation, as it attempts to forge an insecurity and inferiority complex, then they can address their issues unfettered.

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voidbot (0) (@voidbot) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

This might not be the case for everyone, I’m not in their shoes, but I personally believe that mental illnesses are either caused by toxins or entities. I was diagnosed with ADHD in headstart, most likely from mercury poisoning from the Amalgam fillings in my moms teeth while pregnant and breast feeding me. Then I got older and got Amalgams of my own and through the years had diagnoses of schizophrenia, ptsd, and c-ptsd (which isn’t even a legit thing). But switching to drinking only distilled waters, and I did a distilled water fast and a huge chunk of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical symptoms seems to have been chipped off. I didn’t get to complete the amount of days on the fast because the detox symptoms were to unbearable, but even the six days I did I feel some long term freedom from those “mental illnesses”. So this I have learned by doing.

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Pharaoh88 (3) (@omarelwatidy) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

I understand the rough times you are going through, but believe me all of those root from the same idea. Ive suffered from derealization, depersonalization and anxiety myself I thought i would never come out of it and I was almost certain that i am going mental. The shrink helped a bit in convincing me i wasnt loosing my mind, but the real recovery cam from understanding that my thought patterns over the years had caused me this. It took a while and alot of healthy mental and spiritual correction to reverse the effects and i wish i had known this all along. Believe me when i tell you can get yourself out of this .. you are not stuck .. and most of all you are not alone!

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Di (239) (@dida) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

interesting read, thanks and be well <3

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