When I began putting together this narrative of my experiences, I had no idea where to start. I was feeling a little lost. Normally I’m very on top of things, I do my readings two weeks ahead of schedule and like to get assignments done a week before they’re due. But for some reason, I found myself procrastinating about working on this. I think it had something to do with the fact that finding words to form a coherent and cohesive discussion about my experiences with mental illness was extremely intimidating and scary. In the beginning This is me when I’m 3 on my first day of school. Apparently I was NOT happy to be going. Although I didn’t start feeling the symptoms until later in my teens, anxiety is something I’ve been dealing with for as long as I can remember. My parents put me in a bunch of different sports when I was a child and I can remember becoming extremely anxious before a swimming lesson or a softball game, the week leading up to it filled with dread. Reading through report cards from Grade 2, I read comments from my French teacher about how I cried a lot, especially [...] continue the story
By Michelle Lemme
I’m definitely superstitious. When I was a child (and even into adulthood) I was, without a doubt, convinced that if I did not say my prayers, and include virtually all of my loved ones AND “all the people in the world who are suffering”, something bad would happen (or at the very least, nothing good would happen) and I would be directly responsible. Talk about guilt (I could never suffer enough to compare with those caught up in the atrocities taking place all over the world) and anxiety. Even now, when my sister emails me these crazy “send this to __ people or ___________ will or won’t happen”, I go mental. I mean WTF, why does she send me these things? Rationally I know that something happening as a result of not forwarding an email is absurd. And yet, I am compelled to send those darn things on, just to be on the safe side. The only way that I can delete these emails, without any risk, is if I don’t actually open them! I should probably mention that avoidance, coping by not having to cope, is one of my fallback behaviors, I have always believed, “ignorance is bliss”. It’s one of the ways that I manage [...] continue the story
By Michelle Lemme
Unwanted thoughts keep popping into my head; need to keep myself distracted so as not to get caught up in the never ending vortex of worry and guilt. No matter what has taken place in the past, I am and always will be, a mother first. I believe that the thoughts that I am having are not “abnormal” as I believe any mother who is undergoing something difficult with their child would also be plaque by guilt and anxiety.
My tendency is to catastrophize things, it is the rare occasion in deed when I don’t believe the worse can, and probably will happen. No matter that I rarely have evidence which supports the catastrophic thought that is haunting me. Sometimes, even my breathing cannot quell the fear that tears at my heart.
The “guilt” thoughts are the most dreadful, the most useless. All of these invaders drive me to want to fix everything that is precarious in SA’s life, what mother wouldn’t want to make their children’s life easier if they could? I’m torn apart, knowing that SA needs to continue to learn to live her life independently and responsibly. How can she possibly succeed if I intervene in every [...] continue the story
By Michelle Lemme
Approaching the one year anniversary of my “descent into hell”; and where am I today? I am pleased to say that I am healthy and, for the most part, happy. I’ve learned enough to mostly manage (live with) my troublesome anxiety and obsessive/compulsive behaviors. Frankly I can’t really wrap my head around how my “OCD behaviors” are linked to my depression, having said that, I do find that doing the behavior is soothing, I guess because the act of performing certain behaviors consumes all of my focus and attention, which is sometimes a huge relief. My compulsive cleaning is under control (most of the time), but, I simply cannot leave my face alone, touching, picking and making a mess of my skin – who wouldn’t pick at their face if they were always peering into a 15X magnifying mirror!! Obviously, I still struggle and know that I still have things to work on, which is why I continue to see my therapist.
I continue to struggle with the whole “not working” thing, which I was thrust into when I got sick. If I am honest, I know that I have allowed myself to believe that my “value” is and [...] continue the story
By Laura Lewis November 7, 2011
One Saturday in the summer, my husband and I visited a museum in London where there was a range of impressive coats of armour. While we were admiring the condition of these medieval battle-dresses, it occurred to me how wearing a coat of armour must be hard work and similar to my daily experiences when I am “off”. I explained that walking while being “off” (or parky) felt like stumbling through tar on the deck of a cross-channel ferry in a force nine gale wearing a coat of armour. He found that staggering.
“Wearing off” is not entirely predictable, but usually occurs between three and four hours after taking medication. I have a 20-minute warning then gradually the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) creep over me like a vice slowly gripping my shoulders and then working their way down my back. For me, the most exasperating aspect of “wearing off” is being unable to manipulate things; I cannot write, operate my laptop keyboard or manage the simplest tasks like buttoning blouses or cleaning my teeth. It also affects my voice which becomes quieter and my speech less articulate. However, “wearing off” is not inevitable and I [...] continue the story