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How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

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How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

Postby oobydoobie » Tue May 29, 2012 12:15 am

or just a dysfunctional freak/societal misfit? Even before overt signs of mental illness, starting with social anxiety,i had difficulty interacting with my peers and was bullied for being 'different' ie physically awkward and socially gauche.
Truth is i have always been a little or more 'off key' .

Despite over 38 years of psychiatric treatment i have great doubts as to whether i am mentally ill and instead just a freak/misfit.
If i am a dysfunctional freak/societal misfit then mental illness is obviously no excuse as to why i have never achieved anything solidly worthwhile in my life.
I am not sure how much my doubt is a product of illness related self denial. It's not that i don't believe mental illnesses exist, but that i often feel like a fraud for daring to equate being mentally ill with myself.

Also posted this elsewhere and got the following reply.

Hello , you sound just like my son, he s said those things for years. I think the trouble starts at school, when they try and fit a square peg into a round hole. Then the trouble can start with bullying and a mental health problem can start with all the stress of trying to fit in and be "normal"

This struck a chord with me and i replied
What you say makes a lot of sense. I think the other boys at public school sensed i was not 'normal' and that gave them the right,in their own minds, to subject me to intensive verbal bullying.
That bullying has had a profound and chronic effect on me. Schools are bad at protecting children that are 'different' .
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Re: How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

Postby deadchick07 » Tue May 29, 2012 12:24 am

im stoned from meds, so have nothing to say of any use except sorry you are struggling.

one thing though, in the days of cuts, would they waste time and money on treating something if it wasnt there?

the doctors obviously think you are ill, and you definately have the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

you are also, a nice guy. xx
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Re: How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

Postby kasskaa11 » Tue May 29, 2012 12:33 am

hi oobie,

i was listening to claudia hammonds "all in the mind", about teenagers always feeling
left out etc, it went into depth, on this programme, they interviewed teenagers about this
and apparently its all part of growing up, teens were when my probs started, i still feel that
not belonging or fitting in and left out feeling. maybe the part of my brain that deals with that
stuff hasnt developed.??

give her a listen on the radio 4 iplayer, im crap at xplaining things, would send a link, but im very low tech.

let me know what you think, she is a great interviewer/psychologist.


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Re: How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

Postby brachypelma » Tue May 29, 2012 2:51 am

Maybe you are a little off key as you say but between illness and experience can anyone blame you for being what you are now? not a freak or misfit though. I think you suffer from the paradox effect of mental illness, you are ill so making you as you are but then your thinking this about yourself because of an illness, but then you discover and start to question things but then again comes back to illness its really a paradox of thought.

I can get close to your words, feeling out of place also in the stress of bullying can put a major strain mentally.
Seriously, from my experience I am unsure if you can parallel any of this but starting off different like self injury, weird or out of control personality or traits that seem weird to others, socially defective, incapable of alot of life's and schools activities etc. The one thing that im positive on is that suffering bullying for a problem big or small hammers it into your head your a worthless freak, no good for anything, the issues you have are actually the real you that people see and all those things. Understanding is lost then pain begins and carry it through life and wont hear otherwise because its dug so deep from bullying. If I said the complete opposite to what you think of yourself would it mean anything to you or would you disagree with me because bullying is all you have known and its dug so deep?
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Re: How do you tell if you are really mentally ill

Postby umbrella4therain » Tue May 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Can relate to this debate you are having ooby. I always question myself as to whether I am ill or just a misfit. Its hard.
I think bullying can have a profound effect on a persons development. I think the "illness model for mental health is tricky because the mind is such a complex thing. If you were having physical symptoms you would probably have no doubt you were ill but with mental symptoms its hard to see things clearly due to so many complicating factors one of which being the experts cant even agree on a single model for mental illness. I think the medical model can miss out a lot. Genes respond to environment as you have shown me through one of your posted links. This means the stress of bullying etc can be a contributory factor to genetics causing illness, it can also cause psychological factors such as changing the way you think etc.
Genetics also respond to environmental factors even at the embryo stage whilst a child is still in the womb, Genes can also have been created in a certain way to create social problems etc as well as upbringing. Autism is a good example of this and its complexities. It is a mystery to me why I have always struggled socially, always been different. Its hard to cope with that uncertainty, it makes me feel very insecure. It can lead me to blame myself when I see nothing else to blame. Truth is blame solves nothing. I am what I am. I need to move forward as best as I can with how I am. Whatever the cause of the difficulties, the difficulties are still the same. Labels are often unhelpful. You have still had the experience you have had, whatever the cause of it. I think now you need to focus on reaching your own potential and letting go of the past and the analysis as much as you can. Whatever happened in the past, it has brought you to this place. Looking at the position you are in what is the best action to take now?

My advice ooby is to take notes (without being harsh, self critical or beating yourself up) of where you are now and where you would like to be. Then formulate a plan with small realistic steps towards achieving your goals of where you would like to be. If the steps feel too big or the distance to get to the end goal too far or scary, just keep breaking it down until it feels managable. Small steps are better than being paralysed by fear or taking on too much. Praise yourself for every step forward you make and be kind to yourself on the journey.
I know its hard, Im not very good at goal setting or following my own advice.

I think you are very hard on yourself ooby. I agree with DC you are a nice guy. Try to accept yourself and have a bit more compassion for yourself if you can. You have been through alot. I think the critical voices you heard in childhood have been internalised so now you bully yourself which creates all those horrible feelings people get when they are bullied, self doubt being one of them. Try to be kinder to yourself, you deserve a break.

Im sorry if what I've written is unhelpful. Im struggling to think clearly. Im posting in the hope some of my waffling might help but please discard anything unhelpful. xxx

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