30-day-challenge130 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge.

I noticed this challenge over on Pride In Madness but I think it also came from Marci, Mental Health and More.  And of course I thank them for sharing this and for the idea.

It looks like a very interesting challenge and so – since I haven’t posted anything of late – I thought that I would do the challenge.  Which includes writing on the numerous subjects over the next 30 days.  A list of those subjects can be found here


Day 1: What is/are your mental illness(es)? Explain it a little.

In truth, answering that particular question is more difficult than you might at first consider.  Many people who do, like me suffer from poor mental health will (experience has taught me) complain of – or at best comment on – the fact that gaining a definitive diagnosis can be problematic to say the least and often entails a very long, convoluted and all too often extremely frustrating journey from diagnosis to conflicting diagnosis to conflicting diagnosis. (repetitive statement deliberate).

Personally I am not so sure whether this is because…

a) There appears to be a lot of similarities in the symptomatologies of various mental health conditions and illnesses, or

b) Because very often the time a patient actually gets to spend with a mental health practitioner is (in terms of each session) extremely limited and thus it is often a very protracted process. (That is if you even actually get to see the same mental health practitioner each time), or

c) Because of the fact that we seem to live in a world of an ever increasing mindset of litigation.

But whatever the cause the results appear (at least in my experience) to be the same numerous differing diagnoses.

So, in respect of my own mental health, over the years such ‘labels’ that have been applied include:  Anxiety, Aspergers, Depression, PTSD, DID, MPD, Bipolar, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD, Schizoaffective Disorder to name but a few.

In more recent times the consensus of opinion seems to be that whilst I do have mild OCD and mild Aspergers it is my PTSD and Schizoaffective Disorder which cause me  the most difficulties.

In the most simplistic of terms Schizoaffective Disorder can be considered along the lines as explained by WebMD which is that….

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental illness that has features of two different conditions — schizophrenia, and an affective (mood) disorder that may be diagnosed as either major depression or bipolar disorder.

Although I have to be candid here and tell you that I have met or communicated with many folk who seem to suffer far worse than I do.

Thankfully I have an extremely strong faith and also an excellent support system in place which helps me deal with this.  And whilst my mental health is always at risk and does often suffer – leading to lapses in memory, focus, coherency and comprehension as well as bouts of severe depression and even suicidal ideation at times I don’t seem to ‘cycle’ as frequently as some folk do and I don’t (possibly as a result of the Aspergers) seem to experience any forms of elation and thus my manic times are less extreme than others seem to experience.

The draw back of this is however that when I do slide into a downward spiral it often happens very suddenly, lasts for a longer period of time, and can be extremely difficult to escape out of.  It also drives me to become extremely frustrated with myself and thus very self-critical.  And indeed even when I do escape from this I often enter into a state of relative ‘numbness’ as opposed to any form of elation.

So there you have it.  My answer to Day One’s challenge.  I hope it helps clarify things a little and I will of course try to answer any questions folk may have.