Starting Fires


Fringe_Angry pyro

Yesterday my therapist/psychiatrist said, “You’re doing it again; you’re manufacturing the next catastrophe. We’ve only had short times of in-depth therapy because you divert attention from the underlying problems to the next big crisis.”

First of all, props to me for going to therapy for the first time in over a month! Second, he is right. I do create catastrophes in my life. The ironic thing is my first therapist told me that 10 years ago after seeing her for a year and a half. She said I had a habit of “starting fires (metaphorically! I’m not a pyromaniac!) to avoid the real problems.” I’ve seen my current therapist for 9 years! My mom said she switched my treatment providers because she thought I was manipulating my therapist and the therapist didn’t know it.

I don’t remember ever intentionally manipulating her. Lol, apparently she had me better figured out than my mom realized. Honestly, I don’t do this consciously. Two therapists saying the same thing about me makes it more convincing though. I’m not sure how they can tell the difference between “starting fires” and having mental illness flare ups because many people with mental illness have bouts of remission and relapse.

Then again, I do shoot myself in the foot a lot. There are certain warning signs and I often knowingly ignore them. Plus, many times I do stupid/bad things for no good reason. In other words, I do them when I’m not in the vice-grip of mental illness. So, maybe they’re both right.

I’d be less skeptical if his comment wasn’t followed by, “I realized you’re repeating what happened to you as a little girl.” …OMFG, psychoanalysis is stupid! While I can see how my birth trauma impacts me (I was born at 23 weeks gestation in 1990), I don’t think I’m unconsciously repeating the past, which I can’t even remember. Furthermore, I think that is a stupid theory.

None of you know me and I’ve only blogged for 3 months. Therefore, I know you only have a limited snapshot of me. Despite that lack of knowledge, given what you know, do you think they’re right? Either way, why? If they are correct, what do you think I can do to change the pattern?

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Thin-Skinned: The Truth about Some People with Eating Disorders


I disagree whole-heartedly with the other messages of this person, but the following interview excerpt is intriguing. It falls in line with my idea that “crazy” is really feeling deeply and that TedTalk “Lessons from the Mental Hospital”.

“Women who struggle with eating disorders are what I call thin-skinned and what I mean by that is they’re very emotionally sensitive and highly intuitive.

If you’re born thin-skinned into a world that values being thick-skinned which is the culture we, the Western culture we live in today that values, oh no big deal, water off a duck’s back, doesn’t bother me, then what happens is you get this idea, oh my gosh is
something wrong with me?

And so begins the process of trying to be thick-skinned when you’re not and that’s the function of the eating disorder because it blocks your awareness of very deep, intense
emotions.

So what has to happen is they have to develop the skill set for how to be a thin-skinned person in a thick-skinned world and it is a skill set. You don’t need to change your DNA, anybody can learn it, but it does take practice and it does take being able to go some place where it’s taught.”

This is true for me and true for every girl I’ve known in treatment. It means sometimes we are oversensitive, but it also means we’ll do anything for the people that stick by us. I can’t change who I am, but maybe I can find a way to turn my character traits into positive aspects.

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2 TedTalks: Mental Illness in Law School and Mental Illness is Feeling Deeply


1. Glennon Doyle Melton (TedTalks) agrees, many people with mental illness feel deeply! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHPNMIK-fY

Some of the quotes that resonated with me:

“People think of us addicts as insensitive liars, but we don’t start out that way. We start out as extremely sensitive truth-tellers. We feel so much pain and so much love and we sense that the world does want us to feel that much and doesn’t want us to need as much comfort as we need. So, we start pretending. We try to pretend that we’re the people we’re supposed to be. We numb and we hide and we pretend and that pretending does eventually turn into a life of lies. To be fair, we thought we were supposed to lie. They tell us since we’re little, the only appropriate answer is, ‘Fine, and you?'”

This is SO SO true! Yes, that is right, so true, it requires a repeated word!

“So, in private with the food or the booze…we tell the truth. We say, ‘Actually, I’m not fine.’ Because we don’t feel safe telling the truth in the real world, we make our own little world: addiction.”
“I did not want to deal with the discomfort and messiness of being a human being.”

YES! Unfeeling, strong Mord-Sith all the way! Remember these Illyria from Angel GIFs? Angel_humanity Angel_weak

“And in the mental hospital, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a world that made sense to me…and we had to learn about ancient Rome when all we really wanted to learn was how to make and keep a real friend. But in the mental hospital there was no pretending. The jig was up…Everybody was worthy just because she existed and so in there we were brave enough to take off our capes of [addiction]…In there, people wore their scars on the outside so you knew where they stood and they told the truth.”

I think this is why people tend to form endurable bonds in treatment. We tell the other patients thoughts or past events we would never reveal to our closest friends and loved ones on the outside. We are open and honest in a way we have not experienced. Furthermore, we understand where the others are coming from. We understand them on a level that non-mentally ill people cannot. We accept each other unconditionally.

2. Elyn Saks: A Tale of Mental Illness – from the inside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6CILJA110Y

She had her first schizophrenic break in law school! She was involuntarily hospitalized, but she gained control and went back. It was her first year; I don’t know if it was her first or second semester. Either way, Yale law school was nice enough to give her medical leave. I’m not bitter at all! 😉 Anyway, with schizophrenia she completed law school at the top of her class and now she is a professor at the University of Southern California Gould Law School. It is a well respected law school, ranked 18th in the country!! Her story gave me hope one night when I was dealing with suicidal urges.