I Can’t Forgive Those Who Abandoned Me During 7 Hospitalizations

 

TW/Trigger Warning: brief mention of suicide

Today’s post consists of my non-politically correct, extremely angry feelings which were stirred up last night. That’s when, sweaty from a 45-minute-long elliptical workout, I found out a family friend is being hospitalized for alcoholism-related illness. 

My hard-won endorphins didn’t assuage my rage or my trauma. 

I knew the compassionate, laudable thing to do would be to visit her, but after mulling it over during the wee hours of the morning, I realized I can’t do it.

Due to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from multiple hospitalizations, I’m unable to enter a hospital unless it’s to visit an immediate family member or close friend.

I feel guilty about my inability to “get over” my hospital aversion. But it’s not simply an aversion. PTSD is real. My PTSD was even verified by a PTSD expert. I know in my heart that if this was my child who felt the way I do, I’d lovingly reassure her that she has the right to make her own choice about the hospital visit situation without any guilt.

The family friend I mention didn’t contact me during my seven hospitalizations, so why the hell am I feeling guilty? She has family support literally by her side in her hospital room- that’s a helluva a lot more than I did. So fuck it. Fuck my Jewish guilt that I’ve had festering since I was in utero. I’m sick of it.

Whenever I think of my hospitalizations, the same script plays in my head.

Here’s some of how it goes:

“To my relatives/friends who didn’t visit me, call/leave a message with the front desk staff, or send a card during my seven hospitalizations, I want nothing to do with you.

That’s right.

Nothing. Buh-bye.

Dyane”

For those who suggest, due to these non-politically correct thoughts I’m revealing, that I change my meds, step up the therapy, call my psychiatrist, start meditating, do yoga, CBT, DBT, chant, use medical marijuana, etc. to overcome such “unhealthy/abnormal” anger I have this to say:

It’s best that you stay out of my life. 

Unless you’ve been through my Hell – unless you almost hung yourself with your bathrobe belt with your baby and toddler in the house – unless you spent weeks and weeks and even more endless weeks of your life locked up with fellow crazies – just stay the fuck away from me, okay? 

You might be thinking,

Dyane, shouldn’t you be able to forgive all these people by now?  Shouldn’t you release your anger, especially if you’re “stable” and a “mental health advocate”?

You know, my honest answer is that I wish I could forgive these people, but I can’t.

Not yet.

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62 thoughts on “I Can’t Forgive Those Who Abandoned Me During 7 Hospitalizations

  1. p.s. you don’t have to… if you choose to… do it when you are ready. many times have a i felt alone during my depressions and it takes a lot of courage to forgive which is commendable… it takes a LOT of time. Fuck them anyways.. .if they can’t deal with the worst of you… they certainly don’t get the best of you. 🙂

  2. Dear Dyane,
    I’m so sorry for the lack of support you received when hospitalized- you have every right to vent away, with as many “fucks” as possible! I was blessed in that my family visited me, even daily when I was last hospitalized (being that I was close to home, and our son was only six months old and the unit psych prescribed daily visits with him). My pastor and three close friends visited; I declined other requests to visit bc I felt ashamed of myself. It saddens me to think of having no support, no visitors, no calls. I understand that it’s awkward and people feel uncomfortable around mental illness, but just sitting with us and accepting us in our darkness means so much. Internet access in the psych ward would be great- keep our online supports in the know, so they can listen as only fellow “mentally ill ” people can.
    PS- I’m glad you got rid of the bathrobe. The world needs your light!

    1. Dear Mariah, you always write such beautiful comments. They’re full of heart.

      I also had a great laugh when I read, “you have every right to vent away, with as many “fucks” as possible!” I love that! You completely get it!

      I’m so glad that you got some loving visits from people you cared about in the hospital. I’m hoping for more and more of a sea change when it comes to us all visiting family & friends in psych units…I think it has begun.

      Sending you lots of love, big hugs and a wonderful fall!
      XOXOXOXO
      Dyane

  3. Mental ilness is hard for many people to understand, and unfortunately they frequently respond by not responding at all…at the times we need most their compassion and empathy. I understand the anger and feelings of abandonment you feel. I understand your difficulty forgiving those who should have shown their love for you when you needed it most. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Often it is these connections that can save us in our darkest times. And please please throw your bathrobe tie away. We need you here, living, trying to find wellness, and giving your understanding to those who, like you, feel despair to depths that non-sufferers cannot fathom. I wish you health and wellness and a long and productive life.

  4. Forgiving those who leave us in times of difficulty or needs but we must remember that Jesus said: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

    I wish for you a happy life 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Martin – sorry to take so long in replying. I wish you a happy life as well, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment with kindness! take care, Dyane

    2. Thank you for your heartfelt comment, joyno! I did throw the bathrobe belt away! It felt *SO* good…symbolic! healing!

      You truly understand how mental illness affects people, and I appreciate your taking the time to reach out with your words. I’m doing a lot better now and working hard on my book, which will contain uplifting sections as well as the darker ones – both are needed in a story like mine.

      Wishing you well! (((hugs))) from Dyane

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so sorry you also had some negative experiences….no one should have to go through this. Thanks again for reading & commenting – it means a lot to me! 🙂

      1. It has been a longtime dream for this English/American literature grad. to visit London (& the entire U.K.!!!) Let’s trade! I even have miles on British Airways that my Mom gave me!!!!! (But I can’t use them yet because the rest of my family would kill me – we don’t have $ for that kind of family vacation!) Thanks again for your kind words!!!! You have a friend in California!!!

  5. You are a good person Dyane. You don’t have to be 100% agreeable and nice 100% of the time, you’re still a good person. And I know you’re feeling bad because you want to always be there for everyone, but on this occasion I would be tempted to say fuck ’em. They don’t deserve your witty and day-brightening presence if they never even took the time to come see you when you needed them the most. Fair weather friends and all that. Forgiveness is great but it happens on its own, you can’t force it.
    (yes, I know I’m a complete hypocrite because I always feel guilty over things that I shouldn’t and I stress over them so much)!!

    1. Your comment totally made my day, oh gorgeous-haired one!

      About an hour ago my family and I drove past one of the nuthouse hospitals where I stayed 5 times.

      Just being on the road going past it made me freak out. The irony is that they were dropping me off at a writers conference that I was accepted into on scholarship.

      Being here at the conference is already heaven & it hasn’t even truly started yet; I can’t believe how beautiful it is, how welcoming the staff are, and how I already got a writers swag bag at check-in! (a personalized tote, a notebook and pen, the conference’s fancy journal it publishes several times a year & a pretty folder)

      I also was told by a staffer with a dog named Bandit that I could have brought Lucy even though she’s not a service or emotional support dog! :))) Next year..

      Anyway, it’s hard to believe just 10 minutes away was my Hell, and that others are over there this moment in agony.

      Reading your comment has helped me SO SO SO SO SO much because it validated my deepest feelings. I hope that something really amazing and unexpected comes your way; you’re a good person too. :)))

      Thanks a million for your kindness and honesty. XOXOX

      1. I hope you have a wonderful time you deserve to be happy and you deserve to be recognized for what you’ve got to say about it all, so I hope this writer’s conference is wonderful. I bet Lucy would love to take her first draft of her book next year 😀 As for me, this awful 8 month long mixed episode has lifted, the private psychiatrist I saw for the first time yesterday has diagnosed me with type II bipolar, and has recommended my doctor to give me seroquel, and while I’ve slept once since sunday so I think I’m in the grip of hypomania, I also think it’s not getting any worse (for now) and I’m happy for a change! Have a wonderful time!

  6. Dyane, I’m so sorry this abandonment still hurts, this turning away of family and friends has so deeply mauled your heart and soul.

    I would only offer this, in support and expansion of what a couple others have written: forgiveness is so much more about you than about the perpetrators. It is about you being able to let go of the offense that tortures you; about taking away its power to control your reaction and emotions. It’s not about excusing the actions of others. It’s finally deciding to GIVE them over to a higher power FOR Him to judge, and to take the burden off your shoulders.

    Love you.

    1. So good to see you hear, Susan! I asked my blogger friend Supermommyoftwins, who is very religious, to pray for me on this one (Kitt O’Malley goes without saying) and while you all know I’m agnostic, I accept prayers to help me with this dilemma.

      It really is like a big, gross boil on my butt that won’t go away. (Sorry for nasty image there! 🙂 But that’s how it feels…these feelings keep tormenting my soul. I’m sooo sick of it all; it’s incredibly draining as you can imagine.

      You’re so lucky (although I know it must have been hard-won/developed) to have such incredible faith. I’ve told that to Kitt & Michelle (Supermommy) too.

      My psychiatrist is a devout Christian and while he doesn’t broadcast his religious views with his patients, over time the subject of religion has come up in our talks and he only discusses it if I bring it up. I give this doctor credit (along with the Higher Power) for saving my life. He’s the person who suggested the MAOI. It was truly a miracle.

      He occasionally suggests certain relgious-themed, yet non-pedantic books for me to read that have made a positive impact on his life; I keep writing down the titles he’s mentioned, but I haven’t read anything yet. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to finally download one of them onto my Kindle; the most recent one he spoke about is called “Into the Silent Land” by Martin Laird. That book doesn’t look like it analyzes forgiveness, but I’m sure there are others that might help me. I’ll write about it here at some point! Sending you love, XoXo

      http://www.amazon.com/Into-Silent-Land-Christian-Contemplation/dp/0195307607

  7. The thing is Dyane, this is just another example of “normal” people trying to insist that we have no emotion at all. Some of our emotions and feelings are absolutely justified. You are allowed to have emotions. You are allowed to have feelings. You are allowed to feel hurt and angry and have those emotions have absolutely nothing to do with your PTSD or any other emotional issues. The people that insist we get over things or change our meds, can suck it as far as I’m concerned.

    Right now I’m laying in bed sick. And my family has no problem with it. But if I’m laying in bed depressed then I feel guilty and apologize constantly.

    Do NOT feel guilty for having feelings. You know if you are blowing things out of proportion, and if you don’t feel like you are, then try not to worry about the other people (I know it’s easier said then done)

    Sending positive thoughts for you.

    1. Hi Leslie and thanks so much for what you wrote. I had a very cool friend (a “normal” one) told me yesterday almost the same thing you wrote, although he didn’t say it quite as eloquently… 😉

      “Some of our emotions and feelings are absolutely justified. You are allowed to have emotions. You are allowed to have feelings. You are allowed to feel hurt and angry and have those emotions have absolutely nothing to do with your PTSD or any other emotional issues.”

      I hope by the time you read this you’re feeling much better. I know exactly what you mean about how our families are okay when we’re sick with a “Respectful” illness like the flu, but if we’re in bed depressed, that’s not to be taken seriously….with compassion and dignity.

      I wrote to my wonderful blogging pal Raeyn below “Honestly, I think that with mental illness most people cannot truly understand how devastating it is unless they go through it themselves or have a beloved one suffer” and I believe that with all my heart. It’s not that I wish anyone to have bipolar devastate her life in any way shape or form; of course not. But I haven’t noticed a true sea change with how our society regards mental illness, despite all the feel-good campaigns and celeb come-outs. I hope that the perception towards those with bipolar and other mood disorders changes profoundly over the next decade for the better. And while I’m at it, I also hope for a cure!

      Thanks again for the positive thoughts and I send lots of them right back to you!!

  8. I think one of the most healing things a person can do for themselves is realise that you don’t owe anyone forgiveness for anything. There’s this whole ‘oh you’ll never heal unless you forgive’, but I call bollocks on that. For example, with my parents — it would be unfair on ME to have to forgive them for being shitty parents and making me do their job. I owe them nothing. You owe this person nothing. Hopefully she comes out of it okay, but as you said — she has support. She’ll survive just fine without yours. ❤

    1. I LOVED your refreshing comment. Raeyn! *Thank you*! You gave me strength to not feel bad about my convinctions…that’s up there with chocolate in my book! 😉 Honestly, I think that with mental illness most people cannot truly understand how devastating it is unless they go through it themselves or have a beloved suffer with it. It sounds simplistic, but I think that’s how it is. Add to the fact that bipolar scares people – it’s contagious, dontcha know? ; ) – and that gives them all the more reason to stay away from you. It’s easy for them to rationalize their behavior due to the S word (rhymes with “twigma”!)

      I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I’m half-awake. But I know you’re a kindred spirit and I join you in calling bollocks on “you’ll never heal unless you forgive” too! (I love the word bollocks….gotta start using that more despite living on the less-cool-side of the pond! 😉 Hope you’re feeling better – I plan to catch up on your blog today!

      1. I’m hypomanic and productive, so I can’t complain. My hypos are usually pretty good, but definitely not usually this lengthy!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Lady B! Made me feel good! I mentioned your wonderfuol suggestion of creating a phone/email tree to my friend Ann in the comments, by the way. Lost of hugs & love to you. I”m so proud of how hard you worked this summer on the issue close to your heart, even when you faced the disagreement of others. You have guts, mama! I admire you with all my heart. XOXOOX

  9. Oh Dyane, my heart goes out to you for the hurt that is in your heart. I am so so so glad you’re still here and that bathrobe belt was not efficient as anything else!!!! I so understand your feelings, I’ve been in the hospital twice and besides my immediate family and two aunts, no one came to visit. But to tell you the truth, I’ve never felt angry with them because I just accepted that’s the way it is with mental illness. You get no flowers, chocolates, cards or even visitors. Maybe your anger will help change things. Just one little observation: you don’t forgive people for them, you forgive people for yourself, so toxic emotions like anger don’t poison you. Love love love you. Be well and be happy. 💕💕💕

    1. Lovely Samina, your words of wisdom & love/support have made my morning! Especially the last part where you wrote about the nature of forgiveness. Dang, you could teach ALONGSIDE Pema Chodron! :)) I don’t mean to sound disresepctful. I own one of her CD sets – I have to go check the title because I forgot, which shows I need to listen to them again. They are “The Places That Scare You”!

      I feel so lost when it comes to the nature of true forgiveness (although what you wrote about forgiving for one’s *own” sake makes perfect sense to me) so I know I’ll discuss this topic with my therapist, who happens to be a practicing Buddhist. She’s a wonderful person and voice of reason.

      Much love to YOU!!!!!! And you better get in the class! :))

      1. My dearest Dyane, I am so happy I was able to put things in a new light that is helpful to you. I think rephrasing or reframing is one of our most helpful tools in our quest to become healthy and whole. Love, love, love you girl! The course I am taking with Pema Chodron is online!!! I posted about the first video. I hope so, so, so much that I learn to re

  10. I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding blogging for a while. I love this post! It’s honest and real. This is where you are at today in your life. That’s authentically you. It’s beautiful. And you know what F*** them! if someone can’t love you at their worst they don’t deserve you at your best. p.s. i’ve been seeing all your hard work tweets on twitter! Keep up the exercise goals!

    1. Oh sweet Adina, you never need to apologize. It was lovely to see you “here” and thanks also for the Twitter support! Thanks so much for what you wrote here!!!! Exercise has been helping me diffuse the anger…but just temporarily. It has been getting so much harder lately to work out, but I follow Dr. Alsuwaidan on Twitter and he’s tweeting daily videos now so that fires me up! 🙂 And it helps to know that unless I have a stomach bug or something like that, I always feel better after I do it. Hope you guys are well!! XOXO I

  11. I agree on many levels. If someone couldn’t bother to come to your side even once, then why in Hades should they expect you to come? Forgiveness is important, sure, but forgiveness is far, far easier to give AFTER it is asked for. That means genuine penitence is in order. If they’re not penitent, then you do NOT need to feel guilty.

    1. I love how you wrote “why in Hades” because I’ve often used “Hades” instead of hell. You have great taste! 😉 And what’s even more significant to me is that you truly undersatnd where I’m coming from…I mean, these people had not one but SEVEN chances over seven years to be kind, for “?’s” sake! (insert your deity there!) I believe that none of these people will be penitent unless they become hospitalized for mental illness or their children go through it., God forbid That’s how I feel. I could be wrong. :0

      p.s. thanks so much for reading & commenting! As I wrote in response to another comment, I feel like I should pop a check in the mail to each of you thanking you for virtual therapy. 😉 Seriously, your comment has lifted up my spirits. I hope you have a great day!!!!!! And please forgive me for not writing back sooner – I get lazy.

      1. Bah! We can’t expect each other to respond and re-respond and re-re-re-respond right away all the time. After reading Dave Eggers’ THE CIRCLE, I am doing my darndest NOT to obsess over comments and online involvement. It’s fun to connect, don’t get me wrong (shoot, I’m sounding like it’s wrong, SHOOT!), but if NOT responding feels like a sin? Then this whole social media thing isn’t as fun or helpful as it should be. I’m going to bow out before I stick my other foot in my mouth 🙂

  12. So sorry you had to go through that Dyane! I was 18 when I was hospitalized so my parents visited me, but the hospital staff treated me and the other patients with utter contempt. It would have been so much worse if my family had not showed. You have no obligation to forgive anyone and you have every right to be mad.

    Thanks for your incredible honesty! 🙂

    1. Thanks a million, Lisa! I’m sorry that the staff was so horrid to you – at the tender age of 18 to boot! And when you were totally vulnerable. Sigh. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to “have” you in my life providing both bipolar-related support and writing-related encouragement/empathy – even though we’ve never met IRL….yet. Perhaps we will on your West Coast Book Tour! I owe you an email – you’ve been on my mind for weeks. Please send me your customized good juju over the next 5 days as I’ll be at the writers conference and I wish-wish-wish you could go with me. Not that you need it, ha ha, Ms. About-To-Be-Published/Amazing Writer!!!!!!!

      1. Sending heaps of good juju Dyane! Looking forward to finding out how the writing conference goes! So excited for you!!!

        And if my “book tour” ever takes me to the west coast you will be the first person I visit!

        Thanks for all your kind compliments!! Good luck at the conference! 🙂 you rock!!!

  13. I think u sound quite rational and that your expression of anger is understandable given the circumstances u described. I think it’s far more healthy to reasonably express anger rather than suppress it. And u mentioned that you’re not ready to forgive “yet” –that means you’ve left the door open at least a crack for processing and potentially forgiving in the future…so no pressure to do so now. It will happen when ready and at your own pace. No judgments here 😊. And as always, I love and appreciate your honesty Dyane!

    1. Thanks SO much, Dr. Vania, for taking time to comment because you really helped me in a low moment. *** I’ve always been a potty mouth and I try to keep it on a low-ish flame in this blog, but I fail quite a bit in that respect. In this post I gave myself permission to let those bad words fly, even though I knew my Mom would read it! :0 (She didn’t give me a hard time, thankfully! Maybe it’s because she has been known to do the same thing!) Anyway, thanks also for not judging me and for your wonderful encouragement. It’s an honor coming from an esteemed psychiatrist/writer like you. I’ll “keep it real” as much as I can! 🙂

      *** p.s Ever see Lisa Kudrow in “Web Therapy”? She has “revolutionary” three-minute-sessions with clients on the internet!!! It’s a well-done show; the humor is definitely offbeat, but I enjoyed watching it. Lily Tomlin plays her mom and there are lots of other guest stars. You can get it on Netflix.

  14. The last two words of your post speaks volumes. So you’re not there yet, but you’re open to being there someday. I believe if / when that ever happens it will be more cathartic for you than meaningful for them.

    Your brutal honesty is commendable. Thanks for having the courage to write what some may consider too dark to contemplate. It’s raw and it’s real for many, many people.

    1. I mean this with all seriousness – please pray for me! Because as much as I hope I’ll be there someday, it’s truly hard for me to imagine that happening right now. I’m not saying “never say never” but I can’t lie to the SUPERDUPER mommy of twins.

      Thank you also for writing a truly thoughtful and helpful comment. I often write my comments while I’m working out which is why they are short, not-too-deep, and have typos! :)))

      Your line ” I believe if / when that ever happens it will be more cathartic for you than meaningful for them” really stood out for me. I’ll remember that. Aside from anger I feel so much fear about this issue. I wish I could put my head in the sand and keep it there, but i t helps to receive encouragement from people like you – people who I have some big things in common with (i.e. our fathers, for one thing) despite the fact I was born Jewish etc.!!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Much love to you and your family!

  15. Forgiveness is overrated. I like the point where suddenly you realise that those fuckers just don’t matter at all. You don’t need those people in your life, the very least they could have done, was give you an explanation for their apparent lack of compassion. I’m not saying you ought to have then accepted all explanations, but really, it’s extra shitty if people don’t even think they did anything wrong. All those fucking preconceptions of theirs… They were probably terrified you’d throw some kind of batshit fit at you, despite your crazy hair and straitjacket. Fuckem and fuck the guilt too.

    1. lady this is intoto what I’ll comment, and so if my African neighbour and sister don’t mind; I paste her last sentence: ” Fuckem and fuck the guilt too”. I mean SERIOUSLY

      1. Between you and Blahpolar, all I can say is you are both amazing gifts in my life – gifts with potty mouths just like mine! I love you both! And I have your book “BATTERED, TATTERED, BUT NOT SHATTERED” by my bedside on the table, and I see your beautiful, smiling face on the cover a bunch of times each day as I walk past it and that cheers me up – I WILL read and I WILL 5-star before 2016, because I know it’s a 5! 😉 I’m psychic! I’ll bring it to the conference…speaking of which:

        my first conference class is at 9:00 AM this Thursday, August 13 morning – if you feel like doing ANYTHING to send me good juju I’ll be in your debt once again. And I’ll catch up on your blog too – you know how I get sometimes…..XOXOOXOXOXOXOX

    2. I love it: “Forgiveness is overrated”. Better cancel your Pema Chodron/Dalai Lama conference registration today! 😉

      Oh yes – I think the worst thing is truly when someone is clueless and doesn’t think he did anything wrong, OR that a simple “I’m sorry” will make up for 7 years of sick, twisted behavior. “I’m sorry” shows no indication that the person understands what took place and it doesn’t cut it with me. I’m not saying I want to crack the person’s vein open and drain him of blood (ex-sanguinate is the word, methinks) but there needs to be more than “I’m sorry” because those words don’t mean much to me anymore.

      You know me a bit by now…I get 1000% more compassion, love, encouargement and so much more from Lucy than from 1/2 my “blood” relatives and I’m not naming names yet. (Am checking legalities)

      I’d rather be with Lucy or my kids or husband or the 3 chickens (lest you forget they are called Malena, Hazel, and Emily) and of course our two hamsters with the highly original names of Zoe and Snowflake. I’d rather be alone. I like my company because I know I’m kind, and I’d never, never-fucking-ever pull the crazy shit these so-called “non-mentally ill” people did.

      1. Well, the way I had forgiveness to me recently made sense (I think it was rg who explained), that it meant letting it go and not holding on to a grudge or whatever. In that case, you could say I forgave my stepfather. It is actually the dictionary definition, but I grew up Catholic and had presumed it included kinda telling the perpetrator it was alright (which obviously it never could be). I still don’t like the word forgiveness, too much history to it. Letting go is a concept I can totally get behind, even if it’s synonymous…. But you can’t just let go/forgive by some kind of instantaneous magic, as you know, it’s a whole process. So fuck forgiveness for now.

        But Ja, the clueless defence is bs. People throw up their hands and claim they didn’t know, but the even worse bit is that they didn’t fucking ask. And if “sorry” doesn’t include “I know what I did and regret it,” then fuck that too.

        You’ll feel better once you’ve cut those dingleberries off xD

      2. Loved your follow-up comment. You totally understand. Hey, I don’t have the nickname “Scissors” for nothing! If someone crosses me/lets me down/joins the $-movement they are out of my life/heart like a roasted trout! XOXO

    1. Here’s a belated thank you, my kind Vic, for your comment! You made me smile!!!! And you also get it!It always helps me to read your take on these
      crunchy types of issues! (((hugs))))

    1. It means SO SO much that you read this post, honey, and that you commented. Thank YOU! After receiving such wonderful comments I feel like I should send everyone a check for virtual therapy! 😉 While it’s obvious I haven’t “gotten over it” yet, maybe I’ll get through it somehow. Love you!!!!!!

  16. So WRONG that psychiatric hospitalizations are treated so differently than ANY OTHER hospitalization by family, friends, and the medical establishment itself. Your experience reflects the experience of many. I was SHOCKED at how few fellow patients had absolutely NO visitors. Their families abandoned them.

    Not suggesting that you in the here and now let go of your anger, but over time, working through it in therapy can help YOU (fuck THEM).

    Alcoholism related illness is illness, as mental illness is illness. Both are physical. On top of that, the alcoholism causing the related illness probably masked and self-medicated another underlying psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder. Why people feel compassion for an alcoholic and not someone with bipolar disorder is beyond me, especially when you were being treated for the primary illness.

    Honestly, I’m getting a bit riled up myself, having been raised in an alcoholic family. Even though I’ve spent decades (over three decades) working on my issues, I’m still mad. I WORK HARD for my mental illness. Those still drinking are not working hard at all, and they injure those who love them – deeply.

    1. Here’s a “better late than never” reply to your insightful comment, dear Kitt. You figured out something that was on my mind that I meant to include in this post, and that is how the disease of alcoholism “trumps” bipolar disorder when it comes to how others view illness. It’s beyond ridiculous.

      My psychiatrist is actually an addiction specialist, and he worked as one for 30+ years at a hospital before doing private practice. He also considers me to be “stable” and “doing really well” (MUSIC to my ears, as you can imagine!) and he trained to be a psychotherapist before switching to the MD path. I can always discuss how I feel about alcoholism with this extraordinary doctor during our check-in sessions and of course with my therapist.

      I live in a town where (as you know) expressing dark, non-granola thoughts is not encouraged. I used this opportunity here to express my pain and “ugly” feelings and I felt better for doing it.

      You’ve inspired me to write about less shiny-happy topics through your blog. To get comments like yours makes the risk of exposing where I’m TRULY at behind the surface makes taking such a risk worthwhile. I know it’s not easy to read posts like this one where they remind you of issues that rile you up and I really appreciate your taking time to read and respond Bless you!

  17. What a brave honest post! I’m the opposite. I’m okay with it because we hid my hospitalizations and I didn’t let anyone know where I was. But if you were seeking support and didn’t get it shame on them! And I applaud you for having the courage to speak openly about it – it’s not easy to say you aren’t going to support someone, particularly in a tit-for-tat type situation. But, as we both know, if we don’t have self-love and self-care, then we have nothing for the ones who need us most. Xoxo!!!

    1. Thank you honey – I couldn’t ask for a better, more “with-it” type of comment!!!!!

      It means SO much to me.

      Throughout my life I’ve been known as being “so nice”, “too nice”, “so thoughtful”, “too thoughtful” – with the unspoken expectation that others would be that way with me, and look where I ended up? I’m a very angry and wounded gal.

      One friend (who was supportive!) suggested to me to make a phone and/or email tree for our closest loved ones to use during times when we are hospitalized, which is a great idea. The only problem with this concept is when you & your loved one don’t have any idea bipolar is about to strike, – then you won’t be prepared with this list but I guess you could ask someone to help….Anyway, once a hospitalization takes place it’s a great idea to create a “call for support” list.

      I didn’t have internet access at any of my hospitalizations but from what I understand some patients do now – correct me if I am wrong!!!!! and that’s a nice, relatively easy way to let someone who’s in the psych ward know you care! XOXOOX thanks again

    2. I’m glad you posted about this. I can’t find my balls so I can’t do the same. I didn’t want people to see the way I looked with my psoriasis but I did want visitors. I don’t think people know how to deal with mental illness visits hence them not even attempting it. As sufferers we should look at tit as opportunities to teach them how we wanted to be treated. They may think that we find ‘how are yous ‘ as offensive or intrusive. I’m not saying forgive or forget. I’m saying that’s how I thought about the fact that I didn’t get any (visitors). I still get angry and sad about it.

      Forgive when you are ready.

      1. What you wrote here makes perfect sense….you have so much bravery in your little toe that you could post about whatever you want. I know you could!! And you *have* done just that!

        When I was 16 and thought I was mental-illness free and sweet (HA!) I went by myself to visit my Dad at the UCLA nuthouse. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I brought him his Stradivarius violin and got in trouble for that, but hell, I wanted to cheer him up!

        Now, yeah, that was my Dad and not “just” a friend or distant relative. Regardless of that, I have set the bar high ever since for whta people should do when it comes to hospitalization for bipolar. I figure if at 16 I could drive 45 minutes in L.A. on its scary-ass roads with a million dollar violin in my car to see my Dad, that others could visit me, but I found out that wasn’t true. I’m leaving out a lot of gory details because if I wrote about the whole truth I could get bullied and threatened with a lawsuit, and my Mom reads the blog – it would hurt her.

        So I come into this whole issue with a whole lotta baggage and yeah, more than a little judgement, I admit it. I’m stuck. In this moment, Yve my dear, feel hopeless about it.

        I wrote in a Stigmama poem that I wish Big Pharma would invent a Forgiveness Pill! :)))) Ha ha ha. Wouldn’t that be nice?

        Seriously, I doubt I’ll forgive in this lifetime and as someone who despite being agnostic, believes in an Afterlife/Heaven, I hope they let me in where I hopefully really & truly move beyond such massive resentment and anger. LOVE you! It means a lot to me that you took time to write – I know you’re a busy bee! XOXOO I also know that if you lived here and we knew each other, you’d get in touch with me @ the hospital.

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