Work Hard at What You Must – Stigma

Late... Again ?

I was late again for my exercise group, Kaia F.I.T.  It almost kept me from going.  Being late is embarrassing!

Being late is a misunderstood disease.  A syndrome.  I am pretty sure there is a formal diagnosis that the DSM-VI (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness) will have for it.  Difficulty with being late will get its own ribbon.  I do not know.  Maybe yellow after “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  I will tie yellow ribbons to my hair, shoes, car, and get a yellow-ribbon pin for my shirt on behalf of myself and all those with like-affliction.  Stigma toward those of us suffering with this condition will diminish.

(I am really hoping Becca, Rene, Alyssa, Maria and all other Kaia coaches across America are reading this so that I, and those who suffer like me, will not be further socially abused, nor get the government involved.)

Now, in celebration of diminishing stigma of any kind all around the world, I am reposting, with gratitude:

“Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

Many and many a reader has asked that. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest in The Transcript. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it.Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and–begging my pardon–had I been there?Now the story of the story is this:

For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia–and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still-good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to “live as domestic a life as far as possible,” to “have but two hours’ intellectual life a day,” and “never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again” as long as I lived. This was in 1887.

I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over.

Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist’s advice to the winds and went to work again–work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite–ultimately recovering some measure of power.

Being naturally moved to rejoicing by this narrow escape, I wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper,” with its embellishments and additions, to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad. He never acknowledged it.

The little book is valued by alienists and as a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate–so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered.

But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.

It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked.

__________________________________________________

SOURCE: The Forerunner, October 1913.

Awesome, huh!?

Self-care tip:  Work hard where you must.  Stigma is as stigma does.  Keep on.

Question:  Where is stigma attacking you?  What are doing with it?  Please tell us your story.

Having Mental Health Means Sleuthing Magical Perceptions Sometimes

Black Magic (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #134 – Looking past the dark magic in your life might require medication.  Be a friend to yourself.

Much of what psychiatrists do at work is help with misperceptions.  Seeing something one way does not make it true.

In Scientific America, there was a great article, “Magic and the Brain: How Magicians ‘Trick’ the Mind,” By Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik | November 24, 2008 | 17.  It tells us that we misperceive things so easily, that people use that quality to entertain others.  Magicians use it to entertain and exploit the limits of cognition and attention.

Magicians aren’t the only ones to exploit that.  We do.  We exploit ourselves.  Tsk.  Not too friendly and not generally as entertaining.

How is having our misperceptions a form self-exploitation, you say?  Because we nurse them and drive our own selves into the ground with them.  No one else is doing it when down to the last trick.

It comes to me that when we feel disconnected from others, we are mistaken.  Some magic turned us awry and we don’t see the gazillioin links touching us all around.  When we feel worthless, when we think we are despised, when we feel singled out for suffering, that be black magic my friends.  When we think our lives our so hopeless that we would be better off ending them, look for the mirrors.  Look for the rabbits and top hats.  We aren’t seeing things right.

When I move the curtains across my clinic day, I often find medical diagnosis hiding behind.  Some sort of biology giving us the slip.

My dad often told me, “Things are never as bad as they seem.”  I realize he was talking about this kind of magic.

Question:  How have you gotten past self-harmful misperceptions?  How have you seen another do it?  Please tell me your story.