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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Arcenciel Offline
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Mental Health Group - June 24th 2012, 03:29 AM

Hey.

So I know I don't post in here very often but please bear with me.

So I go to this group called Challenge by Choice (CBC). Basically it's for people with mental health issues ages 16+. Most of us are under 30 and I think one person is 30. IDK. So we're all messed up in our own special way. At the group, the staff lead us through different activities. It's all recreational, and it's been really helpful. I feel more confident in the sense that I've been trying some new things that in the past, I've been too anxious to try. I told the staff there that I thought the program was helping, and I told my therapist as well. They think that's really great.

One thing that I'm struggling with is how I look at other people, though. I feel like such a terrible person for what I'm about to say, so please don't judge me So we all have mental illnesses of some sort, right? Well I guess the nicest way to say it is that some of us have illnesses that are more visible than others. For example, by looking at me, you wouldn't be able to tell that I have a mental illness (I have borderline personality disorder, by the way.) Sometimes people really piss me off because of how they act towards me or the way that they act in general. Like there are a few people who get really up in my face, and it's not their fault, but it just reallllly pushes a boundary for me. There's a girl there who I knew when I was growing up because she walked around my neighbourhood, but I never actually met her. She keeps trying to get closer to me but I'm really not interested in a friendship, nor do I really enjoy talking to her because she yells at people a lot.
Again, I sound super bitchy. I feel like I'm one of the more high-functioning people in the group. Many many people are on AISH (assisted income for the severely handicapped) and I am not nor will I ever need to be on AISH. That's what my therapist says, and I agree with her. i don't need assisted income because I have the ability to work. I love my job and actually thrive from being busy with work and school. But it makes me really jealous because they dont' have to work for anything, and money just gets delivered to their front door every month that they can spend as they wish. I sure wish I could afford a bus pass, but I have to work my little keester off every month for an 80 dollar piece of paper that they get for free. They also get free membership to all the city pools and rec centres for FREE. it's like a 600 dollar membership otherwise. I don't need AISH, but I really wish some days that the people there wouldn't rub it in my face.

Even in a group where I'm supposed to feel equal, I feel like an outsider. Not really sure how to approach it.

Another note: one of the staff is leaving in about a week and a half...and I'm REALLY sad about it, because she's the one staff who I feel closest to. I feel like the other ones don't like me as much or don't want to spend time with me. it's kind of upsetting. I know it's probably not true...but it feels that way I'm going to miss her so much.
   
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Re: Mental Health Group - June 24th 2012, 06:40 AM

Two of my cohort mates work at a mental health hospital that houses people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder. They have three groups (A, B, and C) that patients are placed in based on their ability to function. I think "C" is the low-functioning group, meaning that it's mostly people with schizophrenia who aren't coherent. The "B" group is a bit better, but the ability to have true insight into their problems is limited. The "A" group is the highest functioning group, so people like yourself would go there and basically enjoy everything the therapists had to offer.

Unfortunately, not all groups are like that. Some do what yours does, and lumps people of different functionality levels into one group. The problem, as you can clearly see, is that it's a bit hard for someone like yourself to feel completely at ease, when you feel like you're not "that bad" and deserve to be placed somewhere else. You don't have to call yourself a terrible person for feeling that way. Imagine you were a high school senior with a 4.0 GPA, and you were placed in the simplest math class possible, the one struggling freshmen take. You would be able to do the work, but you wouldn't feel like you belonged there.

It sounds like this group has been really helpful for you, so I would stick with it for the time being and continue to maintain your boundaries with other participants. In the meantime, you might be able to ask your psychological professional about trying out different groups. Maybe you'll find one that is better suited to your needs.

As far as the AISH goes... yeah, I hear you. I'm an independent adult who doesn't make enough money to cover rent, tuition, and all my other expenses. I am slowly but surely cutting into my savings, which I built up over the course of about three years. I have always worked part-time while attending school full-time. I don't have it easy, but I do what I do because I want to have the best future possible. It frustrates me when I see how people can get handouts from the government... free healthcare, for example... when I have to pay $200/month for it. I realize that some people are unemployed and/or incapable of being employed, but that doesn't make me feel much better.

What DOES make me feel better is knowing that, while they may have it easy in some ways, their chances of achieving the things I'm working to achieve are much lower. There's a trade-off for everything. Some of these people may be able to ride the bus for free, but they may never be capable of operating a vehicle of their own. You may struggle financially right now, but someday, you can save up for a nice car and go on a road trip. There are people in your class who may never be able to enjoy something as simple as that, something you and I may take for granted.

Perhaps it would help to talk to your favorite staff member before she leaves. Explain that you feel like an outsider, and see if you two can come up with a few ideas on how to reduce the intensity of those feelings. It could be something as simple as being introduced to another staff member and spending 10 minutes talking about fun topics, like what movies are playing in the theaters, or what your favorite flavor of Frappucino is. I know that you know that BPD can affect the way you perceive others, so challenge those thoughts by making a deeper connection with one or more of the other staff members, if possible. =)






Last edited by PSY; June 24th 2012 at 08:21 PM.
   
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Re: Mental Health Group - June 24th 2012, 10:36 AM

I just want to say, I can sort of relate. Not to your exact situation, but to being around others with mental illnesses who just aren't . . . on the ball, and it's not their fault, but it's still frustrating.

When I was in hospital, I ended up in the locked ward (yay me), of which the population is nearly entirely schizophrenics who are pretty much incapable of functioning, with the occasional random with something different for flavour. They can't hold conversations (although one could play Scrabble, of all things), they do weird stuff, and I ended up doing all my interacting with staff rather than patients.

That being said, if I was under the hospital system that Robin mentioned, I'd probably be placed in the "B" group, because although I'm high functioning intellectually, when I'm unwell I have severely limited insight. I've read it in their notes.

But also further to what Robin said, look at the pros - chances are, with work, you'll achieve things that those others would have trouble achieving. I, for example, have had my driving license revoked and my car confiscated. I may or may not get them back. Although I *don't* get free public transport, I certainly don't get enough money to travel as extensively as I did with a car.

I am struggling to find work. In fact, at times I struggle to hold the part-time job I do have, even though it's in a field I love, and is less than 8 hours a week.
I have been unable to complete a course of study because I tend to become unwell quickly when stressed - this year, it was because I couldn't cope with the full lecture theater, and I couldn't afford the transport into town.

Yeah, the government in my country does provide me with a benefit. That covers my cost of living with very little left over - I have under $5 in savings. On the plus side, in New Zealand the large majority of healthcare is free.

But I just wanted to say that I relate to how you feel about the others. It's hard, and sometimes you feel like a bad person for thinking those things, but as long as you just think them (and come to TH to vent) you'll be ok.

Oh, and it's really good that you find the group helpful.
   
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Re: Mental Health Group - June 24th 2012, 05:55 PM

Jen, you don't have to feel like a horrible person for thining or feeling these things they are understandable given your situation, especially in comparison to theirs. As has already been said though, you are expected to work because you are capable of doing so, you may be dealing with finacial stress, but they are dealing with severe mental illnesses that prevent them from functioning normally. You're in the much better position, even if you get jealous when it seems like they get things handed to them. That also means that they are currently or may always be dependent on someone or the government to provide for them and most people don't want that.


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Re: Mental Health Group - June 25th 2012, 02:36 AM

Thanks guys. That helps a lot to put things into perspective.

Robin, you're right. I do know that people with BPD have distorted perceptions about certain things. I do that a lot >< I actually had to do a worksheet on it. I had to write the negative thoughts, the distortions, and then a positive thought...and all of that had to be about the time following when the staff who is leaving told me that fact. Here's what I wrote

Negative Thought: *staff* is abandoning me. Distortion: All or nothing thinking - Thinking the absolute of a situation, and not considering other options. Positive Thought: *Staff* is moving onto a new opportunities and I am happy for her.
Negative Thought: None of the other staff like me. Distortion: Mind reading - predicting how others feel about you. Positive Thought: This is a new opportunity for me to get to know the other staff members.

I know these things. I know them in my head, but it's hard for me to know them in my heart.

The one thing that bothers me about the AISH thing is that some people brag about it or tell me I should be on it. One girl who I am kind of close with says that I should go on it because I'm mentally ill. Not all mentally ill people have to have assistance, though...and it's kind of offensive to me. I don't need it, and never will need it. It makes me want to say "please, I'm not THAT fucked up" even though I'm not "fucked up." Another boy brags about it. He is like "oh yeah I sit on my butt at home and do nothing but I get ______ a month just for doing nothing." A staff member has told him to knock it off before, but he didn't knock it off.

I don't know if it's fair for me to tell the staff how upset I am about her leaving (sorry, I'm trying not to use her name). I don't want her to feel guilty for leaving, even though I'm VERY upset about it and having an exceptionally hard time coping with it. I really don't want her to feel bad or guilty or anything, but I don't know how to do it.
   
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Re: Mental Health Group - June 25th 2012, 04:50 AM

AISH: Sometimes people say things they really shouldn't and/or need to mind their own business, as harsh as that may sound. You have made the decision that works best for you in colaboration with your mental health professional(s) and that's what's important, not what another (unqualified and relatively uninformed) person says or believes, it's really no one else's business who recieves what assistance and why, but it's still okay to feel jealous of them. Just keep in mind that to be in their shoes assistance-wise, you'd also have to be in their shoes mental health-wise and there's a good chance they're doing worse than you are.

About the staff person leaving, I think it's really up to you if you decide to talk to her about it or not. It won't change her decision and I doubt it would make her feel bad. If that worries you, try speaking to another staff member or your professional about it. This would be a good opportunity to get to know the other staff better which will help when she leaves.


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Re: Mental Health Group - June 25th 2012, 05:55 AM

Thanks for the help

a part of me doesn't WANT to get close to the other staffies...idk. It's uncomfortable. I don't like uncomfortable situations, haha. What do I even do to get closer to them? Maybe they really just don't like me.
   
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Re: Mental Health Group - June 25th 2012, 04:52 PM

If you don't know them, you don't know if they don't like you and if they're working with the mentally ill they're probably pretty open and accepting. Icebreaking with new people when you're uncomfortable can be tough (I've been painfully shy my whole life, so I feel for you). The easy answer would be to just start talking to them, but that doesn't really work. Maybe ask the person you're already close to about some of them so you have an idea of who you might like to get to know better, or not they probably want to get to know you too.


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