Tag Archives: antipsychotics

Murder Not Mental Illness

I wouldn’t normally comment on things that happen in America as it is not my country. But this is an issue that comes up again and again with regards to mass shootings in America. The common rhetoric is to claim the perpetrator is mentally ill. Now it is possible that they do have a mental illness but for the number of mass shootings that happen each year in America, that is a lot of mentally ill people with access to guns.

The truth is that these mass shootings are murder. Even terrorism. Often racism is at the core. This isn’t mental illness. Racism isn’t a mental illness. It’s a societal issue. Also America is not the only place where people are mentally ill, yet the number of mass shootings that occur there is disproportionately high. Surely this points to a deeper issue (*coughs* gun laws).

Here is the reality. People with a mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. I only have access to British statistics but this paragraph from Time to Change’s website shows the rate of murder caused by someone acting as part of their mental illness:

“According to the British Crime Survey, almost half (47 per cent) of the victims of violent crimes believed that their offender was under the influence of alcohol and about 17 per cent believed that the offender was under the influence of drugs. Another survey suggested that about 30 per cent of victims believed that the offender attacked them because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In contrast, only 1 per cent of victims believed that the violent incident happened because the offender had a mental illness.” Time to Change (Accessed August 2019).

It shows that while mental illness can cause someone to become violent, the chances are you’re more likely to be killed by someone drinking or on drugs. Yet this is never given as a possible explanation to those carrying out mass shootings. They also forget to mention that those with a mental illness are more of a risk to themselves than others.

It’s too easy to blame mental illness. To take something that people already fear and stigmatise against and use it to “explain” something so scary. People don’t want to think that someone who is a neurotypical person can be capable of causing so much death and destruction. But that is the case. Their brain may have been warped but it is not by mental illness, it is by racist ideologies (most of the time).

I know there will be many who won’t accept that mental illness is not to blame in the majority of cases. The thing is, even if a person is mentally ill, there are many other things that contribute to these situations. You need to look at your treatment of those with mental illnesses. You need to look at the ease of access to guns. It is not simply “this person was mentally ill and so there was nothing we could do”. Even when a person with a mental illness is violent, there are things that can be done to reduce this risk as there are often signs that this may happen.

So there we have it. Think before you say that a perpetrator is/was mentally ill. You are adding to the stigma. Maybe think what could be changed to prevent this ever happening again. What could of prevented it. What was the real motive. It is more than likely much deeper than “they were mentally ill”. Think. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr. President.

If you have any thoughts feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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BPD Q&A

There is a lot of misinformation out there about BPD and many people don’t have a good understanding of the illness. It can be very confusing, even for those of us who are dealing with the disorder. Therefore I thought I would answer some common(ish) questions. Obviously I only have my experiences to draw on but I hope it is still helpful.

What is BPD?

BPD stands for Borderline Personality Disorder. It may also be known by the name EUPD or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. It is a mental illness classified in the DSM-V (the manual of all mental illnesses). There are a variety of symptoms including relationship difficulties, fear of abandonment, suicidal ideation, self harm, impulsive behaviour, lack of a sense of self and extreme emotions which switch rapidly. To be diagnosed with BPD you need to match five points of a criteria of nine. This means that everyone with BPD is unique as each criteria is also on a spectrum.

What causes BPD?

There are many different theories as to what causes BPD. It is widely agreed that trauma in childhood is a big cause but not everyone who has BPD experiences trauma. There has also been research into changes in brain structure and genetics. However nothing has been conclusive.

What does having BPD feel like?

Everyone with BPD is different so I can only talk about what BPD is like from my point of view. Personally it feels like I’m an alien in this world that seems to be out of my control. And the lack of control reaches even inside me. I also feel constantly scared that people won’t like me or will leave me. I also feel like everything is too much.

What treatment is there for BPD?

The main treatment for BPD is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). This is a therapy that is mindfulness based and proper DBT consists of both group and individual therapy to learn skills to deal with distress, relationships and emotions. However it is not always available. People with BPD may also take medication though no medication is suggested for BPD. It can however help with symptoms and other illnesses that people with BPD are likely to have.

What is BPD rage?

BPD rage is the extreme anger that some people with BPD feel. Like all our emotions it is incredibly intense. It can also last a long time after the triggering event is over and when other people have forgotten about it. It also may seem disproportionate to the triggering event. Sometimes we turn the rage inwards and this can lead to self harm and suicidal behaviour.

Can people with BPD get psychosis?

Yes. It is a lesser known symptom of BPD but it can happen. It is more common in times of stress but can be there long term too.

Is BPD serious?

Yes there BPD is serious. It has a suicide rate of 10%. 70% of people with BPD attempt suicide. Self harm is common. Alcohol and substance abuse are also common. It effects everyday life.

Are people with BPD dangerous?

No people with BPD are not dangerous. In fact people with BPD are more likely to be victims of abuse than perpetrators. We are also more likely to hurt ourselves than other people.

So that is a few questions about BPD. I hope it helps with some understanding of the illness. For more information on BPD check out the Mind website. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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The Lesser Known Symptom Of BPD

As some of you may know there is a criteria of 9 symptoms which are considered when diagnosing BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)). To gain a diagnosis of BPD you need to meet at least 5 of the 9 criteria but each criteria can be met to different degrees. This means there are many different combinations of the criteria and therefore everyone who has the diagnosis is unique.

One of the lesser known criteria is hallucinations and psychosis in times of stress. This has been described below as mentioned on the NHS website.

“Brief episodes of strange experiences – such as hearing voices outside your head for minutes at a time. These may often feel like instructions to harm yourself or others. You may or may not be certain whether these are real.” (NHS website)

This lesser known symptom of BPD can be devastating but it is often overlooked by others. Most people focus on the difficulty with relationships and self harm. These of course are very serious symptoms of BPD but so is psychosis.

Often when you tell someone you hear a voice people will assume you have schizophrenia but it can be a part of many different illnesses, BPD being one of them. It means that an already stigmatised diagnosis (BPD) is even more stigmatised. This can be from others with the same diagnosis as well as mental health professionals.

It took a long time for me to tell my mental health team about the voice I hear. I thought that they would write me off as crazy and didnt realise it was part of my BPD diagnosis. I wasn’t informed that it was a part of BPD until years later, as different mental health professionals didn’t inform me that it was.

In fact I came up against stigma from some. They didn’t seem to take my symptoms seriously and dismissed me to begin with because I knew that the voice was in my head. They made out that it wasn’t a big deal even though it was still distressing. It took some time to persuade them to give me treatment. In fact one professional told me that because the psychosis was part of BPD I would never be able to get help with it. This was untrue as my current psychiatrist believes it can be helped by medication and I just haven’t found the right one yet that doesn’t cause me side effects.

Of course not everyone who has a BPD diagnosis experiences psychosis but it is part of the criteria so many who have it will suffer. How many suffer in silence? I want to talk about this lesser known symptom and end the stigma.

Have you had an experience of psychosis because of BPD? Feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Picture by me. ©Me And My Mental Health Matters

An Hour With The Voice

This blog post is a personal piece and content may be triggering. It also contains adult language. If you need support please either check out the crisis line numbers in the menu or the Samaritans are available all day, every day.

Living with a voice is tough. It tells you all sorts of things and because it repeats them over and over you start to believe them. For someone who doesn’t hear a voice it’s like having someone whispering things in your ear over and over again. Some are nice, others nasty. Everyone who hears a voice is different and I can’t speak for everyone but I thought I’d give you an insight into what I hear by recording what the voice says to me for an hour. Please be aware this may be highly triggering and does talk about suicide and self harm.

“You’re useless.

Can’t you see that everyone is better off without you.

Why don’t you just die.

You’re nothing.

Noone like you.

Die.

All you deserve is to hurt.

You’re vile.

You’re a whore.

That’s all you’re good for.

How could anyone like you?

Bitch.

Die.

Cut.

You deserve to hurt.

You’re useless.

Can’t you see you’re ruining life for everyone.

They’d be better off without you.

You’re the reason they are fighting.

You ruin everything.

You’re vile.

You’ll never be any use.

Nothing you do matters.

You’re a burden.

Can’t you just die.

Take an overdose.

You’re so selfish.

Don’t you see you’re draining everyone.

Die.

Die.

Die.

Die

Die.

You’re worthless, can’t you see that?

Shut the fuck up.

Noone wants to hear you.

All you do is hurt others.

Fucktard.

You’re nothing.

Die.

Harm.

Cut.

You need to hurt.

You need to punish yourself.

Die.

Die.

Die.

Die whore.

You’re shit.

You are worthless.

You’re a burden.

You’re no use to anyone.

Die.

Die.

Die.

Die.”

This is just a snapshot. A lot of this is repeated over and over. It feels never-ending. It is hard to hear all this.

If you want to share your experiences feel free to use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Running Out

This blog post is a personal piece. Please be aware some content may be triggering.

I’m about to start a change in my medication. In particular to the antipsychotic I take. This is nothing unusual; I’ve changed my medication lots of times before. Yes, it can be anxiety inducing waiting to see if you get any side effects or if it is actually going to help, but time things feel different. Why? Because this time I’ve been told they are running out of options.

I have recently found out that there is a problem with my heart, caused by medication I have taken (prescribed). Please don’t be alarmed by this, it’s just something that can happen, not always though. This does mean, however, that a number of medications are off limits. It’s restricted my options for treatment a lot, especially for antipsychotics. This has left me with a lot of different feelings.

First of all I’m kind of scared. I’m scared for what the future might bring. As someone who has anxiety anyway this has piled it on. My thoughts have been racing, filled with what if’s. What if this new medication doesn’t work? What if there is no alternative? What if I can’t get better? At the moment I feel a long way from coping with the voice I hear. In my own mind I’m not sure how I can cope with it without medical intervention. What if I can’t cope? In my mind I can’t face living with this voice forever. 

This leads me on to my next feeling; desperation. I was going to call it hope but it’s beyond that. I’m not just hoping for this new medication to work and have few side effects, I’m desperate. It is a longing that I can’t describe but I’m pinning everything to this new medication. This is a dangerous thing for me to do as if things don’t work out I know I won’t react well. 

In my mind there are suicidal thoughts starting to surface already (linked to this in particular; I always have some suicidal thoughts). I’m beginning to wonder if I’m untreatable and what this means for my future. Do I even have a future? I mean I don’t know if there are other options outside medication; I’m already doing therapy and struggling. The thoughts just won’t stop invading my brain no matter what skills I use to try and slow them. It is overwhelming. 

None of this is helped by the anger I also feel. Anger is a difficult emotion for me to deal with anyway but I’m truly angry at myself for having this issue. I hate my body for always reacting to medications in the worst way. I’m angry that I need the medication in the first place. Anger is rippling through me and I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

So what’s next? There isn’t much I can do about this situation. I have to accept it and hope for the best. This is of course easier said than done. I’m lucky to have good support in place. I have a team of professionals looking after me and support from friends and family. If you are experiencing something similar this is my suggestion: get a good support system in place. If you have any advice feel free to share in the comments or on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.