advertisement

Blogs

My name is Mel Bender. I’m thrilled to be joining HealthyPlace as an author for the Relationships and Mental Illness blog. I’m a freelance writer, blogger, and artist living in Toronto, Canada.
Presenting myself with new challenges has been a great way to boost my self-esteem because it makes me feel strong. I know that when I conquer internal challenges, I can conquer external ones too.
Recently a friend ruined my mental health. Well, a friend combined with preexisting bipolar disorder, ruined my mental health. I don't believe in blaming people for mental health problems, per se; but, sometimes people do things that are so damaging, a change in mental health really is pretty much their fault. So, what do you do when a friend ruins your mental health?
This might seem like a bold, hyperbolic claim, but it just so happens to be true: I have no regrets about my eating disorder. Of course, there are some behaviors I am not proud of, relationships I have worked fiercely to restore, and memories I still flinch at. But in terms of actual regret, I simply think it's a wasted emotion. While I have absolutely no desire to relive those 15 years of battling anorexia, this formative chapter in my life transformed me into who I am right now—a person for whom I feel genuine love and respect. So if you'll indulge me for a few minutes, I will unpack why I have no regrets about my eating disorder.  
On July 16th, 2022, the new three-digit Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotline went into full effect.¹ The transition from a 10-digit number to the convenient and memorable 988 is a positive step toward adequate and widely-accessible mental health resources for all. Moreover, the hotline is no longer solely for suicidal individuals but anyone facing a mental health crisis. The overall messaging behind this change is perhaps the most impactful. We hear you, we see you, and we’ll show you not only through our words but through action.
Many individuals, including myself, can take notice of subtleties later when they are no longer the subject of verbal abuse. However, it shocks me as I look back and replay many of these instances in my head. There were several reasons why I never recognized it as abusive, which led me to remain in the same situation for years. 
Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is the first major mood disorder I suffered from as a kid. However, I did develop early symptoms of bipolar disorder as a teen as well and that later led to schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. PMDD is a very extreme form of what is commonly known as PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Untreated, I don’t have minor bouts of irritability or sadness during my period--I have full-on depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts. The way I treat my PMDD is with birth control pills.
 We all experience cycles or patterns of behavior that we want to change. Those of us who have experienced binge eating disorder (BED) or eating disorders, in general, know the pain and frustration that is felt when you are trapped in a cycle of disordered, destructive eating. It is especially frustrating when you try to recover and leave behind your old cycles and patterns and you realize you're still stuck in a cycle. 
I didn't get a say in my birth. My mother and father took the executive decision to procreate without my input, and I landed on the scene in the April of 1985 before I could register any objections. Upon my arrival, the doctors deduced a few things: I was a boy. I was healthy. And, given the amount of wailing and thrashing, I appeared mildly inconvenienced by this whole birth scenario. For nearly 32 years after that, the doctors didn't miss much--except to diagnose me with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Before I knew anything about borderline personality disorder (BPD) or antidepressants, I knew that pharmaceutical drugs were bad. Or, at least that's what I was told growing up. I learned from a young age not to trust therapists or doctors. Doctors wanted to poison your body, and therapists wanted to poison your mind. Why would I think that? Well, because then it would be easier for them to control you.

Follow Us

advertisement

Most Popular

Comments

Elizabeth Caudy
Hi, Aslaug, thank you for your comment. I am sorry you are experiencing these symptoms. I would talk to your doctor about the possibility that they could be caused by your medication. I hope the fog clears up and you have a blast at film school! Best, Elizabeth
Danielle Tinsley
Rob

I would love to talk to you about ehat your son is doing to improve. My 24 year old son has tried multiple meds with horrible side affect. He wants to be off meds. I'd like to support him, but safely.
Chelsea
Wow thank you for making this video! I was diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago, at the age of 36, so I went a long long time with it undiagnosed until it got so bad I couldn’t function.

I’ve started medication and both that and being aware of the fact that I have ADHD had helped me be a bit more self aware, but also the flip side of that is I’m realizing all these things I do or have done my whole life that are potential problems.

I’ve ALWAYS over-explained things without realizing I was doing it until someone would point it out to me, and then maybe I’d be a little more self aware for a bit, but quickly fall back into the bad habits and stop noticing when I over-explained or over-shared or just talked too much.

I came across your video today after 3 different people (in the span of only 2 days) in my life basically told me I talk to much and it’s overwhelming/stressful/too much. It hurt, but mostly because I know they’re right, and because I’m sensitive to criticism about social skills as I KNOW they’re not a strength of mine. It’s a major insecurity.

May I ask was it just time that helped you get better at it? Were there specific things you did to help you become more aware when you were doing it or remember to pull back? I’m still struggling a lot with that. It’s hard to change something when I can’t seem to stop and think about what needs changing before I do it! Meds have helped a little with that but maybe I just need a lot more practice now that I have the tool of medication?
Soulful quotations
Really , good friends are hard to find, there are toxic people everywhere. But when you find good ones don't leave them.
Angela
No, abuse can be sexually, financially, emotionally, physically, mentally and verbally. He's not a man but a big baby who never grew up and never will. Get out. I am in the process of getting out. Police departments have domestic abuse workers, the YWCA will help. Just get up, run if you have to. Pack a bag with important papers, set of clothes and essentials. Hide it. Grab it on your way out to a new life. I hope you don't wait until your over 50 to decide you deserve better. Don't waste another minute. Please.