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I am against using my diagnosis as an excuse for my behavior, and it annoys me whenever a peer does. I do not do that because I value taking responsibility for a my actions, diligence, and being non-judgmental (which I try to uphold, however, I sometimes fail), having this mental illness has humbled me into trying to balance my perception of other people and life situations. However, I do understand that having symptoms can impair rationality, and that is something different than what I am discussing.

With that said, I was irked by my parter's lack of understanding and insensibility to my mental health. I told him I may be experiencing mania to describe why I've been on the computer too much, which has become an issue for us recently. He asked me what "mania" was and I defined it as an obssession- which may not have been the best description. His response bothered me, he said something to the effect: 'stop trying to find a diagnosis for everything you do!' I paused and thought carefully before I spoke, and in my mind thought: you just don't get it, I am not making these emotions, and mental health concerns, up!

I had a flashback of last year's struggle with depression, and again, he was not willing to hear me out. Futhermore, when I went into a respite center he was upset that he was not the first person to know why I was going there- mmm, I wonder why?!

I don't mean to imply that he isn't supportive, because he is and has been very supportive to me, in his own way, in diverse situations.

Because mental health is my passion and purpose I engage in anti-stigma presentations frequently, and I do not bring my business home. Every once in a while he asks questions about schizophrenia and mental illness and I am glad he shows interest, and I answer his questions. Also, I share projects or presentations with my him, but I intentionally do not force mental health related stuff on him because I understand that it is my interest, and not his.

However, experiences like this remind me that I need to educate him better on my mental health concerns so that he can understand my world... He has never seen me with a range of symptoms to the extent that I cannot function- and I don't want him to- ever.

I try not to go into detail about my family life, but I needed to vent and to share my frustraton to acknowledge these sorts of experiences that I have and maybe some of my peers may also have within their personal relationships too.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, NAMI, Choices in Recovery, or Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada),


Tour Guide said…
I know you don't want him to see with severe symptoms, but perhaps not seeing you that way is what makes it harder for him to empathize with your less severe symptoms? It seems like it might be harder to understand the seriousness of your current but much less severe symptoms if he has never seen the bad ones. Just a thought, but still not an excuse for him to minimize what you are feeling. The thing is, naming something isn't excusing something and that you are taking responsibility for your actions, especially since you are recognizing what you are doing and having the courage to talk to him about it. Him judging you isn't helpful.
Ashley Smith said…
Tour Guide,

Your thoughts on this situation gives me reassurance, and I need that sometimes, thank you.
Angie said…
It's hard for me to find information about schizophrenia. Maybe I just want to understand my son so much. Yes, I've been to NAMI. We are still looking for the right medicine and he's out of control most of the time. I like to see your success and that you are a functioning individual. It is comforting.
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Angie,

I hope your son learns how to cope with his mental illness ASAP and that you all find the medication that works best for him.

I am glad my story is comforting to you- hang in there and press forward the best way you know how!
Anonymous said…
Hi Ashley, I've been following your blog for a while, but this is the first time I've commented. You write so well about the difficulties you face.

I've been thinking about your frustrations with your partner, I have similar struggles sometimes. Maybe if I tell you about my thinking it might ring true for you, I don't know… In the past, a "lack of insight" led to some pretty bad situations for me. Now, even though life is completely different and better and I have the diagnosis and the professional care and insight, I'm still very nervous about losing that insight so I do worry, perhaps too much, if I notice I am doing things that can be symptoms of mental illness. I guess I've sort of become "hypervigilant" about mental health, and I think this is quite understandable given the horrible consequences of becoming sick. I can see how my partner, who loves me and thinks that I am wonderful, might think I was over reacting when I get all worried about my brain. Sometimes I am over reacting, sometimes I am not. Asking people around you is a good thing to do - partners, family, professionals - anyone who knows and respects you. It's impossible to tell over the internet.

I hope you keep looking for comfort and reassurance until you get the help you need. It might eventually be from your partner, but it might not be and that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with him or your relationship. There will be someone else who can help.

There is this post by a woman who had PTSD and depression where she writes about finding support, she calls it your "baker". I like how she explains it:

Best wishes to you Ashley,
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Cate,

I read about the "baker" from the blog you referred me to, and I understand the underlying message, which is so true. In fact, I have an appointment with my doctor in about a week so I can go to my "baker."

I am in the same boat as you when it comes to worrying about flaring symptoms. I am glad you acknowledged that I do not have serious relationship concerns because my partner does not understand me sometimes when it comes to my mental illness.

Thank you for reading my blog, sharing your experiences, and making your presence known by commenting. I respect your suggestion to go to the baker, and I will most definitely do that!
coffeegirl said…
Ashley, I realize I am commenting on your January post several months later, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. For sharing. My son has this disease and his life right now has led him to trouble with the law and living in foster care. He won't talk to me..has not for over a year now..I am o.k. with itt even though it is hard as I know he needs to do what you have done...stop making excuses for his poor choices and start taking responsiblity for his actions. Thank you for sharing.

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