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A New Mental Health "Safe Zone" Thread Is Overdue - So Here It Is

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posted on May, 30 2015 @ 04:52 AM
Hello Again ATS!

I want to begin this thread with a sincere apology. For several years I took it upon myself ( along with another staffer or two ) to try and ensure that there was usually an active mental health based thread. A safe place for those having a rough time to come and vent, share stories, compare notes and generally support one another. Over the past several months I have failed to live up to my own, self imposed sense of duty in this regard. For this I am truly sorry. The real world sometimes gets in the way. And for those of us with mental health issues, that real world can be much more complicated than it is for most.

That has been the case with me for several months now. Sadly, instead of following my instincts and convictions and immediately bringing up a discussion about my issues, this time around I internalized dramatically and tried to suck it all up. Part of my decision to break normal habits here is due to environmental issues. Specifically having people in my real - and cyber lives who I did not feel safe with or who I felt terrible about venting to ( That is not to say I did not vent. I actually did so, elsewhere, to the point where I had to stop myself as it became a dumping ground for me rather than feeling like a healthy release ).

So... here I am. Mea culpa in hand, ready to begin a new ATS meeting of those of us who are more unique than others. For those who are new, a short greeting / synopsis.

Hi. My name is John, or Heff, or Hefficide ( any and all work - pick what you prefer and I'm happy to answer to it ) and I am a mental health patient with a clinical history that has now passed the 30 year mark. I have been fortunate in the sense that, through all of those years, I have only had to endure inpatient care once, for eight days ( three of those days were actually unnecessary - a very involved story about trying to move on a Friday, not making the facilities arbitrary "It must be done by X o'clock rules - and getting stuck until the following Monday because of the delay ). My diagnoses include PTSD, Bipolar I, OCPD, General Anxiety Disorder, Severe Depressive Disorder, Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, and I am told I am a high functioning Aspergers patient.

The root of my issues began when a congenital heart defect began to manifest at the age of 13 - a condition called Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome ( look it up before saying that no congenital heart defects wait that long to manifest please ). This led to three realities for me:

1) At 14 I was told that I was a time bomb and might die literally at any second. My outside life expectancy was stated as "maybe late twenties, at best mid thirties".
2) At 18 years of age I had a full cardiac arrest. A severe event. I was without vital signs for at least 12 minutes and probably closer to 15. The attending doctor at the ER actually kept attempting to resuscitate me, thankfully, far beyond the normal rules because of my age. Once he did restart my heart he was guilt ridden as he felt I would never wake up again. That I would live, for some period of time, as a vegetable and then expire. In fact I was not expected to survive the night. I was given my Last Rites and my family was told to say their farewells and get closure as I lay there unconscious. Obviously, against all odds, I won that particular lottery.
3) At the age of 28, after 14-ish years of near death experiences and showing up at the ER with abnormal heart rates and rhythms on just about a weekly basis - and having to take large quantities of extremely toxic medications in a desperate attempt to keep me stable, I received a phone call. A new procedure had been created that would cure me.

One outpatient surgery later ( via catheter ) and I was just about cured ( my case is one of the, if not the most profound studied so far and I still have extra nerve fibers in my heart that are too small to eliminate ) ). But cured enough to throw away all of the medication that had literally been my life for most of my life... medication that I could not even leave the house without for all of my adult life. From death sentence and being chained to drugs to basically cured and free in less than 24 hours.

While that sounds like and IS a miracle - there is a lot of psychology involved and much of it is detrimental. First, facing death, non-stop turned me into something of an adrenaline junkie as a young person. Even with death by cardiac arrest hanging over me, I spent much of my time participating in things they now call "extreme sports". Free climbing, cliff diving, motorcycle racing, absolutely stupid and ignorant things on skateboards - like trying to skateboard down long and well trafficked mountain roads, and so on. I was going to die anyway - so what was there to be afraid of? I was a real life version of Daredevil. Only with other self-destructive issues, like drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning more times than I can count and never truly bonding with or respecting others because it was all temporary and pointless anyway - or so it seemed at the time.

The funny part is that, while I was diagnosed with PTSD at 18 ( after the cardiac arrest ), the panic attacks were fairly infrequent and I was the most outgoing person you would ever want to meet. I was promiscuous in every sense of the word and had the ability to captivate the room. I was the life of the party - always.

But the day I was cured? The damn broke. Everything that imminent death had forced me to swallow and ignore no longer fit my paradigm. All of that undigested fear, frustration, feelings of "why", rage towards God, and general blankness caved instantly in upon itself.

Within months I woke up in an ER being told that I had attempted suicide. I have no recollection of this event nor why I even tried. The last thing I remember, I was watching football, in a good mood, and drinking a beer. The doctor wrote it off as "alcohol induced psychosis" but in hindsight I now understand the truth. Being cured opened Pandora's box, inside of my head, and let out everything I'd always refused to acknowledge.

That led to the domino effect of anxiety leading to depression, leading to highs and lows, giving way to Bipolar, opening the door for social insecurities... and all the rest that came after.

Today I am 20 years past that bizarre suicide attempt and am finally old enough, learned enough, and experienced enough to have a grasp on the mechanisms of my illness. That is not to say understanding it changes much - as brain chemistry doesn't much care if you understand it - it's chemistry. Knowing how a nuke works doesn't make one nuke-proof. So I take medication, fight the good fight, suffer some, win here and there, and live through it.

There. That's my story - and I know that many of you are familiar with it. You also know why I tell it every so often - so that others will see that the one thing I am NOT is ashamed. I do not allow the world to measure or marginalize me based upon this single facet of my entirety. I embrace my illness and openly discuss it so that others might feel like they, too, can open up and feel safe in doing so.

That is how I seek to turn a HUGE series of negatives into a positive.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 04:52 AM
So. If you are suffering, having a hard time, living with a diagnosis, living with someone else who has a diagnosis and having a hard time understanding or accepting, or any other variant - this is a safe place to let it out.
There is no judgement here.
To be very clear, I am not a doctor and this thread is not meant to substitute for professional opinion, diagnosis or help. These things are all necessary and important for recovery or living with ones illness. This is simply a place for us. A place where discussing it will not raise eyebrows, or cause uncomfortable silences or abrubt subject changes.
If you feel compelled to comment, at all, please do so.
Thanks again ATS. For reading and for allowing us all a place like this.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 05:09 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

In the mental health department I am doing good. Thank you for sharing your story...I think it is wonderful that you are able to open up and tell us your story. You've endured heart goes out to you.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 05:34 AM
The biggest problem is that you just can't get help. In my country the mental health system is simply broken.

Six months to get a single appointment. Of course, you can go and see a practitioner in private practice but at $250.00 at a minimum, who can afford that!

Doctors with no damn idea. I made a suggestion for a med change and my doctor got all defensive. At my next visit he seemed to have done his research and gave me the script. I should not be the one having to do the research in the first place let alone having to wait until he plays catch up.

To maintain my pain meds, I needed an appointment with the Pain Management Clinic. Yeah OK, no problem. Mark time, don't change anything and wait. There went 2.5 bloody years. That was the waiting list!

Now I am waiting another six months until I see someone who 'has the ability' to proscribe what I want next. Why the crap am I the one doing the research.

Anyone suffering from nightmares, PM me for a med suggestion. Been nightmare free now for several months. Really is great!

Yes Heff, PTSD is the pits. One of my four defining events is still subject to childhood amnesia and that is a true PITA. Without knowing what the event was, I can't confront it and work it through. But the emotional chaos is still present.

Such is life.


posted on May, 30 2015 @ 06:00 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

My hat is off to your ability to persist and overcome.

I hold a different view of things regarding "mental health".

I hold that your emotional responses to your physical condition, one without a predictable future, as completely normal and not a psychological illness whatsoever.

I would go as far as to say that if you didn't have the responses that you did that that was proof of a mental 'disorder'.

If one's house is burning down with all your possessions and valuables being destroyed and you were, perhaps humming and serene, that would be nuts. Being sad or depressed is face of an actual and real situation is a normal response and appropriate for the circumstance you face.

You faced one tough circumstance from what I can see and being labeled with these invented "conditions" by the "mental health" industry added to the stress of your circumstances, not lessened them.

You survived them all. I see that as awesome. Many do not survive that combination. Suicide following these therapies are increasing almost daily in our military vets and in the population in general. That includes those that take others out in shootings as well as themselves. Almost one for one, following or during therapy/psychotropic influence.

There is much covering this issue available if you surf for it. I suggest you do so.

Again, well done and continued success.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 06:38 AM
Mental Health issues.

I'd like to say a few things about mental health in the business world, yes I say business world and not medical world.
First, big money is to be made off of the lost souls that are lost in a world that even the doctors can't comprehend, but they sell hope to their love ones by giving drugs that are addictive and once administered , must be taken religiously. The fact is, mental patients don't do it. Most are living without love ones and are drinking on the open streets of America, or simple gave up and looking for dinner in the dumpster for the evening meal.

The truth is, most patients should be given pot to smoke and let them be on their merry way in life.

For those of you that have been in the mental wards and have asked yourself, wtf am I doing here, you understand what I'm talking about. The fact is, a severely mental patient with thoughts of doing normal things in society is beyound help and the professionals in the field of treating such patients know it.

Money, people. That's it. All about money.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 06:49 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Our lives are very different Heff. I am glad to know you around these boards. It's so weird to think this morning I would have gotten up and never seen this thread because it wouldn't have ever been written.. This get's to a point.

Around the age of 3 or 4 or maybe always for all I know I have been in some mode of depression/anxiety.. You wouldn't have known this about me, because as long as I am doing things I don't have to think, and can't really feel depressed. Then the room gets quiet, and bam. "why did I even come into class today? What's the point." I never did commit suicide and never would. Partially before because I was too depressed to die. Too depressed to kill myself.

So here is where we are similar. I made some conscious decision around 5 or 6 that my life was now over. I didn't care about the rest of it.. Anything that would kill me sooner, bring it.. Drink everyday to the point I have no clue how my body isn't mush.. Because I had decided my life was over, I didn't invest any energy in life. Making friends.. Trying to get into college.. Brushing my teeth.. Going to the doctor.. I didn't care about my body, it wasn't coming with me. Never did any homework.. Almost graduated somehow even though I went to class 3 days a week on average.

This is my life for the most part, though knowing me in real life you would say I was one of the happier people you have ever met.

Punchline: And then I cared.

Much like you Heff.. The Floodgates were opened.. I don't know where my head will be one day from the next, it's a crazy ride becoming a human again. But I AM happy. Much of my anxiety from before is gone (never going outside). I have new anxiety I think is linked to wasting the first half of my life haha.. But I am getting over that, as nothing is truly wasted, as long as there are still new sun rises to meet.

Even my brain chemistry seems different now. I don't have the depression blanket covering me, making me feel fake.

I've cut way back on alcohol, though that has it's own issues too. Emotions come back hardcore..

Conclusion: Nothing is free

you can't get out of life by running from it. Anything masking any problem like alcohol.. It's only something of a bank storing your debt. Life is meant to be lived. I tried to simplify my life so as to not have to be in society.. Failure.. Run from life, and pay the price..

I'm paying up now, but I am getting some nice returns on this new investment of mine..

Anyway, it' always good seeing your face.
Have a good one man.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 06:56 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

s&f and a bro hug for you!

A lot of your teenage years sounds like mine.
Adrenaline junky, suffering from PTSD and I didn't even know it.

By the age of 30 I was agoraphobic, and hitting rock bottom with my PTSD. I attempted suicide, managed to stop myself (had my life flash before my eyes even)
and then within 2 years was getting a divorce which forced me into a hospital to get help before I died.

That was the best thing I ever did for myself.
I am luckier than most, as the medication, my own spiritual center, and a few good friends I met while getting treatment were able to put me back on a path I had not been on ever, a path to a somewhat normal life, although I still tend to be an adrenalin junkie

The hardest part of the entire thing was the depression. I was always depressed. Even when I was working to help other people, which made me feel better, as soon as I would withdraw from everyone, the depression would set back in, and things would seem so much worse than they were.

Anyways, you are not alone.
That is one of the things I found with PTSD, although there is no "cure" there is hope, and there really is people who understand, most of which have PTSD themselves, in fact I found that those seem to be the only people who really understand what it is like.

You have beaten many odds, and I am glad you are still alive and kicking.

We are survivors!

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:15 AM
Hi John

Always good to hear from you. Wow. I knew that you have had a rough time but did not know it went back that far. This thread is an excellent idea and it is good for people to talk about their particular problems discuss it with others. Most of my problems relate to the death of my fiancé in a car accident some years ago and trying to come to terms with it ever since. Like one famous musician once said "it was a left turn down a very dark road". It was like taking a wrong fork in the road and winding up in a very strange and sad place where I did not want to be, like an episode of the Twilight Zone . You wake up every morning thinking you have just had a nightmare and slowly realise that the nightmare is real. PTSD symptoms are also very real and should not be ignored or left untreated or they will have long lasting effects. Although they are to be expected after certain traumatic events, it doesn't change the fact that they are there and exist.
It is sometimes a relief for a person to be diagnosed with a mental health issue or disorder because they finally understand what has been happening to them and they can begin to recover or at least deal with it in some ways. Preferably not with psychoactive drugs, there seem to be some issues there.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:17 AM
To support Hefficide and the purpose of this thread, I'll add my information for whoever is interested -

My sjogrens is systemic and attacks the brain. I have depression and anxiety issues that I never had five years ago. I don't take meds for them because they make my sjogrens symptoms worse which in turn makes me more depressed. So when the depression hits I just fake being 'happy' for the doctors/family and put up with it. I try to tough it out and keep myself distracted ... trying not to think about it. Combined with the profound autoimmune fatigue, it's exhausting both physically and mentally. I'm tired.

Sjogrens body chart

Sjogrens Beyond the Basics

This type of disease is called an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues or organs. Sjögren’s syndrome can affect one or more organ systems including the skin, lung, heart, kidney, and nerves. Patients may have anemia, low white blood cell or platelet count, as well as increased risk of developing of lymphoma. Some people have Sjögren’s syndrome as well as another autoimmune condition, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma.

Neurological complications in Sjogrens

I've noticed a marked increase in this - Cognitive Loss in Sjogrens . And noticing it is depressing. Sometimes I try to find words and I can't remember them .. they are frustratingly just out of reach and I can't grasp them .. so I have to use a different word that isn't exactly what I want to say but it comes close enough. I know what this means and I know what is coming in the future ... and it freak'n sucks.

In addition to the Sjogrens with all sorts of neurological complications, I have high eye pressure (glaucoma suspect) with visual snow. I can't take the meds for the eye pressure because they give me cardiac complications and I end up in the hospital. Add the glaucoma-suspect to the fact that Sjogrens attacks the eyes, I expect I'll have a loss of eyesight at some point. Blindness and eye problems do run in my family. (Autoimmune doesn't. I'm the only one with it).

I also have kidney stones, leukopenia, inability to take a whole lotta' common meds like morphine and anti-fungals, and I'd guess probably some PTSD from a VERY BAD 2010 spring/summer of multiple misdiagnosis, bad drugs giving bad reactions, and lousy doctors telling me it was all in my head and there was nothing wrong with me.

Others have it worse, but it still weighs heavy.
Anyways ... that's my situation and my contribution to Hefficide's thread.

edit on 5/30/2015 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:20 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Thank you for posting this ... I was not aware of your story before now

With regard to facing death ... I understand how this can be life altering
When nothing seems to have any point ... I have at a young age personally been through what was described by others as psychosis ... they were non medical ... to me it was something other and I sought no medical help. I am not saying that is a good thing by any means ...

I needed to find a reason for being at all ... not that I was suicidal ... I was afraid and no cosy philosophy would comfort what I saw as the truth ...

During this state ... I lost all interest in any pursuits and my mind conjured it's own reality of symbols and signs ...
The one thing I do not lose however was my empathy and love for my friends but they did not know what to do to help me ... I saw through their own lack of wanting to discuss death and how uncomfortable it made them feel ...

40 years down the road and all has changed ... 40 years of searching and meeting the right people / like minds

To keep this post short I will not go into details but would like to make this point ... I am glad I had a break down ... a huge obstacle to overcome ... it has been the making of me
edit on 30-5-2015 by artistpoet because: Typo

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:35 AM
Cool story Heff I'll share mine.

My father shot himself when I was 5. I grew up in a white trash trailer park just north of Detroit. A few blocks away from where the movie 8 mile was filmed. My mother worked and did the best to support us but I had no guidance. I practically raised myself. In school I was a major trouble maker and had psychological issues. The school tested me and found I had a high IQ and a near photographic memory.

Growing up in the trailer park I saw it all. My best friends father hung himself in the yard. My neighbor blew his pregnant wifes head off with a shotgun. Another friend his mom stabbed him to death. I was surrounded by the most dysfunctional people on the planet. By the time I reached my teens I discovered drugs. By my late teens I was high every day. At one point I was high from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep for 4 years. I lived on the edge and I had a major death wish. I overdosed twice and nearly died.

I had been paranoid for quite some time but the more drugs I did the worse my paranoia got. I became highly psychotic and my drug use was out of control. I would wake up and every morning and I would swear to myself no more drugs but it never lasted. I finally got so paranoid I quit leaving the house and that's when I quit using drugs. I figured if I hid in the basement eventually the paranoia would wear off. After 9 months I snapped and started hearing voices. I was 21 years old at this time.

My mother took me to the hospital and they put me in the psyche ward. They diagnosed me as paranoid schizoeffective which is schizophrenia and bipolar. I refused to take the medications they were trying to give me. One day a nurse with two big orderlies came into my room. She had a big syringe and she said we can do this the easy way or the hard way pull your pants down. They gave me an injection of Haldol and Thorazine in my butt cheek. I was so drugged I slept 23 1/2 hours a day for 3 weeks. My prognoses was very poor. The doctors told my mom I would never be the same and that I might have to be institutionalized.

When I got out of the hospital I had my medications lowered enough to where I could function a bit. Drugs had consumed my every waking moment for so long I felt lost. I use to like fishing as a kid so I starting fishing at the local peir. I would go down there and sit from sun up to sun down and just stair at the water. For the first time in a long time I felt at peace.

A year later I found a job. I really wanted to succeed and prove everyone wrong that I could make it with this illness. I spent 9 years trying to work but my illness kept coming back to haunt me. The stress and dealing with schizophrenia I started coming unglued and couldn't hold a job. I lost everything I had a brand new truck credit cards my own apartment.

I had to apply for social security disability 7 years ago. In the first 20 years of my life I saw more crazy stuff then most people will in 10 lifetimes. I have a lot of regrets I take life one day at a time and try not to dwell on the past. A lot of the people I knew growing up are dead or in prison. Every day I wake up just thankful I'm still alive.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:44 AM
just a bump so I can check out the new posts on the 'myATS' thread list from time-to-time

perhaps one day I will expose my own difficulties, and my particular way of dealing which has been generally successful as I am not on a treatment regimen nor institutionalized

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:48 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Hi Heff:
I don't have time to properly reply so I am bookmarking for later...
So many people suffer in silence. Thanks for opening a door.
S&F Big Time!

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:51 AM
taking cayenne has pretty much reduced my "Mental health " issues to ground level
they were NOT mental health issues
they are IMMUNE SYSTEM ISSUES effecting nuero transmitters

1 in 56 boys on the spectrum?
the crime is:
how many people are on useless dangerous anti depressants etc, when the problem is not mental,
its physical

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 07:55 AM
a reply to: Hefficide
I was diagnosed with Wolf-Parkinsons-White syndrom ( the name of the 3 doctors that discovered it) at the age of 15-16. I had surgery at the age of 16. It sounded simple and I never gave it any mind. They stuck a camera up my artery in my groin (shaved half....HALF my nether regions. that was weird
and then a wire they would use to pass current through the artery in my shoulder neck area. So I guess they burn off that extra tissue that causes your heart to beat uncontrollably. I could have the 2 arteries and which had that camera backwards. Anyway I felt a little ripped off because the doctor said that I could watch the camera go through my veins. That didn't happen. He knocked my out. Rip-off. I woke up mid surgery because the oxygen clip they had on the tip of my finger was bother me to the point that the knock out drugs were no match. I didn't get to see anything, I just remember the nurses giggling and pushing me back down on the bed. The tip of my finger was numb for years after and still does in certain weather. Not sure what that was about, and nobody took me serious when I would mention it.

The most painful experience I am fortunate to have was from that surgery. After it was done I had to keep a 5lb sack on my groin for 24hrs. Sound simple? IT WASN'T.

Long story short, the only drugs I was prescribed was asprine for 3 months to keep my blood thin and help with healing my veins I guess. but that was it.

Heff, I should know this by now but you are in the States right? Is there really that big of a difference between the treatments between the 2 countries? I was warned away from stimulants. Doctor told me that if I even smoked a J I could get cardiac arrest (before the surgery) but lets just say I was confident that would not happen. I ended up in surgery because my basketball coach would not let me off the court and I wanted to sit down. I sat down without his consent and that worried him enough to require a doctors note before I could play again. Missed our regional all-star game cause of that
. meh, stopped growing at a mere 6ft that year anyway. Who needs basketball?...

You are the only other person I know that has been diagnosed with that syndrome. And hearing your story makes me think I was pretty ignorant to not give it it's full respect. Those palpitations I would get quite frequently I just ignored and waited them out.

I am genuinely happy that you made it out alive to see me take more care in my post on ATS.

Thanks John.
edit on 30-5-2015 by MALBOSIA because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 08:02 AM
S&F and I had a really awesome kitten picture but I can't seem to figure out how to work that.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 08:10 AM
a reply to: Danbones

Not to derail the thread, but how do you consume the Cayenne, in what form, how much, etc? Do you have a link to another thread/post you may have already shared this info on? I am curious as cayenne was mentioned in the flu-shot thread today as well.

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 08:19 AM
a reply to: wantsome

sounds a bit like my life.
my dad killed himself and i came up in detroit. i was in my early 20's when he killed himself. it would have been better for me if he had done it when i was 5 though. would have saved me a lot of pain. i still have scars on my arms from the cigarette burns and scars on my face/lips from when he split them open.
oh well. he is dead and im glad for it.
van horn road. lincoln park. right near you.
i still remember the address.

anyway, i have had several diagnoses over the years.
few docs told my i am bi polar.
most recently i was told by a forensic psychologist that i show signs of schizoid personalty disorder.

maybe i have it maybe i dont.

i know mental health care in the states is a major joke. good luck getting help.
i was at a family doc about a month or so ago trying to get the ball rolling on seeing a shrink or something and the earliest i could get in was like 4 months down the road.

ive been on meds and off meds. sometimes i feel better and sometimes i feel like i want to rip peoples effin throats out.

it is about 60/40 now.

60% of the time i feel pretty decent. 40% of the time i feel like i am going to kill someone.

like mike tyson said

"im on the zoloft to stop from killing yall"

good luck getting help though
edit on 30-5-2015 by Mugly because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 30 2015 @ 08:26 AM
Much love to you Heff! I've been wondering where you were!
I have some issues as well, not as bad as what you've dealt with but I can definitely empathize with your situation.
Just wanted to send a hug to you and all you guys that struggle with this.

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