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UnLearning
mikew
Friday, October 12, 2012
 
I have schizoaffective disorder, but was first diagnosed as bi-polar. Once I started learning a little more about mental illness and switched doctors, it became apparent that I wasn't bi-polar. We figured that out because, while my illness was controlling my life and making me crazy, I never had the huge mood swings like those with bi-polar do. I was never really low, but was constantly in the highest state of mania you can find yourself in. I've also had a lot of substance abuse problems in my past (pot, pain pills, alcohol and snorting my Ritalin to name a few) but no substance had ever made me more high than my mental illness did.

My illness convinced me I was special and extremely important to the world. I thought I'd become a superhero, King of the World, and was convinced that my whole life had been a reality show like the Jim Carrey movie 'The Truman Show.' I didn't *think* I was King of the World... I didn't *think* I was famous... I didn't *think* I was the Arch Angel Michael--I *knew* I was. That's what made recovery so difficult.

I saw some movie a while back about a lady who had a six year old son, but then one day she wakes up and finds that there was no trace of evidence that she ever had a son. Of course, she knew she had a son, but couldn't prove it. Did she just shrug it off and say "oh, I guess I never had a son I loved for the last six years of my life... I thought I did, but I guess I didn't. Ok, I'll just forget about him now..." Of course she didn't think that way. She fought tooth and nail to figure out how to get her son back. That's how it was for me when it came to my delusions. I was so completely convinced that I was all these things that facing reality and admitting they were delusions was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I had to unlearn everything my delusional mind made me believe.

But I still desperately wanted to believe that my delusions were true... my delusions had given my life the kind of meaning I felt I was always lacking. In a weird kind of way, my delusions had given me self esteem. My delusions explained why I was lacking everything in my life I knew, deep down, I was lacking. It was easier to think people never acted like they had much respect for me because I was special... because they knew I was about to become King of the World and would soon have anything I could ever imagine in my wildest dreams--so why not mess with the future King of the World a little? The reality was that I was a drunk, addict and irresponsible and that's why people never had much respect for me. So my delusions kept me from facing that reality.. Once I ended up in the hospital and on medication, I had to face everything about myself I chose to ignore before and during my illness... and I had to face everything all at once. It was a rude wake up call.

But I needed a wake up call--if I ever wanted to get my life together and make the major changes in my life and attitude that would give me a real shot at becoming the kind of person I always wanted to be. Over time, my medication allowed me to let go of all the delusions I once had... in fact, my delusional mind helped make that happen--I figured that, since I was Michael the Arch Angel and divine, no little pill could possibly take my divinity away, so I happily took my medication because divinity will beat out pharmaceuticals every time

For what I did when I finally unlearned all my delusions, see my blog 'Redefining and Rebuilding Yourself.'

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