Mental Wellness

Making Friends During Covid

Wondering, is she smiling, frowning under her mask?

Not stopping to talk/exchange germs

Reduced lingering to chat due to social distancing

Can I really have a heart to heart over Zoom?

Too busy sanitizing my hands to wave?

These are a few of the hurdles.

Haven’t made a new friend face to face in two years. Thank goodness for blogging friends online and a few close long term friends.

Do you feel isolated?

I’d say yes, like never before. And you?

Happy Manic Monday? Rebecca

Bipolar

1 Word to Describe It

The terms to underline and name the hatred of people with other skin tones, gender, or orientation exist. We know when we hear racism, sexism and homophobia and can stand against them. But when Uncle Joe is diagnosing his barber as so crazy, completely bipolar, what do we say then?

A term that came to mind this week, would be to say Uncle Joe was acting like a stigmatizer.

I made it up, because I couldn’t think of a single word to describe prejudice against someone who was neurodivergent. Really bothered me, because if there is no word for it, the insults, the snubs and the derision didn’t really happen. And, we know they did.

What are your thoughts about the new term? Can you think of another?

Happy Manic Monday! -Rebecca

Mental Wellness

When Will I?

Look the person speaking in the eye and say, “Ouch, when you use the word crazy that way, to mean nutty, very or a lot, it really bothers me.” You wouldn’t use slurs against people of color, why use this pejorative term?

In the work lunchroom more than a decade ago, a guy from another department I barely knew said, “You’re crazy!”

I don’t remember what simple thing I said to prompt his outburst. But I got very mad at his response. I decided to go for the gold. I said, “Certifiable,” in a cold, clear voice that would have warned an observant person that I was livid.

Instead he was bending over in hysterics. “Ha ha, where’s your certificate?”

I said, “At home.” He continued to laugh. “Talk to you later,” I said as I turned heel and left the conversation.

What terms about mental health bother you?

Happy Manic Monday! -Rebecca

Bipolar

An Opinion, A Fact, A Diagnosis?

A conversation today brought up a topic that made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t know the person well, and they began to go quickly from an opinion about someone’s lack of mental health to a diagnosis. His diatribe went something like this:

“My dad’s neighbor, he’s crazy. I mean really crazy. He’s psychotic, bipolar, schizophrenic.”

Really? Another educated person from a nice family maligning me unawares? My eyes rolled skyward. He didn’t notice. My internal monologue was running. “Do I come out of the mental health closet? Do I say I have bipolar? Do I not? Do I?” I do not.

Spiffy rejoiners came to me six hours after the fact.

What if I said, “So you know a lot about mental health. How can you tell if you’re talking to someone with bipolar?” (leading question…) “Is it the way their face looks? (I’d wait for their answers) “The way they stand? What they say? Do they say the sky is green? Do they talk a mile a minute? Do they have grandiose illusions? Suicidal ideation?”

Or I could simply say, “Bipolar, you mean like me?”

I want to educate people. I’ve passed for regular vanilla long enough. Time for the big reveal that I am pineapple mango surprise.

I’m going to think of funny quips that sum up symptoms, to let people know what they are. I’m going to be as brave as the people who’ve marched for civil rights. Next time I’ll say:

“Bipolar, like me.”

and let the chips fall where they may.

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Mental Wellness

The Flickering Lamp of Gaslighting

Do you doubt yourself sometimes? Do you think you might have remembered incorrectly? Although it is easy to forget once in a while, sometimes we have a little help to reach confusion. At times people would prefer we reach the wrong conclusion.

It’s the combo sandwich, the one two punch of bullying and lying called gaslighting.

A classic movie, Gaslight, is the source of the term. Summary: A man wanted to discredit his wife so she wouldn’t realize he planned to steal her deceased aunt’s jewels. He arranged it so every so often the lights would flicker in their home. She would get alarmed and he would tell her she was imagining it. Then he accused her of kleptomania, because he’d hide his and other people’s belongings in her handbag. This happened again and again and again. She felt as if she were losing her mind. Very suspenseful film; nightmarish to live through.

Gaslighting is subtle, insidious, and very damaging to our mental health.

What to look for:

  • Do you feel like you remember it differently?
  • Does it seem the other person is very persuasive or even pushy?
  • Is the other person indignant, saying phrases like, “I would Never say that!” or ” I Never said that!”?

If this happens to you, what I would suggest is to write down the plans, the thermostat settings, whatever it is that you agree on next time in order to have proof of it later. This kind of situation convinced me to end a serious relationship, with ample proof. For me it is a deal breaker.

I’d say to keep your eyes and ears open for repetitive situations where your memory is doubted when you know you’re no more forgetful than the next person. Gaslighting is a type of verbal and psychological abuse. If you’ve ever been told that gullible is not in the dictionary (it is) and doubted yourself, then you might be in danger of this harmful type of mind control.

What To Do Next
*Believe in yourself.
*Test your hypothesis.
*Act to protect yourself.

What are your experiences with gaslighting?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Ceiling Lamp Photo: Rebecca Cuningham