question about disabilities

hope i am not so blunt as to be rude, just how in the hell does one deal with internal disabilities as oppposed to external? advice and comments desperately needed.

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My Apologies ashleigh, but please elaborate???

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in a nutshell, just how do one bring up mental illness without causing the other party to run screaming in any direction but yours? just as with most other illnesses like diabetes, this too can be manged in a succesful manner if the person accepts the responsibility for their illness. i mean, we don't introduce ourselves as "hi, i'm sally with palsy or some other illness." physical and/or mental illness does not replace our identities or our humanity. however, bringing the topic up is not exactly polite dinner conversation.

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absolutely, i get what you're saying now

I actually suffer from depression and

while I don't feel it's something to be

ashamed of a potential partner may need

some sort of warning...


at the moment I'm in a serious relationship

and she is fully aware of my situation, however

i tend to wonder, in different circumstances, when

the appropriate time would be to deliver that sort of

news... particularly as it's not the sort of thing you tell

someone to make them feel sorry for you - in fact that's

often the un-desired effect!

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I think that similar issues apply whether you have mental or physical issues. I think that having visible ailments eliminates some people without you even realizing it.

I have rheumatoid arthritis. Most of the time, you'd never know there was anything wrong with me. But catch me in the midst of one of my flareups, particularly if it's a really bad one, and you'd wonder how I manage to move. In fact, I've been asked on many occassions how I make it through the day. My answer has always been, "Well, crawling into a corner and dying didn't sound like fun today, so I'm getting by as best I can."

I've found that -- unless I feel like someone is going to encounter me in that situation -- I just don't tell them about it. I give them enough time to get to know me, and have some idea who I am. Then they learn about the other side of me. (For the record, it's not the weaker side either. It takes more strength and grit than I show in a healthy month to make it out of bed and through the shower when I'm having a horrific flareup.)

I think whether the issues are mental or physical, people's first reaction is naturally going to be sympathy. They don't realize how much it gets on your nerves after a while. I'd much rather have someone say, "Wow, you are one incredible woman and a survivor. I wish that I had your strength." Because honestly, it takes strength to endure depression, mental illness or physical ailments with dignity (obviously excluding 'pity party moments') and go on with your life. Cemeteries are littered with folks who lacked the strength that you have, the strength that led you to accept your condition and make the choice to live.

Look at it this way, our ailments offer the side benefit of being able to weed out those that aren't going to stick with us through thick and thin, illness and health. And the ones that stay are the ones that we really want to have by our side when the going gets tough.

Best of luck to you ladies!

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i wish to thank the two of you for responding. for myself, i don't think the sympathy thing really applies. i am actually more afraid that it will make them run screaming in terror. besides dealing with depression, i also have thre major events contributing to ptsd. just remember that there is only one way for an american female to have earned a combat infantryman badge. besides having flashbacks in my dreams, i also fight in my sleep. fortunately none of my partners have ever been on the receiving end. it is lke i am fighting someone on the other side of them and i can't get them behind me for safety. this has also caused my kitty to sleep on or with me only while i am conscious. she leaves as soon as i fall asleep. and even though i cherish the comfort of sleeping with a partner, having my kitty sleeping with me was always a reassuring thing.

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Hey my sweets,


"Cemeteries are littered with folks who lacked the strength that you have, the strength that led you to accept your condition and make the choice to live. "

powerful stuff babe! never think about it that way! i guess i haven't reached a stage where i can feel proud of my achievements battling this beast... mostly cos im still building up this foreign self esteem thing

(?who knew?)

but thank you... that says so much 

I guess it's all about accepting yourself along with your faults...

sounds easy huh?? 

good luck to you both my girls

love x

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I have to say that accepting myself and my faults was one of the hardest things I've ever done. A good therapist and Iyanla Vanzant's In the Meantime book and Living through the Meantime workbook were instrumental in my success.

Am I self confident every day? Absolutely not. Do I have days when I'd rather crawl into the corner and die? Definitely. On those days, I allow myself a limited amount of time for a pity party, then get my butt out of bed and call someone who loves me or do something for myself. (Those are usually the times when I go back to work with a different hair color -- usually pretty drastic change too.)

Thanks for the good luck wishes and I wish you the best of luck. Time and work will get you where you want to be.

Warmest wishes,


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personally, i have major issues with self esteem. almost to the point of saying the hell with it. from a personal perspective, i believe self respect is more important, however that is one issue that my therapist and i differ over. i try to manage my condition as best i can. you know how different folks react differently to the same meds and so forth. having ptsd gives me a glimpse into the hell that my father lived through after serving in both korea and nam, both times as a combatant. anyone who strives for recovery and management of any condition has my utmost respect. just as an aside, it is a very bad idea to joke about giant space ants being at the head of the hospital's corporate board in the presnece of psych nurses.

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I have tremendous respect for anyone that is surviving with PTSD. I understand that the road to recovery is very long and rocky. I wish you the best of luck.

BTW, thanks for the aside about the giant space ants... You saved me from a potentially horrific team meeting tomorrow morning. Guess I need to find a new excuse for why my report is late. 

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on the humorous almost self depricating side, i do have the psycho lesbian with cat bit covered. but seriously, being as self conscious as i am most of the time or maybe it is just paranoia, not quite sure yet, i keep feeling that once the in depth conversations begin, i grow three heads, snarling with fangs whilst dripping acid, therefore causing the person to run away for dear life in fear of being devoured. our armor that we put on to protect us from the daily barbs and thorns soon becomes an almost permanent part of ourselves because we wear it so often and for so long. holly hobby crossed with a rotweiler might sound cute, but living such a life can take quite a toll on one's self. relaxation used to be a very rare thing for me. it had to be in a certain place in the presence of certain people, otherwise it would never happen. that is not a healthy state of mind to be in for extended periods of time. one thing that i have noticed, is that once a person has reached crisis point requiring intervention, self confidence seems to fly right out the window, no matter how strong and/or capable they are. and it is quite the bitch regaining it.

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someone explained it to me in terms of having spoons. each day you start with a certain number of spoons, not always the same number, too. each activity you undertake requires a spoon. this would include getting out of bed, taking a shower, fixing a meal, etc. so each day requires seeing how many spoons you start with and then plan your day accordingly. the other tidbit was to always keep at least one or two spoons in reserve for emergencies. there are times that even dealing with people takes away a spoon or three. at some point on this forum, i believe i have mentioned having duck tape days. going to wallyworld when there is a large crowd takes away several spoons all at once and the duck tape is so that if i start to seriously wig out before exiting, my companion can restrain me before something bad happens. the main problem with crowds i have is that they make my internal radar ping off the wall like no tomorrow. it is worse than having flashbacks, because at least the flashbacks normally happen when i am alone. this way at least limits the potential trouble that can happen. i hope this makes some kind of sense.

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trying to begin a relationship absolutely scares the piss out of me. if everything was able to be conducted during daylight hours, no prob, but the prospect of anything going on into the evening or even the morning bothers me. during those times, i feel like i am carrying around a portable pharmacy and i really don't relish the idea of trying to explain the meds, much less the conditions. sometimes i think it is easier to stay within the walls than being out in the world. very limited freedom, but acceptance is damn near guaranteed versus freedom and complete uncertainty, misconceptions and just plain ignorance.

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i, myself, have a veritable pharmacy in my bathroom, with meds that i take in the morning and at night.

here's what i've learned:

when you find the one that is really relationship material, she won't give a rat's a** how many med's you're on or what they're for. she'll just know that they're part of what's helping you to be the best you that you can be, and that will be all that matters.

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someone once told me that add folk always tend to gather around/with other add folk, and from personal experience, i have found this to be very often true. i wonder if the same socializing patterns exist with other diagnoses?

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Since my last comment on this, I have noticed that those of us that are touched with the divine madness do tend to gravitate towards each other regardless of diagnosis. The common bond is that we DO have a diagnosis and at some point in our illness, we gave recovery a chance. Recovery begins when we start to see and have hope. The reasons we seek each other out is are because we all have been through the hell of the onset of the illness and the crawl towards something of having a meaningful life. We listen, we share, we support one another and give encouragement and most important of all, we are living, breathing examples that recovery is possible. Does recovery mean that we go back to the way life was before the onset of illness? Nope. It does mean, however, that there is more to life than just waking up, taking meds and just trying to make it to the end of the day. It means that we can begin to live fulfilling lives and be a whole person who happens to have an illness instead of being seen as just our illness itself.

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someone explained it to me in terms of having spoons. each day you start with a certain number of spoons, not always the same number, too. each activity you undertake requires a spoon. this would include getting out of bed, taking a shower, fixing a meal, etc. so each day requires seeing how many spoons you start with and then plan your day accordingly. the other tidbit was to always keep at least one or two spoons in reserve for emergencies. there are times that even dealing with people takes away a spoon or three.

Ah, I know that website... It corrolates better with some invisible ailments than others, though.


(Edited by lesbotronic to remove the hyperlink to the URL immediately above, because it went dead.  Rest of post left intact in case someone knows if it moved someplace else and/or if the content is elsewhere, etc. and wants to comment on that in this thread.)

(Edited YET AGAIN by lesbotronic because now it may be back, wasn't working for a while, then it was, etc.  Hyperlink still not present due to difficulty, if you want to try to go there now, just copy and paste.  If it stops working again . . . this is already the solution we've arrived upon for dealing with that for now, maybe don't bother notifying us regarding this one particular link unless it's with more specific knowledge of that site, thanks!)

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"Ah, I know that website...

It corrolates better with some invisible ailments than others, though."

I noticed, I think, that this topic hasn't been posted on in a while,

but I'd like to add some comments. That website

has some really funny stuff on it. On some of my most difficult days,

reading the jokes and wise crack answers to dumb and insensitive questions,

turned my mood if not my pain around. I've used the spoons theory page to try

to explain why I can do some things some days, but not others.

Not always successfully, but hey at least I tried. I've been sick for almost

10 years now and still adjusting. It took me 5 years just to get a diagnosis.

There is no cure for what I have only pain meds and so far ineffective treatments.

I have tried them all, but have not given up yet.

I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

Also Fibromyalgia and some stuff that's come up due to side effects of the meds I take.

It's mostly all invisible, unless you notice the subtle signs, after years of

learning to hide how bad I might be feeling. I still get from close family members

"just take some tylenol and get over it". Yes, thanks, I hadn't thought of that.

For the first 6 months of being in pain I did the (silent) crying, screaming,

begging to die thing, but the only answer I got was get up,

you aren't dying, so learn to deal. And it wasn't just the pain, it was the

loss of life as I knew it. The inability to live as I had been, do for myself,

the humiliation of having to ask for help from people who didn't even believe

I was sick. The loss and regain of self esteem. I've had good luck in love

and bad luck. Right now I find myself looking again, but I know there is

a woman out there who will see me for me and not for an illness that I happen to have.

We all deserve love. It's been hard, but I have survived and so have you women.

To AmiDenise and Ashleigh and the rest of us "Wow, you are one incredible woman

and a survivor." Ashleigh, thank you so much for serving your country so proudly

and bravely. The experience left you with emotional scars that run deep, but also

as a woman of great honor, substance and respect. If you'll accept a salute from a

girly civilian you've got one.


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Link to post all are so strong and optimistic.

I am "only" 27...i say only because in chronological years that seems very small and insignificant. But i think, through experience and dealing with stigma, i am much older than my 27 years.

i have had a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (now they call it dissociative identity disorder) for the past 5 years. I have been in treatment (called every diagnosis in the whole piece of crap DSM---psychiatrists bible) for the past 16. More than half of my life.

And i missed (if indeed missed is the correct word) junior high and high school.

i want to be in a relationship, and yes i realize that it will be work and i will have to adapt and i may have to go through some serious pain, but i want to be loved and to love. The problem is i freak out about little things. characters in movies kissing. sitting next to someone on the same couch. a stranger looking at me for too long. let alone holding hands with a potential lover.

Slowly things are getting better. but i have so many questions...

and i cant ask my therapist. she is straight and seems to shy from any broaching of the topic of same sex love.

and i am too afraid to read books or watch movies or other media.

and the last two women who said they loved me couldnt believe i was so stupid and ignorant. They had no patience and grew bored, impatient, angry, restless and petulant.

anybody who can field some questions?

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I'm going to put my hand up here and admit that I also have battles with PTSD. In my case it relates to an abusive marriage, and having been a civilian (and young mother at the time) too close to the action during the 1st Gulf War. I don't handle things going bang near me very well! I used to lash out in bed at my ex girlfriend sometimes. Apparently I snore, and on one occasion while sleeping in the spare room managed to kick a vase off the windowsill to hit my head during my sleep. This settled down after about a year or so, I got used to her snuggling close, realised it was her and I was safe. 

It took a long time for doctors to listen to what I was saying and diagnose me correctly. I am still on a waiting list for actual therapy, but in the meantime just having someone to validate my experience and condition was a relief. For years, I was bringing up my children alone, trying to work, failing; trying to study, failing; trying relationships ... I'd have a good patch, then something would trigger a bad response and I just didn't know how to handle it. First I was told I was depressed, then anxious (this I already knew!), then of course it was my age! Menopause came and went, bringing its own challenges. Finally, I still have good days and not so good days, but I know better how to manage it. My current GP has put me in touch with a whole host of resources locally, which has also been great. 

Huge hugs to all those out there suffering from mental illness of any sort. You are a unique, special person, you have strengths that the unafflicted never dreamed of. And you're still kicking, right? Well then, be proud of yourself.

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