About Make-Up and Mirtazapine

I’ve recently been diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder and depression. My psychiatrist believes that I’ve probably had both conditions for about twenty years. Living with these diagnosis’ is in many ways very similar to living with something like diabetes. My illness is not to be taken lightly but I can mostly live a normal enough life so long as I look after myself properly, there are just some sets of circumstances which can trigger quite serious episodes and so I need to try to avoid them.

The only major difference is that PTSD and depression are psychological conditions, whereas diabetes is physical.

While the difference between these chronic conditions is only a minor distinction the differences in the reactions of other people towards suffers who disclose them can be significant.

On being told that a relative, friend or colleague has diabetes most people are unlikely to question the actual diagnosis. They may ask some questions to get a better understanding of what having diabetes actually entails but they would usually offer sympathy or support for the sufferer.

On the other hand, when I have disclosed my psychological illnesses most people have reacted quite differently. The conversation usually goes one of two ways.

Firstly, there are some people who on hearing any reference to a mental health problem automatically think, “Oh my god. This is a very ‘Big Deal’. Argh.” Then they panic, overreact and try to avoid any further discussion on the subject all together. Either because they think that it’s too difficult to talk about or because they’re worried that they might say the wrong thing and drive me to commit suicide.

While I do appreciate these people taking what I’ve told them seriously; I’m not a ticking time bomb with a big scary clock face, and I haven’t joined a new race of people who are made entirely of glass. The disaster has already happened. You’re unlikely to cause me any further harm without being intentionally impolite or insensitive.

The other frequent response is to flat out deny my diagnosis. – ‘You’re not depressed, X person (who’s absolutely nothing like us) is depressed, so you can’t be.’ – Or at the very least to insist that my current episode is just a minor aberration which will be completely over soon, then it will seem like it never even happened and we’ll never have to mention this unfortunate discussion again.

This one is frustrating because it’s very difficult to carry on a conversation, about anything, with someone who is living in their own, entirely different, version of reality.

The most helpful response would be the same as that received by our diabetes sufferer.

The problem is that I find it nigh on impossible to summon the energy to explain any of these things to anyone who isn’t already on the same page when I’m suffering with an episode. Which is when I really need it the most.

Which brings me to the reasoning behind Make-Up and Mirtazapine.

It aims to normalise the discussion of my mental health issues and set them into context with the rest of my life. I am not my illness. There are many different words that I would use to describe myself, but as neither ‘complex-PTSD’ nor ‘depression’ are adjectives, they do not define who I am.

I’m going to write about my experiences of being ill, as well as some general thoughts on mental well-being. There are a few things that I have learnt over the years that I hope could be useful to someone else, whether they have experienced any kind of mental health condition or not.

But I also want to write about other things, things that interest me from other areas of my life. I want to demonstrate that I am in fact a whole person, at least most of the time, and that being told that you have a mental health problem needn’t be seen as the end of the world. I hope that this might encourage other people, who may have been too afraid, to go and ask for help to get on with living.

As much as any drugs or therapy we all need something to be living for. I see no kindness in saving somebody so that they can simply exist. And when I’ve been at a low it’s always been the other things, the adjectives that do define me, that have slowly brought me back to life.

I’m open to discussing any comments or opinions that people have on what I post here, whether they agree with me or not. I would also welcome any suggestions of subjects to be written about or ideas for guest submissions.

If you would like to get in touch with me about any of the above, or anything else you might think of, you’re more than welcome to contact me. You’ll find a whole bunch of ways to get in touch with me here and here.

11 Comments on “About Make-Up and Mirtazapine”

  1. ravencorwin October 21, 2012 at 7:10 PM #

    My daughter has, after years of therapists and medications, found one that understands her issues and has properly diagnosed her- FINALLY!- with CPTSD. After recommending some good reading, proper medication, and an easy regimen of beneficial nutrition and activity, “Shooshie” is already feeling better. I have referred her to look at your blog, too. Talking to other people in the same boat can be very helpful. I think she will enjoy your humour, too. :)

    Like this

    • makeupandmirtazapine October 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM #

      Aw, thank you!
      I’m sorry to hear that your daughter’s stuck with this thing too. Good that she’s feeling better though.

      Like this

  2. alexxrae October 18, 2012 at 2:29 AM #

    What a beautiful blog and story! I’m glad I found you, it really resonates with me – following right away!

    Alex

    Like this

    • makeupandmirtazapine October 18, 2012 at 6:56 PM #

      Thank you! I’m glad you like, I’m really enjoying reading your blog too :)

      Sarah x

      Like this

  3. onlineghostwriterforhire August 15, 2012 at 12:08 AM #

    Despite all of that…You Are AWESOME!!!
    Keep up the great work that you’re doing!
    As John Lennon said:
    “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.”

    Like this

  4. Christian Coping July 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM #

    You are very brave and smart. I’m 72 and been depressed and yes have PTSD since my husband’s suicide and I can learn from you. Thanks.

    Like this

    • makeupandmirtazapine July 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

      Thank you. I’m so touched that you think so. I’ve found your site a really helpful read as well.

      Like this

  5. Angel Fractured July 18, 2012 at 6:34 AM #

    I nominated you for the Sunshine Award: http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/sunshine-award/

    Like this

  6. Bourbon July 4, 2012 at 1:18 AM #

    Thanks for the follow :) I have seen you around commenting on people’s posts I think. Am honoured you stopped off at mine. Look forward to following you too x

    Like this

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blog of the Year « The Reclining Gentleman - December 8, 2012

    [...] am constantly impressed by the mental and emotional strength that MUAM shows when life deals her a shitty hand. She is inspiring, and a very talented and intelligent [...]

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  2. The Very Inspirational Blogger Award « The Possible World–Life After Traumatization - July 24, 2012

    [...] was nominated for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award.  When I saw that Sarah of http://makeupandmirtazapine.com/about-make-up-and-mirtazapine/ nominated me, I was verge of tears. So I want to thank her first and [...]

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