Author Topic: Hyde, depression, OCD, mental illness, and mental torture (for some)  (Read 128 times)

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Offline survivorami

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From a former Hyde School student....

Monday, August 11, 2014
Depression, Robin, and me
(to whatever god there is, I pray that I eventually have the strength of mind to post this as an in-text facebook post)

I donít think Iím alone in this regard, but the apparent suicide of Robin Williams has hit me far harder than any celebrity death ever has. It is a horrible, brutal lesson of just how powerless the world still is against depression. The most beloved man in the world, who brought more pure joy and delight to more people than perhaps any figure from history ever has, was nevertheless powerless against depressionís pull. If it can claim Robin Williams, who did so much to redeem himself from its hold, is there any hope at all for those of us who struggle with it every day yet have nowhere near his platform to disarm it?


So itís far past time to talk about the ravages of this illness publicly in my most public forum where I post 12098572039485 times a day: on Facebook. How can I stand for anything on my own two feet if I don't stand up for myself and those like me who suffer so greatly  - this illness which made me a C and D student and bully fodder in a parochial school that amplified its effect exponentially, even though it was perfectly clear to so many that I was more intelligent than nearly every A student they'd ever met (modesty is not one of its inherent traits, but mania is :) ), which forced me through the Ďtroubled adolescentí system, in which thousands of cynical or (still worse) fanatically concerned professionals make a quick buck by giving bad advice on how to handle teenagers of whom they clearly have no understanding; which delivered me for three years to a boarding school [Hyde School] where depression was thought of as nothing more than a character flaw, and where extreme mental and physical pressure was exerted every day to Ďcorrectí these flaws on all of us in manners that resemble the slimiest tactics of Guantanamo - which in turn delivered me to nearly a decade of psychotic delusions and mental hallucinations which only a decade of consistent therapy was able to address; which in turn led me to years of inability to work a steady job, which of course lead to still more horrible depression. Itís led me to acts against others which, however objectively explicable they might be under the circumstances, I will and can never allow myself any forgiveness. Physically, it may have already aged me far beyond my years - causing me a battery of physical tics and uncontrollable tremors,  vertigo, dehydration, insomnia, along with massive food binges that cause all the predictable chest and stomach pain and rapid heart beat that goes along with it. Romantically, it has prevented any semblance of a long term relationship in my adult life. Socially, it has given me all sorts of difficulty with my (thankfully) many friends. Familially, it has caused more strife than any family should ever have to go through, and I worry has bequeathed a small (though far too large) bit of my infection  - a contagious illness if ever there is one - to my closest family members. In many ways, it is the cruelest of all possible illnesses, because it can strip all who suffer from it for decade upon decade of the ability to recognize any way in which we are still blessed. Iíve written in detail about this plenty of this on my blog, where, Iím well aware, Iím quite safe because nobody actually reads it.

Here is my message: Whenever you look down on someone for publicly advertising their depression online, I want you to remember to look down on me too. Whenever you see an unhappy person as an inconvenience ruining your good time, I want you to remember to view me as a similar annoyance. Whenever you view someone with contempt for burdening you with their mental problems, I want you to remember to have contempt for me too. Whenever you accuse someone experiencing mental anguish of simple emotional manipulation and self-pity, I want you to accuse me of it too. If you become suspicious of becoming friends or dating or working with someone because of their depression, I want you to become suspicious of me too. If you decide that you have no time for people who bring you down, I want you to have no time for me. I want the enemies of depressed people to become my enemies, and I want to take pride that I stood for something that may one day make the lives of those who live with depression not be defined by it, even if it may be too late to define my life by anything else. I have done what I could to conceal this illness (which ultimately is, of course, very little). I tried for what I think is the best of reasons - it was nice for once in my life not to be completely defined by it. And yet the concealment did so little to lighten the burden that I have to ask if it is at all worth the rather superhuman effort it takes (and nevertheless I still dread the thought that it is still very much worth it). This illness has led me to many, many mistakes in my lifetime. But this will no longer be one of them. Some people simply canít live with the horror of the mistakes which this illness causes them to make, but insofar as it is ever in my control, I will always opt to live with mine. Iíve not done particularly well against it, but Iím nevertheless damn proud of the fact that Iíve done as well as I have in the circumstances. Realistically, I may one day be lost to this illness, either by suicide or by delusion or by physical strain, but so long as this illness is not me, I will choose life, rationality, health and hale every day, and never, never, never give in to it.

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Offline survivorami

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Re: Hyde, depression, OCD, mental illness, and mental torture (for some)
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2021, 11:25:18 PM »
Another post by the same blogger, a former Hyde School student..

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts imbue upon my brain at a mile per second. Unwanted thoughts, disturbing thoughts, psychotic thoughts, as they have for twenty years. Thoughts of distant past I can only hope are delusions, thoughts of recent past I can only hope are misinterpretations. They hound me for a couple hours nearly every day before I can talk myself down with what I can only hope is my more rational side. To conquer them is a multi-decade struggle, and I can only fear, a lifelong struggle.

It began at what America used to call a 'school for truants' [Hyde]. As an adolescent I was already far gone quite, even in late childhood beset from depressions and anxieties, unremitting agony complete with an absence of all good feeling in my chest that felt physical. The slightest provocation would stimulate violent outbursts, followed by still more depressed remorse. I was almost certain that making it to 38 was an impossibility, and I'm sure the thought occurred to my family as well.

The boarding school [Hyde School] was a place for badly behaved teenagers, whose animating philosophy was that a person's character was responsible for their actions. They were therefore in control of their actions, and any amount of mental and physical pressure was justified in the pursuit of behavioral reform. It was the kind of place that poured gasoline on mental fires, and what until then was merely agonizing depression became full-blown lifelong psychoses.

In my twenties, I nursed a terrible psychotic illness, and developed a tendency to confess everything else about what I was feeling so as to hide a shameful yet egoistic conceit that I was literally speaking to God all day every day and God was answering back. It was He who breathed life into every decision I made, and threatened retribution most terrible if I contravened laws he would make for me moment to moment. To this day, I have some sort of obsessive voice threatening punishment for all decisions I make that contravene it. I try not to listen, but the voice speaks to me all the time - often sending me signs, basing decisions on a value system of numbers, letters, and even colors. During college, I would have full blown visions of angels and demons, and it goes without saying that however merciful angels were when they consoled me, they were quite severe in their judgements.

Those particular voices and images quieted somewhat in my thirties, but they come to me with each decision I make, and every choice I make over the course of the day is never entirely my own. 

But terrific agonies such as those are fully replaced now by obsessive thoughts, thoughts of past and present, thoughts of every sin I ever may have committed, and many which I may not have committed yet with details which, if they haven't, come fabricated fully within my head, detail by detail, along with interpretations of what people may think of me and my actions in the recent past that are of the most severe judgement, and cause in me the most severe of panic. These details could not come more abruptly, without warning, and with moral judgement so draconian I cannot help but often think myself deserving of being known to everyone as the most reprehensible creature on earth.

In recent years, the inner horror has been so dreadful that headaches have become more and more frequent. Numbness on the side of my face and all throughout my body with a feeling of a drooping mouth, a headache two weeks ago that circumambulated the whole head, and markedly increased day-to-day difficulty with spelling, remembering words, remembering what I was talking about, and all that accompanied of course by the further fear that my days are now numbered.

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And I'm not going to go through 'deh andereh meiceh' again, about getting manipulated and lied to by a guidance counselor into going to a school for 'character education' that was a cult. Stuck for three years in a place that demanded as much access to your thoughts as any angry god on punishments of daily physical torture and public humiliation, during which the pressure mounted in the mind of this once insufferable teen atheist until delusions of God's personal interference in every decision of his  life began; delusions which have been described by professionals as everything from extreme "Pure O" (obsession) to Schizotypal Personality Disorder, obsessions to which he can still only pay fealty at every moment, even as he types.

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The first time I fell in love was with a fundamentalist Christian girl. Amy S_____. I was seventeen, and I met her on a cruise boat on the Black Sea. She was my first kiss - yes, it was quite late, but if you have to have a late first kiss, then experiencing it under a meteor shower off the Greek coast is probably the way to go. She was a Californian, a red-head like me, but 5í11 to my 5í4 Ĺ. She claimed she was solicited to become a model, and it was not at all hard to believe. I was too shy to go up to her for nearly a week, but the day before I left, I finally worked up the nerve when I saw her on the deck, and told her that if I didnít speak to her before I left, I think I was going to regret it. We were inseparable until five-oíclock the next morning. As it turned out, we had a lot in common. We were both too smart for the situations weíd found ourselves in. We were both clearly itching to get out from underneath backgrounds we found too repressive, or at least that was my impression of her. Iíd met her mother earlier that week, and her mother was a holy terror, bragging to anyone who would listen about how terrified her children were of her. And during those years at a rather draconian boarding school, my very mind was being warped from mere depression to outright delusion. For a year or two afterward, we kept in touch via phone and IM, and would occasionally swear our mutual love to one another. On New Yearís Eve 2000 we spent the night talking on the phone to one another about eloping. When I found out she wasnít serious, it began (for many more reasons than that...) the worst month of my life. In retrospect, I wasnít particularly serious either, but having fallen into a place [Hyde School] as I did which literally caused me to experience manic delusions and hallucinations, I was looking for any way out, and desperate enough to think that underage marriage to a fundamentalist Christian was a legitimate option. Nevertheless, as I was (perhaps) still a potential marriage prospect down the road, or at least one to whom she kept declaring her love, she kept trying to Ďsave meí, and getting me to see the rightness of Jesus Christ. The emotional disasters that followed were rather inevitable...

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I often think to myself that my life began around the time I turned 19 or 20 Ė and everything which happened beforehand was the unfortunate life of some thinner person whose rather painful memories were inexplicably deposited into my brain. Thereís a famous quote from Stravinsky in which he declared ĎMy childhood was a period of waiting for the moment when I could send everyone connected to it to hell.í It canít be denied, thereís something amazingly immature about that sentiment Ė everyone has their reasons for acting as they do, even if those reasons are unjustifiable to anyone but themselves. No matter how angry you may (still) be about things which are fifteen or twenty years in the past, you're much better served by trying to see things from the point of view of those who made you angry. But I canít deny that there were all too many moments in my twenties when that was precisely how I felt about everything which happened in my teens, and all too many moments of my twenties when I obsessed over the worry that my teens were going to happen all over again.

_____________________________________________

When I was sixteen, I would be trapped in a school for three years that was basically a cult from which maximal mental pressure was applied to make sure no one left - a school for troubled teens who believed all learning issues are a function of a person's moral character and therefore all failures to comply with demands, no matter how strenuous nor unreasonable, ought to be met with various forms of corporal punishment.

When I was sixteen, my high school required us all to play a sport. Since I didnít make the JV soccer team, I was forced to play JV football. To toughen me up, the coach had me be a much repeated contestant for Ďbull in the ring.í For those who have never played 'bull in the ring', here's how we played it: The entire Varsity team would surround me in a circle. And from any direction any one of them could run up to me to tackle. Putting me in the middle was almost like a pastime for the team.

I certainly had a more decent time being a wrestler and cross country runner than I ever did in football, but by then I hated every single thing about playing sports. I swore that after I reached college there was not a single person in the world who could make me play any sport ever again. My current physique is my reward for that promise, and even now that Iíve long since tried to get back Ďon the wagoní, every attempt to get back into physical activity is eventually hampered by something that triggers those old memories.