Welcome to day 6 in the #AtoZChallenge of random reflections. Today’s prompt comes from the 397 Journal Writing Prompts and Ideas eBook again. It is “Friendship”. The attached question is: “What makes a friendship tick?”
Now I happen not to have any close friends other than my husband, but I definitely consider my husband my friend in addition to my partner. What both of us appreciate about each other, which I think non-romantic friendships may share, is our sense of humor. We have a lot of “inside jokes” and our own terminology that only the two of us understand. For example, when one of us goes on and on boring the other, we say “banana spider”. This one in particular has been in our vocabulary for many years.
Our friendship isn’t just based on humor though. Over the years, we’ve been through quite the hard times, for example with my institution stay. I met my husband for the first time six weeks before being admitted to the mental hospital and he stuck by me through all the 9 1/2 years of it and the year I’ve been out of it so far. Humor helped us through, but so did a serious discussion every now and again.
I have other people I am close to, but these friendships are usually based on shared experience, such as them having the same disabilities as me. Though my husband and I met on an autism forum, he is neurotypical and otherwise non-disabled. He has seen me through most of my adult life, but he does not share the same experience of being disabled. Like he once said “needing social care is like a different world”. In this sense, I’m glad to have peers, some of which I’m close to online and may meet every once in a while and some of which I only talk to very occasionally. This obviously also depends on geographical location.
The first peer I met was a woman who was on a support list for my eye condition. I first started E-mailing her off-list in 2004 and we’re still online friends. She lives in the United States, so we might never meet in real life. Both our lives have also moved on since 2004. She is now independent and successful, while I’m just sprouting branches in the real world. However, I appreciate being her online friend.
During the past week and a half, a lot has happened, and yet so little has. I spoke to the patient advocate regardng the recent diagnonsense. She recommended a second opinion at another hospital. For various reasons, I decided against this. My psychologist did consult a psychiatrist at the brain injury unit, who told her she was right that brain injury and autism shouldn’t really be diagnosed together, but the same goes for borderline personality disorder and brain injury. Now I’m left with a very confusing diagnosis. I think it’s going to be personality change due to a general medical condition (brain injury), but my psychologist also said something about generalized anxiety disorder and attachment disorder possibly going onto my diagnosis. And I thought I was the one who collected labels.
This is all very confusing, because I rely on concrete labels for defining myself. How coincidental that I just opened a journaling eBook to a random prompt and it told me to make a list of my uniqueness, my marvelousness, my talents. These are not psychiatric labels, because, although some people consider autism a gift, I cannot say that autism itself should be one of my talents. With no further ado, here is my great list of things that make me me.
- I am intelligent. I have a lot of knowledge and I can articulate it well most of the time. I am good at analyzing stuff.
- I can persever(at)e if I truly want to achieve something.
- I am sensitive. Sometimes, this sensitivity causes me to experience overwhelm to the point where I appear uncaring, but I truly care about other people.
- I am creative. I write, I craft, I make soap.
- I have a pretty cynical sense of humor. I remember on my first day in the psychiatric hospital, telling jokes about how you could tell the patients and staff apart.
- I am stubborn and I like it. My husband jokes that my parents haven’t made up their minds about anything since the 1980s. I am thankful not to be that extreme, but I can really want to be right sometimes.
- I am a semi-successful blogger even though I haven’t been blogging as much over the past few months.
- I am a good wife.
This list should or could probably be longer. It also didn’t really cheer me up. However, it does help me see that I’m more than my confusing set of diagnosense.
Can you believe March is already two-thirds over with? Woha. I haven’t posted much this month. Next month, I’ll make up for it, because I’ll be participating in the #AtoZChallenge again. The idea is that, each day of the month of April except for Sundays, you write a post where the topics of each post follow the letters of the alphabet. Last year I did it on autism and chose to write on one topic pertaining to autism each day. Then last October I participated in #Write31Days with the theme of mental health.
After two quite exhausting blog challenges last year, It was a tough decision whether to sign up for the #AtoZChallenge again. Though #Write31Days was much tougher, I still wasn’t sure how to tackle this #AtoZChallenge either. Particulalry, I wasn’t sure what theme would catch enough people’s attention and how I could use it to entertain people while educating them. I want for this year to write posts that people actually like to read. I’d even like to use some humor.
Now I don’t do well with humor, but that doesn’t mean this year’s posts should be as dry and academic as last year’s were. My kind of humor is acrually well-appreciated in some spheres, especially the madosphere. The word “madosphere” was coined by some mental health bloggers to mean the mental health blogosphere. However, my humor is not just appreciated by mental heath bloggers, but by “mentals” in general.
So this year I’m taking my theme from #Write31Days and write about mental health again, but with a twist. Since it’s #AtoZChallenge, I’m going to write the alphabet of mental health. I will write brief snippets about a number of topics that come to mind when I think of mental health, so there won’t just be one topic for each post. For some letters, it was easy to think up five or more words, but for others (partiuclarly the E, J and Y) I’m still searching for words. If anyone has any suggestions of words they think of, starting with these letters of any others, they’re welcome to inspire me.
I was inspired to do this A-Z of mental health by a mental health nursing student blogger I used to read way back in like 2009. Her blog has long disappeared into the archives of the Internet and I am clueless as to how her idea popped into my mind this year. She did an A-Z of secure mental health services. I will get to these too, but I’ll write about mental health and psychiatric care in general. Most of it will be focused on inpatient psychiatric care and severe mental illness, since that’s what I know the most about. However, again, if there are any topics you’d like me to discuss, feel free to let me know.