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NearlyMedlessKate

How do I deal with unsupportive friends?

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NearlyMedlessKate

So I don't work and spend too much time on emotionally toxic (so I'm learning) websites like Facebook. Before I had what I'm starting to think of as an epiphany on the harms of the psychiatric industry, I was part of a very large Facebook support group for people with Bipolar Disorder. I received incredible support from that group until I started talking about coming off my meds, at which point, seemingly everyone came out of the woodwork to warn me of how I was going to relapse and regret this decision and how horribly it had turned out for them. Yada yada. Some (women particularly for some reason) were openly hostile if I challenged any beliefs like chemical imbalance or supposed safety of psych drugs. I eventually left the group and dropped the people I had become Facebook friends with who were unsupportive. But one "friend" seemed cool and so I stayed friends with her.

 

On my own page, I have talked repeatedly about how much better I feel and most people I actually know IRL have been very supportive. I think they can see the changes in the tone of my posts because I was just ANGRY RAGING all the time on Latuda and now I am back to fairly calm and happy. The other day (I can't stop thinking about this), I made a Facebook post on my own page about having responded elsewhere on Facebook to some anti-gay comments and that my comment of support for the people being marginalized was probably going to get hate mail. This "friend" of mine commented that I clearly only made the comment to upset the anti-gay folks and adult women don't spend their time making people uncomfortable on the internet. She strongly suggested I see my therapist and reinstate my meds immediately because I was clearly taking pleasure in upsetting people and that wasn't normal.

 

So I responded with a lengthy reply that it had nothing to do with upsetting anyone. There are a number of people in my family who fall along the LGBT spectrum and I always speak up when I hear people saying hurtful things. I believe it is exactly what someone should do. To be fair, quite a number of my friends jumped in to defend me. The original person did not respond again, but the responses on the post were so many that I decided to send her a PM and tell her I hoped she didn't feel ganged up on and that I valued her opinion. She said she didn't feel ganged up on because she didn't read my reply or any of the others. She was just passing along the "information" that I need help and could do with that info whatever I wanted. She said "I'm just not that committed to it." This honestly felt like baiting to me. She was committed enough to insinuate I need professional help but unwilling to even consider that the situation was not what she thought it was. 

 

Now, I know this is drama. I realize this. And when I realized this woman was reinforcing her own belief to herself that *she* can't live without meds and was projecting that belief about herself onto me, I simply decided to unfriend her and move on. Because I need supportive people around and not people on the lookout for my impending demise.

 

What I can't figure out is why this is bothering me so much. Most of my actual friends, made up of people I know in person or have known online for years and years, have been very supportive, or at least haven't made any negative comments about my journey to go med free. For some reason, after two days, this incident is still upsetting me. I guess I realize it's just a person on the internet that has a BS opinion that they need to share because they have no sense of boundaries when it comes to other people's healthcare decisions. But at this point I'm curious about is how others have handled these type of comments that you're unbalanced and need help before you crash? Does it affect you? Does it make you worry whether you're making the right decision to go off meds? I feel like I shouldn't let this woman get to me, but ever since this happened, I've been needing to reassure myself that I have made the right decision for my situation and that I can't let comments like this knock me off track. But I also feel now like I should watch everything I say to make sure it can't be misconstrued as proof of my illness. Will this sensitivity to the opinions of others ease as I continue to heal and do well? And is there anything I can do besides what I'm already doing, exercise, diet, talking to supportive people? 

 

An now I feel like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I could really use some insight and perspective from others.

 

 

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NearlyMedlessKate

I want to add that I do actually have pretty good coping mechanisms and this isn't really making me overly distressed. But I think I am feeling defensive about my decision to go off meds since I have been on them for so long and have been so demonstrably crazy that I am second-guessing myself. I have also missed several doses in the last week and a half due to missing a dose at the hospital and carelessness in forgetting to take it twice,  so that is almost certainly affecting my ability to let this go and maybe this will ease once I stabilize again. I probably just need to be patient.

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manymoretodays

 I have had some of the same experiences online and off.........trying to find my "new place" in the mental health communities I used to frequent......online and real life, as well as explaining myself or trying to with family and friends...... while feeling strongly about "undoing" my diagnoses after years.  I mean I have had a lot of symptoms in W/D and still indeed, do need a lot of friendly, kind support..........it's so horrible when they start suggesting meds. and/or other conventional, in the system treatments...........after I have tried repeatedly to tell them what I am doing and why.......or what I now believe about myself(not mentally ill basically).

 

And then we have to be careful how WE interact with our new-ish knowledge with those fixed on medication use and chemical imbalance theories and all that...........

 

Anyway.....I know it's tough.

 

Have you read anything at the Beyondmeds blog by Monica Cassini.......I know that a lot of her stuff really helped me.........maybe it will help you as well......in that redefining yourself now......and finding comfort in your interactions or comfort in decisions as far as to who to keep in your life now...........or which friendships and all that.  Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic book was also a factor in my awakening, so to speak.

 

Anyway......hope that helps somewhat.......your concern is fairly common here I think.........many of us who have had psych. labels and diagnoses do struggle a bit(or a lot!) with some of our older pre W/D relationships and finding a way to preserve some of the important ones.....relationships.....even when they don't "get it" and throw weird stuff at us that is frustrating........based on their beliefs about us from our past........for me, I guess maybe I just have to accept that some folks will always regard me as what I too, once believed was part of my makeup.  I am still learning as well.......

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NearlyMedlessKate

Just noting and I will try to get back to you nearlymedlesskate.  I have had some of the same experiences online and off.........trying to find my "new place" in the mental health communities I used to frequent......online and real life, as well as explaining myself or trying to with family and friends...... while feeling strongly about "undoing" my diagnoses after years.  I mean I have had a lot of symptoms in W/D and still indeed, do need a lot of friendly, kind support..........it's so horrible when they start suggesting meds. and/or other conventional, in the system treatments...........after I have tried repeatedly to tell them what I am doing and why.......or what I now believe about myself(not mentally ill basically).

 

And then we have to be careful how WE interact with our new-ish knowledge with those fixed on medication use and chemical imbalance theories and all that...........

 

Anyway.....I know it's tough.

 

Have you read anything at the Beyondmeds blog by Monica Cassini.......I know that a lot of her stuff really helped me.........maybe it will help you as well......in that redefining yourself now......and finding comfort in your interactions or comfort in decisions as far as to who to keep in your life now...........or which friendships and all that.  Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic book was also a factor in my awakening, so to speak.

 

Anyway......hope that helps somewhat.......your concern is fairly common here I think.........many of us who have had psych. labels and diagnoses do struggle a bit(or a lot!) with some of our older pre W/D relationships and finding a way to preserve some of the important ones.

 

"And then we have to be careful how WE interact with our new-ish knowledge with those fixed on medication use and chemical imbalance theories and all that..........."

 

Yes, that was pretty much why I left the group. It was really entirely pushing the medical model and the reaction to even the gentlest suggestion otherwise was met with hostility and accusations of giving people harmful advice or just outright being called an idiot. I am in some psychiatric recovery groups now that are much more helpful.

 

"Have you read anything at the Beyondmeds blog by Monica Cassini."

 

Yes, yes, yes! I love her site. I've spent hours there. She is really inspiring with all the hell her body has put her through. I can't imagine. My W/D has been nothing like that. I've also been to Mad In America and Recovering From Psychiatry. I found many of the comments to articles at Mad In America to be as interesting as the articles themselves. There is a lot of perspective if you dig in and read them all - no I haven't read them all, but I've read an awful lot, hours and hours in comment sections. And I've read seven books on this topic since I started my last taper a little over a month ago.

 

I've got a pretty good handle on coping skills in general. But for reasons I haven't figured out, I'm really letting *this* particular person get under my skin. Maybe it's partly because I have such a great support system otherwise that it came as a shock? Or because the insinuation that I'm mental for sticking up for people is absurd and shocking? Ahhhh! lol I am just going to have to ride it out, I guess.

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manymoretodays

Okay.....I might have done a bit more editing after you quoted me to respond.  Have to get offline now though......I can literally lose hours if I don't catch myself and discipline as far as internet use.  A beautiful day here and a lot of catch-up in chores and such to do as well as getting more nature and exercise in too.

 

I'll get on back to you though.  And as always.......so good to know I'm not alone in some of my struggles.......isn't SA just the greatest!

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NearlyMedlessKate

Have a beautiful day. I'm off for a walk out in the sunshine. Hope that will help clear my head. :)

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Martina23

Hello Kate, your story remembered me on my relationship with my mother. She also pushes her opinion on me in a very toxic way, for example says there is no withdrawal from meds and if I feel now unwell, I should go and discuss it with a psychiatrist, "because they have experiences". Something like that the meds caused me all the psychical symptoms I have she refuses to acknowledge. I also always after speaking with her feel so crushed inside. I tell myself I have to live my values but yes it is very hard by such toxic people. They make you even feel guilty for not following their advice even if you believe their advice is wrong.For me what helps is only to speak about it with good friends who understand and support me and when they tell me no, this person was wrong, continue your way, it is the right way, then I can put it behind me and just forget such people.

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manymoretodays

Hi again Kate.  I can't believe how much I still struggle when amongst those who still believe in the diagnoses and psychoactive medication.  I do like therapy and other alternatives but it seems to come after other treatment for so many.  And I still get overly.......uber concerned when I become aware of........well........the effects on others' medications' on them.......in a bad way.......sometimes side effects........sometimes just personality changes.........sometimes just a rudeness and righteousness without ears to hear with anymore(oh, I do that too).  A fixed ness.

 

So.......any coping you can share besides a complete cut off of people or disconnect?

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buggedout

"I simply decided to unfriend her and move on" -- Sounds like you already know how to handle these people who show little or no support. :)

 

I'm a big fan of cutting people out of my life who are un-supportive, or negative, in any way, whether it pertains to my meds or something else. I'd rather keep a few close friends who understand me, than a large number of friends who question me. See these people don't actually care, they are just being nosy, they crave gossip and they also just like the sound of their own voice.

 

I've also found lately that life is a lot less stressful when you pay less attention to what's going on with other people around you, and put yourself first. I used to read/watch the news, and get heavily involved in online debates, I've also been all around the online conspiracy community and even ran my own website last year... but I find that after a while it just becomes pointless, and serves no real meaning. I've since closed my website, stopped going to these online forums and debating, and I've even stopped watching television or caring about what's in the news. Notice how it's always just the same stuff regurgitated. Much of it is social engineering, and I even question the validity of what we're told by these media outlets. There is a much bigger picture, life is much bigger than whatever trivial BS comes through the idiot box, or whatever trivial nonsense is being spewed by random people on facebook.

 

Rise above all that, and just do whatever you feel is right! And unfriend those who hate you for it.

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manymoretodays

I guess it just gets lonely and confusing sometimes.  I however, do believe people generally do care about others.  We know so little of what others are really dealing with sometimes........what makes them need to be so "right" or "angry" or whatever......

 

Especially with the internet stuff though......I think sometimes it gives free reign for people sometimes to show their worst sides or something.  Be who they are keeping maybe masked in real life.

 

I totally agree on the media sometimes "hype" and staying away from the really ugly news when one is a bit down and sensitive.  Hard to really know anymore what is truth........it used to sure seem easier.

 

I would hate to stop caring however........I think at some point........once removed you can care again.........even if only in your heart for those who are different or have different views and ways of expressing themselves.

 

I liked your post bugged out........it did give me comfort........just knowing........some forums just aren't for me anymore.

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NearlyMedlessKate

BuggedOut, I am very good at cutting people out of my life. But I'm not convinced it's good for me and think it's maybe something I need to work on. I have a few close friends I treasure but most of my other relationships are fairly superficial so I don't really feel any attachment to most of the people in my life. I'm not skilled at cultivating relationships and I'm sensitive (reactive) to negative words/actions from others.

 

ManyMoreTodays, what do you do instead of cutting people off? I don't know. I guess for me it has to do with the quality of the friendship. None of my close friends would "hit and run" so to speak like that. If they have a problem with me, they take it up with me privately, not in front of everyone I know online. And the same in return. So in this case, I don't regret ending the short-lived online friendship. Maybe even the whole tone of my original post was wrong since she was simply a Facebook-designated "friend" and not someone I should have been calling a friend. She was a brief acquaintance.

 

Back to BuggedOut, I completely agree that tuning out is useful in some situations. I used to get really upset by watching the news on TV, so in 2004 I stopped watching TV and in 2005 I gave it away. My husband wanted to get a TV for watching Netflix on, so last week we bought a new one and the first thing I did was program it to hide all the news stations. I'm extremely empathic to the suffering of others and find that being bombarded with images of war/abuse/injustice does not help me emotionally. I do what I can to help others - give cash to the homeless, volunteer at the local food bank, but TV? No. Politics? No. Religion? No. I know what I can handle and I don't try to pretend to myself that I can handle these things. And I find it extremely easy to slip into these debates if they are presented to me on Facebook with features like being shown what your friends are commenting on. Because some of my friends are much mellower and able to handle that kind of debate without getting heated. I'm not, so not being exposed to it is best for me. What I did in the end was quit Facebook entirely early last week. I've done this before when I needed a breather from social media. I joined a local yoga studio and also signed up to join a zen buddhist meditation group where I hope the quality of interaction with others will be higher. I think ultimately, forcing myself to have more in-person human interaction will be better for me. At the same time, I have to define my limits and stick to them without worrying what others will think.

 

Thanks for all the responses. It gave me more to think about and helped me see this better for myself.

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NearlyMedlessKate

Also, yes, I should clarify that I only made a couple of comments - very short, maybe three or four sentences - about meds - and once about the chemical imbalance myth -  and only on posts where people asked about others experiences going med free. My comments about my process of tapering were misconstrued (not ever by the people trying to go off their meds) on those occasions, disingenuously so, in my opinion, by several people who were openly hostile. I left the group pretty quickly after that. I do not intend to make others uncomfortable. We no longer had the same goals, so I left. I'm not trying to start a rebellion. I'll leave that to others who aren't in a life-altering transition.

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manymoretodays

BuggedOut, I am very good at cutting people out of my life. But I'm not convinced it's good for me and think it's maybe something I need to work on. I have a few close friends I treasure but most of my other relationships are fairly superficial so I don't really feel any attachment to most of the people in my life. I'm not skilled at cultivating relationships and I'm sensitive (reactive) to negative words/actions from others.

 

ManyMoreTodays, what do you do instead of cutting people off? I don't know. I guess for me it has to do with the quality of the friendship. None of my close friends would "hit and run" so to speak like that. If they have a problem with me, they take it up with me privately, not in front of everyone I know online. And the same in return. So in this case, I don't regret ending the short-lived online friendship. Maybe even the whole tone of my original post was wrong since she was simply a Facebook-designated "friend" and not someone I should have been calling a friend. She was a brief acquaintance.

 

Back to BuggedOut, I completely agree that tuning out is useful in some situations. I used to get really upset by watching the news on TV, so in 2004 I stopped watching TV and in 2005 I gave it away. My husband wanted to get a TV for watching Netflix on, so last week we bought a new one and the first thing I did was program it to hide all the news stations. I'm extremely empathic to the suffering of others and find that being bombarded with images of war/abuse/injustice does not help me emotionally. I do what I can to help others - give cash to the homeless, volunteer at the local food bank, but TV? No. Politics? No. Religion? No. I know what I can handle and I don't try to pretend to myself that I can handle these things. And I find it extremely easy to slip into these debates if they are presented to me on Facebook with features like being shown what your friends are commenting on. Because some of my friends are much mellower and able to handle that kind of debate without getting heated. I'm not, so not being exposed to it is best for me. What I did in the end was quit Facebook entirely early last week. I've done this before when I needed a breather from social media. I joined a local yoga studio and also signed up to join a zen buddhist meditation group where I hope the quality of interaction with others will be higher. I think ultimately, forcing myself to have more in-person human interaction will be better for me. At the same time, I have to define my limits and stick to them without worrying what others will think.

 

Thanks for all the responses. It gave me more to think about and helped me see this better for myself.

 

 

I don't know.  Learning how to say I care,  thanking them for the lesson?,  even when others all jump in to rescue the one who perceived some kind of personal attack........even when I explained for the group, for group understanding what happens in some forums and what the situation was.  My recent one was not so much on the difference of opinion/truths of chemical imbalance theories and diagnostic BS and the harm of some of the psychoactive prescription treatment...........it was just me trying to intellectualize on a topic to distract from pain(physical hip pain pretty intense now gone)......with a bit of free association(typing and thinking is a good dis tractor for me at times).........which another participant took as a direct attack on her......personally attacked me and my character........then the others started acting like 7th graders from another clique than mine and hurling insults and their interpretations of my words at me........ganging up like I don't know what or why.........just meddling and mean really.  Hurtful too.  Just people......no real life friends like that thank goodness........finger pointers........yikes.

 

Same kind of rudeness has happened to me before on the same forum.......and then me always being called out for some unknown reason.  When the other person clearly overreacted rudely.  And "personally attacked" me after a post of mine upset them.    This time I held my ground but not without telling them they were meddling in a situation that had nothing to do with them........was between me and another poster.   Last time I held my own as well but this last situation was just same old from some of them and a good signal to get on out of the heat.   I also said how hurtful and childish they were being and just got called more names.  So I left.  A disturbed regular group(just a few) on that forum........not healthy for me to be around right now.  I told them all......the regulars, of course I care(before) but you guys are overbearing, judgemental, closed minded, and probing sometimes beyond what is comfortable for me to feel or give any support there anymore.  Or even to freely express myself in the manner of my choosing when I need to.

 

It's a poorly designed forum as well.........one times out on long replies.........sometimes can save sometimes can't but I usually edit longer responses just to try and be neutral and such with my views on non mental health topics and mental health topics alike.  So then I got accused of changing stuff.   And several of us post that way......with subsequent edits.   Oh and the forum hosts just delete stuff if a button is pushed so one can't even go back and reread their own post to see how they or in this case........the person offended........could have overpersonalized that it was a direct attack on her.  I did review it before that time and it wasn't my intention, wasn't worded as argumentative to the last poster.....was just general outloud thinking that I put to the keyboard......thanked her when I asked for a source on some medical information that I wasn't certain of..........

 

Most there are being harmed enough by their own choices, no need for me to harm further or retaliate or further care what they might think of me.  I've got enough going on and finally am getting more local people and self respect back in my life.

 

Bleech........anyway........I've told them I care about all of them before...........they can take it or leave it...........and yah.........at some point I'll probably go back.......maybe not even post just make sure all the regulars are status quo with their variable just bizarre mean ness, overbearingness, and lack of common decency sometimes.........and are still thriving in perhaps the best way they can.  I can always just read and post inspirational quotes or something.

 

Crazy internet communication world sometimes.  Alot of folks seem to need a scapegoat or something......  AND can't express myself as myself there.  What's the point of sticking around??........it's like some kind of self abuse for me to do so........  They just refuse to take responsibility for THEIR actions.......I owned mine and could only explain over and over to a point.........

 

That's my story on my latest.  They had me in tears though and a lot of emotional hurt........just aggravated by a few.........and I think they do it for that very purpose.......to hurt another.

 

Anyway......glad to have broke the obsession with that site for awhile.  It's just that I have used that forum for a very long time........and most likely will have to go back at some point........or not..........just to see who is still posting and how they seem to be.........I can always avoid the one troublesome forum and just post my own stuff elsewhere on the same site and read some of the stuff.

 

So I don't know........this last one was just too hurtful on me.........I don't get people like that at all.  But I can just care from afar because it's better than hating for me.

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manymoretodays

And hey......thanks for asking NearlyMedless.  Good to get that out and I have recovered well by taking my leave from there.  Helpful to read others ways of dealing too.  Also, it is a mental health site but not FB.

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NearlyMedlessKate

Similarly, sounds like a tough situation. Obviously there are people there you care about who you want to keep up with, but you also have to care for your own mental health needs and not allow people you don't really know to tear you down or distract you from caring for yourself. And internet forums - FB and elsewhere - can be problematic as there are so many ways to temper your words with tone, inflection, smiles and body language in person that are extremely hard to convey online. Good luck next time you venture there! :)

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manymoretodays

yes......thanks........so tough........all this getting in touch with ones emotions, letting them float........clearing one's head.......trying, trying........to let the outside in again and keep the outgoing behavior/words/etc. harm free for others.........learning some lessons I guess I truly missed along the way..........somewhere, somehow..........learning to be who I am at any given moment and being comfortable with it..........uncomfortable, at best  :mellow:

 

signed:

 

cautiously ecstatic manymoretodays....... :) 

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fema4psychiatrists

facebook is a poison. like pharmaceuticals. they are both intentional war weapons. you deserve better. leave that junk by the wayside and guide your efforts by the power of the universe. it created you equally

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