Mental Illness Labels : Alphabet Soup Poem

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Yesterday I commented on a post by blogger Myloudbipolarwhispers about mental illness labels. In the comment, I explained how one of my foster kids once had a therapist who talked about the dangers of “alphabet soup”, which is when people start collecting so many labels (ADHD, ADD, ASD, PTSD, SAD, OCD, DID, BPD, RAD, and so on and so on) that they lose sense of themselves as a person or even worse, those treating them lose sight of their humanity and just see them as a list of diagnoses.

I shared in the comment that I even wrote a short poem about “alphabet soup”, which ended up in my book about foster care (From Both Sides). Myloudbipolarwhispers mentioned that she would like to see the poem, so I figured I would just share it in a post here, since it definitely fits the themes of this blog:

Alphabet Soup
By: Maranda Russell

Some good old-fashioned RAD,
a touch of PTSD,
just a hint of OCD,
a generous helping of ADHD
and a pinch of ODD
to taste.

Add it all together
and what do you get?

Alphabet soup…

and a kid
made entirely
of labels.

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Journal Writings from a Severe Depressive Episode

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Once in a while I share intimate writings from my journal, from times when I was severely depressed. I don’t do this to get sympathy, but because I hope to educate people who haven’t experienced depression themselves to get even a glimpse of the mental torture you undergo when extremely depressed. I hope sharing might help reduce the stigma and the judgmental attitudes that persist in the face of major depression. So, here goes:

“Why is it that I am screaming on the inside, and yet my voice is mute? Not a peep must pass these lips. I am invisible, even as I am seen.”

“I had to get out. I had to leave. Repeating “I’m ok”, over and over to myself, wasn’t working. I couldn’t breathe, or maybe I didn’t want to any longer. My entire body shook, even as I threw on clothes and grabbed the car keys. I’m still shaking now.”

“I’ve lost it. My composure, my hope, my perception of living. I no longer know if I even exist. No one else seems to see me either.”

“As I walk down the road, tears streaming down my face, a ribbon dangles from my journal, suspended not by wind but by movement. I should tuck it in, but I want to look unkempt. Let the outside, even my props, match the inner disarray.”

“The question asks itself, am I sad or just spoiled? Do I put this on? Is it a show? Do I want to appear unhinged? Is this for attention, and if so, why do I fail so miserably even at that, as it is made clear that nobody sees me?”

*You might notice a pattern in many of these writings, a feeling of invisibility, of not being seen, and not feeling like I matter. As the last quote shows, I even wonder if I am crying out for the attention that I don’t know how to get. Perhaps this aspect is tied to the social limitations of being autistic and suffering from severe social anxiety disorder? I wondered if others who are not autistic or socially anxious feel these same things when depressed, or if it is just me?

By the way, BetterHelp has some great resources on depression as well, so check them out!

 

What makes a good poem?

I stumbled across this post I wrote 6 years ago today! I still think it is pretty decent advice!

Maranda Russell

Poetry is an intensely personal thing, so opinions abound regarding what makes a poem truly good. I’m not here to tell you that I know the magic formula or to try and pretend that I am some literary genius that has it all figured out, but I would like to share my opinion of what makes a poem stand out above the rest. Undoubtedly, some of you will disagree with my criteria, which is fine. In fact, I would encourage you to post a comment with your own opinion on the matter if you wish to do so.

So without further ado…my list of poetry must-haves:

1. Honesty – is this one really a surprise? After all, I named my recently published poetry book, “Not Afraid to Be Real”. And to me, that isn’t just a clever title. I strive in all my writing to be honest and present life realistically. Of…

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I am an Emotional Writer

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I am an emotional writer. I write from whatever my current point of view and mood dictates. Often my writing may be entirely contradictory or may not even represent my general consensus on a given subject, but is instead a snapshot of a moment in time.

Reading through my journal entries and blog posts may appear to be a debate between various personalities – and in a sense, perhaps it is. No, I do not suffer from some sort of multiple personality disorder, but I use writing to discover and decipher my own jumbled thoughts and feelings. When I start writing, I often don’t know exactly where it is going to go, what the end result will be, or what I will learn along the way, but that is part of the magic of the creative process.

Please keep in mind when reading this blog, that what is being presented is often unfiltered, barely edited, stream-of-consciousness prose that represents only a momentary glimpse of my overall experience of life. If you dislike what I write today, stick around, because you just might love what I write tomorrow!

5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself!

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Here are a few important questions to ask yourself about your purpose and meaning in life! For fun, I have provided my own answers to them as an example! If you do answer these, I would recommend taking the time to write them down, think about them carefully, and be as honest as you can!

  1. What is your life work? My Answer: Writing, sharing ideas and emotions, creating art, advocating for and comforting others with autism, mental illness, and chronic pain/illness.
  2. What is the meaning of your life? What gives you purpose? My Answer: Inspiring others (kids, fellow Aspies, those with disabilities, other outsiders). Loving family, friends, and animals (loyalty).
  3. What is your passion? My Answer: Writing, spirituality, philosophy, psychology, toys, books, animals, art, creativity.
  4. What does the world lose if I wasn’t here? My Answer: A child-like, loving heart and spirit. Loss of inspiration and creativity. The loss of a voice crying out for justice and harmony. Loss of a unique thinker.
  5. What would it take to begin fully living my dreams today? My Answer: Time, the willingness to fail or be ridiculed, the possibility of being proven wrong, unwavering belief in myself, trust in what is meant to be, hope.

Poetry Bits and Pieces

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Hi! I was flipping through my journal today and thought maybe I would share a few random bits of poetry with you! These are poetry bits that never made it into larger poems, but I still kind of like them!

1)
“My soft, strawberry soul
thrives like cold rain
in the quiet shade of the vine.”

2)
“Brother man,
love…peace…listen.
Take your sweet sister
and dance between
the worlds.”

3)
“Why do the wounded
see clearly through the shadows
while privilege blinds?”

4)
“Now, looking back,
I wonder if I somehow missed
the awaited resurrection,
or if I was taken for a fool
all along.”

5)
“Numb.
Do I want to feel?
Maybe another day
when my skin is thicker
and the bruises have faded.
I guess in reality,
that means
never.”

6)
“I used to care more;
Now I couldn’t care less.”

If you like these little poetry bits, let me know! I have plenty more I could share 🙂

You Can Now Support My Blog Via PayPal if You Wish :)

I finally figured out how to set up a PayPal link here on WordPress! Please excuse my technological shortcomings, I’m not exactly the most efficient coder or anything like that.

Anyhow, if anyone would like to support my blog efforts, you can now donate any amount directly to my PayPal:

You can also access this PayPal link at any time on my website sidebar and the “Support My Blog” page.

I don’t expect a lot of donations, but if anyone does wish to help out it is definitely appreciated! Any money donated will most likely be applied to website maintenance fees (domain registration, WordPress account upgrades, etc.) If donations ever started regularly coming in, I would likely also try to invest in some advertising for the blog or use it for computer maintenance/repairs and stuff like that.