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aibu to think there are double standards regarding mental health both IRL and online?

(9 Posts)
OnWiganPierWithNoUmbrella Tue 10-Jan-17 22:14:02

I honestly haven't started this thread to start a bunfight or be goady. I am genuinely puzzled by this. I will start by saying that I myself have been in MH services since age 17, although I had some issues since early childhood (OCD, Anxiety, self harm, compulsive eating and hiding food) and later in my teens developed what was later diagnosed as borderline personality disorder, for which a decade later I actually ended up receiving help for (after many years of being drugged up and considered an attention seeking time waster by MH services). There is a lot of prejudice against Personality Disorders in MH services, and also amongst the general population. BPD certainly gets a lot of bad press. But lately in the past few years I have noticed how many people both IRL and online are often having a pop at people with Narcissistic or Anti Social PD. Within abuse survivor communities I understand it. Because I can understand many abuse survivors have been ripped to pieces by people with NPD or ASPD. But not all people with NPD or ASPD or BPD or Histrionic PD become abusers! I have also noticed disorders liek Munchausen's Syndrome being portrayed as bad behaviour and to cut off ties with people who have it. Yet we rightly do not condemn those with bipolar, OCD, depression etc. All the Cluster B Personality Disorders are considered by psychiatrists to have their roots in trauma in early childhood. Yet many of us think of NPD sufferers as "evil" rather than victims of a Complex PTSD? I can understand going No Contact with people with these disorders whose behaviour is toxic but sometimes people with depression , anorexia, bipolar etc display toxic behaviour and yet often the response is "Don't dump them- they are ill.try to understand them!" It is a s though some mental health diagnoses are not equal to others??? And the way adult aspergers or social anxiety are often dismissed scathingly also befuddles me a bit to be honest. AIBU?

PrettyLittleGuinea Thu 12-Jan-17 21:41:48

I do realise (Sorry, I namechanged- long story- I am the OP) that people with NPD and Anti-Social PD can struggle to see they have a problem and blame others for their woes. Even with BPD and HPD this can happen. But when someone comes out as as a Narc I wonder how people would respond to them? I ask because although my diagnosis is Borderline PD (and other things) I believe I may have some Narc and Histrionic traits although I am not formally diagnosed. Or it could just be that because it is common for these conditions to overlap anyway that most people with PD probably have a mix of different ones anyway? I am in online groups for abuse survivors and a couple of times I did get blocked ONLY AFTER I had mentioned my PD history. I think it is sad that people assume that all Narcs are people who are predatory and not that maybe they have insight into their Narc traits and realise they are a result of bad parenting? Usually abuse, occasionally in rarer cases being spoiled or overindulged maybe. Either way they/we are victims who need support too? I am not trying to come across as Woe is Me. I am just very generally interested in MH awareness and I really hope that this hierachy of "deserving" mentally unwell (bipolar, anxiety etc) vs "undeserving" (Munchausens/Personality Disorders etc) mentally unwell comes to an end one day. Perhaps progress is being made, bit by bit?

PrettyLittleGuinea Thu 12-Jan-17 21:42:56

Sorry if the above sounds ranty. I will crawl off my soapbox now...

manicinsomniac Thu 12-Jan-17 22:11:03

I don't know, it's complicated, isn't it.

I agree with you that personality disorders are sometimes seen as the 'short straw' mental illnesses.

But, to be honest, I don't blame anybody for not wanting to establish friendships or relationships with people who have mental illness/es. If I could escape my own conditions I certainly wouldn't have any interest in spending time with other people's!

Anorexia, OCD, anxiety and (likely but maybe not) BPD turn me from a rational person into a semi functioning, self absorbed nightmare half the time. Why would anyone else want to deal with that?

Areyoufree Thu 12-Jan-17 22:29:44

That's an interesting post - given me pause for thought. A lot of what you say is true - there is definitely a perception of 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' disorders. I am somewhat biased as my Dad has previously been diagnosed with NPD, and it's only relatively recently that I have realised what that means and been able to clearly see the damage he has done. But he has no self awareness - is that him, or is that his disorder? You talk about your own struggles, but with an awareness of what you need to work on. I've never known anyone with NPD who was aware of it and trying to work on it, so it's hard to say how I would react to that. No, I know that were he to turn around tomorrow and say he had realised this about himself and wanted to try and deal with it, I would be there in a heartbeat.
But, if I'm honest, if someone said they had NPD and were working to live normally with it, I would be wary of getting close to them. I know how susceptible I am, and what that kind of relationship can do to me. So, yes, I guess you could say I am prejudiced. But, like I say, your post has given me a lot to think about.

LostSight Thu 12-Jan-17 22:46:42

I think it is complicated. I personally see NPD / psychopathy / sociopathy as different from anorexia, depression and bipolar, because the latter can be treated.

Personally, I would only advise someone to stick with a person with mental illness,
1. if the person with the MH issues was trying actively to undergo or maintain treatment in order to improve the situation and
2 If the non-affected person was able to do so, without being damaged excessively themselves in the process.

My understanding with the personality disorders I listed, is that not only is there no treatment, but those with the disorders are not technically unwell, and are likely to do damage to those around them because of their lack of empathy

Does your father consider himself unwell? Could you imagine him wanting treatment? My understanding is that this would almost never arise, and if it did, I personally would distrust any such information if he gave it.

DailyFail1 Thu 12-Jan-17 22:51:12

NPD is narcissm right? Is it actually a recognised disorder in the medical community? I personally have never met someone who was diagnosed NPD.

PrettyLittleGuinea Fri 13-Jan-17 01:05:08

Areyoufree I hope I haven't triggered you. My own DF was emotionally mentally verbally and occasionally physically abusive and I have often wondered if he has something like a PD. He saw his family as an extension of himself and if we failed to measure up there would be trouble. But he doesn't believe in psychiatry. He does have empathy for people outside the family and occasionally even for us, though, so I don't know. Just traits maybe? or like me, a mix? DailyFail Yes, NPD. I think it is pretty rare 2% of the population. The disorder is very different from just being self-centered or hardhearted. Just like someone with Histrionic PD isn't the same as someone who is a bit flamboyant. BPD of course has many manifestations and subtypes- it is a hard one to define in a single sentence. And many people with it present atypically

Areyoufree Fri 13-Jan-17 09:14:50

Not triggering at all. I genuinely found your point interesting. I guess there's a kind of parallel (not comparing the disorders, you understand!) with paedophiles who are seeking treatment. Some people take medication and undergo intense therapy, but it's not something that others would ever feel comfortable being around. Like I say, that's a much more extreme and emotive example though!

Mental health is still extremely stigmatised and misunderstood all over. I have known people with OCD for example, which can be extremely disabillitating and distressing, who get very frustrated when anyone who prefers their books in a certain order is described as being 'a bit OCD'. Same with bipolar. And of course psychopathy is seen to be analogous to monster or murderer, when of course very few psychopaths become killers. I agree that mental health is something that needs more attention and awareness - the natural reaction when someone is diagnosed with something is to hide it away though. Maybe we need to start being more open about mental health conditions - we certainly need to put more money into treating them!

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