My Mental Health Is More Important Than My Pride

January 11, 2011 Holly Gray

For some time now, my mental health has been declining. My partner admitted to me last night that if it were still possible to commit loved ones she would have had me hospitalized months ago. And though I didn't realize she was quite that concerned about my mental condition, she's been telling me that I'm not well for a while now. I've been unwilling to hear it, insulted by what I believed was a lack of faith in me and thoroughly annoyed at her refusal to recognize how brilliant and capable I truly am. Oh denial, my old friend, you've made me a fool once again. Sadly, I doubt it will be the last time. Because I still haven't learned to take mental health warning signs as seriously as I take my pride.

[caption id="attachment_1455" align="alignleft" width="210" caption="Photo by Roberto Bouza"]Photo by Roberto Bouza[/caption]

When I Ignore My Mental Health for My Pride, Both Suffer

It's difficult for anyone to admit defeat, but when you're defeated by the most basic demands of daily life it's easy for humility to morph into shame. It's understandable to want to ward off failure by either not stepping out of your comfort zone at all, or refusing to give up despite overwhelming evidence that you're in over your head. Those are two sides of the same stubborn coin. And while pig-headedness has played a large role in improving my mental health - fueling the tenacity to find treatment, for example - it's also a risky indulgence when mental health warning signs start ringing their alarm bells. I've paid the price in embarrassing, even dangerous ways:

  • While Dissociative Identity Disorder is a hiding disorder and I contend that my life does not look like the movie Sybil, the symptoms of any mental illness are amplified by stress. When I ignore my mental health and insist on pushing myself past my limits, I become a walking testament to the grains of truth in DID stereotypes.
  • I used to take Ativan as necessary to help manage the more incapacitating spikes in anxiety. It was a helpful drug, but after an alter overdosed for the second time my psychiatrist stopped prescribing it. We were never in any life-threatening danger. Still, self-harm indicates a basic lack of safety and, in this case, a demand for my attention.

Know Your Mental Health Warning Signs

If you're like me, you don't want to take stock of your mental health warning signs because once you do it'll be hard to ignore just how stringent your limitations really are. But sticking your head in the sand is employing dissociative solutions to problems that aren't simply going to go away. So though it makes me nervous, I commit to you here and now that on Thursday I'll produce a list of my mental health warning signs, many of which I suspect will apply to you too. And even if you choose not to share it with anyone, I hope you'll consider making that list too.

Say it with me: my mental health is more important than my pride.

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APA Reference
Gray, H. (2011, January 11). My Mental Health Is More Important Than My Pride, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Holly Gray

January, 18 2011 at 2:00 am

Hi Dana your list really got me thinking, because I also experience 8 out of the 10 warning signs you mentioned. I've never thought to write a list, but now I know where to start. Thanks.

Dr Musli Ferati
January, 15 2011 at 5:08 am

Mental health, in the course of time, becomes a demand as well as need to be a successful, happy and useful person. It is our mental well-being that enable us to communicate with others as a crucial step to improve professional and social status. Without this we are failing subject which on the one hand overwhelming our general abilities. This close interrelation among mental health and our performance oblige us to care on mental well-being. All the more, when it is known the fact that everyone have an inner attempt to camouflage any psychic difficulty. It remains to become conscientious on the signs of mental disorders, which should treated in psychiatric service. The stigma as shame as are the smaller damage than to be ruined from serious psychiatric entities.

January, 14 2011 at 11:20 pm

Pride goes before the fall... I usually fall pretty good!
I'm sorry things have been so rough for you Holly. I relate to so much of what you've written here. I usually bury myself in more work as a way to try and "push through" things. This is, of course, the wrong thing to do; but common to so many people - with or without a mental health issue.
Stubbornness can get us through many things, once we decide that we need to do a reality check on our functioning and safety, our stubbornness can help there too. It can force us to rest and reassess, to evaluate how we ended up in that place and find ways to avoid it happening again.
Wishing you all the best,

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Holly Gray
January, 18 2011 at 3:35 pm

Hi CG,
"Pride goes before the fall… I usually fall pretty good!"
Oh, that made me laugh. Thank you! I too fall pretty good. ;)
I appreciate you pointing out that pushing through when you're struggling is common to for those without mental illnesses too. You're right and it's a good reminder that we are human.
I agree with you about being stubborn. At times in my life I think I've survived solely to prove that I could.

Pat Pramos
January, 11 2011 at 5:12 pm

I am hoping Holly or someone can help me. I grew up tortured as a child by my mother with DID. My story is unbelievable and I want to tell it, but I am not an author, nor do I have any writing skills. Is there someone that I can be directed to so I can have the events of my childhood story told? If so, please email me. Thanks for your time.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Holly Gray
January, 12 2011 at 7:54 am

I'm sending you an email, Pat.

January, 11 2011 at 4:55 pm

I absolutely know that stress amplifies my DID symptoms. What is most frustrating for me is that I feel stress just trying to do things that normal people do. Things that are second nature for most people, and should be second nature for me. Usually an alter will do these things for me. If that doesn't happen, I'm left stammering, stuttering, and then retreating in horror at my failure. Either way, I fear that I look like a total whack job, and my pride is wounded because I was unable to do something very basic.
I would have never thought of making an actual list of my Mental Health Warning signs. I think this will be a good exercise, and something for us to refer to when we feel ourselves slipping away.
Dana, I can without a doubt relate to everything on your list. What an eye opener!

January, 11 2011 at 4:12 am

Holly- I am going to throw out my pride and share my list with you.
-adl's (activities of daily living ie. showering, brushing teeth etc) not be completed daily.
- irregular sleep patterns
- withdrawing
- not being able to see past "now"
- no attention span
- increase in desire to self harm
- irregular eating patterns
- increase in loss of time
- main desires in life shift to running away and hiding
- life views become more childlike
I am sure there are others that I am unable to think of off the top of my head but I wanted to share with you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Holly Gray
January, 11 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thank you, Dana! This is really helpful for me - and hopefully others too - because dissociation makes it so difficult to be aware of, well, everything. But I recognize myself in some of what you've written here.
"life views become more childlike"
That's something I doubt I would have been able to name without hearing it from someone else first, for instance. But I absolutely relate to that.

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