My Retort

I chose yesterday of all days, to turn off the feature that had me pre-approve all comments on my posts.

I chose to do this because of the way my mind was working at the time. My mind very forcefully said,

“Who cares if someone disagrees or doesn’t like my post, or says something negative about what I choose. I want the criticism, and I feel passionate about everything I publish. If it makes it to the public eye, I put everything in it. So why the hell not?”

Everything happens for a reason and if a certain comment hadn’t been made and gone very public, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.

I don’t know how many of my readers saw the comment before it was removed, but it’s ok. I’m grateful it happened because my silence on the issue further stigmatizes mental illness. That goes against my goal.

Personality disorders often go without being treated due to being widely misdiagnosed.

Personality Disorders are one of the most heavily stigmatized mental health conditions a person can experience. This rampant stigma has both tangible and emotional consequences that can worsen existing difficulties. Stigma shows in the form of judgments, blame, negative assumptions and discrimination.

Stigma can lead a person experiencing a Personality Disorder to feel ashamed and hide their suffering. This leads to further negative emotion (shame, loneliness, fear) and attempts to suppress distress. Suppression of distress and self-invalidation typically results in further emotion dysregulation, dysregulated thinking and out-of-control behavior.  

Even if individuals are determined enough to push through the stigma and seek treatment, they may encounter even more stigma. Some mental health professionals are reluctant, or even refuse, to diagnose and/or treat a Personality Disorder, even when a person clearly meets diagnostic criteria. ( Article about Borderline Personality Disorder)

So here we go… I’m divulging personal stuff I never intended on divulging, because my boyfriend has a Personality Disorder with war related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To be diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, you need to have severe problems functioning in one or both of these areas:

  • Self-Functioning: A fully functioning person is in touch with his or her deepest and most innermost feelings and desires. This individual has received unconditional positive regard from others, does not place conditions on his or her own worth, is capable of expressing feelings, and is fully open to life’s many experiences.

Some examples of Interpersonal skills are:

  • Communication skills involve both listening and speaking effectively.
  • Assertiveness skills involve expressing yourself and your rights without violating others’ rights.
  • Conflict Resolution skills help you resolve differences so that you may continue a relationship effectively.
  • Anger Management skills involve recognizing and expressing anger appropriately in order to achieve goals, handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect our health.

Jason has problems functioning in both areas, and his PTSD exacerbates everything.

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, says men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder follow a “love pattern” in their romantic relationships that they reproduce over and over again with different women.

The most common “Narcissistic Love Patterns” she has named, “The Romantic, “The Big Game Hunter,” “The White Knight,” “The Novelty Seeker,” “The Hater,” and “The Recycler.” The consistency in all of the patterns, is that he loves you and wants you, then runs.

Jason is kind of all over the place. He can’t be put into one particular pattern, however, he runs. A LOT.

Ok. Are you with me so far? Good. Because now I’m about to throw a giant chink in your chain…

Everything I had researched and studied, mostly made sense and sometimes were spot on. The major factor that set Jason aside, is his ability to love.

I kept studying various publications and I kept studying Jason. A common thread throughout everything I studied, are the misconceptions commonly inherent in Personality Disorders by Behavioral Health professionals themselves.

I read a hundred different articles and various publications stating a narcissist can’t love or have empathy for others.

I’m here to tell you, that is not correct. I know Jason loves me with every ounce of his capability. Finally, I found what I know to be true.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT writes that although it’s complicated, that narcissists can, in fact, feel and express love and can be empathetic.

In Rosenbergs book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us,” “garden variety narcissists,” or those with NPD are capable of love and empathy AS LONG AS IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD OR THEY GET SOMETHING IN RETURN.

Since they desperately and perpetually seek love, appreciation and affirmation from others, they will consciously and unconsciously (Human Magnet Syndrome) gravitate toward others that can meet this impossible need.  Sadly, however, the people who are going to fall in love with them and, consequently, try to take their problems and pain away are deprived of the very same love, respect and care that the narcissists fight so hard to obtain.  These unfortunate people are almost always going to be codependents.

(Entering stage left is… Ms. Codependent herselfME.)

Rosenberg goes on to say that his book also explains why codependents are the only personality type that can actually withstand the narcissist’s selfishness while shaping it (distorting it) into a loving relationship.

He states as a fact, that narcissists and codependents love each other. The feeling is quite real to them.

The narcissist falls deeply in love with the codependent because she provides unconditional love. It’s the one thing the narcissist believed was impossible. She loves him for his true self, so he has found his soul mate.

Rosenberg says the unstable and fleeting nature of their love experience is best explained using a metaphor- a bucket with holes. 

Narcissists need a steady stream of unconditional love, respect and care to keep their hole-ridden bucket filled.

No amount of unconditional love or affirmation, kindness, empathy, etc., will ever keep their “buckets” topped off. Hence, their need for affirmation, attention, etc. while desperately self-promoting themselves, gives us an idea why they are motivated, if not addicted, to their narcissistic ways and why they are unable to stop. 

But here is the rub: they can only adore and love people who fill their holey bucket. They really do “love” these people – their codependents.

And the codependents selflessly “love” them back. 

With Jason’s PTSD combined with a personality disorder, over a period of time, his “holey bucket” empties. He begins to see my flaws and they piss him off. Another scenario is he will try so hard to get my attention and love, ending up feeling slighted. He thinks I’m too busy writing, or playing a game on my phone to notice he needs, “Sarah Time”.

Then, as he watches me make plans with other people, he feels he must not be as important as they are, I don’t appreciate his hard work and effort, and his bucket depletes.

The empty bucket leaves him feeling insecure and afraid, and those feeling manifest themselves through anger. The fear and insecurity also ensures he will develop a fear of me leaving him. Those were the times there were violent outbursts. The scary stuff…

Jason and I are not stupid people, and our love for one another is making us look at ourselves and our relationship from a new perspective. We had to start asking,

“What does our unique relationship need to survive and flourish?”

The first thing I knew I must do, is stop being a victim. Jason isn’t a horrible person. He has fucking issues. So do I.

I wouldn’t ever be happy with a “normal” guy, the kind everyone thinks I deserve. I will get bored with that guy. I will end up breaking his little heart when Jason shows up and says, “Get in the car, I’m gonna beat the breaks off this dude and then we’re getting the hell outta here.”

Yep, that’s the guy I’m ridin’ with.

I’m not Jason’s girl because I’m scared. I’m not scared anymore. I meant it when I said that part is done. We are someplace else in the evolution of our relationship.

I’m Jason’s girl because as fucked up of a dynamic it has been, I see him trying to be a man worthy of me. I watch him listen and give input, trying to understand the mysteries of the mind with me. This shit is going to be hard, but the really scary stuff everyone was worried about, is over.

On to the next hurdle

To the people disowning me for choosing this path, I get it. All I ask is to please open your mind and consider the possibility that what looks like a cut and dry cycle of abuse to you, is in reality, a stepping stone to a new level of understanding and existing.

I know I am on the right path for me.

I feel that some very real discoveries are in the process of being made in the field of mental health and although you are very open-minded and a wonderful advocate for your cause, you are lacking an understanding of some of the very real and very big issues some of us face every minute, of every day.

Mental Health stigma is not as big of an issue as it once was, but it’s still way bigger than I thought. There is so much that is still unknown, and when we are dealing with the unknown, we are limited to our understanding of it.

As mental health patients, we have not been taken seriously in the past. That is changing. Those of us who are able, have a responsibility to ourselves and to others who are suffering to educate everyone about the parts of mental illness you can’t understand from reading a textbook, publication, or observation.

We will never have it all figured out, but my purpose is clear to me.

TALK. WRITE. EDUCATE. VOTE.

I love you, B, more than you know. I hope you can forgive me for the worry and stress my being in your life has caused you. I hope we can come to a compromise where we can still be family that does things together. I hate to think of my life without you in it… You said something to me last week that has stuck with me. You said you were willing to help me if you felt like we were on the same team.

A heartbreaking truth about being mentally ill, is for the most part, you feel extremely misunderstood and very alone in the world.

Advocacy is appreciated and necessary, however, we crave unconditional love and support, regardless of there being a lack of understanding concerning the “whys” of our mentally ill behaviors.

We don’t know why most of the time.

I can promise, I will always do what I believe is right, and I know sometimes I will be so wrong. I’m learning and traveling through time like everyone else.

ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME.

My Crazy History and Tulsa Mental Health Resources


Information and resources are from my personal experiences and Google.- Sarah Jones (edited April 8 2020 to include a guide to online therapy by consumersadvocate.org)

Edited January 29, 2021 to include a new resource for online therapy at onlinetherapy.com

*The world has changed so drastically since the pandemic. Online resources for mental health care are vital now. That’s why I have included 2 new resources above for online therapy.

I have been treated for mental health for most of my life, since I was four years old.It began with
OCD and excessive hand-washing. I was an odd kid.

Anxiety began at an early age as well. There were countless times, I couldn’t show up to birthday parties, having made myself sick with anxiety. I had to be careful about what I watched on TV as not to bring on anxiety attacks. I’m not even talking about anything scary or inappropriate for children. My memory specifically recalls it being almost unbearable to watch Lassie reruns.

As I approached my teens, depression began. I started seeing a therapist when I was 12 following my step-fathers traumatizing and violent death. I have first prescribed an antidepressant at 14, Zoloft.

My mom was a bartender, so we didn’t have health insurance, therefore, I am very experienced with utilizing local resources; especially concerning people with little to no income. You could say I’m a resource at this point. So, I have compiled some very useful information for this post. I’m focusing on local resources right now but I will post some national information soon. ( Exception: Nami and hotlines ) Read on…

*IMPORTANT NOTE*

The covid-19 virus pandemic has made mental health and addiction services more vital than ever. Many people are stuck at home in quarantine or abiding by “stay at home” ordinances. Staying at home, combined with the drastic economic changes the pandemic is causing in our country and the world can lead to increased episodes of mental illness and substance abuse. There are many issues which can stem from the increases in these illnesses such as severe depression, addiction, overdose, death by overdose, self-mutilation, domestic violence, and suicide.

The good folks at consumersadvocate.org had a team of writers investigate the leading online therapy services (therapist credentials and certifications, HIPAA-compliance, and video and text services offered) and came up with this thorough guide: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/online-therapy

Take care of your minds! Everyone please be safe.


Mental Health Association Oklahoma

I don’t have a lot of experience with this one, but I started going to a “Survivors of Suicide” support group following my husband’s suicide. They are wonderful. They have many groups you can join and it’s free. They also can provide you with information on pretty much everything mental health related.

Family & Children’s Services

Family & Children’s Services is the first place I ever received treatment and it’s where I am treated now. I am in a program called PACT. It’s specifically for those suffering from severe mental illness. I was accepted into the program after my husband’s death in 2017. Here’s a link for info on PACT.

Counseling-Recovery Services of OK

I went to Counseling & Recovery for many years. They are also a great resource for information and treatment. They accept insurance and Medicaid but there is no charge if you qualify. They have an in-house pharmacy like Family & Children’s and do not charge you a copay for medication if you can’t afford it although they are slightly pushier about asking for copays than Family & Children’s. It annoyed me because I don’t like confrontation. I regularly sent my husband to pick up my medication because he had no issues with saying “no, I can’t pay you”.

NAMI (International website) NAMI-Oklahoma

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Oklahoma was founded in 1985 by a small group of family members of people with mental illness. 


Today, NAMI OK has eight affiliates throughout the state that facilitate support groups, conduct education programs, and send speakers out into the community to increase understanding and bring awareness of mental illness and to share the message that treatment can be effective. 

Our mission: NAMI Oklahoma, in partnership with its Affiliates improves the quality of life for individuals and families affected by mental illness through support, education and advocacy.

Tulsa Area Crisis Contacts

Copes (Emergency outreach team) 918-744-4800

Tulsa Police Department 911 (emergency) or 918-596-9222 (non-emergency)

Reach Out Helpline-Heartline (Toll- Free) 800-522-9054

Suicide Prevention Line (Toll-Free) 800-273-8255

Emergency Adult Inpatient Action: These crisis care centers provide short-term inpatient assessment and treatment.

Brookhaven Hospital 888-298-HOPE (4673)

Carl Albert Mental Health Services 918-426-7800

Crisis Care Center 918-921-3200

This comes up as COPES but click on Crisis Care Center and it will give you information on their actual hospital where they do assessments etc.

Fort Supply Acute Care Unit 580-766-2311

Red Rock Behavioral Health Services Inc. 405-424-7711 Main Location 405-425-0333 Children’s Crisis Unit 580-323-9765 Clinton Crisis Unit 405-307-4800 Norman Crisis Unit

Talliaferro Community Mental Health Center                                    580-248-5780

Tulsa Center For Behavioral Health (T.C.B.H.)                                 918-293-2140                                      Crisis Line                            918-293-2100

Green Country Behavioral Health Services Inc                           918-682-8407

Hillcrest Medical Center   918-579-1000

Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital 918-481-4000

Parkside Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital 918-588-8888

Oklahoma County Crisis Intervention Center (O.C.C.I.C.) 800-522-9054

Oklahoma Crisis Recovery Unit 405-522-8168

Emergency Child Inpatient Action: These crisis care centers provide short term, inpatient assessment and treatment.

Calm Center 918-394-CALM (2256) ages 10-17

Red Rock 405-425-0333 ages 10-17

Children’s Recovery Center 405-364-9004 ( ages 13-17 )

Last but not least, look into QPR training. I took this class after my husband’s death and it is so important. It teaches you how to prevent suicide and how to talk to someone who is suicidal.

Intimate Partner Violence & Mental Health


Photo credit: Adobe Spark Post

Statistics and some paragraphs including relevant information from the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine

Click here for the most up to date guide about Domestic Violence & Drug Abuse. Click on links below for the most up to date guides on signs of abuse & addiction of drugs & alcohol.


I began searching the topic of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, and was surprised to find very few studies of the effects on a person’s mental health.

I figured this was a no brainer. Of course violence inflicted by a partner is incredibly damaging. Your partner should be your safe zone. Trust and respect should reign over control and abuse. Always.

This subject is close to my heart because I have been abused in the past.

I never thought I would be one of those women. Yet there I was. It’s insane how love and fear can keep a woman holding on.

I read an article in the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine, about a study proclaiming that A total of 28.9% of 6790 women and 22.9% of 7122 men had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime.

The article went on to say that for both men and women, physical IPV victimization was associated with increased risk of current poor health; depressive symptoms; substance use; and developing a chronic disease, chronic mental illness, and injury. In general, abuse of power and control was more strongly associated with these health outcomes than was verbal abuse. When physical and psychological IPV scores were both included in logistic regression models, higher psychological IPV scores were more strongly associated with these health outcomes than were physical IPV scores.

The study concluded that both physical and psychological IPV are associated with significant physical and mental health consequences for both male and female victims.

Luckily there are social service programs that help victims, not only with relocating them to safety, but also with therapy and social groups. Another study I read about in the Journal Of Women’s Health and Gender Based Medicine, addresses the positive effects of social service for abused women.

In Tulsa we have Domestic Violence Intervention Services referred to as DVIS. They provide an amazing service and have an empathetic staff whom many have lived through abuse themselves.

There is help out there if you need it. It’s the hardest part for sure and extremely scary. However, it’s empowering to take control back over your life and make good decisions for yourself. I’m including some links of national resources below. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, pass these links on. Be safe ladies, you deserve happiness.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline Big plus, they have an option that helps you hide that you visited their website in case your web activity is being monitored.

U.S. Department of Human Services: Office On Women’s Health they are an amazing resource for finding assistance in your state.

Family and Youth Services Bureau

Domesticshelters.org this website helps you browse for help safely. The option is at the top of the page.

HUD Exchange

* There is also a higher chance of IPV with substance abuse. This is a great resource of information to educate the public about the facts of alcohol and drug use, abuse, addiction, and the difference between them. Click here for alcohol facts. Here for drug facts.

 

 

 

The ACE’s Quiz


My case manager and I were wrapping up a long session of the dreaded “treatment plan” update, when he exclaimed, “Oh, I almost forgot! There is a new quiz we have to do now!”

He was referring to the ACE’s quiz.

A.C.E is an acronym for “adverse childhood experiences”. The quiz was simple, but the questions were very personal and deep even for us and we are close.

It’s said that the higher your score, the more at risk you are for developing certain adversities later in life.

  • risky health behaviors
  • chronic health conditions
  • low life potential
  • early death

cdc.gov

It’s important to note that the presence of ACEs does not automatically mean you will have any of the aforementioned adversities. It simply means there is a higher risk.

I took the quiz and answered the incredibly personal questions truthfully, ending with a score of 7. I didn’t know what it meant so I looked it up online. A score of 7 is very high. I read with a score higher than 4, things start to get serious.

Click here to read about ACE’s scores and take the quiz.

I began researching deeper into ACEs after a discussion with my mother-in-law over lunch. She informed me she recently began advocating for schools to hire mental health professionals as well as give the ACE quiz to all students. What a fabulous idea. I love it.

My mother-in-law is a force, and I believe she can accomplish this goal. This particular platform means a lot to both of us especially after losing my husband, her son, to suicide. The idea is that the trauma is dealt with instead of sweeping it all under the rug. Not dealing with the issues, is what leads to the problems later.

My husband didn’t have many ACEs at all. In fact, he had a great childhood. He was just sick. With the inclusion of this quiz in schools as well as the presence of mental health professionals, perhaps even the kids who are ” sick” can get help sooner.

The only question I have about the study is why we didn’t have it sooner. I was under the assumption it was common knowledge that abuse and neglect as children affect people later in life. The main point I always heard was that children from abusive homes are more likely to abuse their own kids.

I also thought it was common knowledge children of divorced parents are adversely affected. Bring on the “daddy issues”. If these were statistics widely acknowledged, why in 2019 do we just now have this quiz?

The study actually began in 1995 with the first recorded results becoming available in 1998. I took psychology in college and never had it mentioned. Isn’t that kind of odd?

I am so proud of my mother-in-law for putting herself into this advocacy for our kids. It’s a big deal. She pointed out that since Keith’s death in 2017, me starting my blog about mental health is my way of giving back. I truly hope someone gains insight or simply no longer feels so alone after reading some of my posts. That is my goal.

Do your own research and educate yourselves further regarding this study, as well as take the quiz. I provided a link above.

The world has come a long way in understanding mental health and the effects of trauma. We still have a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere.