Diagnosis : Disaster 

For the past almost year I have avoided my psychiatrist. In the months after my wedding I spiraled out of control, hurting everyone I could purposely or unintentionally. I left miles of burnt bridges in my wake, knowing all the while in the back of my mind that being alone would make my final task easier. I was going to die. 

I finished the summer barely holding on to the tiny bit of sanity I had left, leaving a long trail of destruction behind me. Moments of clarity lead to intense self-loathing, and I dreaded the silence I normally craved. I punished myself for my shortcomings by destroying the relationships that mattered most to me, and in a final act of inner hatred, I consumed ten days worth of medication. 

Spoiler alert: I survived. 

Unfortunately, the attempt on my life did not provoke me to seek professional help. I went to my local walk-in, told the doctor that I lost my meds while on holiday, and carried on hating myself. I pressed on, facing each day with a heavy heart and a crazy brain. If I’m not supposed to die, what am I supposed to do? I’ve lost almost everything I had. My kids and my husband deserve better. Could I run? Leave them to give them a fresh start, and throw myself off of something that I surely could not survive? 

After thoroughly researching and considering my options, I got a message from my nephew. He told me about his girlfriend, and about university, and in they conversation he sent a message that changed my entire outlook on my life. 


This message. This one message had a profound affect on me, and is responsible for saving my life. 

I contacted USTAT and told the receptionist that I required immediate attention, and she got me in to see my doctor in the same week. What I learned at that appointment, I really wasn’t expecting. During the course of our conversation I learned that almost a year ago, he determined that my diagnosis was wrong, and that my treatment needed to be  changed. After dozens of attempts to reach me, he was forced to set my file on the back burner, and hope that I would either come back or had sought treatment somewhere else. 

I was misdiagnosed, and treated for, bipolar disorder. I  know now that this was incorrect. (I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is correct). I have now been rediagnosed with Disassociative Disorder, along with BPD and major depressive disorder. What this means, is that for more than a year, I was essentially treating myself for a disease I do not have, taking medication that was not correct, to the point that it was harming me mentally, which inevitably lead to harming myself physically. 

So what is Disassociative Disorder?

“Dissociative disorders (DD) are conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity, or perception. People with dissociative disorders use dissociation, a defense mechanism, pathologically and involuntarily. Dissociative disorders are thought to primarily be caused by psychological trauma.”

I fall into the Depersonalization Disorder camp, and I have to say, as messed up as it sounds, I fit the bill perfectly. I’m not treatment résistent bipolar, I have DD; and after learning that, so much of my life makes sense. I cannot excuse my actions or behaviours, but I can finally start learning why I do the things I do, and more importantly, how to prevent these behaviours from occurring in the future. My medication regiment has been altered to fit this new diagnosis, and I am enrolled in Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT). Three counselling sessions a week (until my program starts), journalling, and positive daily affirmations are helping me on the path to recovery. 

Not seeing my doctor was an intrepidly ignorant and dangerous choice that I made for far too long. I cannot treat myself, and I was naive to think that self care was as easy as having a prescription filled every two weeks.

The people whom I have hurt may not choose to forgive me, and that is something that I will have to learn to accept. I cannot change the minds of others, but I hope that, regardless of if they choose to stay with me or not, that they will see that I am once again putting in the effort to help myself, so that I may be better for my family. I already am feeling the effects of my new medication, and for the first time potentially ever, I recognise the wrongs I have committed, and feel immense guilt. It’s not a feeling I’m used to, but it’s part of my recovery, and I accept it.

I am not better. Far from it. But I will get there this time, because I truly want to. I want to be the woman my sweet nephew thinks I am, and I think I can be. No more self treating, no more ignorance, no more blame, no more hate.

To my nephew : I owe you my life, and I love you more than anything. We will succeed together.

To my sister : Out of everyone I’ve mistreated, I’ve treated you the worst. I don’t know how to properly apologise, because you deserve more than just words. I hope that my behaviour from now on helps to heal the gash I cut between us. I love you. That is my  constant. That has never, and will never change.

To my husband : Thank you for not packing up and leaving after you saw the pills I took. Thank you for standing unwavering in my corner. Thank you for loving me through all of the days that I can’t love myself. I life you.

Advertisements

Delerium

Intake 
Awaking to a swollen head, a puffed out chest, basking in the clarity that I have mentally ascended to. The universe is mine, and I’m ready for it. 
Like a mechanized cephalopod, limitless limbs extending in all directions, ready and willing to aid everyone anywhere, each limb acting independently of the body, but the body and mind are omnipresent; and approve the limbs whims. 

The world’s problems seem minuscule, and I am the answer. 

Calculating, insightful, linear, purposeful, energetic, like a bioluminescent light show, drawing everyone in, offering comfort, wisdom. 

The omnipresent body is full of hope, not just for itself; for everyone. Every being is a pearl; beautiful and fragile, and in need of constant protection. 

Tentacles outstretched, the mind clouded by the pounding of the heart; the omnipresent body loses sight of what each limb is doing, and against what it believes of itself – doesn’t know what the limbs are capable of when left to their own devices. 
Compression 
Awake in a shallow pool, gasping for breath, unable to see through clouded vision. The weight of the ocean bearing down on the omnipresent body, it falls in and out of consciousness. Ink stained dreams – memories – obligations that cannot be fulfilled by the weighted down limbs. 

The lights no longer flashing, the limbs fall away from the body – no longer omni anything – the body wheezes as the limbs splash violently, failing to grasp at anything, until they fall lifeless into the puddle, surrounding the body like a grotesque disconnected sun. 

Water finds its way into the lungs, but not ever enough to end the life of the body, but enough to inflict excruciating pain. A hurried prayer for an end that will not come, repeated until the words lose meaning. 

Metallic coughs sputter as the body tries to make sense of itself – of the limbs; brief moments of harsh clarity show promises broken, pain inflicted, knives through the hearts of trustees who trust no longer. 
Power
The second wind, the nail that seals the coffin. Muddied and bloodied the body crawls away from the decay of the limbs, determined to make right of the wrongs committed. A delusional sense of hope, a new kind of clarity. Answers to the problems that sparkle like diamonds. Plucking these hope diamonds out of the carnage, they quickly turn to coal. Extreme measures must be taken to prevent the coal from blackening the delicate pearls. 

Clawing through inky darkness, clinging to anything that remotely resembles a solution. Cramming pièces of different puzzles together and convincing itself they fit. Panic, chaos, and the passage of time force the decayed limbs into réanimation, recklessly attempting to do the bidding of the body, who is trying desperately to gain traction in the shallow pool in which it fell apart. 

Completion is completion, regardless of the eventual outcome. The ends justify the means, a deluded and tired body is convinced of that. 
Exhaust 
The calm before the final storm. 

A sense of relief washes over the body, its intense desire to succeed in the eyes of others temporarily sated. The mind and body blinded by the pounding of the heart, watery eyes that stare blankly, hiding behind them a prayer of desperate hope. A hope that things will work out the way they were intended. 

Watching the good intentions go up in flames, but standing steadfastly by the choices made by not only the body, but the limbs as well. Flames licking at the body, it crackles and bubbles until it pops. Delusions of happiness are gone, an inky hole of unfathomable depths remains. 

Acceptance washes over and the breast swells with understanding. A limp handshake with the devil, the pills are lined up and swallowed without hesitation. 
Awake with swollen eyes and clammy skin. Disappointment that it’s not over, and terror in knowing that the cycle will repeat, but you can’t know when. 
The strand of pearls dirtied and broken, the body bruised, the heart broken. Waiting….for the next manic upswing. 

Graceless 

I have been in a bit of a slump lately. 

 I am cranky. I am pessimistic. I am quick to anger. I need to make a change before my guilt and anger get the better of me and my depression swallows me whole. 

Whenever my anxiety is high, my sister asks me to make lists of my favorite things to help me focus and ultimately calm down. 5 favourite songs, books, movies, places, etc. Today, in an attempt to let go of some anger and to remind myself why I am worthy of being here, I would like to make a list of things that I’m grateful for – in no particular order. 

  • I am grateful for my three incredible daughters. Their individual personalities are amazing, and even though some days it seems like I’m failing, at the end of the day, they always love me. I am so lucky that I get to spend the rest of my life with these amazing human beings. 
  • I am grateful for my sister, who will at a moment’s notice, drop what she’s doing to talk to me. She gives the best advice, never sugar-coats anything, and always tells me what I need to hear. She has also given me a beautiful niece who has taught me that I am capable of loving a child that isn’t my own unconditionally. 
  • I am grateful for my little circle of friends. They put up with my sudden absences, lack of communication, bad moods, good moods, all of it. I have few people whom I feel are true friends, and I am grateful for every one of them. (For the sake of privacy I won’t mention their names, with the exception of Dyane, who’s blog everyone needs to read!)
  • I am grateful for my husband, who has been a season ticket holder on my emotional roller coaster for ten years. His dedication to our family is inspiring, and I would not be who I am or where I am without him. 
  • I am grateful for my location. At any given moment I can look out my window and see the Olympic mountain range, the ocean, and a small forest full of beautiful flora, animals, and waterfalls. I can step out onto my porch and smell the ocean infused air. A five minute walk puts the sand between my toes, or takes me on an adventure through the trees where I can hear peacocks and owls. I will never tire of watching the sun fall behind the mountains. I am indebted to the earth for allowing me to take this beautiful place in, every single day. 
  • I am grateful for my life. Every breath that I take, every beat of my heart. All of my accomplishments, all of my flaws. It’s easy to forget that I have a purpose. It’s easy to beat myself up. It’s easy to fall victim to negative thoughts. Happiness is a fight, but It’s always worth fighting. Every day that I wake up is a victory, regardless of if I feel successful that day. I am worthy of this life, and I won’t quit just because some days or weeks or months are harder than others. 

A life with bipolar is an uphill hike through a hurricane, but I am working on remembering that everyone has their own battle, and most importantly that comparison is the thief of joy. The less I focus on how it seems everyone else is doing, I need to focus on how I’m doing. 

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Remind yourself of what you’re grateful for. Hug your children, give your dog a treat, and forgive yourself. That’s the best anyone can do. Today it is all I can do. 

The Codependency Conundrum: Part Two 

I would first like to make an amendment to my previous post about home: home is not a house or a city, home is who you leave your heart with. 

The more people you truly love, the more pieces of your heart find homes in the pockets of those people. The more people you truly love, the more fragmented you become. When you can no longer spare a single sliver of your heart, you start to feel homesick for all of the people who complete you. 

My own heart is split a few different ways, with special places for my children, my husband, my brothers (T and A), and my sister. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t love other people, these are just examples of the biggest pieces of me that I have unconditionally given away. I have realised recently that I have become so fragmented that I am homesick. All of the different pieces of my heart are pulling me towards them, but I am not able to be with all of them at the same time. The puzzle that is my love for these people can never be put together and completed thanks to circumstance and geography. How can I continue to survive when I am not my whole self? Perpetually distracted by all of the places I’m not, bogged down with the knowledge that I can’t be of any help to anyone that doesn’t live in my house, I am feeling exhausted. I have no energy to be friendly and communicative with people whom I am only acquainted with; offering friendship feels like a betrayal to the ones I can’t be physically present with. 

It has sunk in that I will never have the completeness that I need. My ideal of having everyone at arms distance is not ever going to happen. We all have roots planted, and to uproot the gardens of others to be happy in my own is something that I can’t do. Experiencing brief glimpses of complete happiness is my only option, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not dealing with it well. Some of the people who I hold most dear are struggling as we speak, and I am powerless to help them. We can talk and text and Skype until our collective thumbs fall off, but nothing can replace the feeling of just being with someone when you need to be. Sitting in silence together, hugging, playing a game, pretending everything is fine…all things that cannot be experienced electronically. Turning inward is the only thing that consoles me when I feel helpless. Snuggling my girls obviously fills my heart in a way that nothing else can, but they are all getting tired of being smothered by me. I am thoroughly acquainted with my rock as well as my hard place, and neither of them are interested in losing me to a solution that I haven’t found yet. 

So here I am. 

Siphoning happiness from where I can, constantly running on fumes. Doomed to eat my emotional soup for the foreseeable future.  It goes down bitter. 

The moral of this story is, I’m a whiner who is tired of not getting everything that she wants. I delude myself into thinking that I am more important to others than I really am in an attempt to justify my self-inflicted loneliness and wanderlust. Sad with what I have. I don’t know how to change this part of me, but perhaps I am beyond repair.