So… I haven’t blogged in almost a month. A couple weeks ago David and I got into an argument about whose responsibility it was for different household chores and lawn work. The house was a mess and he was playing on the computer and had said he was going to mow the lawn (only he didn’t because the tire on the lawn mower was flat) So, I asked him to help me clean up the house. We kind of got into it because his response was basically that I am home all day every day and he goes to work every day during the week and basically that housework shouldn’t be his responsibility. So, we went into our bedroom to talk. I could see where he was coming from, it does seem unfair to him, I know that… but I am not doing this on purpose. I don’t want to be mentally ill, and I don’t want to be tired all the time from the medicines I take to make me “less” ill. Well… during our argument and me trying to make him understand that I am not choosing to put everything onto him, I just CAN’T do it. Some days I can, other days I cannot. His reaction was basically that he didn’t believe that I couldn’t just that I wouldn’t because I didn’t “feel like it” and that I just didn’t WANT to do it, or that I won’t do it. So this turned into more of an argument. I started staring at the wall and semi-tuning him out because I didn’t want to hear what he was saying…I already knew what he was saying, and I knew that it was his perception of what was going on. It was one of those times when the understanding wasn’t there, and the trying to understand, or the acceptance that he didn’t understand wasn’t enough.
How do you explain a feeling to someone when even you can’t quite pinpoint what you are feeling, and all your thoughts are jumbled up so badly that you struggle to make sense of any of it. And it’s YOUR thoughts. YOUR feelings. YOUR inadequacies.
So I was staring at the wall. The next thing I remember is being flat on my back with David and Angelina hovering over me. David was pissed off at me, and I wasn’t sure why. I had no idea what had happened. So I asked Angelina because David wasn’t speaking to me. Angelina told me that I wouldn’t wake up and she thought I was dead.
David comes in and says that we need to get dressed and we’re going to his parent’s house to borrow the air compressor for the lawn mower tire. So we get in the car, I am still pretty clueless as to what had happened or how long I was apparently non-responsive. David was barely speaking to me. So we go get the compressor, head back towards home, but instead of turning to go home, we go straight. I ask him where we are going and he says “I think you know where we are going.” By that, he meant the hospital. He said he didn’t know what else to do. He says “I don’t know if this was real or if you were faking. If you were faking then you need to tell me. Even if you were faking I think that you should go [to the hospital] because that’s pretty sick. I was ready to call the ambulance, you were basically comatose.” So… I asked him.. how long was I out? Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes that I remember absolutely none of. He said that when it started he thought I was faking and shutting him out and he got mad and went outside to fiddle with the lawn mower. It was only when he came back inside and I still wasn’t moving that he got concerned and tried to wake me up.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was a stress reaction. I don’t ever remember really blacking out like that. I remember once when I was 16 or 17 that I was lying on my bed and couldn’t move and barely speak. I was completely paralyzed. I don’t remember what had happened that brought it on, but I remember being very scared. I finally was able to speak to get my mom to come and move me. Once she moved me I was ok, but for those few minutes my brain failed to connect to my body.
I have had several de-personalization episodes, most of them were at work when I had added stress at work on top of things that were going on at home. Times when my mental self seemed to separate from my physical self. Times when my body felt as if it were opposite of what it really was. Like the right side of my body was where my left side should be, and vice versa. Those happened several times when I was working, and a few times since I have been not working…again when I was stressed out or something bad happened. When I got the first denial for disability I had a manic episode, and then completely crashed. Lucky for me (I guess) that my physical stamina can’t keep up with my mania and constant need to move. I crash hard. I slept for most of a 24 hour period. After I came out of the crash I had a couple episodes of reverse body parts. I was doing drone work on the computer looking up lawyers and things for my appeal. I told David I was having an episode and I just needed him to hold me and squeeze me very tightly. He acted as my physical anchor. After a few minutes I was ok again.
It’s sad to me, because anyone who has ever experienced anything remotely similar has probably thought “What is wrong with me? I must be going crazy.” And then most “normal” people go on to live mentally uneventful lives. So why does my brain keep misfiring? Even with medicine my brain is still misfiring. I don’t know if it’s the wrong medicine. I am maxed out on 2 of the 3 mood meds that I take. And the third one is the one that makes me constantly sleepy, even during the day, but I can’t sleep at night without it. My pdoc tried changing it to the extended release variety. That was a nightmare. Absolute nightmare.
It’s really hard for me because my medical doctor called me in to the office last week to do disability paperwork. I was having a good day. I was awake all day, I was alert, I was ME. It was on this day and this frame of mind that he did a memory questionnaire. On this day that he checked pretty much down the paper that I had no impairment for the things that it asked. One thing was a “moderate” impairment and I can’t even recall what that was. And then there were several questions about work. Half the questions were about things that he couldn’t answer. Whether or not I arrived to work on time, whether I did my job, got along with my co-workers, distracted others or was easily distracted by what was going on around me. Things that are in my employee file at my old job. All of it. My performance reviews, my disciplinary forms for excessive absenteeism, tardiness, talking to my neighbors, not meeting production standards, not being a role model to my coworkers. I get along with people. For the most part.
I don’t know if I can have those records. I don’t know if I have the courage to request them. I never answered the phone or returned any phone calls the whole time I was out until I got the notice that I was voluntarily resigning by not showing up or contacting them and informing them why I wasn’t there.
It’s not in my medical file. None of it. Dr. S knows nothing of my interpersonal relationships, of my job performance or emotional well being. He is an internist. He treats my body. My physical being. And Dr. C… well… she prescribes my medicine. She saw me in the hospital at one of my lowest points. But she has never seen me when I was employed. When I was working. Nor has she ever been to work with me or spoken to my supervisor regarding my behaviors at work. So how are either of my doctors supposed to answer these questions that Social Security is asking? Even seeing a therapist at this time wouldn’t really give a whole picture because I’m not working. And SS only wants info since February since I quit working. How can any of that judge my mental ability to have gainful employment? It’s not like…”Hey, in February both my hands got cut off and now I can’t do anything.” Obviously, February is when it went down. My mental health (or lack thereof) didn’t just happen overnight. I didn’t go from being this happy-go-lucky person and just wake up one morning and said “Today I want to kill myself.” It was everything.
It was everything leading up to that point. The depression that I have suffered from as long as I can remember. The screwed up-ness of my entire life. Genetics. It all adds up. It’s not just one activating event. In my case, it was all of these THINGS. My mom moving away when I was 6. My dad marrying a drunk, with juvenile delinquents as children, when I was 8. My mom flitting from one relationship to another, one marriage to another. My dad refusing to see that me withdrawing was about something more than just rebellion. It was survival. Separating from all of it. Maybe that’s when this all started. And then of course the anti-climax of my life up to the age of 16. Being fucked by my step-brother on a sem-regular basis for a year. Without my consent. And what then. I learned to go somewhere else inside my head. But when it comes to telling someone what was happening, the police don’t see passive resistance as non-consent. I was terrified of what would happen if my dad found out. How sick is that?
How sick is it of me to choose to continue being sexually abused over possibly screwing up my already extremely screwed up “family”. Honestly, I call that the anti-climax because of all the screwed up events of my life that have made me as screwed up as I am… that was honestly one of the least traumatic. Of course, it caused me to regard sex as unimportant, but something to use to manipulate the opposite sex, or to allow myself to be manipulated by them. To gauge my worth by what kind of attention I got. In the end, that was my freedom. It freed me of a dead end life in a tiny little farm town in the middle of Kansas. After it all came out I was more angry at my dad for not believing me and thinking that my mom and I made it up as a way for her to get custody of me. I quit being angry at my step-brother long before I quit being angry at my dad. I think there’s a part of me that’s still angry with him. But not for that. For failing to understand me. For choosing to blame me for the parts of me that I couldn’t fix on my own. That I still haven’t been able to fix. The parts of me that I don’t know will ever be fixed, and instead of figuratively being beaten out of me by his guilt trips and threats, have become so deeply ingrained that the little books with the numbers and descriptions of what is wrong with me say will never be healed. Will always be a part of me, and all that I can hope for is vacations from the madness, vacations that are provided by medications that will never rid me of my demons. That will never make me function like other people. I don’t know how to be normal. This fucked-up-ness that is me IS ME. I am not my illness. But I am owned by it. Most days I am controlled by it without even being conscious of it. It is on the days that I am well that I realize how unwell I am. I feel guilty for not feeling more normal more often. I’m not sad all the time, I’m not overly happy and “up” all the time. But I’m not stable, I’m not steady.
I’ve been in counseling off and on through the past couple of years. The first therapist I chose was a man. My insurance covered 6 sessions before they required supporting evidence of continued sessions. So the first session was mostly paperwork, basic stuff for a first visit. And then the question “what is your goal for our sessions?” Goal? I’m supposed to have a goal? So I said “I want to be HAPPY.” Isn’t that what every person wants?
So, our next session he had a student in with us. I was fine with that..whatever… I am a matter-of-fact kind of person when it comes to my history, to my mental flaws, history, etc. So, I ticked off the list: Parent’s divorced, mom moved away, they both got remarried; my dad to a drunk, my mom to a guy who beat her. I hated my step brothers, they destroyed my stuff, acted in such a way that I was denied a lot of things because they couldn’t handle it and it wasn’t fair if I got to do something/have something that they couldn’t have. But apparently it was fair for me to NOT have it because they were the way they were. My mom got divorced, remarried, nice guy, nice family. Helps my mom try to get custody of me when I’m 11, but Dad wins because we’re the perfect little family because the house is clean and dear old dad and drunkard “appear” to be good parents, etc, etc, etc.
Nine months later, mom finds out nice ol’ hubby is having an affair. We’ll say she doesn’t handle it well, feels suicidal, ends up with the cops at their house and mom ends up in jail for a month when I’m 12. Dad says “Your mom’s unstable, she’s not a good example, you don’t want to end up like her do you?”
So… mom’s life goes on, six months later she meets a guy, starts dating him. I fall totally in L.O.V.E. with him (as much as a 12-year-old can) we hit it off extremely well, are like two peas in a pod, the family joke is mom should have saved him for me. I mean, he’s only 14 years older than me, right? He’s a therapist, or is working on being one, clinicals or internship or whatever after graduating college. It’s funny now to think about it because he was the same age then that I am now. So, he and mom are together not quite a year I guess, but he and I keep in touch for a while. He and mom parted friends (I think?)
There is a lot more to this story after this point… but I’d rather not share it with everyone. I’ll just say that things get really messed up after this point in my life.