Today is…

It’s World Mental Health Day. While I was on Twitter I saw this hashtag, clicked it & began reading the tweets. Some were inspiring, others were personal & touching. Many said familiar things like, “people just call me lazy” or, “people don’t take this seriously” (and they don’t), “maybe someday mental health will be treated as physical health is”.

I do have a mental illness, unfortunately, I have more than 1 diagnosis. It’s almost 4:30am & I’m sleepy but have something to say. Whether or not I share this publicly, I don’t know, that would take a lot of courage as people can be cruel. I don’t take sharing what I’m about to write lightly, I’ve considered it for over a year; today feels right. I realize opening my blog to “everyone” is risky, but if it helps one person, then it’s worth the risk.

On May 15, 2013, I tried to kill myself. I had tried a few times before but they were cries for help, not the BIG one. I researched how many pills it would take to kill myself, I had enough & even more, so I took them all. I also took other pills (a lot of them) to insure I’d die. (I’m not giving specifics cuz I don’t want to assist anyone else that may be suicidal). I should have been dead, very dead. Obviously, I didn’t die, I didn’t even pass out until many hours later. I wrote a letter to my kids & one to Jim, the one to Jim wasn’t nice. I got all my belongings & put them in my cars, at the time I had two. I told my kids certain things I wanted each to have in their letter.

My plan was foiled when I asked a neighbor if I could hide 1 of my cars at his house & said I wanted to put a tarp over it so Jim wouldn’t see it. This was bizarre & so not the norm for me, he called my son. One thing led to another & bottom line is after family got involved, I was taken to the ER & was hospitalized for over 2 weeks. The hospitalization was an absolute nightmare, the details of which I’ve only shared with my therapist & very few others; it’s not something I’ll ever share publicly. All I will say is, if someone tells you an unbelievable horrific story that happened while they were hospitalized, please believe them.

The day I did this I thought it was because I was mad at Jim, it wouldn’t be until a few weeks after I was home that I read my diary & somehow looked at the history on my computer, I saw I had been researching how to kill myself. When I read my diary it scared me so much I tore the pages out & cut them up. I cannot honestly say I was glad I survived because I wasn’t, however I went into an outpatient program for 10 weeks that I can say, without a doubt, has saved my life.

I had been to a few outpatient programs before, but this one was different. The program was the 1st time in my life I ever felt accepted for who I am, not who they want me to be, or think I can be, but who I am right now. I learned coping skills, how to recognize triggers & mindfulness. I learned it was safe to trust with the darkest secrets I had- I got things out I’d held in all my life. The program did not “cure” me, there is no cure, but it’s given me the opportunity to live.

Two months before my suicide attempt, my mom died. My mom was my life. We talked daily & my life revolved around her. She only lived about a mile away at a senior complex & I was the one that mainly helped her out. I took her to appointments, we went out to eat, shopping, or I’d just visit with her. Although she was 84, she was a very young 84. She always dressed up & had a smile on her face. When she got sick the decline was rapid & within 3 weeks, she passed away. My entire world crumbled. When my mom was alive I couldn’t imagine living, breathing in a world without her; sometimes I still wonder how I’m able to.

My life is not perfect, it’s not even what I want it to be. I don’t usually like very many people or this world, if I’m being completely honest and I am. I’m undoubtedly a pessimist and am okay with that. I’m an introvert who has always thought I was an extrovert. I march to the beat of a different drummer… a very different drummer. There are times I kind of like myself and while that may not seem like much, coming from a person who, as a teenager once looked herself in the mirror and said, “I’m going to kill you”, it’s a huge accomplishment.

I still have periods of days, weeks, months, where I am depressed, but suicide is no longer an option. After seeing the pain I caused those I love & working hard to mend those relationships, I don’t want to hurt them again. Someone that is suicidal is not a coward, it takes strength to fight every single day when your brain is telling you otherwise. The fight is exhausting & can seem senseless, at the time, the thought of “giving up” seems like a rational option; it never is.

I am not writing this for sympathy. If I do share this publicly, what I don’t want is for anyone to say, “I’m sorry.” Please, do not be sorry! I’m fortunate to have insurance & able to seek help, millions with mental illnesses are not so fortunate.

I’m writing this in case there is someone who is depressed, or suicidal and feels hopeless. If that’s the case and you’re reading this: You’re not alone. There are people that can and will help you. If I can survive, you can too, please trust me on this. You aren’t the worst and you aren’t so different than anyone else with mental illness; you’d be very surprised at how much we all usually have in common. You, just you alone, are worth living for.

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine for USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Learning from past mistakes

I’ve been known to fly off the handle when someone pisses me off. As a result, I’ve started removing myself from the situation, or in the case with my siblings-not putting myself there in the 1st place.

Nov/Dec are tough months for me – lots of family deaths…it’s kind of the “dying season” in my eyes. Add to that I haven’t been to my therapist in 2 mos. and I know I may take things too personally. So, when that happens, I’ve been taking my computer & kindle & going in my room.

Tonight my son & I had some words…not much really, but I felt he was disrespectful. So I was going in my room & he came & talked to me. He said it depresses him when I do that (I do it about 3 times a week), but I explained for right now, it’s my coping mechanism. Last week when I’d gotten angry he told me I say harmful things & am dangerous when I’m like that- it really hurt me. I’ve never considered myself “dangerous”, but in the context of “words” he was right. I’ve said horribly cruel things to the people I love the most and once they’re out, you can’t take them back. So, I’m learning & doing what I can to avoid future situations like that. I’m sure I’ll blow it a few times, but I have to realize my part in things & if I want loving relationships, I have to help build them.

I think it’s very difficult for someone to feel “safe” confiding or sharing their innermost issues if they think you may use them against them in a fit of rage. Now that, I must say, I haven’t done in years.

But my point is, if we know we have certain issues to find practical ways to diffuse them when you feel the anger, sadness, hurt, etc. building up. I write when I’m mad, so I do “deal” with it & get it out. Then I tear up the paper so nobody ever sees it. That’s a great tool my therapist taught me.

It was nice tonight though, cuz my son & I talked about what transpired & we both listened to each other.

Starting to take off the mask

It’s kind of hard to know exactly how to start writing about having a mental illness. As I said in my previous post, I’m diagnosed with 2 disorders, but in 1998 I was initially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (at that time it wasn’t type I or II-just bipolar). That diagnosis was only because when I was put on anti-depressants (prozac) I became manic (more on that hell another day) which at the time, supposedly meant you were bipolar. Back then, it seemed bipolar was the new & upcoming mental diagnosis – I wonder how many people are still misdiagnosed & being treated for something they don’t have.

Fast fwd to now and I’ve been seeing the same therapist since ’06 or so. I’m no longer on anti-depressants (weaned myself off of them); the only psych. med I’m on is neurontin. When I asked my therapist recently if my diagnosis is still bipolar he said no, it’s Major Depression & Mood Disorders, specifically Borderline Personality Disorder. (If your jaw dropped, pick it up…according to NAMI it’s estimated 4-5% of the population live with it)

I can honestly say I recall living with depression as far back as my memory goes, and the same goes for BPD. I’ve always known I was “different” & never quite fit in with others, I did on a superficial way, but (I’m having a difficult time trying to explain myself here-so I’m gonna quit trying for now)

I’m writing about my mental illness/mood disorder because while I do feel ashamed of it, I shouldn’t. Nobody should. The other day I linked to a blog of a mother who wrote about her son who has a mental illness; I figure if she can write about it, so can I. I know people may look at me differently (and something inside me is screaming “Tell them when you’re depressed you internalize, you don’t hurt other people!” And now that I’ve said that? I’m ashamed, but not so ashamed that I’m deleting it.

I don’t think people with mental illness should be any more embarrassed than someone with diabetes or dyslexia. The problem is, there’s a stigma attached to mental illness, especially with the horrific recent shootings, it seems fingers automatically point at the mentally ill. Perhaps it’s justified but I feel it’s more that people are trying to figure out what kind of person would kill others, especially children.

There are endless possibilities, but so far here are 3 of the “most likely” scenarios I can think of: 1) The person could have a mental illness. 2) It could be a “normal” person that’s had a psychotic break or some sort of mental breakdown. 3) It could be a “normal” person that’s completely evil and hateful.

I think it’s important to try & understand things we don’t, especially if they scare us. Here’s an important article I read & would like to share: Dispelling the Myth of Violence and Mental Illness. My BIGGEST fear is that I’ve overlooked something so obvious to others & I’m coming across as insensitive or a know-it-all; I’ll be the 1st to say: I’m not very educated when it comes to mental illness, however, I’m always trying to learn more.

I can only write about my own experience and hopefully, the person you’ve known me to be is the same person you’ll see me as after I share more about my life; if not, I think I can live with that. I don’t want anybody’s pity, sympathy or anything like that. It may be pretentious of me to assume others would even give a damn about my opinion or life experiences. Regardless, here it is, on the internet, therefore forever “out there.”

A deep dark hole

I’ve got to preface this by telling anyone that reads it: I’m writing this to try & help myself, to release any toxins I may be holding in, or whatever…just to get that shit “out there.” That said, I really don’t want advise; I know people mean well when they give it, but that’s the 1 thing (aside from embarrassment) that stops me from writing blogs of this nature – advice.

I’m very depressed; not suicidal, just depressed. No, I don’t like being on this planet at the moment, but I wouldn’t hurt my kids or mom in that sense, now or ever. I have no energy to do anything, dread getting out of bed ~ especially on weekends. (Even Twitter isn’t keeping my interests…now you know that’s bad!) It’s not that Dick says or does anything wrong to me, its what isn’t there. Affection. I’m talking about a mere hug or cuddling; nothing replaces human touch. Nothing. The loneliness is so painful it’s with me every breathing second of every single day. And this isn’t anything new, I’ve lived with it for at least 7 years, probably closer to 9, maybe 10. I know I should be used to it, numb to the pain.

Maybe it’s more painful now because I’m experiencing it “clean.” Or maybe it’s the time of year. I’ve long referred to Nov/Dec as “the dying season” cuz that’s when family seems to die. Last year at this time both of his parents & my mom were in the hospital. It’s like I start holding my breath when Nov. gets here until Dec. ends. I don’t look forward to the holidays, especially when you see couples holding hands, or hugging – it’s like a knife is piercing my heart. I cry. I cry a lot, every single day. In my room, outside when I’m smoking, in the living room (sometimes when he’s next to me playing his video game with his headphones on). It’s not like I’m holding in the tears, but they just keep coming, more & more of them.

I brought it up to him yesterday & his reply was, “It’s not my fault.” End of discussion. So he goes back to his every morning kiss on the check as I sleep, yet says nothing about it all day, and he won’t. I realize at this point it’s my choice ~ whether or not to keep living like this. And for now, I’ll keep living here. I still love him and I know, in a way, he loves me, I’m just afraid it’s more like a sister than a girlfriend or a lover.

I’ve probably brought this up at least 20 times to him & I’ve been very specific-nothing changes. I’ve even suggested just being roommates (we have our own room due to his snoring…at least thats what it started as…but the problem preceded that) & live single lives, he laughed his nervous laugh and said “That’s not how it works.” I don’t see what’s wrong with that, he could meet someone, maybe I could, or maybe we’d both see the wrong in our ways. Who knows? I just know this isn’t how I want to spend the rest of my life.

To know you aren’t wanted is an awful feeling. When I was a single mom, I never thought married people, or people that lived together, could possibly feel lonely. Yet, I find myself feeling like the loneliest person on the planet. We’ve touched a bit on this in therapy, but not much. It seems something bigger is always at hand: my kids, our parents, my health, etc.

I’m not on anti-depressants and won’t be (I am taking vitamin D) and I refuse to go into another hospital for this type of thing. The level of care in them has declined so much it’s awful, the last one I was in felt more like a prison than a place where you’re supposed to receive help. Plus, those places are loaded with psychiatrists whose only goal is to give you medications, preferably the ones they’ll win a cruise for doling out a certain amount.

Do I feel hopeless? Yes. Do I see the answer yet? No. Fortunately, my son is living with us temporarily & it’s just he & I in the daytime which is usually nice. Of course, Trixi, my pig, is still alive (thankfully) so I have to get up for her. I dread days when I have to take my mom somewhere & at the same time, I feel guilty for not spending more time with her. I’m just a mess. I talk with my N.A. sponsor almost daily, but nothing is helping.

I was hoping I’d feel better after writing this, but I don’t. I’m going to read til I fall asleep. Nite.

Shitfuck

Nice title, eh? Back in ’07 when I was on Topamax for depression (and it was supposed to help my migraines) I gradually started noticing my vocabulary was diminishing. It got to the point where I couldn’t even remember the names for basic things like appliances, names, and even cuss words – so my “go to” cuss word, the only one I could say, was Shitfuck. I started researching the side effects of all the new meds I was on & lo & behold the problem was Topamax aka “the california drug”, “the stupid drug” “the blonde drug”…all because it has the potential to make you stupid and it was. I’d been on it for 6 mos., even my fellow bloggers noticed the change it me, it was that obvious. I immediately got off of it & gradually got my memory & vocabulary back. Now, it’s kind of a joke between Dick & I when I say that, but back then, it was no joke.

Today, shitfuck is the word that best describes my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot to be grateful for: on July 5th, I got my 60 chip from N.A., my son has a new job, everyone in my family is in good health – my mom is even going for walks!

But me? Inside? It’s a shitfuck. I know depression when it starts rearing its head & thats a red-flag for me because what follows is detrimental to my life. Sometimes depression is situational- which is easier to deal with. Sometimes it’s generalized- which is what this is. I can’t talk to my family about it cuz they’d flood me with advice & suggestions. I haven’t seen my therapist in 4-5 weeks which is a long time, 1 appt. was cancelled by us, 1 by my therapist, fortunately, I see him tomorrow. For today, I wish I could just sleep & hopefully I will later.

It’s hard to put into words so that people that don’t understand it, or don’t have Borderline Personality Disorder, can relate. As with depression, I can recognize the signs of BPD rising up in my life-mostly in my emotions & brain…my thinking becomes skewed. I get paranoid and other weird shit that I’m not gonna go into.

The main things though are that I don’t feel “connected” with anyone…not 1 person. I don’t think I even feel grounded with myself & the best way to describe that is a balloon with a string attached flying away-it’s not grounded…but that’s me. I’m overwhelmed with worry about things that I have absolutely no control over. “God help me accept the things I cannot change.” That is…whoever/whatever/wherever you are, God.  I don’t feel hopeless, I just wish that for today, I didn’t feel. Period. And I selfishly say that knowing someone I care about is in her last days – but still, I’m being honest & that’s how I feel.

My daughter & I have always been close & while we talk, it’s not the same. She talks about superficial things & acts like everything is fine. She’s living with her boyfriend now & he’s a really good guy, but I want my relationship with her back. Our calls are short, her visits are short, my mom hasn’t talked to her in 2 weeks (Jill normally calls my mom at least once if not twice a week) I know it’s normal for us not to talk so often, but it’s the quality of our talks, not the quantity. Aaaand another family issue with my brother that I won’t go into- its just really fucked up.

And then there’s the shit going on with social media sites… it seems more often than not, when you think you know somebody & have made a friend (especially over months) & they turn out to be so opposite of the person you thought you knew- losing that friend hurts. It doesn’t matter “who” they really are, its like mourning the loss of someone & is still painful. In this case, there’s no going back, but there is a certain empty spot of fun & laughter I shared with that person. This isn’t the 1st time it’s happened & I’m sure it won’t be the last – que sera, sera! (I’m not mentioning this for this topic to be discussed in detail, so if anybody comments, please remember this is just me dumping this stuff to get it out of me)

I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to: helping others, reading N.A. material & keeping in touch with friends there, attending meetings, praying/meditating, staying CLEAN, even exercising (but havent this week). So, what gives? Life. I read somewhere this week that we shouldn’t see obstacles as negative, but those are actually our learning opportunities to grow. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Doesn’t feel so good…it feels like shitfuck.