I figured I'd call this series "Life As a Head Case," not so much to say I am a wackjob (although, technically, I guess I am) but more or less to push past that and to acknowledge that I do have mental health issues, accept them and don't let it define me...even though it appears to.
Reverse psychology maybe?
Whatever. It works for me.
Since my diagnosis with Emotional Intensity Disorder (or more psychiatrically correct - borderline personality disorder), I have had time to sit and think about my behavior and how that relates to my personality issues. And I can clearly see how they align.
Not that I have any control over it because frankly, I don't. But I can see it getting ready to blow.
The thing I need to master is getting to a safe place and communicating with my loved ones when I feel the dark sinking in. The high happy is great. I feel energetic and like I could climb Everest in one try. But the darks are equally as low. And while this sounds bi-polar as hell, believe me it's not quite that simple. At least with bi-polar you can use medication to even out the moods. With borderline, it doesn't work as well.
Sadly, the darks bring with them thoughts of suicide and deep depression. I don't know how it's triggered. Sometimes it isn't but then sometimes it is and the speed with which it envelopes me is scary. There's no ladder to climb out but looking back, I can see that the darks do give way to lights...it just takes time and the time it takes depends on where I am at emotionally, hormonally and what is happening in my life.
If I am stressed out, have too much on my plate, have more anxiety and panic than usual for whatever reason...the darks lurk around the corner and pounce before I see it coming.
Truth is, I never see it coming.
It's hard for my loved ones to deal with because there isn't much they can do. Telling me to cheer up pisses me off because it isn't that simple. Telling me to buck up and be happy doesn't quite make things better either.
At this point in my therapy it's just easier to know it happens, know I can tell them when it's happening and just ride the storm out and not take anything personally. Fortunately, I only try to hurt myself - either physically or self destructively. And by hurting I mean small things like picking my fingers until they bleed or picking my scalp raw. Fortunately I don't do anything worse.
I am sure my medication is helping to a HUGE extent. I accidentally stopped my medication a few weeks ago for a week and quickly slipped into a major depression. I felt like I was having seizures inside my head and hearing buzzing noises every time I'd seize. I was unhappy to the nth degree and it had nothing to do with anyone or anything. Nothing had changed except I had run out of medication and didn't realize it until I'd been off for three days. Once I realized it and took an emergency dose that I keep on hand, believe it or
not, I quickly rebounded and the lights came back on.
I realized then how often we tell people with mental illness that even when they feel good, they still have to take their meds. Even though I didn't stop on purpose because I felt good...I understand now why someone would think they could stop and still feel good.
Yesterday I actually thought maybe I could get a part time job. Of course, not driving because of the seizures kind of precludes that but that wasn't something I was thinking of. As I looked through the ads I saw words like "fast paced", "extremely organized", "detail oriented." I realized that I couldn't deal with that yet.
I slowly plod along. I crumble in the face of criticism and cringe to even think of interacting with other people for even an hour a day in a work environment. I know I'd shut down, the darks would come and stay, and I'd damage myself much more emotionally than even being fired would.
It was a stark realization of where I am.
I've come a long way to understanding and accepting who I am and why I do what I do. I understand it comes from a childhood filled with terror, trauma and severe abuse and neglect. My attempts to not let anyone ever know that it happened made it that much worse. I am not even sure if I have multiple personality disorder or not but the signs are there. And...I get very angry about this and about my little sister also being institutionalized for the same thing although she has a much more dire diagnosis and prognosis.
It still makes me so angry to see two lives so impacted by senseless and selfish behavior of two adults whose job was to keep them safe and raise two productive and adjusted adults.
So...where does that leave me. Angry, yes, but there's nothing to do about that.
My goal now is to continue therapy to learn how to take the edge off the highs and especially the lows. How to be in a relationship with other people without having the crazies come out to play. And especially how to understand happiness even when the darks come...knowing I am loved and supported no matter what, my emotional behavior is accepted as something most of the time I have little control over, and I am encouraged to continue medical and psychiatric therapy to make my life the best possible it can be.
And most important of all, to maybe come close to loving and accepting myself.
More from health