It’s kind of hard to talk about this but on some level I feel I should. What I am about to tell you may change the way you think about me, but I hope it doesn’t. I hope that it changes the way that you think about mental illness. Many of you know I have had health problems for the past two and a half years. I had a gastric bypass which was extremely successful and I thought I was on the road to excellent health and being able to live a life I remembered from my teen years. Unfortunately, I started having grand mal seizures and smaller simple partial seizures. I had severe hypoglycemia which was uncontrolled and would trigger seizures.
I developed chronic depression, deep anxiety and severe panic attacks. I started not being able to sleep.
At first I thought a single diagnosis would solve all my problems. Was it epilepsy? Couldn’t I just take an anti-seizure medication and have it go away?
It wasn’t that simple.
As testing went on for nearly a year, I found out that controlling my hypoglycemia with a ketogenic diet relieved most of the issues I had with hypoglycemic related seizures. I started taking an anti-seizure medication and that is starting to at least partially control the seizures that weren’t related to the hypoglycemia. I don’t get as many as I used to so that’s a very positive thing. I started seeing a psychiatrist and went on various medications, which we are still working on, to battle the depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It’s helping but I am still severely agoraphobic and can’t go places alone. I can’t drive because of the seizures so I am completely dependant on my boyfriend, Scott, to take me to my various appointments. I still have sleeping problems – my new issue is a relationship with 6AM I can’t shake.
I see a psychologist, Shrinkette, every week and last week at the end of our session, which probably wasn’t the best time but it was as good a time as any, she took out a book and started asking me a series of questions. She told me to be honest about answering and surprisingly despite my embarrassment, I am completely honest with her about everything.
So I was honest with her and myself. I kept thinking, as she read the questions and I answered, “please don’t let this be about bi-polar!”
That’s a hard subject for me since my younger sister is hospitalised almost all the time and is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia andbi-polar disorder. I understand the stigma of mental illness and how that can make it even worse than it is. But when Shrinkette was done asking me the questions, she said she THOUGHT she was right (as an aside, she always is right!) and that she thought I hadBorderline Personality Disorder.
I had read about that years ago but was able to rationalise and convince myself that that wasn’t me. And even though I have basically been in therapy since I was 20 years old, no one else ever picked up on it either. But then…I never let the mask down and I never let them think badly of me. That would have been too hard. But with Shrinkette, I decided early on that no matter how embarrassing, how humiliating…I would be brutally honest with her and myself. I had hit rock bottom. I was having suicidal ideations, I had a check out plan, I felt like I was dead inside and just waiting for death to claim my outside. If I didn’t reveal my inner most demons, I knew I’d never stop feeling like this and intellectually I knew I had the obligation to my son to get better if I could.
The name Borderline Personality Disorder sounds awful as I’ve said before. I have read that it’s called this because it skirts the borders of other types of personality disorders. It is a severe mental illness that can be well controlled with certain types of therapy as well as drug therapy to control the associated issues like depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
I am actually optimistic in many ways that finally knowing what motivates a lot of my behavior and learning ways to handle those things will make my life so much better…and the lives of those who have to live with me I asked Shrinkette what she would call it if she could rename it and she thought a few minutes and said “Emotional Intensity Disorder.” She explained that basically I have supersonic emotions…I am blessed to feel things so much more than other people do. Things like joy, love, happiness. Unfortunately though, it’s also a curse because I feel things like sadness, self hate, and anger just as intensely.
I am angry too because I know how I got this way and I know that my sister’s issues and my own are closely intertwined so I am angry for what happened to her too. I’m sure I’ll discuss this more as we go along. The anger is intense because I am having to really confront what happened to me as a child and what the ramifications are.
I hope you’ll comment – the link to leave comments is located at the VERY bottom of this post and right before the next one.
I am fortunate to have been in therapy for so long because that did help me find ways to deal with many of the issues I have like abandonment, eating disorders, anger issues and my black and white view on life. The literature discusses dissociative issues which are interesting because it’s not what I had always thought and what I am sure the general public thinks – Sybil – but is instead much different.
I want you to know my blog isn’t going to suddenly change to a mental health blog but I really want to show you a real face behind mental illness, the highs and lows and hopefully, the triumphs. I hope I can change the way you see mental illness and I hope I can count on your support.
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