Just about every time I tell people that I am mentally ill, they laugh and say, “we all are!” I can appreciate the sentiment. We ALL have struggles, all have quirks, all have “issues” . . . and most of us act like complete lunatics most of the time. But I feel the need to clarify a little further what I’ve been up against for about thirty years, now.
I have Generalized Anxiety, Bipolar II and Borderline Personality Disorder. It makes me a big bucket of fun, is what it does!
- I feel completely overwhelmed with minor, daily occurrences.
- I feel panicky and unable to breathe. My heart races. My mind races. I have to suppress the urge to run. (Sometimes I fail and literally run to what my mind considers a safe place.)
- With the smallest of triggers, I have a raging vortex of emotions and nowhere to put them.
- I live in a dark, black cloud that completely blocks out anything positive and good.
- I feel confused, worried, terrified and completely out of control of my emotions – my actions – my life.
- I hurt myself; not to die, not to cry out for help – but to put a physical pain to the emotional storm crashing around my heart.
- I feel too defeated and exhausted to get up, eat, shower and leave the house. For days. Or weeks. OR
- I don't sleep at all, feel irritated with the world, spend money I don't have for projects I won't finish and feel like nothing can stop me or slow me down and I'll talk a mile a minute and have a hard time sitting down because there's so much I need to DO and so much I WANT to do and so much I CAN do and why doesn't everybody else see my vision and that I am perfectly capable of bringing it
AWN and where the heck is that ONE green shirt that I want to wear, dammit, no, I can't wear any of the other twenty shirts I have it has to be THAT one and why is the family hiding from me I bet they STOLE it, I just knew it, I can't trust anybody, GAH, maybe if I look here and now I'm wildly late but none of the other shirts feel "right" and when did I start throwing things?
- I attempt to lessen the intensity of my emotions by detaching myself from them completely.
- I push people away, then mourn that they’ve “left” me.
- I internally rip myself apart over minor mistakes.
- I hear a constant stream of critical self-hate and loathing running through my mind.
- I feel empty and alone – even when surrounded by co-workers, friends and loved ones. It gnaws at me.
- I think that whatever I am feeling at this very moment is how I will feel for the rest of my life. And usually what I am feeling at this very moment isn't very pretty.
- I feel helpless. Hopeless. Angry. Scared. Just about always.
- I feel certain that my friends, my family, my world would be much better off without me.
- I chronically deal with suicidal ideation. At just about any given time, I am thinking through plans down to the smallest detail.
- I overreact. Loudly, physically, brilliantly overreact. I know this in my mind – I tell myself that I’m not acting rationally. But the emotion drowns out any hint of rational thought.
And wait, kids! Much, much more! But I'll stop there - I think you get the idea. Good times.
One note: For some reason, I am able to hold myself together at work. Very well. In fact, I LOVE work because it is demanding and busy and I have no choice but to concentrate on my tasks. All other thoughts and emotions go into my lunchbox.
I am fortunate to have many amazing people in my life right now (and many amazing meds!) who are dedicated to helping me become a more stable, functioning individual. I truly have the best of the best. Which kind of proves that my friends really ARE complete lunatics to put up with my antics.
Yes, you know who you are!
Yes, you know who you are!
This brings me to my biggest frustration: I improve by leaps and bounds, only to spiral down into the same dark abyss I clawed my way out of again and again. Is it too much for me to hope that someday I will be able to deal with common occurrences in a calm, rational manner? That my improvements will remain?
I’m not sure. But for now, I’ll slip into my cute little mask of humour and chipperness (YES, it's a word! I decree it shall be so!) and hope the smile distracts from the inner struggle, and that it isn't reflected in my eyes.