23 August 2005

Repost from original Debra's Daily Dose (Wed 8 Sep 04)

Do you think I'm mental (paraphrasing KDLang)
ok, it's like this...i have no intention of writing my complete memoirs in one sitting.  but there are some things past that help us to understand the present and prepare us for the future.  so, i cannot tell you when exactly my madness began, but i sure fooled alot of people for a long time.  I was always a tad different and special, gifted, in some way or another, in almost all contexts in my childhood.  As a teen, I did not go through the typical angst period, but i did not really fit in anywhere.  Most of the kids my age thought I was strange.  Most adults thought i was mature.  Then in my twenties and on, as an adult, i was just a tad eccentric.  Sometimes, i would be too far out there, inappropriate in behavior.  But since i moved so often, very few folks got to know me well enough to know that may be there was more going on then what meets the eye.  

Leaving aside most of the details, in sum, early last year, i accepted the diagnoses that classified me as having mental illnesses.  THAT was quite slippery, i had the hardest time wrapping my mind around being MI.  I mean, at the time, I was a graduate student, working on my PhD, with a master's in sociology, and three bachelor's.  I was teaching undergraduate students, doing research, working in a computer lab for the department, and maintaining a very full social life as well.  Being mentally ill was not part of the plan for the big picture.

Now, I had already dealt with having learning disability.  I have dealt with poor health most of my  life.  I had dealt with abuse, surviving, coping, and (I thought) moving on.  What I did not recognize was that much of this was not dealt with at all, rather it was squashed down until I simply lost my resiliency, losing my ability to continue to cope, losing my mind it seemed.

Currently, I am affected by bipolar disorder (rapid cycling), borderline personality disorder (THAT is misunderstood even by psych-peeps), PTSD, panic/anxiety disorder, depression, and compulsive overeating disorder.  No two people handle their diagnoses in the same way, because no two people are affected in exactly the same way.  So, for instance, I do not self-mutilate.  I amnot an impulsive spender/shopper/etc.  I hate the mania more so than the depression.  I do not "look" like I have an eating disorder.  I despise whining, abhorring it in myself.

SO, I am learning to go a bit lighter on myself.  I am learning that it is not ok to push myself beyond my limits.  I am learning just where those limits are and how to pull back when I need to.  I am learning that I might not have developed a great sense of self, so now I am doing just that.

I tire easily.  I am not always chipper.  I am not always quick with wit.  Sometimes, I am irritable beyond belief.  Sometimes I cannot comprehend a sentence, let alone a paragraph, let alone an article.  Sometimes, I feel so utterly defeated that I am sure isolation has merits.  Sometimes, I cannot explain myself very clearly.  Sometimes, knowing me, can be pure unadulterated hell.  I try to know myself enough to be able to recognize the warnings, the shifts, the need to be still and quiet, the need to rest, the need to withdrawl from social circumstances.  sometimes I am sure that my toxicity spills over, tainting relationships.  sometimes, though, i go too far with my self-monitoring.

and most of the time, people enjoy being around me.  they are glad to know me.  and that's when i know that i am worth all the fuss.  i deserve to be healthy, happy, to know love. 

i hope this has been clear, as i am entering a manic period, not having slept for quite some time. racing thoughts, speed....so, i am off to see if i can't rest before i get much worse.  thanks for listening, it ain't easy, to read some of this, i am sure.  but i am not always maudlin, so serious, so intense.

have a good day.  til next post.


  1. I refuse to define myself with a label or others as well. I look into the hearts of people. You are indeed 1 in a million and the world is lucky to have you. Now, get some much needed sleep.

  2. sweet woman and my friend,
    You know so much, are so caring and supportive, and are a true treasure to all the people who have dealt with (or have had a family member deal with) mental health issues.
    We are the best we can be every day.... and nobody can expect more. I am so glad that I know you...... my world is better for it.


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!