Diagnosis Needed

Lately, as I get Leo ready for bed,  wash the dishes, or drive to work at the Gallery, I’ve been writing blog posts in my head. You haven’t read them, because they aren’t about breastfeeding, or cloth diapers, or even directly about parenting.  They belong on another blog I’ve considered starting, an anonymous, possibly not even published blog.  A not very PC, probably not very clean, “scary” blog. It doesn’t exist yet, and I’m not sure it ever will. I’m going to try something else first. I’m going to  un-censor myself here. I’m challenging myself to stop editing my posts as much, and to allow more of my truth into what I write. I’m scared, I’m unsure if this is the right decision, but I’m currently on a rocky part of my life journey, and I need the therapy inherent in blogging, STAT. While I’ll still somewhat write for the “public”, I’ll first and foremost be writing for me. This has the potential to blow up in my face, and I’ll try to accept that, if it does. So folks, if you don’t want to read about my anger, my mental illness, my loves, my flaws and  frustrations, my heartbreaks and what I really, truly think about things – stop reading. Now. “Unfriend” me on Facebook, stop following this blog. It’s okay. I’ll probably get my feelings hurt, yes, but I’d rather rip the band-aid off right now. I can’t hide anymore. I’d rather be alone.

I recently discovered that I’m NOT bi-polar (also known as manic-depressive), which is what I was diagnosed as at 18, and it completely unhinged me. I took bi-polar medications for years, based on that diagnosis,  I forgave myself, judged myself, explained myself, all based on that diagnosis. I defined myself by that diagnosis. And then it turned out it was wrong. Now my therapist has yet to give me a new diagnosis, and that too has  unhinged me. How can I explain my quirks and eccentricities, my negative actions and reactions, my flakiness, my difficulty being “normal” if I don’t have a diagnosis to point to? HOW CAN I HAVE FRIENDS WITHOUT THAT DIAGNOSIS? It’s deeply embarrassing to me, the fact that I care so intensely  “what people really think” of me. It’s even more humiliating to me that there is something so broken in my brain that I cannot hide it and solider on like everyone else. It’s why I NEVER call anyone except my parents or husband when I’m finally so sick I can’t pretend anymore. It’s why my marriage has had more than it’s fair share of shaky moments. It’s why I REFUSE to cry in public. EVER. I don’t cry in front of my therapist, rarely in front of friends, and even in front of my immediate family, if I can’t control my tears, I am ashamed. I’m embarrassed of being “sick”. I’m afraid people don’t believe me, and I’m afraid that they do. I tell almost everyone I meet, pretty early in,  that I have depression or a “mental illness”, just to forestall the inevitable revelation. And I have a very hard time having, being, and keeping friends. I LOVE people, I love having friendships, there seriously isn’t an anti-social bone in my body, but it exhausts me. The sheer effort of trying to interact normally, of trying to be a “good” friend, not upset anyone, keep the person happy –  with me, or just happy in general,  the constant picking up  of nuances, innuendos, hints as to what the person REALLY thinks of me, drains me to the point that I finally retreat into my house and hide. Sometimes, if the person has enough patience, enough love that they can wait it out, I come back. I apologize, because I REALLY don’t mean to, I hate abandoning them, but always, always, I worry. Do they really understand, or do they hate me? Am I forever labeled a selfish, unbalanced, unlovable, high-needs, high maintenance  “user”? And so the cycle continues. Sometimes, for some insane reason, people stick with me through the cycles. Most of the time, I end up burying the friendship. Sometimes, the demise of the friendship turns out to have been a good thing. Usually, I hate myself for abandoning the person, no matter how unbalanced, unwell or unfair the relationship really was. The cycle has helped me become a doormat – not that I wasn’t already pre-programmed to be one – but this lifelong cycle has intensified my passive tendencies to the point of CONSTANTLY apologizing – for myself and for things beyond my control,  of being afraid to disagree, even a little bit,  of bending over backwards for people until I can bend no more,  feeling like I can never do enough for them – and then of “flaking” out, disappearing,  or simply shutting down to avoid the conflict I am convinced will inevitably follow my no longer being able to “help” or be the giver in the relationship. And if the person themselves decide that they no longer “need” me, I am rejected, wounded beyond belief, left to retreat into my pain, never to be heard from again. Co-Dependency at it’s finest folks, with a little Borderline Personality sprinkled in for kicks (See – gotta put that possible diagnosis out there, to try to explain myself). I’m fully aware of the dysfunction of my patterns, I’m highly aware of how my habits and cycles damage me and those around me – I just don’t know how to change. I try, every single day, as hard as I can, to fight it. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in a mud pit miles long, digging myself a grave of good intentions and unbelievable, unnecessary  pain – and still, my ridiculous, co-dependent cycle continues.

 

I am convinced that I NEED a diagnosis. Just to prove to myself and everyone around me that I’m really not a bad person, that I’m not evil or selfish or doing what I do on purpose. How’s that for truth?

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7 thoughts on “Diagnosis Needed

  1. This had me in tears! But I’m glad you’re getting it all out, especially if it helps/works. Someone very close to me has struggled with a lot of what you mentioned for years, so I know it’s hard on you and definitely not easy to cope with. Sending you hugs and lots of thoughts, Mama.

    • Thank you, very, very much. I am trying, and it helps to know others struggle too – and are loved despite the struggles. The person in your life is beyond blessed to have you. Hugs right back!

  2. You’re right – having a diagnosis says, “This is the disease, not me.” I don’t mean that it completely absolves you of being a pain, but it explains why and how your dysfunctional patterns came to be, and with understanding comes acceptance – particularly from other people.

    I struggle with depression (and if you haven’t read my post about depression, look for it or ask me for the permalink) and I find that there’s a huge difference being able to say, “I’m becoming symptomatic and exhibiting depressive thinking” rather than “I’m so lazy and such a bad mom and I don’t know why.” The fact that you’re symptomatic is no judgment on you – what diabetic in their right mind would say, “I don’t know why I can’t pull myself up by the bootstraps and produce more insulin!”? There are ways we can learn to compensate for our illnesses, and there are sometimes meds we can take, but feeling like we’re bad people or somehow at fault for our symptoms… makes no sense.

  3. EXACTLY! Being symptomatic is SO much less horrible than simply being an awful mother and wife… And yes, I’m totally aware that the “bad person” thing doesn’t make any sense. I believe it’s an example of what my therapist likes to call my “irrational thinking” which I’m finding I do a lot of… I was raised to believe that my failure to be “normal”, perfect, or compliant came from a lack of faith and failure to pray hard enough… Another post for another day, obviously. I’m trying to fight those thoughts, but they’re hard to squelch. Not giving up though!

    Please, Please PLEASE send me the permalink to your post – I’ve been reading your blog bit by bit, but my computer time is so limited that it might take me a while to find the post on my own 🙂 Thank you!

  4. As a previous “depressed”, “anxiety” filled, “semi-bi polar” person, I can honestly say that I have never been happier and more alive than at this time in my life. No meds, no psychs, no therapists. Long story short, my partner and I were having issues after baby #2 came- instead of working it out with him and talking, I blamed him, hated him, and sought out prescription meds to cover up my problems. Wrong. And I learned from that. I learned that I control my reality. I am the one who decides to be happy or not. After reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now” and also Bob Frissell’s “You are a Spiritual Being, Having a Human Experience” – I can see how my thoughts are not me. That voice in my head is not really me- it’s my ego. The need to be right. … Well I could go into this for hours, but I’ll spare you- all I have to say is- psychology and prescription pills are the biggest farce to impact humans and distort our lives. You have millions of people believing there is something wrong with them and they need a name/diagnosis and a pill to fix it. No, what people need to understand is that they are in control- and they have the power to change things- they just need to see things differently than the mainstream media, or Big Pharma wants us to believe. The mind-body connection is very powerful- it’s just that most people are not aware of the power of their thoughts and the reality it then creates. You either create hell for yourself or heaven. It’s all up to you…..

    • I agree. The most “progress” I’ve EVER made has come now, after the reality altering experience of growing, birthing and now raising an amazing little being. I’m seeing a counselor (no more psychiatrists or psychologists for me, thank you VERY much) who doesn’t stoke my ego or cater to me, I am completely off of all pharmaceuticals (been on too many to count, and as much as the myth of the magic pill appeals on dark days, I can honestly say I’m better off) and am actively fighting to FACE my issues and the roots of my problems. I do yoga as often as being a Mama permits, I take daily Sam-E and Red Raspberry supplements in addition to my prenatal, and I’m practicing the art of living mindfully – which is the hardest part. It’s shocking how difficult it is to focus on the important things in this fast-paced, ego-driven lifestyle we Americans think of as “normal”… I too could go on forever… I can tell we need to have a chat sometime 😀

      • Where are you guys located? (MSG me if you want to keep it hush)You say South, so I’m thinking somewhere near me! : ) I could only be so lucky as to have another AP mama close to me!!! I need a mama tribe, BAD!!!

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