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?