|This is somewhat how I feel today.|
Some of you may already know about my struggles, either because you really know me closely or because you've dug into the old archives of this blog (stalkers...). Well, today is one of my rough days. I'm somewhat hesitant to even complete this post, but I think it might be important. I have spoken about my issues before (I hate to call it an illness), but that was before there were actually people who read this blog. Now with traffic picking up I'm not sure how to balance it. There are people out there who are wonderful and supportive and understanding, but there are also others who don't really understand it at all. I'm a professional, having something be mentally "off" about me could cost me patients, business, income. It's scary in a time where things are already tough at the office.
I'm terrified to do this - I don't want any of you to think less of me, to walk away from this blog thinking...Wow. That lady has serious issues. I always worry about what everyone else will think of me - even those who are the closest to me. I'm worried about losing it all.
For those of you who are already lost and confused I guess I'll suck it up and just be blunt. I have a mental illness. I have an anxiety disorder and I've been diagnosed in the past with depression and bipolar disorder, type 2. To be frank, the docs don't really have a firm handle on what to call me. I'm not a typical bipolar. Bipolar type 2 is less about the manic stuff and is characterized more by the depressive periods. I don't hear voices, I don't have hallucinations. I guess the best way to say it is to say that I don't always have control over how I feel about myself. It's important to understand that this doesn't mean that I can't function. It doesn't mean I can't be responsible or "professional" or reliable. I am very capable of doing the job I do and I am very capable of living a normal life. I just have days that are more difficult than others.
Here's the story of today. I could feel it coming on yesterday. I'll be honest. I've learned to recognize the signs. I am on medication - for those who are interested - and so I stay on an even keel most of the time. I am also very good at hiding my illness (Ick. Seriously. Hate calling it that.) from those who know me but don't know me. Sometimes I'm even good at hiding it from my family and closest of friends.
Last night I could just feel the weight. It's hard to explain to those who haven't experienced it, but I just feel heavier. Like there is a lead blanket on my shoulders holding me down. I find it harder to breathe, to move. I just start operating slower. I started to get the hint of a migraine so I did the best to nip it in the bud. I kept the migraine from going full force by laying in bed and keeping the lights low, television off. But I didn't stop it all.
This morning I knew it the second I woke up. I just wanted to burrow back down in my bed. I tried to get up. I tried to prompt myself to just move and shake it off. To an extent I suppose I succeeded. I ate breakfast, fed the dogs and took a shower. It's sad to say this, but I consider the fact that I took a shower on a day like today a pretty good accomplishment.
At that point I stalled out slightly. When I'm in this kind of a mood if I get something stuck in my head it just won't go away. Picking out clothes I had decided that I wanted to wear a particular white shirt and jeans. I really wanted a specific sweatshirt, but I knew it was in the wash. I was able to let that go. Unfortunately, this is when I discovered that the shirt I wanted was also in the wash. Sadly, I almost melted down. I kept telling myself to breathe, that it's okay - it's just a shirt - pick another one - you're not going anywhere today anyway - who are you trying to impress? That's how the thoughts go. Racing, crazy but at the same time recognizing the crazy and trying to stop it. That's the hard part. You don't have to tell me that these actions are nuts. I already know it. That makes it a hundred times worse. I feel stupid and inept. Who loses it over a stupid white t-shirt? It's freaking crazy.
Then it morphed. Enter the anxiety. Collin is on shift for the next 24 hours. I know he's at work. I'm aware of what he's doing. But my mind doesn't care. It just starts winding up. What else could be going on? What other crazy ideas can come in? Maybe he's not at work. Maybe he lied. Maybe he's off with friends. Maybe he's off with some other girl. Maybe he doesn't really love me. Blah, blah, blah. It's freaking psychotic. I hate it. Especially since at the same time I'm telling myself that it's stupid and I know better. I'm wound tighter than a drum and just...buzzing. Really, that's what it feels like - jumping out of my skin. It feels like my whole body is just humming. A little tingle like when your foot falls asleep - all OVER my body.
I started to feel like I couldn't breathe. Generally I can stop it at this point, breathe and calm a little, but I have to find a release. Typically that means calling Collin. Well, he's at work. So that won't do. Instead I sent him a text. "Struggling a little. Sorry. Please just text me when you can." He knows. I don't have to explain beyond that. He's been through this enough before. He's busy with a patient, but sent me a quick text to tell me to hang in there and that he'll call me soon. This keeps it at bay for a bit. I don't know why, it just does.
One of these attacks got really bad a few years ago. It was when Collin and I had broken up and I was getting ready for work in the morning. I felt the buzzing. I knew something was coming, but I just sat down to try and calm myself. At that point I couldn't breathe. Couldn't. I felt like a fish out of water, moving my mouth trying to gulp the air and getting nowhere. My fingers started to go numb, I started to shake. I didn't know what to do. I paced back and forth in the bathroom. So what did I do? I called Collin. We weren't even together at the time, but I knew he would help. I called him, crying and wheezing telling him I didn't feel good and I couldn't stop. In two minutes he had me talked back down. Not completely gone, but enough that I could regroup, get ready and finish my day. It's just one of those times where I knew that he really loved me. I'm very thankful that he's so giving. I really look at it as him having saved me that day.
So now I'm laying on a half made bed, cats sprawled out around me. I'm wrapped in a blanket with the TV on, blogging and talking with Patti. I'm not all the way there. I know it's still going to be a rough day. But now I have an outlet. I've written all of this down and it helps. Talking to Patti helps. Knowing that Collin will call later helps. I'm pushing down the panic and trying not to cry. I just have to not think about how this could all go horribly wrong depending on how my readers feel about this post. I have to hope that those who are my patients will not leave my practice because they think I'm crazy. I have to hope that they will realize that I would never continue to practice if I thought that I would be jeopardizing my patients in any way.
This is a very difficult thing to deal with. Especially since I'm someone who feels the need to be strong and in control. I hate having something have some kind of control over me. It's embarrassing and irritating. I don't like feeling weak. I don't like feeling like I can't just tell myself to stop and be done with it. My mind doesn't care that I don't have the time to deal with it. It doesn't care that I would rather be happy or that I would rather be getting my inventory done and photographed so I could write the post I meant to write.
For those of you who haven't been exposed to it before, I just ask one thing. Don't judge those who have any form of mental illness. You don't know how it really affects them. The illness is not them. Don't let it define them for you. No one wants this crap. It's bologna. It can wreck you if you let it. Just be there for them. Understand that everyone has a few cracks in the facade. But be supportive and they will pick themselves back up. Help them to realize it's okay to talk about it. It's okay to take the medication they need.
Mental illness has a bad wrap...and not in the way that it should. The illness itself...well, I'll just say it...it's bullshit. It's an ass and no one likes having it around. The people themselves are not the illnesses they have. They should not have the bad wrap. They should not have the stigma of being "crazy". They should not be thought less of or avoided.
I don't know about everyone else, but I think I'm just as capable as anyone else. In fact, I think I can be pretty awesome on occasion. So suck it BP.