Monthly Archives: October 2015

What is Trauma to You? PTSD and Conversion Disorder Discussed

A traumatic event in your life can be anything. As we all know what one person finds stressful or overwhelming another person may not. It can be going to the same job everyday and getting yelled at by your boss until you break. It can be childhood abuse, physical or sexual. It can be a sexual assault or physical assault as an adult. It can be dealing with the loss of a loved one. And yes it can be dealing with what a person has experienced during military service.

Sometimes our brain shields us from the worse of these things. When we can’t handle the knowledge or the knowing of the event or trauma. When this happens it effects our bodies. It manifests itself in a physical way. Sometimes through seizures, temporary blindness, paralysis, speech difficulties, tremors, trouble walking or swallowing. This is Conversion Disorder.

Usually with PTSD you know what the problem is or event was that triggers your reaction. It’s still hell.

I suffer from both. I’ve had people say to me “what happened that was so bad?” or “you had a good family, I don’t understand”. That’s the problem. They never will. Some of my experiences I don’t shout out to the world. The ones I remember are bad enough. It isn’t just about my mother dying. There is way more than that. Things that happened when I drank. The consequences of my bad decisions. To know that somewhere inside of me there are even worse memories that I don’t want to remember, scares the shit out of me. These unknowns cause my stuttering and tremors and also problems with my balance. What could possibly be worse than what I do remember? My mind wanders to unthinkable acts. That is the worse part.

No one wants to discuss it. My father and sister want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend nothing bad has ever happened to me. They also on some level blame me for letting some of it happen. They don’t have to worry because I blame myself for all of it. Did I deserve some of it? No one deserves to be treated as cruelly as I was. But I still chose to put myself in that environment and drink. Sometimes I think of revenge. But how do you get revenge on people who never cared to begin with? You can’t. I just have to live with it. An apology or admittance of guilt would be nice but that’s never going to happen.

Being Bipolar also means I get to relive these lovely events on my bad days. I try to stop it but it doesn’t always work. That’s when you’ll find me in the bathroom crying until I make myself sick. Therapy you say? Doesn’t matter it still happens.

Sometimes I think I see someone from my past. I become paralyzed with fear. I want to run and can’t. I can only move when I realize it’s a mistake. At this point I find a place to shake and cry.

There are many triggers for my Conversion Disorder. Supposedly once a person finds out they have Conversion Disorder the physical symptoms go away. Except when you have a coexisting mental illness like Bipolar Disorder. If this is the case it will come and go whenever you get upset.

It isn’t fun and it can be embarrassing not having control over your own body. No one has the time to wait for me to get my words out. They either don’t talk to me or finish my sentences. It can be lonely. You deal with it because you don’t have a choice.

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Jewelry & Photography Therapy

This is my own kind of Therapy. It’s what I can manage right now. What you want to do is up to you. Thanks!DSC01200 (2)DSC01221DSC01200DSC01214 (2)I like to use my father’s clock collection as a background for earrings I’ve made. These earrings are made of polished shell, 2 Smoked Topaz Swarovski Crystal Bicones, 2 Peach Topaz Teardrops, and 2 Black Fancy Feathers.

No birds were hurt in the making of my earrings and despite rumors I did not get them from my dad’s birds. That would be icky. As usual the dust and cobwebs are real and left on for artistic reasons not because I hate cleaning.


Smiles

Sometimes I smile. When I do it brings tears to my eyes. Tears of happiness. For the feeling is so rare and precious.

When my nephews hug me and tell me they love me. They don’t see me as different yet.

When I stand in the sunshine and see a ladybug. That’s my mom.

When a stranger compliments my jewelry. Because I’ve made it myself.

When I see a wild animal and it doesn’t see me.

When a favorite song comes on the radio.

When I look at pictures of loved ones no longer here.

When I read a comment that makes me feel normal.

When my dad has a good day and jokes like he used to.

When my Papillon gives me the stink eye.

When I have a day without pain.

It isn’t much but it’s enough.


Bipolar is A Thief

Do you ever feel like Bipolar Disorder or any other mental health problem has stolen from you? I do. All the time. When I have too much time alone to think. It’s always worse then. It’s at that time my brain wants to play a game of Would’ve, Should’ve, and Could’ve. It also wants to play the Memory Game. This is like a movie playing in my head of everything bad thing that has ever been said or done to me. I dislike this one the most. Some days I can stop and some days I can’t. There are days I question everything about myself and the people around me.

If I wasn’t Bipolar would I have ever started drinking? Would it have gotten as bad as it did? Would I have made the decisions I made?

I’m told that I blame being Bipolar but really it’s me. I chose to drink. I chose to hang around bad people. I let those same people use and abuse me. I chose not to go to college. I chose to be alone. I chose not to have children. Some of this is kind of true and some of it isn’t.

I never learned how to interact with society as a sober adult who fears people. The interactions that I did have sober were always negative for me. I always felt like an intruder. I would stand in a corner at any social gatherings by myself and wait until it was time to go home. My sister’s wedding was hell for me.

Bipolar stole so much time. Time I should’ve been with my mom. It stole kindness and sympathy. When I was manic and trying to take care of her, work and drink, I would become irritable. I directed that at my mom. She didn’t want to live anymore and I could see it. I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I got worse.

The relationships I’ve ruined, the people I’ve hurt, and even now the annoyed looks I get all bother me. I’m told that I over think things and that people are not even paying attention to me. WRONG. I know when someone is talking about me, or rolling their eyes when they see me coming. I’m not “crazy” when it comes to that.

That brings me to another issue. My sister thinks it’s ok to call me “crazy” or “nuts”. So last time she did I told her she better remember I have written proof that I am. It’s like a “get out of jail free card”. She didn’t think that was funny. I didn’t think it was funny that she was calling me names.

Since my mom died and I quit drinking I no longer participate in life. I did for awhile after having a round of ECT. I went to Florida alone. I went to zoos alone. I went to places that interested me. It lasted for 6 months.

I’m not sure I care anymore. I’ve become my mother. We didn’t listen to her, we walked away while she was talking, we forgot about her. Maybe this is my punishment. If it is I accept it.


Is It Worse To Be Too Fat or Too Thin?

I was born a twin. We were born five minutes apart from each other and are fraternal. When we were little we were the same size which was average. Somewhere around the age of 10 that started to change. I was starting to go through puberty earlier than my sister and gaining weight. As the years went by my weight continued to increase while she stayed not exactly thin but maybe 10 pounds over the average weight of other girls around us.

In high school I was a size 16 and she was a size 10/12. From the age of 10 I was picked on because of my weight. I was called names and gym class was always a nightmare. My sister had more friends than I did but still thought of herself as fat when she looked in the mirror. She wasn’t picked on. She would eat only white rice with vinegar on it for months because she believed she was too fat. While I was getting mooed at and called names she was imagining herself as my size. That was not acceptable to her. By the time we graduated high school I was a size 18/20 and she was smaller than a 10.

My sister went to college where the pressure of thin roommates drove her to eat even less. She had fainted twice in class. No one seemed to have a problem with her hip bones sticking out and the paleness of her skin.

When we would get together she would complain about her weight. I would get so upset at times but kept my mouth shut. My sister can hold a grudge better than anyone. One day I had had enough. The night before I had actually been spit on at a party while a guy did his impression of an elephant. I was drinking heavily then but didn’t stick up for myself. When my sister started with how “fat” she was I lifted my shirt and said ” You wanna see fat? Look at this!” and jiggled all my rolls in front of her face. She said I didn’t get it. She was right.

I finally tipped the scales at 268 before being diagnosed with Celiac and Bipolar Disorder. I also stopped drinking. The combo of meds and the gluten free diet caused me to drop weight too fast. In a year and a half I went from 268 to 130. It wasn’t through a healthy diet and exercise, it was because I was sick.

Throughout that time my sister got married, had 2 children, and her body changed also. She is now 170 pounds and very unhappy. Her husband actually likes her at this weight but that doesn’t matter to her. When she looks in the mirror she sees shame and disgust. I wonder what she thought when she looked at me all those years.

I now get comments about looking like “Skeletor” or the “Grim Reaper”. When my sister and I were talking today she was crying and upset. She said she was ashamed to see anyone she used to know. I said I wanted to see people I used know that used to make fun of me. Her response was “Why? Now you just look sick! You don’t look good!”. I can’t win. But I have to remember where this is coming from. Suddenly I’m not the “fat” twin anymore. She’s having problems dealing with that. She acts like I have no idea how it feels. I spent most of my life being tortured about my weight in the most humiliating ways. I allowed it to happen because I thought I deserved it. I let men use me because I thought I couldn’t do any better and that’s what I deserved. I don’t deserve it no one does.

I have to remember she’s sick so I don’t punch her. She never went through what I went through. I had one guy tell me “I would date you if you weren’t so fat”. Another mentioned I shouldn’t get pregnant because no one would be able to tell. Another said I was great and would be “marriage material” if it wasn’t for my weight. Things said directly to my face.

I’ll never forget being so excited to go to this one party with my best friend and the guy she was seeing. I was to meet them at his mother’s house. When I got there his mom answered the door. I didn’t understand what was going on. I was dressed up and tried hard to look nice. His mom told me they had left already. His sister who was giving the party only wanted a certain type of people there. She asked if I understood. I did. Unfortunately. His mother was bigger than me and looked at me with pity. Me? Well I did what I always did when I felt hurt. I drank it away.

My sister has never experienced such things. She married someone connected to the music world. She lived in California for awhile where she was backstage at concerts meeting celebrities and going to music awards in limos. Even when she moved back she still got to vacation with them. Her complaints boggle my mind. I’m sure my problems are just as confusing.

You would think we could help each other. I’ve been on both sides. She isn’t ready to listen or accept my help. Again I’m back to keeping my mouth shut. The problem is she is always ready with a solution for my “many problems”. I have to let it go or it will destroy our relationship. I don’t want that. She is my twin, my sister, and I love her no matter what.


How To Tell If Someone Really Cares

I left the house today. It had been awhile and my sister invited me over. She really invited me so I could color her hair and she said she would help me with mine. None of that happened. Her husband was home and sleeping in his man cave in the finished basement. I was there for about 5 minutes when he yelled something up the stairs. It startled me. I thought he was mad. I had boots on and they have hardwood floors, I thought I was being too loud. I got a little teary eyed. My sister got annoyed and said she knew I was “off” the minute I got there. I tried to explain but she went into a tirade about my needing to see a therapist and needing to try harder to control myself. She used herself as an example.

When she was done I didn’t feel like doing her hair or anything else. I was tired of trying to explain myself over and over. Trying to explain how my brain works, how it’s different than her’s.

Last year she was having these seizures where she would just get a blank stare. She went to several doctors who all diagnosed her with a form of Conversion Disorder that was due to stress. Once she started therapy and found out that there was nothing wrong with her the seizures stopped.

My type of Conversion Disorder is different and continues. I also have some problems with my brain. There is swelling on one side and what they call a T2 Hyperintensity. I also have a loss of white matter unusual for someone my age. The swelling was supposed to be monitored. It never was. This was in 2008. Also a diagnosis of Bipolar with Conversion Disorder makes it harder to treat. My sister doesn’t listen to this.

While I was there my friend texted me and wanted me to call my kidney doctor and tell him I’m in pain to get pain pills so she could buy them off of me. She said her knee hurt. She does have problems with her knee but she’s asked me for Adderall and other meds before. First she will ask how I am and act concerned. An hour later she’ll ask for money or meds. She is the only one who ever returns my phone calls or checks to see how I’m doing. I just don’t like this other stuff and I don’t do it. At first I gave her a few Adderrall or whatever but when it became a habit I stopped. She’s always paid me back any money she’s borrowed. Still I don’t like it.

I made an appointment with my hair dresser. I’m not depending on anyone and I can’t do it myself anymore. My arms burn when I hold them up for any length of time. Plus I get to be around people and just listen and watch.

I’m going to get used to being by myself and doing things alone. I’m tired of saying sorry all the time or explaining myself when I shouldn’t have to. I don’t need to be judged or reprimanded. I do these things to myself everyday.


If I Could I Would

If I could I would find all of the truly wonderful, compassionate people that take the time to either read my blog, comment, respond to comments, and never ever make me feel like an outsider and personally look them in the eye and thank them.

Some of you understand what the loneliness and pain is like. I have been experiencing it more than usual lately and probably have gone on about things a little too much. I know this is true because my father was gone most of the day and when he came home he walked out on 2 conversations with me. I pretended he didn’t and answered his side of the conversation for him. Then he got mad because I was acting “crazy”. I told him it was the only way I could talk these days because no one wants to talk to me. He left again.

I’ve tried to reach my sister for several days now. I need to color my hair and she has my bowls and brushes at her house from the last time I did hers. She finally texts me today to ask if I want to have a “color” party this week because she has to do her hair too. What this really means is me coloring her hair. The last time I did her hair it was really a “color correction” and it would have cost her about $200 or more at a salon. I also cut it. I paid for all the supplies. She did text me a few days later to say thanks. But when I really need her I get nothing. I’m trying to come to terms with all of this but it’s hard.

My father still can’t comprehend that my hospital stay was serious. I tried to explain it to him by showing him the bill where it said “life saving measures were taken”. You think he would have got it when I told him they asked me if I wanted to see a priest and if I wanted to sign a “Do Not Resuscitate” form. Instead he made it into a game of who has it worse. I get more sympathy from strangers.

I’m kind of scared. There is pain in my pelvis where the stents are, I bruise easily, I’m having extreme headaches and my vision is going in and out. Try peeing when it feels like your peeing nails and not much is coming out anyway. There is pain in my back and sides also. I have lost more weight. I have a muscle wasting disorder to begin with and now it’s worse. My family doesn’t want to hear it. A small part of me hopes this new doctor finds something worth all of this so I can say a big F you to my family. I’ve already been told there is something wrong they just don’t know what. It’s petty I know. I just want to scream at them and can’t.

So anyway again thanks to all of you. There are days I feel like I might not make it. Then I read someone else’s story or a comment and I don’t feel as alone. I’m reminded that I can and will continue on to another day.


Heartbroken Again

I’m going to sound like I am pathetic and whining. At this point I just don’t give a shit. The Chihuahua are gone and I am disappointed to say the least. I’m having a pity party for one. Another day with no human contact except the pharmacy called. I reached out to several people but got no response. I’m used to it now. Most of my life has been like that except when I was drinking. That wasn’t a real life.

My family used to think it was funny that when I was 5 my grandfather forgot me at the car wash. It everyone a while to notice that I didn’t come back with him. They found me standing on the side of the road an hour later just waiting. It was a busy road with a lot of traffic. Back then he lived with us and would always fall asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. In those days my parents drank and fought often. I watched my father hit my mother one time and she wet herself. That was the day he quit drinking for good. It was the one and only time he ever showed any violence toward her.

I watched my half brother and father fight physically often. The police were at our house many times. We never knew what we would find when we got home from school. One day it was the kitchen table turned over with blood on the floor. My brother was bigger than my father and always started it. It’s still no excuse. My mother was missing that day. She had been committed to a psychiatric facility. My sister and I had to stay with our grandmother who we hardly knew. It was there that I got my first period and didn’t know what to do. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. You couldn’t even flush the toilet at her house.

Somehow the kids at school found out about my mom and I was teased about it. Added to the fact that I was chubby and it made for a very unhappy time. I withdrew further. My sister for some reason escaped the teasing. I grew up around a family filled with mental illness and addiction. The only way my mom thought she could get attention is when she was “sick”. The doctors usually found nothing wrong with her until they did. Lung Cancer.

By this time I was a full blown alcoholic. I let myself be used and abused by some of the worse people in society. Why? Because I believed I deserved it. If my suicide attempts failed then maybe the alcohol would kill me, if that didn’t work maybe one of the violent men I kept company with would. One of them came close.

All within a year I lost my mom, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, lost my job, was diagnosed Bipolar, lost my 2 Aunts, was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder, quit drinking, lost my friends, and declared Bankruptcy. Everything went to hell.

I’m 6 and half years sober and trying to keep it together. Things just seem to keep getting worse. I know that because of my kidney problems I’m probably not absorbing any of my medications correctly. This might have been happening for some time. I hope that’s part of it. I don’t want to feel like this forever. I’ve considered ECT again but they won’t do it with me being sick right now. I just hope something changes soon. Winter is coming and it’s harder for me then. I can’t imagine how it could get much worse. I wish my mom was here to hold my head like she used to. She would say “My beautiful baby girl, I love you. It’s going to be ok.” No one does that now. I never got to tell her how sorry I am for being a burden and causing her so much pain. Her last words to me were “I’m sorry I screwed up your life”. I hope it was the medication talking and she knew that she didn’t.


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

I am writing about this for a few reasons. One of them is when I went before a Disability Judge there was a discussion about me, in front of me. What was said is that if I worked a full time job like I had been doing, I would continue to deteriorate until the only job I could do is put pencils in a box.

The second reason is that I was a bench worker in the jewelry industry for many years.

The state I live in has a nonprofit workshop for adults with disabilities that was being investigated by the Department of Justice for fraudulent labor practices. This investigation lead to a can of worms that they never expected.

At one of the local High Schools they segregate students with developmental disabilities and put them into a Vocational Program located in the basement. It is here that the students spent much of their day in a dim, isolated area, doing jewelry assembly piece work for companies the school had contracts with.

The parents never knew, the students never complained, they thought this is how it was supposed to be. One student has a speech impediment and some intellectual delays. But he’s a genius when it comes to anything computer related. He’s interested in graphic design and technology. But instead of encouraging these skills they automatically had no expectations for him or his future so they only prepared him for assembly line work for subminimum wage in a segregated setting.

In April 2014 my state made an agreement with the DOJ, the first in the history of U.S. where they have 10 years to make changes in the lives of those with Developmental Disabilities, from students to near-retirees who spent decades in workshops not knowing what they could have achieved.

What sounds good is actually causing some problems. The system wins again. Workers were promised more than $300,000 in back wages. But due to Medicaid’s strict cap on income and savings none of it has been given to them.

I found out the hard way that you can’t make more than $868 a month to get help from Medicaid. With $3000 in medical bills so far with one more biopsy coming up what do you do? How do you live on $868 a month? If any of you have Celiac Disease you know how expensive it is for food. I live on cereal. I do not get help with paying for food anymore. They used to give me $15 a month. Half a loaf of Gluten Free bread is around $6. I have not had bread in a long time.

I think these people deserve every cent right now without their Medicaid being effected. Who was to blame? Not them. They were not capable of understanding that something was wrong. Why should they be penalized?

I’m not at the putting pencils in boxes stage yet. Plus I’m pretty sure they have machines that do that. It was a wonderful thing to hear though. I never want to go through that process again. I hope the right thing is done for all involved but knowing the state I live in I doubt it.


Honesty and Confusion

Ok, some of you reading this might already know most of what I’m going to say then again I can’t remember if I’ve written about some of it before. Off subject- I really need to brush up on my grammatical skills. Dangling participles, where to put commas, and run on sentences. Although I received an A in English Literature at a college level the other stuff I was never good at.

My day starts at around 10:15 or 10:30 a.m. I get up have a bowl of Rice Chex and take my meds. I will then watch TV for a little while or go on the computer. There is probably crying in between there somewhere. When my Chihuahua was alive he would meet me at the bottom of the stairs first thing every morning wagging his tail. If I was having a really bad day I curl into  a ball on my side, on the couch. Pookie would curl into my stomach and try to lick my tears but I would start laughing because his breath was so bad from eating poop. We did get him to stop eating his own but then he moved on to the Pomeranian’s. This is a learned behavior sometimes when they are born. It wasn’t a lack of nutrition or anything medical. The mother does it when they are first born and some pups pick up on it and it stays with them. Anyway he would do anything to make me happy.

Sometimes I leave the house for a few hours to go to the store or my sister’s house. It isn’t often. Most of the time I’m sitting at home in my pajamas. My father would cook for all 3 of the dogs and feed them. All 3 slept with him. My bedroom is too cluttered to have them sleep with me. I go upstairs to my room around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. because around this time of day I start to get low and tired. I sit in my bathroom and smoke cigarettes, drink water, Ginger Ale mixed with Orange soda over crushed ice, and watch TV or Movies on my computer. Sometimes I Blog. I take my night meds and around 12:30 or 1:00 I go to bed. This is my life. I usually do not speak to any people all day.

On October 15th I go to another Specialist to find out why I went into Kidney Failure. They want me to have a 5th biopsy. This time it will be riskier and there is a good chance it will destroy my ureter. The ureter is one of 2 tubes that goes from your bladder to your kidneys. I would have to have a fake one made and put in if they damage the one they want to biopsy. I’m told this is the only way to find out what is wrong with me and that it wasn’t a fluke thing. What happened to me mostly only happens to elderly men with prostate cancer. So I am one big mystery. I have stents in now keeping my kidneys functioning. They hurt like hell.

My father finally agreed this morning to let me try to adopt 2 Chihuahua brothers I met at a Rescue. It was love at first sight. They had Pookie’s soul. But now I’m thinking is it fair? Will I change my habits? Will I be healthy enough to take care of them? Will I let it fall to my father who has enough to deal with? Or will this be what makes me finally take that step to change my ways? I did start to clean out my room when I first saw them and thought my dad wouldn’t have a problem with it. I gave up and went deeper into depression when he said no. The 2 of them together do not even equal my 1 Papillon. One is short haired and the other is long haired. Their names are Ham and Eggs. For the hour I was with them I thought everything could be ok. Sometimes I look into the eyes of an animal and I just know. They were both like that. I don’t know what to do.

About my other 2 dogs. I love them but they are not mine. Neither one has ever really paid attention to me. They are my dad’s. Even though Pookie slept in my dad’s room it was me he came to and me he bonded with. I want to do the right thing for the animals. I don’t want to be selfish. They have been at the rescue for a long time because the rescue won’t separate them. They are trained to go on a leash and to go outside they are also crate trained but I’m not fond of keeping dogs in crates. We’ve never done it. I know some dogs feel safe in their crate. Who knows? I’ll wait and see.


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