Coping With Confusing And Scary Diagnoses

I’ve been told to stop saying “You don’t understand” by my twin sister and my dad. I’ve been told a lot by them lately and I’m reaching a boiling point. They don’t understand.

When you have lived most of your life thinking the way you are is just how it is, you’re supposed to suffer for some unknown reason. So you do and you get accustomed to it.

The day the wall crumbles isn’t really a relief. I didn’t know how to feel. I was in shock, I couldn’t think or speak. Then the anger came. Then the grief and feeling of loss. 20 plus years of my life wasted, countless Doctors seen who never picked up on a mental illness that I most likely started showing symptoms of by the time I was 10, I am now told.

I wasn’t really given any information on Bipolar Disorder just medication. I educated myself. I did get a second opinion to confirm the diagnosis. The state also did their own examination for Disability. I was still angry and my family didn’t want to talk about it. I do not do well in Therapy, I’ve been many, many, times. My brain shuts off as soon as I sit down. If they start with asking me to write where I see myself in 5 years forget it. If they want me to picture a stop sign during a stressful situation forget it. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me.

When you’ve had several Doctors give you a diagnosis that is either life threatening or reveals you have had a traumatic experience you can’t remember and they want to use you as a teaching tool it’s rude. They could wait a day instead of hitting me with the bad news then asking if they could video tape my stuttering and tremors.

What I remember from past is pretty bad. To think that there is something worse scares me so when I was told about the type of Conversion Disorder I have I was devastated. The Doctor was filled with joy to have a live specimen for his students, colleagues and book. I did get a second opinion on this also and it was confirmed along with other disturbing results from a brain scan.

I’m having trouble coping with all of it. I fought with my sister again because she was crying and said “No one knows what it’s like to be tired all the time and in pain. I can’t do what I want with my kids and husband. I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this.” She was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I have a life expectancy of maybe 57 because I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Conversion Disorder, Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3 (1 remaining kidney working at 68%), Celiac Disease (stays active), Autoimmune Diseases (related to Celiac), Chronic Low Heart Rate and Blood Pressure, Chronic Low White Blood Cells, Swelling in one part of my brain and a significant loss of white matter, Osteoporosis, and I’m 44 years old.

I’ve never been in love or a relationship. When I was young I thought I would have a house, husband, and children. Yes, I am responsible for my own actions. I did not know I would go into Menopause at 37 or that I had been dealing with a mental illness for many years. I chose to medicate myself with alcohol and spend time with people who hurt me physically and emotionally. I honestly believed I deserved it. I wouldn’t have had a child unless I was in a financially, mentally, stable situation so it is what it is.

Hearing my sister complain when she has a beautiful home, 2 gorgeous well behaved boys, a husband (I’ll keep my opinion to myself ), many friends, and is a stay at home mom, pissed me off. It’s always a contest with her. She can win. I give. If you can’t appreciate what you have you don’t deserve it. I’m done begging her to love me. I’m done begging people to “understand” what’s wrong with me.

If one more Doctor treats me indifferently or like I’m a moron I will not sit there quietly and take it. I’m done with that. I am a person with feelings and a brain that still works pretty well sometimes. I am not deaf, slow, or dangerous. I’m tired of being treated like dog shit you found on the bottom of your shoe.

Black Hole Sun~Until You’ve Been There

I was reprimanded today for crying over someone I did not know personally. The problem is in a way I did know him. I knew when I heard the news at 7:30 a.m. this morning what had most likely happened.

My sister sent me a text saying she had been crying all morning and we went back and forth a little. She has not talked to me in what for us is a long time. The communication stopped immediately when details were released later today. I knew she would discontinue communication when she learned what I already knew.

The life expectancy of someone with a severe mental illness like Bipolar Disorder is much shorter than the average person. If the person also has an alcohol/drug addiction you can take off a few more years even if they are now sober. I’ve done all the research there is do. I have a thing for statistics and research.

I cry over someone who writes lyrics that explain how I feel or have felt but could never put into words. Some lyricists write like they’ve been in my head or knew me at a specific time. It’s a tell like in poker.

Until you have stood on a roof looking down into a black abyss of pavement thinking “I can’t take this pain, this empty ache in my chest any longer” and you jump, I don’t want to hear your opinion. (I was closer to the ground than I thought and extremely drunk. I chipped a bone in my ankle and some cuts and bruises.)

Until you have had charcoal forced down your throat or your stomach pumped because you swallowed a bottle of painkillers while thinking “I never belonged here. I watch other people live but I don’t understand how. I don’t fit. I wasn’t meant to be.” I don’t want to hear your opinion.

Until you’ve been stitched up for you fourth time because you have no self respect and think you deserve to be treated like garbage I don’t want to hear your opinion.

Until you blow a .36 at the Police Station where you’ve been many times and the men in the room are wondering how you are still functioning and you hear the names they call you and are so humiliated it has gotten this bad you picture doing the unthinkable I don’t want to hear your opinion.

I hope I’ve made it clear that unless you have been in a person’s situation it isn’t gossip or fodder for the media it’s someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife. Remember that and the suffering that goes with it.

To the person who is no longer here. You had empathy, talent, a light inside of you that you probably couldn’t always see, and you made a difference to me. You will be missed.

MY FATHER’S SHOES

Today my Dad said “Think about what it would be like if you were in my shoes”. This angered me. I’m finding myself angry too much lately because I’m not absorbing my medications.

I bit my tongue for as long as I could then said “I would’ve loved to be in your shoes. You had a woman who love and adored you for years. You got to make the choice to have a family, own your own home, travel, laugh with your wife. Yes, there were bad times but the good times I watched from a distance were real and beautiful. She worshipped you and talked about you all the time. Why? Because you were the only man in her entire life that was good to her. You think I never wanted any of that for myself?”.

I think I shocked my Dad for the first time in a long time. For once he heard me. He feels better about his life and I feel worse about mine than I already did. 13901354_10210665207453215_2448191949000437152_n

“You Do Realize You’ve Always Been Different Right?”

One of my earliest memories is a Birthday Party for my twin sister and I. At the time you could have your Birthday Party at McDonald’s. I believe were around 9/10 years old.

At one point in the party I was outside. I remember standing outside the glass doors watching everyone laugh and fun with such ease. My twin seemed to be able to do this with no effort. I stood there watching for a long time. I thought “why can’t I be like them?”, “I want to go home”, “I can’t do this it’s too hard”. Even at that age I felt uncomfortable around people. I always felt like I was on the other side of that glass door watching other people live normal lives.

This feeling has never gone away. Not in 44 years. I just deal with it better now by pretending or isolating myself.

My mom was extremely close to one of her sister’s my Auntie Lee. I love my Auntie Lee. She does remind me a lot of my mom. It’s selfish but it’s one of the reasons I love to spend time with her. She is also the one other person who has accepted completely for who I am. Although like my mother she has no mental/verbal filter. lol

I  talked to her the other day and told her I’ve been having a hard time lately. I also mentioned that I’m having trouble making the smallest decisions like what underwear put on! She laughed at that one. (Her laugh makes me happy and breaks my heart at the same time. It’s exactly like my mom’s.) She did say to me “Honey, you’ve always been that way. I think you’re just now noticing it. You’ve always been different. You were always more sensitive then the other kids, you would rather be around the adults or by yourself, you didn’t talk much you just soaked up what everyone else said and did. You were always observant, way more than kids your age. But you were so quiet it was painful to watch”.

In a way I was relieved that someone had noticed something. I was also sad that some people could see those things in me and not do anything about it. It’s hard to explain to my Dad or my sister that I’ve had symptoms from an early age. It’s hard for them to understand how much I’ve been through. I don’t want pity, I just don’t want what I’ve been through to be dismissed. Years and years of suffering I can’t even describe. And now medications do not work.

When I was younger Manic Episodes were great. Tons of energy, babbling, spending sprees, getting dressed up and going out, taking off to wherever I wanted, my own version of a Rockstar  life. As I got older my Manic Episodes started to change. Specifically when I started to go through Menopause early. Now Manic meant irritability, anger and resentment. A feeling of being trapped in a cage. My Depressive Episodes started to last longer.

Bipolar Depression I suppose is different for everyone. I know I wouldn’t wish mine on my worse enemy. (Okay maybe I would) It’s the giant aching hole in my chest that’s filled with loss, grief, worthlessness, self loathing, guilt, shame, and just overwhelming sadness. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. My brain plays memories of events I would rather not go over again constantly. Thoughts race around in my head about things I had no control over but somehow blame myself for anyway. And I keep asking why my twin sister doesn’t love me as much as I love her.

That is a big issue with me. When she told me she hosting Pre Party for Women’s March then going with a group of women I was happy for her. But she never once asked if I wanted to go. The march was focused on the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood. My sister brought up her “harassment” when she used to get her birth control pills from Planned Parenthood. The more she talked and the more I realized I wasn’t going to be invited, the angrier I became.

I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to ask her if she’s ever been called a “baby killer” at a party for everyone to hear. If she ever walked into an apartment for a party and saw hundreds of photocopied pictures of dead fetuses taped to the walls. The apartment owner thought it would be punishment because he had just become a Born Again Christian. I will remind you that this is the same person who sold drugs, slept with underage girls, and beat me to the point of unconsciousness. There were about 30 people already there. Instead of leaving like a normal person would do I sat down without any expression on my face and drank a pint of Firewater and about 16 beers. I wanted to ask her if she’s ever been called a “baby killer” and spit on by her best friend’s boyfriend. I accidentally punched him in the face. But it was pointless. I keep expecting people to understand things they are not capable of.

I go to the Psychiatrist on February 7th and I’m scared. Nothing has been working for a long time now. Only the fast acting medications like Adderall and Klonopin work. Everything else doesn’t. I’m tired of being an experiment. There has to be a better way. I’m getting worse. I leave the house once a month. I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I have no interest in anything. Something has to give.

DISABILITY~ A TOUCHY SUBJECT

Social Security Disability is a total Disability program. Benefits are given when the “condition” is 100% disabling. Social Security Disability isn’t given on the basis of a condition that is temporarily disabling.

Disability Definition- an individual must have a severe impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for a minimum of one year.

Where does the money come from? Social Security Disability is funded by taxes. Employees are taxed 6.2% of their Income.

Proving Disability- Proving Disability isn’t as easy as people think it is. Once upon a time that may have been the case. There’s no dispute that some people took advantage of the system. Improvements have been made, I’m not sure if they were positive or not. I can only go by my own experience.

Stigma of Disability- For some strange reason, people think I sit on my couch all day eating Bon Bons, drinking Champagne, and watching Soap Operas. That I’m the happiest person ever, I’m free from the bonds of working. There is resentment. Little comments are made. “Of course you can do that, you don’t work”. That’s a nicer comment.

Every time I talked to my best friend on the phone somehow the subject of “people who don’t work and take advantage of the system” would come up. She works for the Post Office. I can’t really blame her. They are forced to work overtime and hardly ever have 2 days in a row off. She also spent years delivering mail to low income housing and would see so much that angered her. Child neglect, young girls having more children when they couldn’t afford the three they had, guys on Disability doing manual labor they shouldn’t have been able to do, all of this got to her.

When she complained about it she would always add at the end “You know I don’t mean you, you need it”. After awhile it was harder to believe she didn’t mean me.

She called me for the first time in a long time on Sunday. We talked for 2 hours. When the conversation came around to “people who don’t work” I let her rant. When she was done as calmly as I could I said “From the age of 14 I started paying into Disability. When I was managing Blockbuster for years there were times I made up to $45,000. I didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed I made that much and had nothing to show for it. I drank it away, I spent it on clothes, make up, hair products, salons, perfume that was $200 a bottle, I took my parents to Vegas, I paid for little getaways for me and my sister just so she would spend time with me, I bribed my own family with gifts, but I still paid into my share into Disability”. I also told her “If I had known what I would have to go through just to get Disability, I’m not sure I would’ve done it. Between being mocked and humiliated by DHS and going before a Judge that was so rude I had to watch my father hold himself back with tears in his eyes at the time it didn’t seem worth it.”

She had forgotten about the woman at DHS who pulled a Donald Trump and mimicked my stutter. I was upset to the point that my father took the phone from me. When he heard what she was doing I thought I would mess my pants. My father’s mad voice is like Darth Vader only worse. He never uses curse words. That day he did.

While going for Disability I had to sit in front of a Judge and answer questions. The Conversion Disorder was at an all time high, I had just been diagnosed with it. (Some people get better with a diagnosis and some worse) My lawyer had spoken on the Senate Floor about Disorders like Conversion Disorder and was extremely knowledgeable. Very rare.

When the Judge asked his first question I was trying so hard to talk clearly that I made my stutter worse. The Judge said “What? Didn’t you take your meds today?” The way he said it was almost with a snarl. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye. My heart broke for the hundredth time. I tried again to speak but it was worse. The Judge was becoming irritated. I didn’t know my lawyer was giving him enough rope to hang himself. After a few more insulting comments my lawyer finally stood up and said “Your Honor did you read what my client is diagnosed with?”. Judge “Yes”. Lawyer “Then you know she has Conversion Disorder which causes her to stutter under stress? Because I just did an entire presentation on the subject on The Senate Floor because it is a Disability.” At this point the Judge looked upset. He stood up suddenly and said “Give it to her” and left the room in a hurry. I sat there and cried.

I’ve paid my dues. Monetarily, physically, and mentally. I’m tired of trying to make people understand or worrying what other people think.

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WHY WE REACH OUT TO CELEBRITIES IN A TIME OF CRISIS

There are times when you hear a song, an interview, or a radio show and hear a celebrity say something that resonates with how you feel. There’s a reason for that. There’s a reason that people who are depressed or suicidal feel the need to make contact with a famous person they’ve heard.

I’ve found myself feeling the same way at the times. You listen to them and you think “Finally someone who understands me. Someone who knows my pain, emptiness, the all consuming darkness that encompasses me at times”. I get it. I do. When you hear lyrics that describe to a T an actual moment in your life, how can you not feel that way? When you watch an interview of a person describing the same trauma and pain you’ve been through you think you have a connection.

Unfortunately, you don’t. I strongly advise you not to contact them when you are depressed or suicidal. You are opening yourself up to a world that doesn’t understand and most likely doesn’t care to understand. The person you contact is put on the spot and under the pressure of someone else’s mental health. This isn’t fair to them. Some do not react appropriately because they either don’t know how or because they have their own shit to deal with. They may make jokes or become irritated with the person contacting them. Then how does that make the depressed person feel? Not better.

This isn’t going to make me popular but at this point I don’t really care. I’m tired of everything I see and hear. I’m tired of the lack of humanity. I’m tired of the narcissism. I am tired of being dismissed and witnessing people with mental health problems actually being told to kill themselves on Social Media. I’m tired of this vile activity being viewed as acceptable. I’m tired of the lack of compassion for anyone on this planet that isn’t like you.

Dave Navarro has a radio podcast called Dark Matter. On a recent episode there was a caller who was depressed. I’m not sure anyone in the studio knew how to handle it. A person with a background in Mental Health/Depression/Suicide on hand might be a good thing when a call goes south or to help screen calls. Mr. Navarro’s documentary has opened him up to a new audience. His work with Domestic Abuse Victims has also. The documentary deals with trauma, addiction, and pain. These are all the criteria for people with mental health issues.

People also see him on TV every week making them feel as if they know him more. The unfortunate thing is the followers on the Dark Matter chat site. Some encouraged the caller to kill himself. They were also discussing previous “crazy” people that had been callers. *so you know I’m pretty sure if you added Uncle Creepy’s IQ with Renticles mine would still be higher. I hate to stoop to that level but the point needs to be made that we are not idiots*

What anyone with a Mental Health problem has to understand is that they are people like us but not. They don’t have to talk to you. You can’t guilt someone into giving you what you need. You know how badly I wanted to call in and discuss Judas Priest and Kip Winger? I was so excited because I’ve seen Priest in concert at least 6 times and I’ve seen Rob Halford when he was in the band Fight. I didn’t hear them mention that and I had met Rob Halford at that time. The band Voivod was with them and a member of the band “Piggy” liked my cousin. So glad it wasn’t me. lol I’ve also met Kip Winger and thought he was a nice guy. But the nicest guy I’ve ever met is Mike Tramp from White Lion. I was on his bus for about 4 hours discussing the movie Gladiator and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. We even talked about how we would see it as a movie. His English isn’t perfect so that’s why it was 4 hours. I feel a connection with Mr. Navarro for the same reasons as other people. We have the same interests, we’ve met or know a lot of the same people, our sense of humor is similar, but I had to realize that it doesn’t mean anything.

This doesn’t make me worthless, ugly, or unwanted. No one else can make your problems go away no matter who they are. That’s something only you can do. I understand the need to connect and feel visible. But you won’t get it this way. What you will get is groups of ignorant people who only feel good about themselves by destroying others. Or they are trying to impress the celebrity they are following. Most of the time it isn’t appreciated but the can’t monitor everything.

I was happy to see Dark Matter issue a statement on their Facebook page. It won’t stop anything but it can’t hurt either.

Then next time anyone is feeling depressed/suicidal come here instead of contacting an actor/actress/musician. You might just find what you’re looking for.

DISCLAIMER~ I am not a Doctor I just play one online. I have lived through pretty much everything there is that life can throw at you. Including my own death from kidney failure, death of loved ones, suicide attempts, alcoholism, violence, arrests, Mental Health diagnoses, stigma, hatred, memory loss, and more. I sound awesome!national-suicide-prevention-hotline

PSYCHOPATHS AND SOCIOPATHS (What We All Might Have In Common) Part I.

I will be the first to admit that I am like a dog with a bone when someone offends me. I can’t help myself. I have issues with “letting go” as my sister would say.

My twin sister also compares me to Tony Soprano and has on occasion called me a “Sociopath”. I have sometimes wondered if she was right.

I have difficulty with empathy/sympathy when it comes to other people. Empathy is when you can imagine how another person feels about a situation. Sympathy is when you share another person’s feelings or emotions about a situation. Got it? Had to look that up.

I have an enormous amount of empathy/sympathy for specific living things. I know it sounds odd but I have always been this way.

I will crash my car before I hit a squirrel. Animals are high on my list. I have given CPR to two dogs and saved countless other animals. You haven’t lived until you’ve vaccinated 350 pigeons in the neck. Ugh! Draining or expressing blocked anal glands is no joy either. But they are helpless and depend on us.

I have talked to around 11 different people suffering from addiction/mental illness right before they were going to take their lives. I had some influence in letting them know that they are not monsters, they are not unwanted, and they are not alone. They stayed alive. I won’t take full credit because they had to decide to stay.

I feel empathy/sympathy for anyone who wasn’t given the tools to begin with to have a decent life. I have no sympathy/empathy for people who had everything available to them and chose to be who they are. If there is a mental illness, abuse, addiction, or mitigating circumstances, then I understand. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole. It’s difficult for me to have sympathy for someone like this.

I have been guilty of not helping people and walking by. If it’s in a public place and there are already 5 people starting to surround them I’m not going to get in the way.

There are certain people I wouldn’t help if they were on fire.

Does this make me a Psychopath/Sociopath because I am cautious of certain people or dislike certain types of people? Maybe. But not how you think. th

Most of us probably have more in common with Psychopaths and Sociopaths than we would like to admit.

In my next post I’ll explain what I mean and what I found out about my own brain that frightened me a little bit.