Friday, September 4, 2015

Being Crazy Sucks

I believe we're all crazy. Crazy comes in different types, symptoms, quirks, whatever you want to call it, but we're all a little crazy in some way. People who have been diagnosed with a particular type of mental health disorder are crazy. People who haven't been diagnosed with a particular type of mental health disorder are crazy. We're all a little crazy, and I tend to use the word "crazy" as a blanket term. It's not meant to be offensive; it's meant to make you embrace and smile about a subject that normally causes tears.

If you don't agree with that statement above, or take offense to it, then it's probably best that you don't read further, because you won't understand my post, or how I view this sensitive subject. That's your disclaimer right there. Take it or leave it, it's up to you.

I was first officially diagnosed as crazy when I was 18 or 19. Adjustment Disorder is what the therapist called it, meaning I didn't adjust well to change. You graduate high school, get married a month later, become a military wife and move to a different state all in the process of one summer, and I'm sure you wouldn't adjust well to change, either. But, unlike most people, who can just bend and adapt to change, I had a nervous breakdown... at work... in a crowded restaurant where I was a waitress... with everyone watching. So I started my first stint in therapy (yes, stint, as in- I'm comparing it to jail... why? If you've been in therapy before, you know that some sessions feel like you were sentenced to attend), which lasted over a year.

Fast forward about 4 years or so, and I felt another breakdown coming on. I entered therapy again,
and told the new therapist that I had been previously been diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder and considering we had just moved back from an overseas tour in England, and I now had 2 kids, I'm sure it was just my Adjustment Disorder flaring up again.

Yeah, makes sense because of my extensive background in psychology and the human mind, right? Pfttt. I'm rolling my eyes at myself, don't worry. It's what they call logical rationalization, which is what crazy people do to convince themselves they aren't as crazy as they really are.

That therapist asked me how long my last stint in therapy was, and when I told her like 2 years, she kind of snickered. She called my old therapist's office, pulled my chart for our next meeting, and then informed me that Adjustment Disorder is a short-term diagnosis, only to be used for up to 6 months at a time. My actual crazy diagnosis was Depressive Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified), which meant I suffered from a general type of depression.

Well, shit. Adjustment Disorder didn't sound so bad. Depressive Disorder sounds way more crazy. I was like officially crazy now, or had been for years, but my previous therapist didn't warn me, or society.
What makes this even funnier
is that I have a Happy Bunny
tattooed right above my ass. =)

Fast forward almost a decade to present day, and I've done 4 total stints in therapy with 4 different therapists. I know Depressive Disorder stuck in my chart for a while; I believe one therapist further categorized me as Major Depressive, and the word anxiety was thrown around quite a bit. One therapist convinced me to see the psychiatrist, who put me on Klonopin for my panic attacks, but after that shit made me pass out like I had been roofied, I handed that over to my doctor real quick. I've been given Valium for flying anxiety, which has also helped tremendously when I feel a panic attack coming on, but for the majority of my crazy mental health past, I've been fortunate enough to control it with things like yoga, meditation, herbs and lots of days cuddled in bed, watching random shit on TV and sleeping.

I was talking with a crazy friend of mine yesterday, and started telling her about how frequent the panic attacks had been coming on lately. As I was telling her about the shit that's been going on in my head, tears started to form in my eyes. She watched as a mild panic attack started with me, simply because I was talking about my panic attacks.

She told me this: There comes a breaking point in every crazy person's life where they have to make the decision to seek help or continue trying to deal with the crazy on their own. She told me the story of her breaking point and then said, "Honey, I think you might be at yours now." 

I think I might be.

My crazy isn't manifesting itself as it has in the past this time around, so it's been difficult for me to really figure out what's going on. I know depression. I know panic attacks. Those things, I'm familiar with, and can feel them brewing deep down inside myself. I know how to deal with those.

This time around, it seems to be more of a general anxiety that manifests itself in stomach issues. The more I look back, the more I think it's been there for the last 16 years, just misdiagnosed as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) when I was 18. I flew for the first time when I was 18, and was in the bathroom on the airplane the entire flight, everything in me purging wherever it could. The docs back then just diagnosed me with IBS, a generalized digestive disorder at the time, and that was it. No one bothered to try and understand why I was nauseous and had diarrhea ONLY when I left the house to go somewhere new, or somewhere more than an hour from home. I've dealt with this "IBS" for 16 years now, having to take a cocktail of over the counter drugs just to take a road trip.

Anxiety, my friend told me. She has the same thing, and she was actually brave enough to get it further diagnosed for real- Agoraphobia. Our stories are almost identical, as to what happens when we both go to leave the house, but she went through this years ago, and I'm just now piecing it together, so her advice to me yesterday was invaluable.

This is how I need to view my current situation.
It makes things much more amazing!
And I'm worried. Whatever it is, is getting real now. The stomach issues used to not be triggered unless we were going more than an hour from home. Now, last weekend, we just went to a water park 30 minutes from home, and I had stomach problems the whole way there. I was fine at the water park itself, but as soon as we talked about heading home, I was back in the bathroom again. So, now I've gone from multiple hours of a road trip, to about an hour from home, now 30 minutes. What if it gets so bad I can't make my daily trip to the post office to run my business?

My kids witnessed a full on panic attack when we took our trip to San Diego a few weeks ago. I made it to within 60 miles of our destination, and that's all my body could handle. We found a shopping center, and in between trips to the bathroom, I sat in the car, drinking Pepto Bismol, hyperventilating and crying my eyes out. My kids had to watch that. They had to watch their mom break into pieces.

Even now as I type this, my chest is tightening and tears are forming in my eyes.

So, I think I'm finally there, at my breaking point. It's time for me to make an appointment, and see if I can't get myself sorted out. And I'm scared this time. I've pretty much always been able to control my crazy without meds, the occasional Valium when a panic attack starts, but what if that's not enough now? I always giggle at those prescription drug commercials on TV- here's a pill that will help your anxiety, but the side effects of that pill are bleeding gums, bad breath, nausea, diarrhea, a skin rash and uncontrollable flatulence, so even though you are now able to go in public without anxiety, you won't want to because you're scared you'll uncontrollably fart and shit your pants, while your mouth is bleeding all over the floor.


Maybe this is just a spell. Maybe this is happening because we've been doing so much lately- flew home to Virginia, then a short vacation to San Diego. Maybe if we just stop doing so much, I'll be fine.

That's that logical rationalization I told y'all about before. I'm trying to convince my crazy ass that I'm not as crazy as I probably am.

I can't stop living my life, and I can't have my children sit helplessly and watch me chug Pepto and cry. It's time.

Being crazy sucks.

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  1. REalzing there is a problem is always the hardest part for me. I suffer from SADD (seasonal depression) and for the first time ever after I had my 5th baby postpartum depression. Despite knowing the symptoms it took me months to figure out what was wrong...all the time with me and my family suffering. Luckily I am blessed to be able to control it with exercise and essential oils. I wish you luck on your journey and I know that with time,support and compassion for yourself you WILL heal!

    1. Thank you! My doc is closed until Tuesday, so I'm going to try essential oils and herbal elixers this weekend and see if anything changes! Congrats on being able to control yours naturally; that's my aim. We'll see what happens. ;)

  2. Admitting there is something more going on than you have the means to control is step 1. Step 2 is admitting you need more help to deal than you've had before. Step 3 is actually going in and getting some help. Some people don't have to go beyond step 3. Others, like me, take step 4, which is usually meds and counseling/therapy. I've been on anti-anxiety & anti-depressant meds since I was 16. Two years ago they added an anti-psychotic because, well, uncontrollably screaming at your kids for leaving the milk out is generally frowned upon. Crying while doing it more so.

    I'm pretty well controlled with my meds - though if I happen to miss a dose or two (as if I don't have anything else to remember to do in a day) I DO notice a definite change in mood and behavior.

    My biggest realization? Admitting that I don't love my husband, and I'm not happy in my marriage. That's what triggered me 2 years ago. I was crazy enough to tell him that too. We are still together, and working through our issues...who knows what's to come? Getting HIM educated has been a huge help with me being able to cope. I think alot of times our families/spouses make things worse without meaning to, out of plain old not knowing what to do.

    I'm proud of you for taking your next step. And PLEASE, don't feel like you've failed if you need to medicate. And just know that sometimes it takes some trial and error to get those meds right.

    1. *Hugs* to you on your life realizations! I wish you well on what you are tackling, yourself! ;) Thanks for your comment!

  3. First of all, I love you! It took courage and strength to put this in writing and publish it; strength you didn't even realize you had probably. One little thing - please don't use the 'c' word - we therapists really don't like to see that word unless it's referring to a quilt pattern. I really feel that you are currently experiencing an intensity in symptoms of the anxiety or panic attacks because, and you hit the nail on the head here, of the AMOUNT of anxiety causing activities that you have been doing over the last few months. Am I saying that you don't have an anxiety disorder? No. I am saying that you are seeing an exacerbation of symptoms and episodes because you have overloaded yourself once again, as you are prone to do. You and I are alike in that we give ourselves all these expectations and we try to carry them out all at once and guess what ------WE BURN OUT!!!! We tend to put way too much on our plate and we wonder why the plate cracks. And you know what - we do it because we think that we will not add up to what others need us to be if we don't. Give yourself a break for just a little while. Relax, rest, revitalize your spirit, rest your soul. You have been overloading yourself with too much of the unfamiliar; let yourself relish the familiar for just a little while. And when you need to get something done, don't pile a long list of "to do's' on yourself - take ONE THING AT A TIME, STARTING WITH THE SIMPLEST, and get that done and commend yourself for doing. And, understand, most of all that you are not required to be Super Mom, Wonder Woman, Super are perfectly wonderful being you, and that is all anyone should ask of you.

  4. Anxiety sucks. I am sorry you are going through such a tough time right now. If there's anything you need, holler (but we may not want to mail it back and forth, ifyouknowwhatImean)

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  6. I love you, and I'm forever proud of you. I agree with Ruby step at a time. *huge hugs*

    1. Thanks, girlie. I love you, and miss you so much!! ;)

  7. Morgan you already know I love ya. I hope things get better for you sooner than later. I'd like to suggest maybe on long trips you use headphones and find meditation sessions to listen to they may help ease your nerves. Maybe even those eye masks to reduce the light and help calm you in long drives or flights. Your share reminded me of when my friend in H.S. also was always in the bathroom, turned out years later she suffered from Crohn's Disease. Again best of luck and sending lots of love xo

    1. Thanks so much, Mari. I never thought of doing that type of stuff for a trip. That makes so much sense, and I'm sure will make a difference! Thanks for suggesting it!! ;)

  8. ((hugs)) Mama.
    It does suck.
    I almost told my daughter last night, what caused my PTSD. The catalyst. I couldn't do it. I don't want to scar her. Don't want her to know. It's not going to be like this always. I didn't want to tell my kids about my PTSD at first. I'm more open with it now. Maybe someday I'll talk about what happened.

    Until then, all we can do is keep on keeping on right?
    Much love. Onward and Upward.
    Take care of you.

    1. Keep on keeping on- yes, ma'am! Thanks so much, and hugs back to you!! ;)