My mental illness is a motherfucking leech

Wednesday, I hid.

I called out of work. I threw on some headphones. I buried myself under my comforter, afghan, and fleece blankie. I stayed like that for about an hour or so, falling in and out of sleep while listening to Lacuna Coil’s “Shallow Life” and Silversun Pickups’ “Swoon”, my current comfort albums.

I thought about going to the hospital. I thought that maybe I should talk to someone, someone who would get it and would be able to point me to a therapist who would get it even more. I imagined being handed a prescription to try, that might give me more energy and a little more sparkle inside.

I finally got up to go get dressed and eat so that I could go to the hospital, but I could barely eat and didn’t have the energy to get dressed. I crawled back into bed for another hour or so.

I know it was bad. I know that I need to get my ass into a therapist’s office. I know that I need to be tested for bipolar disorder, put on some medication, and need to go through pain management therapy. I know all of this, and still I shy away.

I make passing references to the people around me about how I’m feeling, but I don’t go all the way and say, “THIS IS BAD. IT’S REALLY BAD. I REALLY NEED HELP.” I don’t reach out. Instead, I keep it all to myself. I drop little hints, enough so that I can tell myself I said something, but not enough for anyone to get really concerned. Because, if I did truly say how bad it is, they might be very concerned.

It’s been a long time since I hid like I did on Wednesday.

In a way, it was just what I needed. I needed to regroup. And yet, on Thursday I felt the same as I did the day before. I felt drained, like I wasn’t really here, but at the same time it felt as if there were little teeny jumping beans inside of me and static fluff in my head. I barely sleep, I barely eat, and I feel like I’m barely making it through the days. Thoughts race through my head, about everything going on: about Popi, about Dad, about my stupid mystery autoimmune disease, about my relationship with Mike, about my new niece, about my clients, about my day job. On Thursday I felt like, at any moment, I was going to split into two. Or four. Or nineteen-thousand.

Today, I felt sort of normal — if normal means being on the verge of tears one minute and wanting to laugh like a maniac the next. At the moment, though, I feel okay.

It’s not just everything that’s going on; I go through these cycles all the time, for as long as I can remember. Last week, I thought about killing myself. For two or three days after, I felt high on life. And then I dropped again. I didn’t feel like dying, but I still dropped.

Part of me is ashamed. Part of me admonishes myself. “This was supposed to be over,” that part says. “We don’t want to go back to therapy. We were already there. Things should have been resolved then.” But the other part steps in and say, “That therapist didn’t do her job, and neither did the second therapist we saw about a year ago. We need to be tested for bipolar disorder. We need pain management skills. We need someone to talk to about everything.”

And the argument goes ’round and ’round, until I’m so tired of hearing these thoughts wrestling each other that I consider cracking open my head and throwing a grenade in there. (That’s a joke. You can laugh. I’m not actually going to grenade my brain.)

The truth is, my friends, that I NEED HELP. I am drowning, and with all of the external things going on as well as what is normally in my head, I’m having a really hard time staying afloat. I don’t want to die. I don’t want my mental illness to kill me. I don’t want to be the zombie I feel like. I’m tired of faking. I’m tired of being afraid to say anything to the people around me, partially because I’m afraid they have enough problems of their own and I don’t want to be yet another weight on their shoulders.

It’s also because I am partially ashamed of going back to therapy. I don’t want to. I tried it again, with Kitty Bhide, and she sucked. I know that if I just try a few different people, I’ll find the right person. But then I make the excuses of, “Well, I don’t have that kind of money,” and “It’s going to take forever to get in anywhere, and by the time I get in, I won’t feel this way anymore.” Even though that’s true — hi, that’s why I need to be tested for bipolar disorder — it’s still not a good enough excuse, because I still know that soon I will feel this way again.

I go through this, every time.

And it’s draining.

If you lend me your ear, I’ll lend you mine

I want to tell you all about so many things, like Christmas Eve, my latest bout of depression, the Nintendo DS I bought myself as a treat, all of the pain I’ve been having lately, the insane workload I’ve been carrying, and a few other things. But when I sit down to write, all of my thoughts blow away like clouds on a clear summer day. I could tell you about how I lost my appointment card and have no idea when my next rheumatologist appointment is (or was). I could tell you that I feel like it does no good to go anyway. I could explain to you how amazing Mike is and that without him I would not have made it through the last few days.

I want to tell you how badly I want to reorganize my life right now, because it feels so messy and everything I want feels so out of reach. I want to tell you that not every moment in my life has been gloomy; I’ve had some good happy moments lately, too. I want to tell you all about how my family is doing, the love, the fights, the eggshells.

I just don’t know where to start, my friends.

I’ve been reading everyone’s blogs and it seems like we’ve all been having more than our share of ups and downs. I can barely get my thoughts together enough to leave a comment worth reading let alone encouraging. Everything feels so chaotic right now. My own head is a mess and my heart is lost. There is so much to fight right now, but I feel like every time I swing, I miss by a wide berth. (Can you tell I’ve been running around as Link in the latest Zelda game for the DS?)

I know that the end is in sight. I tell myself that, as soon as I finish my big client’s project, things will get a little better. But I know it isn’t just the project that is weighing me down. I spend so much of my time worrying and stressing that when it comes time to take action, I freeze. I think this is defined as ANXIETY. I know that I should probably grab a phone book and call a therapist. I know that I should call my rheumatologist’s office and find out when my next appointment is (or was), since I’m worrying myself sick that I might have to pay a fee if I missed it.

I worry, worry, worry.

I wish that someone would guide me through this, like some sort of magical creature that will say, “Okay, do X and Y will happen, so then do Z and it’ll be all set.” I wish someone would take care of me, even though I am old enough to take care of myself. I need a rope, friends. A thick, knotted rope that I can climb up to the top where I can see everything.

Or maybe I am already able to climb up and look. Maybe I only need to let myself SEE. Maybe I have become so comfortable with the bottom that I’ve allowed myself to stay there. To quote Silversun Pickups, “I don’t care, I’m still here, everything seems perfect from down here.” Except it’s not.

I wish that I only had to handle one thing at a time, but that’s not the way life goes. Maybe if I put everything out, examine everything that I’m dealing with, and SEE it for what it is, then maybe I can figure it out. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to do that. Let’s see:

  • The big project. This project is HUGE and is making me a lot of money, which is awesome. The not awesome part is that I’m stuck on a couple of things with it, and being stuck makes me freeze instead of taking action. This needs to stop. I need to figure out how to fix the issues I’m having with the coding. I need to force myself to sit there and work through it. Standing still is not going to help. Letting the anxiety of the Impending Deadline stop me in my tracks is not going to help. If I don’t say “fuck you” to the anxiety, I’m going to be frozen until the Impending Deadline hits me right in the head. I need to remember that it is not only me that will take the hit if Impending Deadline comes and the project is not done. I need to also not let that scare me into frozen fear. I need to keep saying “fuck you” to the anxiety and work through the stubborn code.
  • The pain. Whatever the hell is wrong with me has been pretty aggressive lately. A few days ago, both of my hips flared up, with the ache radiating back and forth, so that my whole front hip area was in agony. The next day or maybe the day after, my right hip flared up, then radiated to my back. The back side of my hips and my lower back were a big glow of RED pain for maybe an hour or two. I fell asleep some time after it started, and when I woke up it was gone. This morning, from the front of my hips all the way to my toes ached so badly, I could barely walk. All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep, but I had so much work to do and also had to go to work. It quit around the time I went into my day job, so I’d say it lasted at least three hours, maybe four.I’m so tired of bouncing from doctor to doctor, spending so much time and money when all I get are no answers. It all feels like a huge waste of time, and once again I feel like they are never going to figure out what is wrong. I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life bouncing between mind numbing flareups and a very thin time slot of remission. What I’m experiencing is the definition of rheumatoid arthritis or some other autoimmune disease, and yet all tests come back negative — except for that one double stranded DNA, which is supposed to mean I have some sort of autoimmune disease, but so far my rheumatologist has been unable to determine which one. I know this requires a lot of patience, but I am not the most patient, and I think after almost three years of pain, pain, pain and a slew of other symptoms, most other people would also have lost their patience.I’m also tired of A Certain Person scoffing at me when I complain, as if I am just making this all up. I want to be taken seriously by A Certain Person, but I get the feeling they don’t because they can’t physically see any of my symptoms. I’ve gotten to the point where I mostly say nothing when I’m around them and experiencing symptoms. And anyone who deals with chronic pain knows that it’s so hard not to say anything. Since I spend a lot of time around A Certain Person, I spend a lot of time not saying anything. (And no, it isn’t Mike.)

    I know what I need to do. I need to push the fears of never finding an answer aside once more and I need to call my rheumatologist to either reschedule my appointment or get the date so I can go. When I do call, I need to be adamant about getting in sooner, and I need to stress that my symptoms have once again gotten worse. I need to not let the fact that I feel okay right now get in my way. I need to remember that “okay” can quickly turn into agony and that by speaking up and being a little more vocal, I might be able to get closer to the answers and treatment I need. I need to remember that I do NOT deserve this.

  • My wish to write. While I spend most of my time working, I yearn so badly to get back to the novel I started during November. I know that my client’s project has to be done before I can get back to the novel. I need to remember that the sooner I finish this huge project, I will have more free time and will be able to spend that time finishing my manuscript so that I can start editing it.
  • Taking the time to relax. I absolutely NEED to do something nice for myself once this project is done. It’s time to use that spa gift certificate my uncle gave me for my birthday so that I can go get that massage. I have been treating myself with DS Zelda breaks, but I also need to remember that too many breaks kills productivity. I need to remind myself that I do deserve the breaks, but should try to get more work done first.
  • Popi. This is the hardest of them all, because there is nothing I can DO. Instead, the worry about his health pushes down on me. I don’t know what to do. I do know that I am so scared of losing him.His second round of chemo went well. He was only at the hospital for three days, and came back home on the third day. He hasn’t experienced any side effects. He’s just awfully tired from fighting so hard. I am so proud of him for being so strong. His strength makes me want to be strong, too.I am having a hard time fighting the worry, though.

Whew, glad that’s all off my chest now. I really need to stop bottling everything up and keeping it to myself. I have a hard time vocalizing the worry, though; I force myself to carry it all on my own.

If you’ve read this all the way through, thank you. I’m so glad that you were here to listen. Now I want to return the favor. Tell me, how are YOU doing?