Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Evil

Ah, New Year's Eve.  A time for reflecting upon the triumphs and tragedies of the past year and looking ahead to the bright, shiny possibilities of the upcoming year.  Ideally, that's what I'd be doing, along with drinking champagne throughout the day.  Instead, I'm just waking up from a sedative-induced sleep which I forced myself into after having a major meltdown this morning.  We were so excited, eager, and anxious about going out to celebrate New Year's Eve tonight that I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of it all.  I was supposed to come up with something special to wear, and get all dressed up, and go out to a party or two with my darling husband, whom I planned to kiss at midnight. But the pressure of doing all those things was just too much for me to bear and I completely flipped out and had the worst anxiety attack I've had in ages.  My heart was pounding so hard I could feel my whole body shaking.  I couldn't catch my breath, and began to pant as though I'd run a marathon. I was enveloped in a desire to self-harm, but was unable to do so because my eyes couldn't focus and everything was fuzzy. I tried really hard to make myself dissociate so I could escape this agony but that never works when I want it to.  My head felt like it was in an ever-tightening vise, and I could feel the blood rushing through my brain; the pain was so intense that I thought I might have a stroke at any moment. I thought I was going to die, literally. All because I had plans to go out tonight...

Well, we didn't even have specific plans at the time of my freakout.  We were pondering two choices: a large, rowdy party with some friends and a ton of strangers and massive quantities of booze and whatnot, or a small, intimate get-together with 2 other couples, some fireworks and, of course, more drinking.  I intentionally skipped all my meds this morning, specifically so that I might drink more tonight without fear of drug interactions.  Apparently, that was a bad idea.  Not a half hour had passed after I'd made that decision before I had a complete and utter breakdown.  My only option was to take 2 mg Alprazolam and lie down on the bed with my eyes closed and my head hidden. My husband was quick to discover I'd skipped my pills and thus forced me to take them and eventually I passed out. (I was doing my yoga breathing to calm down and I guess that plus the drugs worked wonders)  Not sure how long I was asleep, but when I woke up it was no longer this morning, it was well into this afternoon, so I'm guessing I slept for hours. I just don't know for sure. I have no concept of time. I'm not kidding. NONE. But that's a story for another time...

When I woke up, my husband came to my bedside and asked if I was OK.  That's when it all came rushing back to me and I remembered that I had lost my mind for a bit there. Suddenly I was embarrassed and ashamed.and humiliated and felt as though I'd ruined our holiday even before it had begun.  At the same time, the person waking up from her drug-induced coma was someone new and different and she didn't feel anxious about going out to a party at all.  I was stoked about New Year's Eve and eager to find out where we'd be spending our evening. Well, my husband told me then that he'd decided it best for us to just stay home tonight.  I knew immediately that it was because of me/her/"us".  He was giving up his night of partying because he didn't think I was stable enough to be out in public. That made me feel like utter shit. But he wouldn't admit that I was the cause of it-he gave me perfectly logical reasons to stay home (too many drunks on the roads, cops everywhere looking to pull people over, etc) and I could say nothing to change his mind.  So I have already messed up our New Year's weekend (and it hasn't even started yet). What a fitting end to a fucked up year.

I guess this is where I should go into details about all the important things that happened in 2011.  That's what the average person would do, right? But I'm not the average person and besides that, my memory is so bad that I've forgotten most of the past year anyway! I remember LAST New Year's Eve however. My husband and I rented a cabin with 2 other couples (the same ones who've invited us to hang out tonight) and we spent the weekend in the mountains.  We had a fabulous time, drinking and feasting on grilled steaks and dancing and singing and being silly and dressing up and playing board games and lounging in the 2-person hammock and chilling out in the hot tub with the always-present glass of champagne in my hand... When the time warrants, I can become this person who is sociable and funny and seems to be normal. It's a mask I wear. (another story for another time) Now I have to admit, the main reason I'm able to remember all this so well is because that Christmas, I'd received a mini video camera and I was filming our whole trip.  So I can watch the video and relive the experience. That camera has become an invaluable tool to me, for it gives me the ability to document my daily life and remember the important events/people/etc that I'd otherwise forget due to my ever-shrinking memory. The only problem I have now is, I always FORGET that I have the damn camera!

After starting off 2011 with a bang (fireworks!), it was only a short time before my husband and I were celebrating our very first wedding anniversary.  Yes, I am just recently married, and my husband is the most supportive, understanding, kind-hearted man I've ever known.  He's my best friend and I absolutely adore him and can't imagine life without him. I don't know how he puts up with me (us?).  I really don't.  Hopefully, my mental illness won't drive him away like it drove away so many boyfriends/friends/family members/co-workers...(big sigh here) Now back to our story. February brought Valentine's, my birthday, and my mother's hospitalization. I very nearly lost her this past year.  She's 81 and precious to me, and her near death brought on alot of mental problems for me. But you must understand one thing: I NEVER tell my mother what is going on in my head.  We don't talk about the voices, or the hallucinations, or the dissociation, or any other symptom which she might perceive as serious.  I hide avoid her when I'm having an episode.  She really has no idea exactly how ill I truly am.  But I digress-

My husband (whom I need to come up with some name for, so that I don't have to continually type "husband") threw me a birthday party at the bar we normally hang out in.  I like it because it's dark and smoky and usually empty. The owner knows us, and my husband bartends there sometimes, and so the bartenders and waitresses and everyone there went out of their way to make my night special.  Balloons, party hats, cake, the whole shebang.  My sister was there, which is simultaneously awesome and bizarre, since she lives so far away from me, but she'd flown in to be with Mom on her supposed death bed and was therefore able to attend my little soiree.  I drank until I got sick (it's not a party until you puke!) and ended up talking and laughing with my hubby and sister all night,  long after the bar had closed and we'd stumbled home.

The next 6 months I don't remember at all. Seriously.  Not a clue. Sitting here right now, I can't tell you if we were sick or stable or up or down. I can't recall a thing. I have some photos of the birthday party I threw my husband in August, so I'm able to vaguely remember that.  We rented 2 hotel rooms (so no one had to drive home drunk) and invited everyone to party and hang out with us at the pool.  Actually, it wasn't nearly that smooth and easy, but I'm going to gloss over it for you. After that, I can't remember anything until near Halloween.  October is my favorite month, I LOVE Halloween and all things spooky and I usually get manic and ridiculously happy during that time of year.  I'm having trouble remembering what we actually did for Halloween.  Hmm.  Oh well.

With November comes the onset of my traditional holiday blues, and this will last until just after my birthday in February.  Thanksgiving was stressful to the max, but we can't remember any specific details about it. Next was Christmas, which sucked, and that brings us to where we are now.  I'm quite certain that you're sick to death of my rambling by this point anyway. And besides that--SHIT!--the whole day has already gone--I have to go get dressed for tonight.  Tonight.  New Year's Eve.  This will be the first time I've stayed at home for this night in decades, I kid you not. As it turned out, I've spent my entire day either sleeping or working on this blog entry.  Yes, it has literally taken us all day to write this post.  I can't remember how long this entry is or even what I've been talking about.  My OCD tells me to reread it for the 1000th time but at this point I'm so mentally exhausted that I just want to stop thinking.  So I'm going to post this without a final edit. Holy shit, I can't believe she's doing that! But I'm tired, so very tired.  And the night has yet to begin, along with the new year. Let's pop some fucking champagne, shall we?

Friday, December 30, 2011

What the Hell Am I Doing Here?!?

I've never done this before. I don't even know if I'll be able to do it or not.  But I'm going to give it a shot.  I've recently joined the Twitter craze, or at least I've only recently followed and been followed by people. Before that I was just too paranoid to expose myself to anyone.  (I'm actually afraid someone who knows me in real life will be able to find my Twitter page and discover my dirty secrets, even though I've not used my name or location.)  I guess I've been Tweeting to "me" for awhile now.  That doesn't make any sense, but neither do I most of the time.  I have to vent in some way, and if I can't talk to my psychiatrist then I tend to look for other outlets, not all of them positive.  Translation:  There's so much going on inside my head that it has to come out of me or I will explode-or implode!-and if a therapy session is not available then I will turn to other means of self-expression, and some of these are damaging. I self-harm, I self-medicate, I engage in risky behavior.  I'm searching for a healthy alternative.  Tweets are great for venting, but I often have more to say than a mere 140 characters will allow.  Hence, this blog.

 The first thing you need to understand is that I am so OCD that it literally takes me hours to write a single paragraph.  I edit, rewrite, redo things over and over again, in an attempt to get it PERFECT, which of course is not possible.  This means that I'm setting myself up for failure before I've even started.  The rational part of my brain realizes this, but it's usually overruled by the rest of me.  No matter how hard I try, I can never get it right.  I can never be satisfied with anything I do, because it's never good enough.  I've had this problem my whole life.  I was a straight-A student in school, because I had to be the best, and once in 5th grade a teacher was going to give me an 89-which is a B-and I was so distraught I became suicidal and ended up going to the principal about it and getting that grade changed to a 90, an A.  So this is not a new thing for me-I am a perfectionist through and through.  It sucks.  Nothing is ever the way I want it.

Next, you need to understand that I am many people, many personalities, many "ME's".  I was once diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder, but that's incorrect, as most of my personalities are fully aware of the others.  I have been in situations in which people I didn't recognize knew me by a different name and knew personal details about me, so I can see where that diagnosis came from.  But the next doctor got to know me better, and my diagnosis changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is believed to stem from my being molested as a small girl.  If things are stressful, if things get to be too much for me, I will dissociate....I will leave my mind behind me and go someplace else and/or become someone else. This is hard to explain to people who've never experienced it.  Basically, it just means I'm not there anymore.  I may be sitting beside you, but my mind is off on its own and I'm oblivious to my surroundings. This can go on for minutes or even days.  I lose time.  What this means is, sometimes I will "wake up", become aware, and realize that I have no memory of what I've been doing up to that point.  I may not know where I am or how I got there.  In extreme cases, I may not even know who I am. Times like that scare the shit out of me.  My point is, I don't know exactly who will be writing this blog.  The me I am today may not be the me I am tomorrow.  So my writing style changes.  Also, I often speak in third person, talking about myself as though I'm a separate individual and calling myself by name, and I unconsciously switch from "I" to "we" during conversation. Please excuse the improper grammar. (It drives me crazy too)

I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to write now...but my mind is getting tired.  I have more to say than I could ever possibly type, and I suppose all the crap in my head will make its way to this blog eventually.  Or not.  I probably won't even remember this tomorrow.  That's the third thing you need to know.  Because of my mental illness, and because of the large quantities of medications which I take, I have serious memory problems.  I practically have NO short-term memory.  I will walk from the bedroom to the kitchen, and by that time I'll forget why I was going there.  It's also quite embarrassing for me; I will introduce myself to the same people repeatedly, having no memory of having met them before.  It makes me look really stupid,  and that is something I am not.  Yes, I am bonkers, but I am not an idiot! LOL  I don't know if anyone out there will find anything entertaining in this blog, hell I don't know if anyone but me will ever read it...but I was thinking that perhaps I might help someone who's mentally ill by letting them know that they are not alone.