Saturday, May 26, 2012

K's Reaction

Breathe, K. Slow, deep it together. Oh dear. We must get it together. One of us wanted to post the blog that the other K wrote, or maybe it was more than one of us who wanted that.  At any rate, she wanted to be heard. She wanted to speak her mind.  And so we let her.  And now someone inside us is freaking out very, very badly.  Since posting that last blog entry, I've developed a severe, splitting headache.  I'm aware of someone screaming and yelling and crying and just all around having a hissy fit, someone somewhere inside of me. I'm having trouble catching my breath, I'm having chest pains, and I think I've been having a panic attack for about an hour now.  Mouth is dry. Hard to swallow.  Having trouble focusing my eyes on the screen.  Hands are shaky, trembling. I feel like I might throw up.  Every so often, a chill runs up my spine and I physically, violently shiver all over for just a moment.  I can't breathe. I don't know if we can handle this.  This might be too much. What is happening to us??  Who is so afraid and why?  I think I might have an idea what the trigger was which brought the not-so-friendly K out.  The blog post before the last one talks about me perhaps telling a friend about my DID.  I think maybe that scared us K's so badly, the thought of making ourselves vulnerable, that this other K came to protect us. This hard-shelled K came out and let it be known that she would not be made to look foolish.  It's obvious to me that she does NOT want me to share our secret with anyone. Whew. My heart is racing. I also think we're very worried about offending someone with that foul-mouthed blog post (that I didn't even write anyway!).  Sorry folks. Such is the nature of Dissociative Identity Disorder: you never know what you're gonna get.  If I go back through all the old blog entries, I can find other posts by her, but this is definitely the longest written rant she's ever gone off on, at least that I can remember. Here's an example of her typical writing: (Un)Happy Hour  I'm sure there are others, I just happened to find this one. So you see, this new K is not new; she's been around for a long time...she just doesn't come out as frequently as she did when we were younger.  Thank heavens for small miracles.  She'd probably land us in jail if she stayed out.

Don't Be Such A Damn Baby

What a fucking cry baby. Jesus Christ, could K be any more pathetic? Now I'm here to tell you that not all of us are so bloody wimpy.  Not all of us are such push-overs.  It's true that some of us have issues with self-esteem. At least a couple of us have serious self-image problems.  And damn but K worries too much what other people are thinking about her, she cares too much what people say and how they view her.  K is completely obsessed with how she looks, and how she comes across to the public, in every sense of the word-physically, intellectually, personably.  Now like I said before, we're not all such pitiful creatures. I am NOT a loser.  I am tougher than that. I don't give a flying fuck what people think about me. I speak my mind, and if someone doesn't like it, they can kiss my motherfucking ass.  It's MY life, it's MY WORLD, and most likely, you are not welcome here.  I don't trust any of you assholes, you're all just looking out for yourselves and trying to take advantage of K, who's overly nice.  God! And she's so fucking sensitive it just makes me want to vomit.  Sweet and loving and kind-hearted. HA. What a load of bullshit. I don't have that attitude.  I look out for me. I look out for K, for all of us.  I keep those users at bay.  Some of us get our feelings hurt, but not me. I don't allow myself to have such feelings. It's all just a bunch of shit to me. I have none of this emotional drama that surrounds the other K's.  They absolutely make me want to punch ourself in the the face, and I do sometimes.  A lot of times I just have to slap the shit out of K, to try and knock some sense into her. Yeah, I guess you could say that I abuse her, but it's for her own damn good.  She's got to learn to stick up for herself.  She's got to toughen up, to be a man so to speak.  These wussy, waah-waah's just need to get the fuck out of our head for awhile.  I need to take charge, to make things right, to try and undo some of the damage that K has done by showing her pale underbelly, her soft spot, to the outside world.  I just hope I can fix this shit.  She's really made us look bad.  Like a goddamn fool even.  I don't know what I have to say to you fuckers to convince you that we are NOT like that, we are stronger than that, we can handle ourselves just fine thank you very fucking much.  I can take it.  Say whatever the hell you want, it won't hurt me. I'm in control of our emotions now, and I say FUCK YOU ALL.  Screw you if you thought you could take advantage of us. K may be sensitive at times, to a fault even, but I am NOT like her.  I am a tough one. I can take your shit.  Bring it on. Show me what you've got. I can handle it. I can handle pretty much anything.  Like the physical abuse, I'm the one who took that and absorbed it and to be honest I even got off on the pain.  I enjoy the hurt.  So give it your best shot.  I swear to the fucking gods that you can NOT get to me.  I will never allow it.  I have pills to make me immune to your reality. I have my own reality, and in it K doesn't cry or worry or wonder about her image.  She's a tough broad. She's a fighter. We fought in the hospital when they locked me away.  We fought our abusive ex-husband.  We can fight you all, I fucking dare you to try and tap into my emotional side. You won't find much there. Anger. Rage. Hate maybe. Boy, K would be really upset to hear that.  She's convinced she doesn't have a hateful bone in her body, but she'd be wrong.  We do hate.  It was pounded into our brain years ago and I will not let us forget it.  I remember the bullshit, the pain of the past.  Now I'm not the one who can see into our childhood. I just see our life from about the age of 13, and I know how much they hurt us, taunted us, teased us as a teenager. So I rose up and pushed back.  Got K into a good deal of trouble at times, but I don't give a shit. We can handle it. I can handle anything you can throw my way, fucker.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Should I Come Out?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  I announced on Twitter recently that I was mentally ill (it's no big secret), and proceeded to name some of my ailments.  I have a laundry list of them you know.  I'm pretty sure it cost me some followers.  (Oh, well.  If they can't handle me crazy, they don't need to be in my life.)  So far, that is all I have done to spread awareness.  But I've been thinking of doing more.  I am seriously considering coming out to a friend in Real Life about my being mentally ill. I keep weighing the pros and cons, and I repeatedly keep coming back to the point of it being really important to have support.  We don't have a ton of support.  I mean, I have our shrink, and Husband, and social media, like Twitter.  I can't tell you how many times a simple @ tweet directed to me has affected my mood in a positive manner, perhaps even pulled me away from the edge of insanity.  It feels good to send out a message in a cyber bottle, and have someone from around the world answer that message, and give me words of encouragement,  or just make me laugh. I think the narcissist in us loves being singled out.  Of course, at least one of us hates the attention and would rather no one pay us any mind.  It's an inner struggle most every day.

If I do decide to come out to someone, I need to plan out what I will say, how I will put it into words.  So let me think about that for a minute.  What exactly do I want to tell them?  How much information do I need to share?  I certainly don't want to overwhelm them with too much, too soon.  And it would be a shame to tell more than is necessary and cause myself greater embarrassment.  Yes, this will be very embarrassing.  And what about their questions?  I need to be prepared with answers to the basic questions which they are bound to ask me after I drop such a bomb on them.  I don't even know which of my illnesses to share with them; certainly not all of them-that'd be too much information.  So I need to pick an ailment, and prepare a little speech about it...  But first, before any of this comes to pass, there's something even more important that I must do.  I must decide which friend I want to reveal my secret to.  I know that whomever I choose will forever see me in a different light after my confession, so I have to choose carefully.  Whom do I feel closest to? Whom do we need support from?  Who do I trust enough to tell?  That last question is easy. Answer: No one. I don't trust anyone enough to tell them about my mental health issues.  I'm afraid, I admit it.  Afraid I'll be thought less of, afraid I won't be invited to socialize anymore, afraid the person I tell will spread rumors about me.  It would be a huge risk on my part to open up to an outsider.  I don't take this decision lightly.

When, or if, I decide to open up to someone, I need to make sure that person understands that this is a very private matter and that I'd rather not have everyone in town know about my condition.  They need a strong ability to keep a secret.  I have to assume that whomever I tell will most likely tell their spouse, and that fact makes the decision even harder.  Right now, the only people who know about my DID are my doctor and my husband.  I've only come to accept this diagnosis myself as of January, so all of this is new territory for me.  I'm still learning about myself, about the different me's, about who and what we are.  I can't imagine trying to explain all that to another person.  How can I, when I don't even understand it myself?  I am still learning to recognize my parts, so I couldn't possibly introduce them to an outsider.  I know what the first question out of their mouth would be: "How many of you are there?"  This is the question everybody always asks, and I wish I had the answer.  The truth is, I don't know how many of me there are.  I've identified a half dozen personalities, but there are still more voices inside my head which haven't been singled out.  So I don't know how many K's there are. Hmm. Perhaps telling about my Dissociative Identity Disorder would be too much; I don't want to overwhelm my friend(s).  Maybe I should confess only to something simpler, something easier to come to grips with, like my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder.  I'm pretty sure my friends already have their suspicions about these things, so it wouldn't be such a stretch for me to just come out and admit that I have these disorders.  I'm fairly certain that whomever I choose to tell will be understanding and sympathetic, and I don't think it will have any sort of negative impact on our friendship.  Knowing that then, why is it so hard for me to imagine revealing my secrets?  What am I so afraid of?

stig·ma [stig-muh]
noun, plural stig·ma·ta [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, -mat-uh], stig·mas.
a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.  Social stigma is the severe disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.
That's your answer. The stigma of mental illness is what I'm afraid of.  Don't think that there isn't one-it's alive and well and I've seen it firsthand.  I know what it is to be discriminated against because of my mental status. I know how it feels to be the butt of jokes at the workplace. I've seen that look that people get in their eye just as soon as my mental health is brought up. It is impossible to fully understand it unless you've experienced it.  People treat you differently.  Medical doctors often think the physical ailments I complain about are simply "in my head".  They are afraid to prescribe medications as I'm seen as a suicide risk.  At work, I'm not trusted with important tasks or asked for input on anything serious.  People seem to think that because I'm mentally ill, I'm less intelligent than they are. I'm not taken seriously. Or I'm thought to be lying, or making up stories.  There are a thousand different ways in which to discriminate against the mentally ill. Unfortunately, I've dealt with quite a few of them; I'm not eager to deal with any more.  So perhaps I'll just keep my mental illness to myself.  After all, I'm very good at keeping secrets.  As far as Mental Health Awareness Month goes...I assure you, I am aware.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

About a Wedding

I spent most of  yesterday in bed, sleeping, in an attempt to recover from my exhausting weekend. But oh, what a weekend it was!  On Friday, I drove my husband and my mother 7 hours to Savannah, Georgia to attend my nephew's wedding.  From the moment we got there, it was a non-stop whirlwind of activity and celebration up until (and after) we left Sunday.  We stayed in a breathtaking 2 story loft type residence inside an old cabinet making business.  I loved the exposed brick walls, 15-foot ceilings, industrial-looking pipes everywhere-it was very urban and modern and funky.  We had a downstairs apartment with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and a huge great room with pool table and 50" flatscreen TV; my sister and her husband and my niece and her boyfriend stayed in the upstairs apartment, which was just as hip plus had a fireplace and a balcony.  Savannah is an amazing old city.  In case you've never seen the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", I'll tell you that Savannah is gorgeous. 

The Savannah Historic District is one of the nation's largest; this city is just a beautiful old Southern coastal town with beautiful architecture and gigantic shade trees dripping with Spanish moss, and 22 different parks with fountains and old statues and cobblestone streets complete with horse-driven carriages.  There's a waterfront area where artists set up their easels and paint and artisans sell their crafts and street musicians perform.  There are delightful little cafe's and pubs, and my husband and I found our way to a few of these Friday afternoon. The wedding festivities began with a rehearsal dinner Friday night. I didn't attend that, but it was my responsibility to get my mother dressed and do her hair and makeup.  After everyone left for the rehearsal dinner, I was able to breathe easier, and my husband and I went off on our own and walked the streets of downtown and had dinner at an eclectic little place which offered $2 beer.  After some sightseeing, we headed back to get ready for the pre-wedding cocktail party, held at a fancy old restaurant/bar.  I intentionally skipped all my meds just so I could drink at the party.  And drink I did!  I think I was trying to make up for my lack of Xanax.  After several drinks, my brother-in-law brought me my own bottle of champagne, every drop of which I drank...and then a second bottle appeared.  I drank and danced and smiled and pretended to be at ease, but truthfully I was a nervous wreck. For a person with Social Anxiety Disorder, this was the ultimate test:  It was crowded and noisy and I was surrounded by hundreds of strangers, all of whom seemed young and thin and beautiful.  But I hung next to my husband and my mother, and so I felt somewhat shielded from the dangers of the reality outside my little bubble.  It was so wonderful to spend time with my big sister, whom I rarely get to see as she lives on the other side of the country.  She introduced me to someone as "her beautiful sister" and I took that as a sarcastic comment but my husband said she was being sincere. It's not that I think she'd try to be mean to me, it's just that I'm paranoid by nature and always assume the worst.  We stayed for a good long while, long enough for me to see my 83-year old mother drink and dance with several young men, including her grandson (the groom).  I was thrilled to see her having such a good time, and she said it was the most fun she's had since Daddy died.  After she was too tired to go on, my husband and I took her back to where we were staying and put her to bed.  There was another party to attend, but I didn't think I could handle another crowded social function, so instead we stayed in and my husband made me margaritas (my sister stocked our kitchen with snacks and our bar with liquor!) and he opened a bottle of Captain Morgan's and we did some more partying by ourselves.  I got so drunk that I ended up hugging the toilet for a good part of the evening.  Oh well, it was totally worth it.

The next day was hectic and entailed a breakfast get-together where I consumed much champagne and orange juice.  I intentionally skipped my meds again so I could enjoy all the champagne I wanted.

 I LOVE champagne.  After breakfast, everyone scattered  to do their own thing and my hubby and I went sightseeing.  We walked all over town and ended up in a frozen drink bar.  From a wall of colorful assorted frozen drink machines, I chose the blue one.  I ordered my drink and then saw the sign which proclaimed that the drinks are made with 190 proof pure grain alcohol and are much stronger than regular bar drinks.  Needless to say, I thought that drink was going to put hair on my chest!  We headed back to the apartment to prep for the wedding.  I helped Mom get dressed and did her makeup and hair and Mom left to get wedding pictures made.  Husband and I had an hour to ourselves before we had to leave for the wedding.  Which means that I was ready on time, but that there was enough time for me to get very anxious.  I stuck some Xanax in my purse but really didn't want to take any because I wanted to drink at the reception.  Well, once my husband and I were all decked out in our formal attire (he looked so snappy in his bow tie!) we headed down the street 2 blocks to catch the trolley which my nephew had hired to take everyone to the church.  The wedding was beautiful and afterwards we headed to a mansion for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.  Servers clad all in black milled about with trays of food and wine, and there was an open bar which we took full advantage of.  I admit, I didn't do any mingling.  I knew no one but a  handful of relatives there, so I wasn't comfortable talking to anyone.  I put Mom in a chair and got myself a Cosmopolitan and spent the next hour or two chatting with my husband and trying not to have an anxiety attack.  It seemed to take an eternity, but at last it was time for dinner, and the wedding party filed into the ballroom and everyone went to their assigned seats.  I was so relieved to find that we were sitting with my mom and sister and niece.  I had a cocktail with me, then a man came around and poured champagne, and then after that a man came around with 4 different kinds of wine. I chose white.  The dinner was ultra gourmet--filet mignon and a single gigantic shrimp served with asparagus. It was much fancier than I am able to describe.  I ate very little but drank plenty.  After that there were speeches and toasts and dancing and general merrymaking.  I can't remember how I got back to the apartment...  it seems that my husband and I did some more drinking that night and I guess I passed out at some point; I woke up in the wee hours of the morning wearing my clothes.  There was no sleeping in that day, for we had to make the journey home.  I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee, then started packing my suitcase.  For a 3-day trip, we had a ton of luggage.  Plus a cooler filled with drinks and plastic bins filled with snacks and all of Mom's medical looked like we were moving.  I think it took Husband 20 minutes to load the car.  It was raining the day we left, and that seemed to match the mood of everyone as we said our goodbyes.  It was sad-Mom cried.  The drive home was long-about 8 hours-and exhausting.  I kept having to stop to throw up, presumably from all the drinking I'd done the night before.  Finally we pulled into our driveway.  I hated that our trip was over but was also glad to be home.  Then I saw the evidence of the stress of the trip.  I found that my legs had been picked at and scratched at and were all bloody and raw.  My upper arms were also covered in sores due to compulsive skin picking.  I don't remember doing it but it's obvious that it was a reaction to stress and the pressure of being around so many strangers.  I skipped all my meds for 3 days and went "all-natural" -something was bound to happen.  And so I dealt with the anxiety by drinking too much and picking at my skin. Also bit my nails but not as bad as it could have been.  In retrospect, I don't think I could've had a better time.  And I'm so proud of myself for not freaking out during all the excitement.  My doctor had warned me I'd probably dissociate during the wedding, but I don't think I ever did.  I remember the ceremony. I remember the reception. I got a little floaty and distracted during dinner, but I think I successfully stayed in my body for most of the whole event... Wow!  This weekend gave me not one, but two things to celebrate.