Twitter to the Rescue
[I still have the second half of my two-part blog post called “The Evolution of My Self-Mutilation” ready to go. It really should probably be posted here, now, but I still don’t have the courage to publish it. I’m just too ashamed, too embarrassed, too humiliated to let people read about the secrets contained in that post. I might just sit on it forever.] So instead… I’ve been racking my brain trying to think then of what subject would best follow two posts (really just 1 1/2) about self-harm. I’ve decided that I don’t know, and I’m just going to empty my head and see what this post ends up being about. My mind is working at a furious pace right now; I can’t even put into words how fast the thoughts are coming at me and the voices are all excited and talking at once and I’m overwhelmed when I pause to listen to the inner workings of my brain, to all the conversations. This is exhausting, all this thinking. I never went to bed last night because of it, because of all the noise in my head, all the ideas bouncing around in my skull. I believe it started yesterday afternoon but it could have been the day before. I just can’t remember. All I can say for sure is that I’ve been reading, researching, studying, Googling, Wikipedia’ing obsessively about dissociative disorders, especially Dissociative Identity Disorder. I’ve also tried to develop some friendships online, and more importantly, I’ve been seeking out others who suffer from dissociative disorders such as I do. Keep in mind that my Social Anxiety Disorder makes it unbelievably difficult for me to reach out to people, to talk to people, and especially to initiate communication with strangers. So I must pat myself on the back for making the effort. (only one person I tried to talk to was rude to me) It seems to be paying off in ways I hadn’t even imagined. Not only have I met a few people online with whom I enjoy chatting and who I’m hoping to one day call my friends, but I’m beginning to develop a bit of a support system, which I desperately need. I’ve never had a support system before. I’ve hidden my mental illness from everyone, my whole life, so I don’t have any real-life friends I can talk to about it, I’ve never confided in a boyfriend, hell my own sister didn’t even know I was ill until just a few years ago. My father never understood how I could have everything a person needs and still be depressed. Now, it’s just my mother, and she’s too old and set in her ways to be open-minded enough to even talk to about all of this. So I hide my symptoms from her. I avoid her when I’m having an especially hard time. Sometimes I just have to disappear. Wow, I guess that sentence takes on a whole new meaning when it’s used in reference to someone who may be suffering from DID.
You must remember that this is all new territory for us-I’m still in a state of shock about my psychiatrist telling me the other day that my Schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect. I wore that label for more than a decade, and I suffered discrimination and ridicule and self-hatred because of it. It’s been a heavy diagnosis to bear, and I am beyond thrilled to find out that it is wrong. I am NOT Schizophrenic! So then, what am I? Well, my shrink tells me that I am definitely suffering from a dissociative disorder, she just doesn’t have enough information yet to properly name it. I found my diary from 2004 wherein my doctor first attached the possibility of DID to my chart, and I’ve been reading about all the “episodes” I’d forgotten. My psychiatrist wants to use that diary in our sessions. It seems I’ve been in denial for the past 8 years. I’ve been doing some reading on the different types of dissociative disorders, and more importantly, I actually found a few people on Twitter who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder or who have problems with dissociation. These ladies have been wonderful and have helped me tremendously in a very short period of time. I learn a great deal from reading their blogs. I had some basic questions which they were happy to answer for me. One of them put me in touch with another one who directed me to a Yahoo group specifically for people suffering from this type of disorder. As I said earlier, my doctor hasn’t officially diagnosed me as having DID, but from what I’ve read, from what I’ve been told by people who have it, and based upon my symptoms, I’d say DID is a good fit. In fact, I’ve never found a disorder which seemed to describe me as well as DID does. So, for the moment, I’m going to study all I can about Dissociative Identity Disorder. If it turns out I have something else, well then we’ll just study that instead when the time comes. But I really and truly feel that I’m closer than I’ve ever been to being properly diagnosed and treated for my mental illness(es).
I’ve been going from doctor to doctor since 1986, and each one gave me a new diagnosis and a different explanation for my thoughts and behaviors. And then there are the medications-Oh the thousands of pills I must’ve consumed at this point. Anti-depressants, tranquilizers, SSRI’s, anti-psychotics, sedatives, hypnotics, sleeping pills, uppers, downers. So many pills. I wonder sometimes-a lot of the time actually-what I’d be like if I didn’t take the medication. Now to be realistic, I am far too ill to go “all natural” and give up all medications. I have gone down that road many times, thinking each time that I could do it, I could handle it, I could live without chemical assistance. Each time, I failed miserably, and always ended up feeling much, much worse than I’d ever felt even before I began taking the pills. The truth is, I have something wrong with my brain. It does not work as it’s supposed to. I am destined to take some sort of medication for the rest of my life. But what kind? Which pills? My sister believes I’m overly-medicated and wishes I’d take only the bare minimum. Just what I need to function day-to-day. But how do we figure out which pills those are? I currently take seven prescriptions, a dozen pills a day. Surely some of those are unnecessary, wouldn’t you think? I mean, if I’m not really Schizophrenic, it seems we should be able to drop some of the pills I’m taking everyday. But instead of cutting down on our meds, at my last therapy session my shrink actually added a prescription to my regimen. Maybe she’s just trying to pull me out of this pit of despair I’ve been living in since October. I don’t talk much about my depression, because it really is one of the lesser of the mental evils for me at this point in time. I’ve been depressed my whole life. I’m used to it. I know how to do it. I’m good at it. But I must admit, my traditional holiday blues this year have lingered, as they’re usually over by mid-February. So yes, I guess I AM more depressed than usual, and struggling to maintain my sanity. I find it extremely hard to get out of bed, to shower, to get dressed. Mostly I sit around in my pajama’s, reading and talking to myself and wallowing in our misery. My energy level is at zero. If my body worked out as hard as my brain does, I’d be built like a supermodel. (except much shorter) All this excessive thinking, this obsessing, has me physically exhausted. Yet sleep doesn’t come easily, especially when it’s supposed to. No, whenever I lie down to catch up on my rest, that’s when my brain seems to be at its most active. Maybe someone inside me is doing this on purpose to get my attention. We don’t know what to think anymore. I’m a hundred emotions all at once-I’m excited, I’m scared, I’m sad, I’m worried, I’m eager, I’m anxious… I just want to get to the meat of the matter. I want to know what is wrong with me and I want to know how to get better. If that means pills, OK. If it means weekly therapy sessions, OK. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get to a point in my life where something makes some sort of sense, because nothing ever has before.