Love Me Just The Same

If I were “normal” would you love me more? Would you be more accepting of me and everything I am? Would you love me more or would you love me just the same?

Treat me like I’m human. That’s all I’ll ask. Well, for that and your patience. Sometimes I just need you to be more empathetic when I’m having bad days. I don’t need or want yours nor anyone else’s sympathy. I just want you to be more empathetic.

I’m not perfect. I don’t wish to be the way that I am but it’s not something that will ever change. I wish I could snap into a good mood just as I do a bad one. It’d make my entire life more easy, and probably yours too. Don’t scold me if I don’t understand right away or I make some mistakes along the way. I’m doing my best. Please believe that.

A lot of days feel empty and lonesome for me. Others I feel on top of the world or I feel absolutely nothing at all. It’s not easy to deal with, and I know it’s not easy to understand. Just lend me your ears and maybe a hug too. Some days I want to kill myself and others I couldn’t be more glad to be alive. It’s a paradox.

I’m doing my best to make you proud despite my past mistakes. Please, leave that in the past. Bringing it up after it’s all said and done only makes the present more difficult on every party involved. I’m learning from those mistakes and will make new ones, just as you have before.

I want to feel accepted.

I know that mental illness is scary. It’s scary for me too. I don’t understand the voices I see, apparitions that pass at any given time. I don’t understand the highs and the lows I deal with day in and day out, and I wish I could because maybe I could stop them outside of having to take pills daily. I don’t enjoy it. No one really does. Even addicts really don’t enjoy them.

Being put on new medicine is a tiring, difficult process as I never really know what to expect outside of maybe a good mood and motivation to do my best. It can make you physically ill, more suicidal, more homicidal. More or less depressed. Less or more anxious than before. You never really know. Sometimes it makes you feel nothing at all, kind of like a zombie and that sucks more than being sad all the time.

No one wishes to be born with a mental disorder because, like all physical ailments, mental disorders hurt not only those with them, but also those surrounding that person. They feel like they’re a burden on their family, friends, etc and while realistically, we know we aren’t, your brain tricks you into believing that. Or believing other things, like you’re unworthy of love. That’s how I feel most of the time. I feel like I don’t deserve all the good I have in life because I feel like I’m a worthless person.

Not having as many panic attacks anymore has been a tremendous feat in my road to recovery. It’s been awesome. I want to tell you how happy I am, but I know it’ll get blown off to weight loss or jobs. It can never be that I’m just happy I am to have a day or two without a panic attack. Panic attacks not only affect my personal life, but also social and work life as well. I can’t tell when they’re going to hit. No one can. Most of the time anyways, unless it was triggered by something.

Do you know how annoying it is to know for sure you locked the car, but then your brain starts telling you that you didn’t and you should double, triple or quadruple check? And you do. I deal with that every day. Washing my hands constantly? Also every day.

I just want you to treat me and love me like you would if I didn’t have mental illness. Love me just the same. I want to be accepted and loved. I want to feel like I have someone to talk to. Just listen. Don’t talk. Just listen to me and understand I didn’t ask to be this way. It is something I deal with and have for a long time, and I’m doing my best to comprehend what’s going on in my head. I promise I’ll always do my best. Please just be there for me.

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Manic/Depressive

Most of the time, you can’t just tell you’re bipolar because there’s so much more that plays into it outside of erratic mood swings. I was once told I had Major Depressive Disorder when in fact, it ended up being Bipolar II, which means 90% depressive episodes and give or take 10% manic episodes or feeling absolutely numb. It’s scary at times because I don’t even know what my brain is doing. It’s like “hey, I’m depressed for no fucking reason again. You shall remain this way for three weeks.” Then I’m depressed for no reason at all for three weeks and no matter how hard I try to push through it and just ‘make myself happy’ (which by the way, it isn’t THAT easy). Then out of nowhere, happy ass mania comes along and says “I’ll give you a mini break for like, a week. Maybe. If you’re good.” Then I’m all sunshine and rainbows and that is also frightening. It’s almost like “who am I?”

Then the cycle of back and forth continues and holds no answers as to when one will end and the other will start.

Did you know it only takes one documented manic episode to be considered Bipolar? I didn’t until I had been diagnosed. I explained in detail what I deal with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I had to get down to the raw, hard to talk about situations and emotions I feel to finally see some kind of light. It’s hard. It’s not ever easy talking to a stranger over Skype about your past, your present and how you constantly feel. Then they also want to throw you on a few different medications and it’s an endless cycle of “will this work or will it not?” So you go through a few until you find one that works (for a short period of time) and then they’ll up the dosage or give you something new until that one stops working. Yes, it’s not 100% medication that make you happy and sometimes you have to put in some effort too. However, this doesn’t mean you need to tell me constantly to make myself happy because if I could, I absolutely would. I don’t like feeling this way and I really don’t know anyone else who does either. Some people are by far much stronger than others in this aspect where they are able to go medication free and follow strict coping techniques. I envy those people. Not just because they can go without medications and live pretty much normal lives the way I do on medications. I envy them because I’ve tried it more than once and each time it hits harder and harder, so right now being med-free just isn’t an option.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II last year and have since been on mission to figure everything out. Let me tell you, it’s been a difficult process. I document every mood I have, how I feel, what my weight is, whether it was a high or a low, any panic/anxiety attacks, and overall how I’ve been sleeping. Most of the time it’s a depressive episode and I either sleep way too much or way too little. I don’t think I can physically get enough sleep on my own. Plus I have nightmares most of the time so sleeping isn’t very high up on my list of things I love.

The first time anyone suggested to me that I was bipolar, I argued why I wasn’t. I didn’t have those mood swings everyone talks about and I was depressed most of the time. I never had very manic episodes, except three that I can remember. I figured it was just a relief from the depression for a few days until my brain decided to kick back into depressed mode. It wasn’t even in my radar of things that could possibly be wrong with me. Did you know that most mental illnesses are actually a genetic problem as well as a situational problem? That’s right. It can be passed down from parents to children.

When I have a manic episode, I feel on top of the world like nothing can bother me. I feel great most of the time and I have an unlimited supply of energy and motivation to be the absolute best I possibly could be. I love those episodes sometimes because I feel genuinely happy even though I know it will end.

I also get angry more easily than I’d like to admit. Not always a raging, fuming kind of angry. Just irritable. The tiniest things will send me into irritability, which then sometimes turns into anger. Things like tapping, loud breathing, popping of gum, people chewing with their mouths open, etc.

I am also an extremely impulsive being and this is probably my biggest flaw. For the longest time, I had a gambling problem (mind you, I’m only 24). I don’t think about things sometimes and just do them. Cutting my hair, giving myself another piercing (don’t worry, I pierced professionally so I know what I’m doing), spending a ton of money on others or on things I don’t need. This is one thing I can’t stand about myself so I’ve been working towards bettering myself as far as impulsive tendencies go. It’s hard sometimes, especially when I feel the burning desire to buy a ton of lottery tickets. Now, I limit myself to buying one a month with my boyfriend so we can play together. It takes the edge off of wanting to buy one because now I’ve associated it with playing a scratcher with my boyfriend, and I’d rather enjoy it with him instead of alone. Impulse control is hard but it is totally doable. I swear.

Just because I’m having a good day doesn’t mean I’m happy, and just because I’m having a bad day doesn’t mean I’m depressed. It can vary. Some depressive episodes do have reasonably good days just as manic episodes can potentially have some bad days. I always need to remind those I’m closest to, to always be patient with me. I don’t try to be this way and I wish I wasn’t. It’s a difficult way to live but I’ve managed for nineteen years on and off with all of this. I wish I could be societal normal as far as mental states go. For now, though, I’ll continue to break this cycle of manic and depressive as much as I can and keep moving forward.

Stay strong, friends. If you have any further questions about Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder/Schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, feel free to contact me via email and I’ll respond as soon as I can. I can also refer you to other pages with more information.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please reach out for help. Call 1-800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741.

 

 

 

 

Washing My Hands

I know it all seems strange, but to me, this is my normal.

 

 

I know the title seems silly, but being silly is the most trivial thing to get caught up on. No, this isn’t some article written about the proper ways to wash hands (although I do feel some people need to really read up on it). This article is written to describe what living with multiple mental illnesses (including good ol’ OCD) is like on an average day.

I won’t reveal too much about what I deal with on a daily basis. I will admit I have bipolar disorder II, OCD and schizoaffective disorder.. I know it seems like a fuckton, and believe me it is, especially when all these things kind of collide into one another and make you feel like one big pile of empty shell. It’s hard to exist some days, and some days I feel like I’m on top of the world. It’s scary sometimes to be completely content and within minutes your entire mind switches into a high or a low (also known as a manic or depressive episode with bipolar). I wish I understood what was going on inside my head sometimes, but for right now, I’m just doing my best to exist.

I’m suicidal a lot of the time but I also have no real … desire to die, I suppose is the best way to put it. I really have no desire for anything most of the time and it really affects those closest to me. Sometimes I just want to be held and told everything is going to be alright and then others I don’t want to be touched. Back to the suicidal feelings; talking to a therapist and being put on all kinds of meds works for a little while, but the feelings never subside. They just kind of get buried in there with everything else I’ve been feeling for almost nineteen years until another depressive episode or panic attack hits. And they fucking hit hard.

A trip to the grocery store, being surround by puppies, watching Bob’s Burgers for the millionth time. It doesn’t matter where I’m at, what I’m doing or who I’m with. When an episode or panic attacks hits, it hits. There’s no stopping it. Unless I remember to ground myself, especially during a panic attack. Sometimes I forget.

It’s easier to just throw my headphones on and ignore the world. I put the music on full volume to drown out the outside sound, but also the sounds inside. Sometimes it’s just my name, other times it begs me to just kill myself. It tells me I deserve the bad. It tells me I deserve to be happy. It refuses to make up its mind. Well, they refuse. I hear more than one on a daily basis. Sometimes they’re really quiet and I barely notice them. Most of the time it’s like they’re shouting over one another like the women on Maury; like the little angel and little devil on my shoulder. Sometimes I hear different noises; frequencies that no one else seems to hear. Then I see him.

The black shadow man I’ve been seeing for years upon years. He never says anything; just lingers in the corner like he has nothing better to do. I move; he moves. I close my eyes and he’s still there. It’s like my shadow has detached itself and follows like a lost puppy. I know he’s harmless and I know it’s a he because it looks like a he. Very strong facial structures, even for a shadow man. It scared me at first, but ultimately I got used to it. No one seems to understand why I see him, other than my therapist and she’s said it’s the way my past has manifested itself and it’s like my protection. I’d have to agree in the acknowledgement that he’s not real. Or at least I say he’s not.

I wash my hands probably close to one hundred times a day. I can’t stop. When my hands get dry, oily, gritty, anything but soft from the warm water I bathe them in; I get angry. Sometimes aggressive and mean. It’s the most irritating thing in the world next to tapping of pens, bursting of gum bubbles and people who chose to eat with their mouths open (this seriously drives me nuts. Please don’t do this while I’m around). I get chuckles from coworkers and bosses because they don’t understand my need … my constant need to wash my hands. I don’t even understand it. I just know I need to, and when I need to, no one better stand in my way.

Have you ever felt so worried about everything but not actually give a shit about anything? That’s a lot of what I feel every day and it sucks. I become so numb to everyone and everything and the world around me turns into a blur and half the time I don’t even know who I fucking am. What’s the point of knowing who I am when I hate who I am anyways. I really don’t hate myself, but I tell myself I do because that’s what I hear being screamed at me by the little bastard devil on my right. I’m useless. So he says. It’s scary when they yell back and forth. I can hear their swords clash inside my head and the noise penetrates my entire body and I shiver.

The sound of anyone other than me brushing their teeth will give me goosebumps. I’m terrified of eyelashes and portabella mushrooms. I check behind every single shower curtain I come into contact with (EVERY. SINGLE. ONE). I have to wash out every cup, bowl, plate or mug I use before I can use it (but first I must blow into it to get rid of any debris that may reside there). I have to constantly check locks three times … exactly three times before I can go into work or go to bed and even then when it’s a car I’ll check twice … exactly twice with the key fob to make sure it’s really locked. I do the double take to make sure and then go on with my business like nothing happened. I only read paperback books; hard cover bother me and are hard to get into, plus they smell funny. I steal my mother’s shoes when I sleep. I constantly have to fix my sheets if they move a certain way or they’re uneven. I only like even numbers and will go to every extent to ensure it is an even number when faced with numbers. I take my medications in a certain order every single night and never change routine.

I know it all seems strange, but to me, this is my normal. This is the average day for me. I kind of feel bad for everyone who involves themselves with me because I feel like I’m just some kind of paranoid, depressive lunatic. I’m so blessed to have the support I do from my family, friends and other half. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

I guess the point of all of this is to show you that it’s okay to not fit what society deems normal. It’s totally fine to ask for help. It’s better you ask for help instead of suffering alone. I wish I would have. I started late and a lot of this could have been resolved years ago when it started making its presence apparent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel suicidal. It’s okay to feel depressed, or anxious. You’re not alone.