Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Month: December, 2013

It’s about heroin addiction, but it resonates…

I can’t be myself
I can’t be myself
And I don’t want to talk
I’m taking the cure
So I can be quiet whenever I want
So leave me alone
You ought to be proud that I’m getting good marks

IN OTHER NEWS, new tattoo idea. This was worked up from a Google image in MS Paint. It’s not the final draft. And it’ll be awhile before I can get it done, but…heart tattooThe words are Latin, and they mean “I think, therefore I suffer” and “while I breathe, I hope.”

The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take…

I went to karaoke tonight, for the first time in what might be months. I went to this silly hipster place because they have songs that no one else does, and I wanted to sing Madness. Which I did. So I was at this karaoke joint for about three and a half hours, by myself. Drinking (non-alcoholic) Ginger Beer, which is goddamned excellent.

Last weekend I felt like I was melting, becoming myself again. Now I feel numb. I fuckin’ rocked the three songs I did tonight, and I spoke to strangers, but I realized that I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone I know. I don’t trust anyone. They might let me down. Most of them have. Caring is too painful. A switch has flipped and I just can’t bother to give a shit.

Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow. I’ve certainly been sleeping a lot, and when I’m awake, I hardly talk to anyone. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series. I’m partly into book six, and I think I only started on them last Saturday.

People kept saying I seemed manic. Now, when no one is looking, my affect is flat. When I talk to people, what I say is strange. I put on a happy face, but it aches. I can’t do it for long. I’d rather be alone.

I can’t afford to hope anymore. It’s all I can do to go through the motions. Christmas is in three days. I don’t have plans. I have nowhere to go. I’ll probably sleep all day so I don’t have to think about it.

I go through the motions. I eat because I have to, I sleep more than I have to, I have realistic dreams where something makes me angry or sad, and I wake up still angry and sad.

I had a dream a few months ago that I was dying, and someone from my past came to say goodbye. And I felt such peace, and I woke up sad. Because I’m not going to float away on a cloud of morphine and forgiveness. I have to keep on keepin’ on. So I do. And soon I’ll melt again, and feel things again. Maybe right now I should be grateful just not to be in terrible pain.

But I know from experience, numbness is worse.

three for my heartache, four for my headache

I take one, one,  one ’cause you left me…

My attitude about antidepressants, when I’m taking them and they’re working: These pills saved my life, and fuck you for thinking I don’t need them.

My attitude about antidepressants when I’m not taking them and/or they’re not working: I am never doing that again unless I absolutely need to and I completely trust my physician.

I took Zoloft for about two and a half years. It worked very well for about a year of that time, and since then I’ve been floundering, flailing, and drowning. I sincerely believe that Zoloft saved my life. But then it stopped working so well, and eventually it stopped working at all. Just like Paxil did, and Prozac. I’m allergic to Wellbutrin, but it did seem to help before the itching took over. The drug that always terrified me, the one I wouldn’t touch because of what I’ve heard about the withdrawal symptoms, was Effexor.

But after Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, and Zoloft all failed me, Effexor was sort of the only thing left in the usual arsenal of pills. So I tried it. About a month ago, I started taking it, hoping it would work the same magic that Zoloft did.

Well, now that I’m weaning myself off Effexor, I can tell you something: the withdrawals are not nearly as horrifying as I thought they might be. Not nearly as horrifying as being on Effexor.

I’m loath to get into what made it so awful, but I can give a basic sketch of some of the effects: I got about five hours of sleep in 72 hours. I was compulsive, and it’s practically a miracle that I didn’t get into a very bad situation. I wasn’t eating, could barely walk a straight line, and had trouble regulating my body temperature. I was a hellish nightmare that I couldn’t wake from because I couldn’t sleep.

When I called and told my psychiatrist that I needed to get off Effexor immediately, she said something along the lines of “Well, since you’ve tried so many antidepressants, and none of them have worked for very long, maybe you’re bipolar!”

After telling her that, sure, we’ll discuss that at our next session, I hung up and decided two things:

  1. She’s fucking fired.
  2. I’m gonna stay off meds for awhile.

What a horrifying experience. What a terrible, disheartening response from my psychiatrist.

The upside is that I’m feeling much better now, more like myself than I have in months.

I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

Borderline

I don’t like it when people try to get me to have what they call “perspective,” but I am a firm believer in context. I’m not interested in being beaten about the head with stories that are supposed to remind me that there are people so much worse off than I am. I know about the Holocaust, and all the other mass-killings that society doesn’t deem worthy of capital-letter infamy. I know about serial killers, abused children, the poor. I know, I know, I know.

But context is a different thing. As my friend J says, your own worst day is your worst day, period. And he’s a one-armed, eye-patched survivor or a horrific car accident, so I think his words have some worth. Nando Parrado, survivor of the Andes Flight Disaster says that everyone has their own Andes. It’s all about the context of your life and how much you can bear. We learn that we can survive horrible things because we survive horrible things. But some people die from horrible things, and some people simply never get better.

So comparing my worst day to your worst day doesn’t really amount to much. And frankly, it’s bullshit to try to put someone else’s pain on some arbitrary scale and say, all right, you get to suffer this much and you get to grieve this much and then you’d better get over yourself and move on because, frankly, we’re tired of all this boo-hooing and don’t you know that so many people have it so much worse?

In September, I spent five days in a mental health center because I was having suicidal thoughts. While I was there, I was diagnosed with something called Borderline Personality Disorder. I didn’t find out about the diagnosis for over a month and a half because no one mentioned it, and some people thought I already knew. I was shocked when I was told that I’d graduated to the ranks of the truly mentally ill (depression is so common as to be passe, after all,) and especially because everything I knew about BPD was gleaned from an outdated book on mental illnesses that I read in my high school library back in 1995. Apparently, in the 18 years since I first heard about this disorder, the prognosis has become much less bleak. But all I knew when I got my diagnosis was that people with this condition were considered untreatable. It felt like a life sentence– I will never be sane, I will never feel whole, I will never be loved or be able to love anyone else in a healthy way.

So as soon as I got home, I did some research to try to figure out how I was going to navigate my life with this terrible illness, and that’s when I learned that psychiatry has taken a few leaps since 1980, when this disorder was first brought into the public eye, and even since the 1990s when BPD really was kind of a horrible thing to be labeled with. There’s treatment, now, and people do improve. There’s a lot of work to be done, but there are many reasons to believe that I’ll feel better soon.

And GEE WHIZ, does this diagnosis fit. According to the internetz, these are the nine hallmarks of this disorder, and if you’ve got five or more, chances are good that you’ve got BPD*.

[*Of course, it’s possible to have one or several (or all) of these symptoms and not have Borderline Personality Disorder. Everyone can identify with some features of mental illness, to some degree, some of the time. These are human issues, and most are common enough. It’s when these symptoms disrupt your  attempts to live a healthy, successful life that they’re considered pathological.]

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

All my impulsive decisions, my wanderlust, my inability to let anyone get too close while paradoxically craving acceptance and unconditional love, my intense emotions that no one understands because everyone else is cold and unfeeling and detached — all of that suddenly makes sense. I’m not shiny and special, I’m mentally ill!

Well, my shrink says it’s possible to be both. That my intensity is both a gift and a curse, and that my job now is to figure out how to still be emotional and vibrant and intense, but not get torn to shreds by my own transient emotions.

Being crazy is hard work, ya’ll.

The past year has been excruciating. In fact, the past three and a half years have been such a mish-mash of BEST EVER (!!!) and HOLY FUCK PLEASE STOP that it’s hard to know what to expect. I keep losing important people, not to death or distance, but because we’ve failed to meet each other’s expectations. That’s the most diplomatic way I can put it. It keeps happening. To quote noted existential poet Jewel:

Guess I’ve mistaken you for somebody else
Somebody who gave a damn, somebody more like myself

Word.

I have to move again around the end of the year because of one of those dissolving friendships. Just as I had to move in May because of a dissolving friendship. And while my friendships dissolve, so do I. I don’t understand why people keep leaving me. And it’s not all in my head, but maybe I have been unconsciously choosing the very sort of people who can’t give me what I want or need. Maybe the detachment I admire in them actually indicates a basic incompatibility in the way we relate to others. I don’t know.

But I’m proud of myself for having done so much of the work already. Even before I knew I had BPD, I’ve been a counselor to myself as part of my quest to not be a miserably destructive human being. And so I’ve been asking myself for a long time if I’m the one who’s the asshole. I’ve been good at not emailing people after midnight because usually those emails are insane. I try not to blame people, or think in black-and-white terms, and I try to forgive when I can. I certainly haven’t figured everything out, and I am far from perfect, and I still have a long way to go, but I started the work a long time ago even before I learned what I was working on.

And as much as I can, I’m trying to take these incremental steps to improve my life. I’m seeking stable housing, supportive systems, ways to lead a successful and healthy life. It’s difficult, and I’m exhausted, but I’m getting things done. I have hope. I can hold my head high as I walk away from (metaphorically) yet another burning building that I once called home.

The Aliens, by Charles Bukowski

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
distress.
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
life.
they have moments of
grief
but all in all
they are undisturbed 
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
sleep.
you may not believe 
it 
but such people do
exist. 
but I am not one of
them.
oh no, I am not one
of them,
I am not even near
to being
one of 
them 
but they are
there 
and I am 
here.