Yes. You read that right.
I’m mentally ill.
I’ve been diagnosed [and undiagnosed, alternatingly, depending on which doctor you ask/which state I was living in at the time] with PMDD, ADHD, GAD and MPD. [Catatonic schizophrenia and bipolar I have been tossed around a couple times, but the jury’s still out on whether any of those will stick for longer than a few appointments/med trials.]
For the uninitiated, that’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder, [adult] attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [combined inattentive-hyperactive type], generalized anxiety disorder with a panic element, and major depressive disorder. No, I’m not exactly sure which, if any of the diagnoses are correct – I just know, something’s a-foot. Or a-brain, I suppose.
The end if it is that I have a handful of pills I have to take every day so that I’m not running around in circles, tearing at my scalp and banging my head on the wall in an effort to rid myself of the horrible feeling of disintegration inside my… insides.
Yes, it’s just as much fun as it sounds.
I’ve been dithering about sharing this, largely because it tends to be kind of a downer subject, but since it’s pretty well dominating my life these days, it’s left me with little else to blog about. And since I want to keep blogging and be authentic [if inconsistent] about it, and since the only thing that’s really going on in my life right now is I sit around trying my best not to be crazy, I figure it’s time to fess up.
Living with all these acronyms [which are each doing their best to completely take over my bourha] has definitely taken a LOT of getting used to. Especially for my family. I was apparently a very high-functioning person with most, if not all of these disorders, for the better part of my life, but by some stroke of dumb luck I figured out how to live more or less normally without any outside help. Then, for reasons nobody has been able to as yet satisfactorily explain, when I became pregnant with my youngest child, everything went haywire and suddenly I went from completely functional and productive to completely non-functional and debilitated seemingly overnight. [In reality I think it happened over the course of a week of two. Still, it happened really fast.] I was sick enough that not only could I not care for my kids anymore, I couldn’t care for myself either, and didn’t feel safe to be alone with my children. And neither did Dale. Which meant we didn’t have a job or an income anymore.
2 mental health practices, 5 care providers, 4 medications and 10 months later, I had a counselor and a diagnosis that I was happy with, and all signs pointed to me finally getting better… and then suddenly I wasn’t anymore. And then several other things in my personal life fell apart and now we’re in my in-law’s living room. All five of us. Which hasn’t done anything to make my list of acronyms shorter.
Oh yeah. And PPD [post-partum depression with an anxiety/OCD component] set in. Add that to the list of acronyms.
The worst part about this isn’t the pills, or their side effects, or even the being sick all the time – it’s that I feel like I’ve effectively stopped being a mother to my children. I love them to pieces, more than anything else in heaven or earth, but for some reason I suddenly I have absolutely no tolerance for them anymore. I try every day to get better for them, to make my crazy go away so I can have my babies back, and some days I partially succeed. Which is AWESOME.
But lots of other days, I don’t. Like, if I get out of bed to go to the bathroom, it’s a HUGE victory. Or if I get on Facebook and post a status update, that’s me being super social.
Yeah. Lots of fun.
What I’ve learned from all of this [let’s be real, it’s way easier to get through something like this if I
pretend it’s a look at it as a learning experience] is that being a good mother — being a whole person really — isn’t about the number of projects I complete, loads of laundry I fold, or even hours I spend playing with my kids. It’s about doing everything I possibly can, every single day, and asking for the help I need to make up where I fall short. And letting that be enough. Because it has to be.
I didn’t pick my problems. I didn’t ask for my life to play out the way it has. But still, it’s MY life. And I love it. Come what may.