For months I considered starting this blog. I’m not new to blogging, only new to hiding behind a pseudonym. Why have I chosen to hide behind a pseudonym? My life is complicated. And I’m cautious about telling my story. I’ve seen firsthand how vicious the internet can be, how vicious people can be. And the stigma associated with mental illness is still an issue. Right now, I feel like if I don’t find an outlet to get OUT what’s in my head then I’ll be doomed to continue fighting all of this in silence and alone.
For the majority of my life I’ve coped (in the best ways I knew how) with mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. There have been plenty of diagnoses over the years — Postpartum Depression, Dysthymia, Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa NOS, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, ADD, Bipolar Disorder, and most recently PTSD. After 9 hospitalizations and 4 suicide attempts, I tried close to every psychiatric medication known to man up until 5 years ago when I finally gave up on them all.
As an adult, I faced homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, and countless jobs. I struggled through an awful 7 year marriage that ended after I was raped the first time in 1998. My ex-husband got custody of our son due to my psychiatric instability. The second rape occurred a few months later in 1998, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy that led to me giving that child up for adoption. I eventually plan to tell the whole story, but I’m not there yet.
My year-end review for 2013 on my original WordPress blog was, well, less than stellar. Truth be told, it was pathetic. I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked last year. I worked hard to keep that blog upbeat and positive. It’s where I share my creativity, art, and photography. However, I couldn’t make myself speak out about the problems I faced with my mental health as my original blog is associated with my real identity.
I’m hesitant to do so now; but New Year’s Eve was terrifying.
I don’t like alcohol. Quite frankly, I hate alcohol. I hate what it does to people. So many of the horrible experiences in my life were the result of alcohol or drugs or both. I hate how it makes me feel, out-of-control. I generally refrain from using drugs and alcohol for this reason; but it was New Year’s Eve. Drinking alcohol is part of the celebration, at least, it has been for the last 7 years with my current boyfriend.
I drank 4 shots of vodka. I’m not sure how much my boyfriend had. Those 4 shots were enough to make me violently ill and wish I had never drank them. Those 4 shots were enough to bring out the honesty of emotion that I typically guard with my life and refuse to share with anyone. I said all the wrong things. I’ve dealt with depression long enough to know, when I verbalize my suicidal thoughts, nothing good ever comes of it. Other people typically respond with frustration or anger or at best, completely ignore me. I prefer the latter. These thoughts are so all-consuming sometimes. The thoughts get louder and louder until I’m obsessing over them. The conversation sometimes spills out of my mind into verbal altercations with an unseen entity that leaves me screaming at her, “Please! Just shut up!!!”
Like I said, I said all the wrong things. The resulting display of anger and frustration I witnessed from my boyfriend was terrifying, to say the least. Nothing short of a flashback, this event left me cowering under my desk with a panic attack that lasted hours — the worst one I’ve ever experienced. I’m thankful for ZeFrank’s “Chillout” song. It entered my mind at some point while I was puking and panicking, and I repeated the words out loud until I finally calmed myself down.
I sobered up real fast after purging and seeing a full garbage can fly through the room where I was cowering under my desk. Garbage scattered everywhere. I heard a commotion up and down the halls of our home. It wasn’t until after I woke up that I realized the full extent of the damage. Two huge holes in the wall of the hallway. My boyfriend’s hand swollen twice its size. He refused to go to the ER. A cabinet door with a broken hinge. A shattered recycling bin. The broken garbage can. A box fan so mangled that I wonder how he did it.
And after all of this, he wanted to have sex. Triggered, I cringed with every touch. He said something. I don’t remember what. I thought I responded to myself, “I can’t say no;” but I apparently said it out loud. He flew off the handle again. Yelling, cursing. Finally, he calmed a little and listed all the things bothering him about our relationship. My issues with sex being at the top of the list. He wants it at least 3 to 4 times per day. I never want it. He said he would settle for a few times per week. I thought I was doing better, giving in a couple of times per week even when I didn’t want it.
When my boyfriend and I first got together 7 years ago, he originally told me he didn’t want children. Now, he’s telling me he wants at least one child. If I thought I was emotionally stable enough to raise a child, I would have never given up my children. My oldest son is 19. He was 4 when I left him with his father (my ex-husband). His father kept us away from each other, probably for good reason; but that fact made it no less painful. It took me years to come to terms with the alienation from my oldest son. Our relationship still suffers to this day. My youngest was 3 days old when he went home with his adoptive family. He’ll be 15 on his next birthday. Even though it was an open adoption, I realized early on that hearing updates about his life took me back to the darkest period in my life that I wanted nothing more than to forget. He was better off not knowing me and not knowing he was the product of a rape.
The thought of having another child terrifies me. Most days, I’m lucky if I can take care of myself, let alone a child. My boyfriend often has to remind me to eat because I struggle so much with food. One meal per day is about all I can handle. My boyfriend’s temper, which most likely stems from the childhood abuse he suffered at the hand of his father and step-mother, frightens me to think of involving a vulnerable child.
There was discussion of our financial problems. We’re a one-income household. These days you need two incomes simply to survive. I haven’t worked for close to 9 years. I was receiving Social Security Disability Income up until last January. I had it for a total of 5 years before it was cut off. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was better than nothing. Somehow, I have to get past my inability to leave my house regularly to go back to work.
Even though I’m reapplying, in TN it takes a minimum of 3 years to get SSDI, if you can manage to qualify at all. I used those 5 years while receiving SSDI to learn everything I could about graphic design and social media. It was my hope to freelance in that field when I felt emotionally stable enough to handle employment. I majored in graphic design in college but dropped out just shy of 10 classes away from my degree.
I don’t want to be a leech on society. No one wants that. Most people, if given the chance, would happily work a job they are capable of doing, including me. Unfortunately, debilitating social anxiety, lack of motivation, severe problems with distraction and lack of focus, as well as the general depressed mood that makes everything feel insurmountable keep me from accomplishing much more than cleaning house, daily chores, and the occasional errand.
My boyfriend went on and on for well over an hour about all the stresses in our lives that neither he nor I have answers for. Still reeling from the display of aggression and hearing these worries and expectations of me, left me feeling overwhelmed and more exhausted than I’ve ever felt. I finally went to bed on New Year’s day around 6:00 am and slept for 11 hours! It was all I could do to make myself get out of bed.
Upon waking, I remembered all the damage. All this damage, for what?! I don’t know how to process any of this. Yesterday, I felt numb, yet easily startled. The slightest sound still causes me to jump. I’m thankful that today my mental health case manager is stopping by. I’m mortified by the condition of this house, but I desperately need to talk to someone. I hope she listens. The thought of being hospitalized a tenth time is scary; and under normal circumstances, I would fight that suggestion to the death. Today, I feel a need to be hospitalized for the first time in 8 years. However, since I have no medical insurance and no way to pay, I doubt very seriously that is even an option.
2013 was an incredibly rough year. I re-entered therapy back in August after a near 5 year break. I’ve met with my new therapist at least a half-dozen times, but I’m not finding it horribly helpful. It’s barely maintenance therapy as we only see each other once every 3 to 4 weeks. I’m not even sure what exactly I’m trying to accomplish in therapy, but how can I possibly accomplish anything with minimal care like this? How does anyone? I struggle to make myself talk to my therapist. Hell, I struggle to stay present (in my mind) during therapy. I’m not even sure I trust him enough to get anything out of it. We just haven’t “clicked” yet.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of options for mental health care in my area, especially with no medical insurance. My state (TN) didn’t exactly jump on board with the whole Obamacare thing; so I doubt my options will improve anytime soon. Sometimes, I hate this world so much, death feels like the only release from a world gone mad. But even in choosing death, which I feel is my right as much as to live if I so choose, there is the possibility that I might not succeed. And that is what prevents me from trying again. Well, that and the fact that I fear pain (physical or emotional pain) more than I fear people.
2014 rang in like a cyclone. I just don’t know how much more of this I can take….